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Why are some doctors charging membership fees?

Stethoscopes at a doctors office. (Jeff Pachoud/AFP via Getty Images)
Stethoscopes at a doctors office. (Jeff Pachoud/AFP via Getty Images)

Here & Now‘s Peter O’Dowd recently found out that his primary care doctor essentially booted him from her practice. He got voicemails urging him to sign up for a new membership plan at the practice that would cost $1,600 a year, and the doctor promises same-day appointments and more thorough personalized care.

These programs are part of a new trend toward membership care. Some are called concierge medicine; there’s also another kind called direct primary care. This model is becoming more common across the country as doctors respond to a high workload of patients and paperwork.

O’Dowd speaks with Dr. Asaf Bitton, a primary care doctor and executive director at Ariadne Labs, a health systems innovation center at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston.

This article was originally published on WBUR.org.

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