Docs Stop Taking Insurance, Offer 'Boutique' Care

More doctors offer "boutique" care to make ends meet, provide better service
By Gabriel Winant,  Newser User
Posted Oct 26, 2008 3:18 PM CDT
Dr. Alexis Dunne talks with patient Michael McCoy at Northwestern Memorial Hospital, Monday, Sept. 8, 2008, in Chicago, where she plans to be a primary care doctor.   (AP Photo/M. Spencer Green)
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(Newser) – Increasing numbers of doctors are bagging the insurance model to offer much better service to fewer patients, at a much higher cost, the Baltimore Sun reports. Many doctors are struggling to pay their own bills, and the quality of service they offer patients is suffering. But such “boutique” care threatens to create two separate medical systems. “I just think it’s morally wrong,” says one patient.

“Primary-care doctors are seeing 30 to 40 patients a day—that's too many. It's not about the money. It's about having the time to spend with your patients to keep them healthy,” says one internist. While it’s unknown exactly how many doctors have switched, there were 146 boutique doctors nationwide in 2005. Now, there are at least 260 in just 24 states and Washington, D.C.