“Physicians are reaching the tipping point on their business models, particularly in primary care,” Tom Blue, executive director of the American Academy of Private Physicians, recently told the San Antonio News-Express in an article about concierge and direct-pay practices. “They just can’t make ends meet. They’re being forced to make decisions about changing their revenue models.”
And while no one knows exactly how fast the retainer trend is growing, a 2005 report from the U.S. Government Accountability Office found there are 146 retainer physicians nationwide, noted USA Today. The article also cited a 2009 report commissioned by the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission that compiled a list of 756 retainer physicians. And according to a 2010 survey of members of the American Academy of Family Physicians, 3 percent of respondents said they ran some form of retainer practice, up from 1.2 percent in 2009. Finally, the San Antonio News reported that the American Academy of Private Physicians estimates 1,100 primary care physicians don’t accept insurance, double the number of five years ago.
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