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Are physicians looking in the wrong place for patients?

The latest physician’s health care delivery trend is to reduce the burden, cost and complexity of pursuing third-party reimbursement by only servicing cash paying patients through a concierge model. Such an arrangement affords a patient nearly free access to their physician. And, for the physician, this concierge business model makes perfect sense because it solves a multitude of operational, compliance, and lifestyle concerns. It’s a win-win because the patient gets what they seek at an elevated level of quality care and the physician cuts out all the hassle.

Member or Concierge practice business model first surfaced in Seattle several years ago and seems to have taken root. Typically, Member or Concierge medical practice fees range from $60 to $300 per month per patient and many are asking “Will this concept ever come to Florida?” Well, it just might if physicians look in the right place for their patients. Currently, there are many attempts by older physicians who want to return to the days of spending as much time as possible with patients. But what physicians miss in exploring the concierge practice business model, is the notion that their target market only consists of moderately wealthy individuals with plenty of discretionary income. If you look at the Qliance model outlined below you’ll notice that the target market is distinctly different. The niche market from which to establish a medical practice beachhead might be the unemployed or employers forced to purchase high-deductible plans or the small business owner that can barely afford coverage. Not clearly identifying the target market is a common mistake made by even the experienced entrepreneur. If you are a physician, it might be worth your time to reassess and study the Qliance concept.

Qliance Concept Brief:
According to an October 2010 white paper published in The Physicians Foundation by Merritt Hawkins in an article: Concierge/Direct Contracting Case Study, a provider firm named Qliance received $13 million in venture capital financing. Its patients pay $60 each month for primary care services. To save patients money for the cost of lab tests and medication, Qliance negotiated deals with prescription warehouses and lab testing companies. What is unique about Qliance is that their customers are your average unemployed professionals, small business owners and individuals with high deductible plans— not wealthy patients.