During the past two years, the health information privacy of nearly 18 million Americans has been breached electronically, a staggering statistic provided by a seminal report by the American National Standards Institute. Patient privacy is an essential right in America that continues to be challenged as patient records are digitized by insurance companies, and access to those records increases.
Health privacy breaches along with complex and conflicting health privacy laws have resulted in a loss of faith by patients that their health information privacy will be properly protected. These laws have also caused confusion by those who handle health information regarding what is expected of them. However, one fact remains true: every time a third party pays for someone's medical care, that person's medical and personal information becomes available to the payer, whether it's the insurance company or the government.
In addition, those applying for certain jobs, as well as health, disability or life insurance, are usually required to authorize the release of their health records to the requesting companies. With about 25 million disclosures every year, patients are concerned about potential embarrassment, stigma, and possible discrimination regarding certain medical conditions. To make matters even more complicated, patients may feel tempted to withhold important health information from their doctors, thus risking suboptimal medical care, in order to protect the privacy of what they may view as sensitive or embarrassing information.
As more concerns are raised regarding the privacy of our health records, more and more people are opting out of medical insurance and are taking advantage of direct-pay practices. The advantage to using house call doctors with direct payment is that that they do not share any information with anyone, unless a patient specifically requests them to do so. By eliminating the "middle man" (the insurance company or the governmental bureaucracy), patients can rely on greater confidentiality by limiting third-party access to their sensitive health information.
While majority of direct-pay or concierge doctors do not accept any health insurance, benefit assignments, or health plans, their prices are oftentimes still very reasonable. Here at Carmel Care, a concierge house call service in Dallas - Fort Worth Metroplex, we are able to keep our prices very reasonable and fair, usually comparable to those fees many patients would pay as co-payments and/or deductibles if seen in an emergency department.
With the inevitable decrease in patient privacy, more and more people are opting to forgo health insurance and choose doctors that can give them private, personalized and compassionate care within the privacy of their own home – making concierge house call doctors a more and more common practice among Americans.
Dr. Gary Berlin is an accomplished doctor in Dallas - Fort Worth Metroplex, Texas, who has an extensive educational and professional background. He is the founder of Carmel Care PLLC, a concierge practice offering private physician house calls for patients of all ages.