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Concierge medical group loses malpractice case

Concierge medicine began in 2000, and it is available in some North Carolina cities. The largest group concierge medicine practice is MDVIP, which has about 800 physicians in 41 states. Those seeking care from MDVIP physicians pay a membership fee annually. In exchange, patients are promised quick access to their doctor and exceptional care because physicians limit their patient load to ensure adequate time for personalized care.

On Feb. 10, MDVIP received a verdict on a medical malpractice lawsuit, which is the first known ruling on such action against a concierge management group. MDVIP was sued for the negligence of one of their physicians for misdiagnosing the cause of his patient's leg pain, which later had to be amputated. The jury found MDVIP liable for the misdiagnosis and falsely advertising that they offered exceptional doctors and patient care. The doctor reached a settlement with the family before going to trial.

Concierge companies usually say that they are just brokers between doctors and patients and that they do not actually provide care; contract physicians pay fees to the companies for each patient to cover the use of the brand name, marketing and other support. Now, after the recent malpractice verdict, concierge companies believe that they may be held liable for medical errors in patient care. That risk could have a long-term impact on their contracts, policies and operations.

In cases of doctor errors that led to permanent disability due to worsened conditions, the injured party could benefit from a lawyer's legal assistance. A lawyer might pursue a medical malpractice lawsuit based on doctor negligence to seek compensation for medical expenses.

Source: Physicians News Digest, "MDVIP Becomes First Concierge Medicine Practice to Lose Medical Malpractice Case," Feb. 13, 2015

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