UM hospital to roll out program that would give priority to people who can pay more
The University of Michigan is reaching out to donors, offering better access to its hospital’s doctors, for an annual fee.
For $2,700 a year, a patient can take advantage of what’s known as a “concierge medicine” service the hospital is calling Victors Care.
According to its website, patients “…pay an annual membership fee in exchange for enhanced access and time with their primary care physician.”
Concierge medicine is fairly common in hospitals in certain areas of the country. Many private practice doctors have offered the service because it means they can earn more money while concentrating on fewer patients. Also, it means care is not as restricted by health insurance company guidelines.
But there are some concerns about a service that gives wealthier patients special treatment, especially at a public university hospital.
Susan Goold, a professor at U of M’s Medical School and School of Public Health, as well as a faculty member for the Center for Bioethics and Social Sciences in Medicine, joined Stateside today to discuss how the Victors Care service works, the concerns that have been shared by medical providers, and whether it’s appropriate for a public university hospital to offer such a service.
We reached out to Michigan Medicine and received this statement from Mary Masson, Director of Institutional Positioning at the Department of Communication. It says in part:
“Victors Care is a pilot program, developed after requests from patients for a service similar to what exists at institutions across the country. “This is just one of a number of ways we’re seeking to improve access to and efficiency of care we provide.”
It goes on to say:
“We’re committed to ethical, accessible care for all our patients and whatever programs we put in place should not diminish that in any way. This will not adversely affect the access of other patients to our outstanding health care system. “Some faculty and staff have raised concerns. We’ve listened to them and are working together to come up with solutions that are mutually satisfactory for the benefit of our patients. “Along with accepting many different types of insurance that provide different types of support for patient care, we think Victors Care is a valuable option to offer our patients.”
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