- Cleveland Clinic Florida has launched a concierge medicine service, the Sun Sentinel reported. The program, which costs $4,000 per year, hopes to attract 300 patients in 2018. Cleveland Clinic Florida told the Sun Sentinel it will explore expanding the program once it reaches capacity.
- The service touts increased communication and accessibility to a personal physician, longer appointments and a healthcare team that coordinates care.
- Concierge medicine services have sparked controversy. Critics say they create a tiered system for care, while others say they allow hospitals to take in more revenue.
Cleveland Clinic Florida notes that the program does not accept any insurance or participate in federal programs such as Medicare. In addition, many additional services beyond an annual physical examination, electrocardiogram and blood-draw are not covered by the membership fee, according to the paper.
For example, although the program touts transportation coordination through Cleveland Clinic's private land and air ambulances in emergencies, any charges resulting from such use are the patient's responsibility, according to Cleveland Clinic Florida.
Members of the Florida program will have access to specialists both in Florida and at Cleveland Clinic's headquarters in Ohio.
Also, patients will have increased ability to have same day or next day appointments, a promise that experts say helps increase patient satisfaction and providers' bottom lines.
The move follows other concierge care endeavors.
Forward, a California-based medical office startup using concierge principles, charges members $149 a month in lieu of insurance and/or a co-pay. The company relies heavily on the latest technology for basic screening and wellness services. It recently expanded into Los Angeles, its second location.
The price point for both Forward and Cleveland Clinic Florida's new service may restrict its use to the affluent. Good financial health has been correlated with good physical health, so it stands to reason Cleveland Clinic Florida could be targeting high-margin patients: Affluent individuals with generally good health.
As outside actors pursue outpatient access as a differentiator, a concierge business line may help operating incomes. The question will be if customers will take to it and whether it will scale.