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Americans are rightly concerned about the rising costs of health care and the monstrosity known as ObamaCare. As patients are looking for better ways to manage their health care, doctors are seeking innovative ways to offer their services. One type of medical practice growing in the marketplace is “concierge medicine,” in which patients pay a doctor or group of doctors a set fee (usually paid annually or monthly) in exchange for a defined package of care.
Concierge medicine typically pertains to “family-practice” medicine for routine care—checkups, stitches, drug prescriptions, nutrition advice, and the like—as opposed to specialized care such as heart surgery or MRI scans. A typical concierge doctor sees far fewer patients than does a doctor in a typical office and is thus able to spend substantially more time with each patient. In a typical concierge practice, once a patient signs up for care, he may visit the doctor’s office regularly—in some practices, as often as he likes—and contact his doctor via telephone and email. Because patients pay doctors directly, many concierge doctors do not accept health insurance and thereby avoid the costs associated with its red tape and paperwork.
One particularly innovative concierge doctor is Josh Umbehr, who charges a relatively low monthly fee in exchange for unlimited access to his office. He calls his type of practice “direct medicine” or “direct primary care.” . . .