100+ resident physicians, fellows voice concerns about Michigan Medicine's concierge medicine program

More than 100 "house officers," including resident physicians and fellows in their final year of training, sent an open letter to Ann Arbor-based Michigan Medicine executives expressing their concern about a concierge medicine pilot program, according to MLive.

The 107-member group reportedly sent a letter to University of Michigan CEO and Executive Vice President for Medical Affairs Marschall Runge, MD, PhD, expressing their concerns about the Victors Care concierge medicine program. The program charges members an annual membership fee in exchange for enhanced access and time with their primary care physicians.

The house officers stated in the letter, "Concierge medicine veers away from our foundation of triaging and directing resources based on need. … Programs like Victors Care cater to the privileged and threaten to widen the health disparities gap that so many of us entered into medicine to help narrow," the letter continues, according to MLive.

The letter mirrors similar concerns expressed in another letter sent by Michigan Medicine staff to Dr. Runge. The physicians' letter claimed the program may "cherry-pick" patients more likely to be in good health and may help some patients "jump the line" and would contribute to the discrimination against underserved populations.

Dr. Runge addressed the physicians' notion of "jumping the line" during a faculty ethics forum Feb. 28, according to the MLive report. He noted the Victors Care concierge medicine service aims to provide patients with better access to care.

"What we're trying to create is a system that provides a way to access our healthcare, not bump anybody out of the way," he said.

Mary Masson, a spokesperson for Michigan Medicine, said in a statement March 16 to Becker's Hospital Review the program is just one of several initiatives the health system has in place to help patients achieve the best care possible.

"Victors Care is a pilot program, developed after requests from patients for a service similar to what exists at institutions across the country. This is just one of a number of ways we're seeking to improve access to and efficiency of care we provide. We're committed to ethical, accessible care for all our patients and whatever programs we put in place should not diminish that in any way. This will not adversely affect the access of other patients to our outstanding health care system," she said.

"Some faculty and staff have raised concerns. We've listened to them and are working together to come up with solutions that are mutually satisfactory for the benefit of our patients. Along with accepting many different types of insurance that provide different types of support for patient care, we think Victors Care is a valuable option to offer our patients."

To access the full MLive report, click here.

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