As many residents of Napa already know, access to primary care physicians is limited. With the COVID-19 virus growing, it is imperative that physicians open their practices to all patients.
Unfortunately, there are far too many physicians who operate what is known as Concierge practices. These practices will not see nor treat anyone who has not paid an annual fee, normally around $1,500, regardless of their insurance coverage or ability to pay for visits.
This is an unconscionable abrogation of their duty to serve the public who needs them, not to mention the Hippocratic oath. It also forces patients who cannot see them to seek care at hospital emergency rooms, or even worse, forgo care altogether.
I urge these practices to open their doors to all patients who need their care. They will still be able to provide the special care and access to the people who have paid the annual concierge fee, which is designed to fortify their practices financial viability.
Taking care of the community members who need physician care, especially at this critical time, should be their top priority. At a minimum, they should be willing to accept Medicare patients who are the most vulnerable and most likely unable to afford the annual fee.
Who knows? Maybe these new patients may even decide to pay the annual fee in the future, once this pandemic passes.
I also encourage the Napa Valley Register to list those practices that do open their practices to the public, and those who refuse.
Concerned about COVID-19?
Sign up now to get the most recent coronavirus headlines and other important local and national news sent to your email inbox daily.