Sunday, July 26, 2009

Article in Wall Street Journal about expensive personal doctors

For the Wealthy, Private Health Care Consultants
June 23, 2008, 9:24 AM ET
By Jacob Goldstein

Article from Wall Street Journal at the link below:-

Confused or overwhelmed by the chaotic medical system? If you’re rich, there’s someone who’d be glad to help.

Take PinnacleCare, a Boston company founded in 2002 and profiled in this morning’s Boston Globe.

Fees range from $7,000 to $100,000 a year, excluding an initial sign-up fee; a standard family membership is $10,000, the Globe says. For that, you get services such as round-the-clock email and telephone consults, and face-to-face meetings with a personal health adviser.
The company guides clients through the system in times of acute medical problems. It also helps out during more routine moments, such as dealing with health-care issues before taking an exotic vacation.

“By navigating the medical system for you and your family and giving you uncomplicated access to the best the healthcare system offers,” the company says on its Web site, “PinnacleCare helps you and your family focus on prevention, early detection and a long-term optimal health strategy, as well as helping with immediate needs.”

Of course, helping patients navigate the medical system used to be the role of the primary care doctor. But as primary care docs have grown busier and the system has grown more complicated, patients often find themselves on their own — creating a market for PinnacleCare, which has over 3,000 members, according to the Globe.

Health wonks pushing the “medical home” model would like to see primary care doctors paid by insurers to do at least some of what PinnacleCare promises — help patients work out a long-term health strategy in good times, and navigate the system in times of crisis.

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