The radical shift cost Ciampi several hundred of his 2,000 regular patients, but he says the freedom is worth it.
"I'm freed up to do what I think is right for the patients," Ciampi told the Bangor Daily News. "If I'm providing them a service that they value, they can pay me, and we cut the insurance out as the middleman and cut out a lot of the expense."
He says he was able to halve his prices because of the dramatic reduction in overhead costs. He used to bill $160 for an office visit for an existing patient with one or more complicated health issues; now, he charges just $75.
Moreover, Ciampi can offer discounts to patients struggling with their medical bills. He even has the freedom to make house calls.
Despite the loss of some patients, Ciampi expects his practice to perform just as well—if not better. He says his lower prices likely will attract patients who are self-employed, have no insurance, or have high-deductible health plans.
Ciampi thinks physicians will follow his lead into concierge care as health care reform increasingly complicates physicians' ability to practice. "If more doctors were able to do this, that would be real health care reform," Ciampi told the Daily News, adding, "That's when we'd see the cost of medicine truly go down."
- Welcome to the new Daily Briefing blog: We're excited to launch this new feature. Now help us name it.
Also in today's Daily Briefing
- NEJM: How hospitals can win the fight against MRSA
- The most common in-flight medical emergencies
- Robots are automating hospital tasks. Should they?
- Weekend reads: How 'happiness' evolves with age
On the blogs
- At the Margins: The Financial Leadership Council's Sarah Gabriel explains how to make affordable financing a win-win for patients and hospitals.
- Practice Notes: The Medical Group Strategy Council's Tiffany Chan outlines three steps to overcome state regulations obstructing effective nurse practitioner utilization.
- Practice Notes: Chan explains recent trends in assigning advanced practitioners their own panels.