When Bryan and I were getting married, we debated what to do for our honeymoon. We were both very young (.. okay, we weren’t, really. Not in Alabama, anyway) and very poor (this part is 100% true) and so we decided to not take a honeymoon until we could really afford it.
Well, I decided this. Bryan was adamant that we take a honeymoon because he believed it would start the marriage off in a negative way to not have one. So we settled on going to Gatlinburg, TN. I had never been, but he had “summered’ up there every year as a child and had fond memories of feeding the bears in the Smokey Mountains.
(I kid you not. He fed the bears.)
Anyway, there was this weird thing about Gatlinburg. The town is basically a mecca of kitschy, touristy places. There’s a strip where you have an old timey picture taken and visit eight different Ripley’s Believe It or Not museums, and you can’t throw a dead cat without hitting a pancake house. (Pancakes? you’re saying, and I know. I don’t know why pancakes.) On this strip, you’ll be CONSTANTLY approached by folks who will offer you tons of goodies for sitting through their pitch. And I mean – REAL good stuff.
We were poor and hungry, and we had no itinerary, so we were like, “Sure. Why the hell not?” So for tickets to the Ripley’s Aquarium (which is still my hands-down favorite aquarium in the south), a $100 Visa gift card, and tickets to a local show, we took a bus to a convention center to learn about timeshares.
We were shuffled in a room with tons of other folks, where mediocre refreshments were served. We listened to the head of marketing speak about this wonderful opportunity we were being given, and we sat through a video that sang the praises of the timeshare model. But act now!, they warned. We have limited slots available.
We had to fill out a card that basically gave us boxes to check if we were interested (deposit required ASAP), or if we wanted them to contact us later, or if we weren’t interested. And if you checked that last box, they’d send over a second level salesman to try and convince you otherwise. Bryan and I straight up laughed at both salesmen. Um, we rent. Do you think we’d pay for a house we can use for one week when we don’t even own a home for the other 51 weeks?
Our basic answer – to any question – was thusly: “No. Can we get our gift card now?”
The aquarium was awesome and we had a helluva meal with that gift card.
Bryan and I and all of the boys see a local family doctor whom we LOVE. Seriously. His practice is amazing and he’s been more than accommodating to our family. He had a large family himself and has been through every situation I could ever ask advice about. So when the practice sent us a letter asking us to attend a meeting – at a posh, local golf clubhouse – we wondered what was up.
Because we now have a gaggle of children, I attended alone.. but the venue was far from empty.
We were shuffled in a room with tons of other folks, where mediocre refreshments were served. Our doctor kicked off the meeting, announcing his pending retirement. And then he used the words “concierge medicine”, and my heart sank. The remaining two doctors in the practice got up and spoke about how they believed this was the best decision for the practice. Then the head of the concierge transition company – a third party vendor – stood. We listened to the head of marketing speak about this wonderful opportunity we were being given, and we sat through a video that sang the praises of the timeshare model. But act now!, they warned. We have limited slots available.
If you care about your family’s health, this time share is for you.
We had to fill out a card that basically gave us boxes to check if we were interested (deposit required ASAP), or if we wanted them to contact us later, or if we weren’t interested.
To be clear: if my doctor was remaining with the practice, I would probably sign up without hesitation, even with the $1800/person annual fee. (Kids are free with a paid adult.) But he’s not. And the other doctors may be fine, but I don’t know them.
The practice is moving to a concierge-hybrid system, meaning that the 7,000 patients have the opportunity to take the coveted 300 concierge slots. If you choose to remain “traditional”, you’re still welcome.
Of the 8 hour scheduling day, four hours will be reserved for concierge patients ONLY. The other 6900 folks fight over the other four hours of doctor availability.
I already see signs of this taking effect, as my newborn son wasn’t able to get ANY vaccinations until August 16th, when he will be 2.5 months old. I was frustrated when I called for that appointment (back in early July) because COME ON, right?
Has anyone had experience with a concierge model in their family practice? If so, was yours concierge ONLY or did you go hybrid? I’m looking for experiences to gauge if I’m willing to shell out the $3600 a year to remain there .. you know, on top of my insurance premiums.
I love my doctor so much and am heartbroken that he’s leaving. But the snake oil salesman flavor of the meeting and transition leaves me cautious. Thoughts?