As more and more physicians continue to join the national concierge medicine movement, they must confront the question “Do I want to implement a hybrid concierge program or go “all in” with a full concierge practice?”
This is a decision that cannot be made lightly as there are considerations with each as well as advantages and disadvantages – depending on their practice’s challenges and the physician’s objectives. So let’s take a look at both.
Hybrid Concierge Program
A hybrid concierge program is one where a physician keeps their entire patient panel but enrolls a small subset of the panel in to their concierge program. Typically it’s only 5 – 10% of their entire panel. Patients who enroll in the program pay an annual membership fee in return for an enhanced level of care and services.
With a hybrid program, there is no patient abandonment and the practice maintains all insurance and ancillary revenue.
A hybrid program is generally advantageous for physicians who may not have enough patients with the right demographics to consider a full program and physicians who; are interested in testing concierge medicine, do not want to lose any patients and or are mainly interested in generating incremental revenue. Hybrids also work well for sub-specialists. When done correctly, a hybrid program should yield $65k – $200k per year in incremental revenue.
What are the downsides to a hybrid program?
Because patients are given a choice in their care, between traditional and concierge, fewer patients will enroll in the program. Providing different levels of care and service also means you and your staff will have to be adaptable to the different needs of the two groups. There will be operational issues as well, such as scheduling, which will have to be sorted out and monitored.
A hybrid program generally does not free up any time, or increase your work/life balance, given you are keeping 100% of your panel. It also does not typically provide any relief with your operating expenses.
Full Concierge Program
As the name implies, a full concierge medicine practice is one where patients who want to continue under the care of the physician must enroll in their program. Thus, it is a membership-only practice model.
Primary care physicians will generally maintain about 20% of their patient panel – although this may vary based on a variety of factors including the panel size. Patients who enroll in the program pay an annual membership fee in return for an enhanced level of care and services.
A full concierge program works well in a variety of circumstances including for physicians who; are fed-up with the health system, want to spend more quality time with patients and improve outcomes, want to be less dependent on third party payers, would like to increase their personal income, need to secure the sustainability of their practice, are winding down their careers but aren’t yet ready to retire, those that are burnt out and would like to bring balance between their professional and personal life, and those that would like to scale back their practice operations.
When done correctly, a full concierge practice can yield up to $750k per year in membership revenue. Insurance and ancillary revenue is above and beyond the membership revenue.
What are the downsides to a full concierge practice?
In order to have the time needed for their concierge patients, the majority of their panel will have to leave the practice.
Also, when converting a practice to a full concierge model, there is only one chance (and one chance only) to get it right. There are no make-goods, do-overs, mulligans, second chances, etc. This makes it imperative to use professional help from subject matter experts to do it right.
With this information you should now make a list of all of your challenges and beside that, a separate list of your objectives. Upon review and reflection of the two lists; you should be better informed to make the right decision for your practice.