Tuesday, June 03, 2008

Do the math

Hathor the Cowgoddess had me laughing over the new VIP concierge services some physicians are offering. For only $15,000 cash, in addition to the normal charge for prenatal care & delivery, you can receive extra services such as:
  • limited number of patients, so the physician can devote more time to each patient
  • no waiting
  • longer office visits
  • round-the-clock availability via e-mail or cell phone
  • private birthing classes
  • one massage per trimester
  • optional home doctor visits
  • guarantee that the physician will be at the hospital for her patients' full active labor and delivery
So, you can pay the full cost for prenatal care & birth (with or without insurance coverage), plus an additional $15,000 to get these "extra special" services. Or you can pay $1,000-4,000 total (and less if your midwife accepts insurance) to get all prenatal, birth, & postpartum care and those extra-fancy services, and more, as the standard of care from your midwife.

From the article on VIP treatment:
Most physicians who offer concierge health care recognize the absurdity in paying so much to get the same kind of treatment — the non-medical perks aside — that used to be standard. But the model of the amiable country doctor who knows your kids and treated your grandparents has been replaced by a bureaucratic insurance behemoth that rewards physicians for seeing more patients in less time.


  1. I, too, found her comic to highly amusing but also really sad. I don't understand why women are willing to put up with what they do at the doctor's office when they could have so much more by going with a midwife. Even my midwife for the hospital birth gave me a reasonably good amount of personal care, though not as good as my homebirth midwives. I understand that these doctors are incredibly swamped, but why are they trying to take on even more by conducting these witch hunts for midwives? It sounds like greed and power-hunger to me. To the tune of $15,000 extra! Boy, 4 of those a month, and you've made a nice, hefty salary of $720,000 a year on top of what you'll be getting otherwise through the insurance. Sounds like highway robbery to me. All for what midwives do for so much less.

    This is the first time we've had to pay completely out of pocket for a birth, and it is costing us $2500. And I'm STILL getting all those awesome perks listed there.

  2. I'm not laughing. I hate what this country has come to. The rich get all the trappings of wasteful overmedicalized obstetric care with humane treatment. The rest get the same, less humane treatment, if they're lucky. Those on the fringes who escape this system are practically criminalized. Great.

  3. I could see my wealthy SIL going for this. I was surprised when she said she had 24 hour room service food at her hospital---I had to have a nurse scrounge around for a limp plastic wrapped sandwich after I gave birth at dinner time so no one brought me a dinner tray. I hear so many stories about the expenses of giving birth in the States, all the 'freebies' some get, while others have to pay for Tylenol, but I have to wonder about our Canadian system too. It's not perfect either but the thought of healthcare being a for-profit industry makes me scared too.

  4. Insane! Pathetic! Why am I not surprised?....

    There just is no sense when it comes to big business as it pertains to humane (Read: lowly) services. The two dont mix, the med schools "cant" be bothered to teach things like backrubs and nutrition, and yet we still feel like we need them for "Safety"---it is a crazy time right now as people are starting to speak up a little and as our homebirthy stories are "leaking" out to the hospital-mamas, they are starting to want some decent treatment, too. And of course, ching! $$$$ the new fangled idea of decent treatment now sounds like a profit-deal.

  5. That is one of the most ridiulous things I have ever heard. Not a surprise though. *sigh*

  6. I'm with Kelley...I thought it was funny in a really tragic way. One of those, "if you don't laugh you'll cry" type things.

  7. I think it's worth pointing out that with a doctor (rather than a midwife) you're paying for 4 years of undergraduate training, 4 years of exceptional medical schooling and 4 years residency training, plus any experience that the physician might have (which will typically involve a much higher volume than midwives).


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