Then think again.
Below is a letter that a patient received from a his cardiologist outlinging the upcoming change First thing you notice is that you'll be paying for everything, including phone calls and emails. If that doesn't suit you, you can buy a plan that will give you greater access, for a bunch of money.
The impact, in my view, is that people will be using fewer services (thereby foiling the aim of Obamacare--more preventative medicine) or paying higher fees. Ironically, this will accomplish what the reform is supposed to accompliish---reduce medical, especially Medicare, costs. But I guess they forget to mention the higher costs and reduced services.
Here is the letter:
To Our Patients: It is a privilege to have you as a patient at [Name removed]. We are committed to your continued health and take pride in providing the highest quality healthcare. Collectively, our physicians have over 200 years of patient care experience. We believe that our combination of expertise, passion for patient care and our dedicated staff has made us the premier cardiology practice in the area.
As you are aware and have undoubtedly discussed with your doctors, friends and family, the American healthcare system is undergoing significant change. We believe these changes will affect you directly by changing access to your cardiologist and limiting coordination of your healthcare. Indirectly, these changes will limit your choices as to where, when and by whom you will receive your care. [Emphasis added.] While many physicians are reacting by reducing services, turning away Medicare or selling out to corporate healthcare, we see this as an opportunity to offer patients a connection with their healthcare team that was once taken for granted, but will soon change in significant ways. Beginning January 1, 2011, we will offer three annual plans - each designed to provide a level of choice, service and fees that best fits your personal healthcare needs. The plans reflect a great deal of time and thought as to how we can continue to offer the best healthcare and maintain the highest level of excellence you have come to expect from us. A summary of the programs can be found below, click here to download the complete information and enrollment materials.
Patient Programs Available:
Care: This is ideal for patients who see a ...cardiologist once a year and are not interested in establishing an overall healthcare plan with their cardiologist. There is no annual fee. However, additional fees will apply for unreimbursed services such as e-mail and phone conversations with your doctor, procedure pre-certifications and completion of forms. [Emphasis added.]
Choice: For an annual fee ($500.00 per patient or $750.00 per family), patients have direct access to a comprehensive program of cardiac healthcare services - ideal for patients who are interested in more personal attention and use services more frequently. In addition to your cardiologist, each patient will have a private phone number to their own "Personal Nurse" who will become their main contact in the practice and personally assist in coordinating their care. Plan participants will also have access to same day office visits, unlimited e-mail and telephone conversations with their doctor, membership in the "... Lifestyle Program" (a series of seminars collaboratively run by our dietitian, nurse practitioner and physicians), discounted admission to our [food preparation] program at [a grocery store], a quarterly newsletter and an annual fitness evaluation at [a healthy living] group. To ensure that this service remains personal, each physician will initially enroll only 75-100 patients.
Concierge: For an annual fee ($2,000.00 per patient or $3,000.00 per family) patients will have the most access and personalization available. This program allows a very limited number of patients all the benefits of ...Choice, but also includes 24/7 access to your ...cardiologist via cellular phone, extended and weekend office hours and an annual "State of Your Health" visit....