Concierge medicine has many stigma’s that have been following it since its inception out of Seattle in the 90’s, and many, if not all, of those stigma’s are nothing more than urban myths. With the death of Elizabeth Edwards, and the renewed focus in the media on women’s health issues, we wanted to take a look at how women’s health is an integral part of concierge medicine.
A new report that was released yesterday by the National Women’s Law Center has a lot of perplexed at the results. Women in the U.S. are binge drinking more often, getting less PAP smears, and are more obese and at risk for diabetes than ever before. The U.S. got an ‘unsatisfactory’ grade from the Law Center.
According to WebMD, several disturbing health trends have emerged over the last three years, including:
The percentage of women that reported one or more episodes of binge drinking within a month of being questioned increased to 10.6% from 7.3% in 2007. Binge drinking was defined as having five or more drinks on a single occasion.
The percentage of women that reported getting annual Pap smears declined from 86% to 78% during the same period.
The percentage of women that tested positive for the sexually transmitted infection chlamydia increased from 6.3% to 7.4%.
Compared to three years ago, a higher percentage of women in the U.S. are also obese and have high blood pressure and/or diabetes.
In 2010, 26.4% of women were obese, compared to 24% in 2007. Both figures fall far short of the goal of a 15% obesity rate by 2010 set by government health officials at the beginning of the decade.
An even more disturbing trend regarding women’s health is that 12% of Americans live in areas that are considered medically underserved, with Louisiana at the top of that list.
So what is this saying about our health care system and its ability to serve women’s needs? It’s not saying much, and what it is saying it not good at all. In many cases, the woman of the household is the caretaker, and when she gets sick the entire family dynamic changes leaving others in the family vulnerable to sickness as well.
What is interesting about this report is that as this report emerged, there was another report from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services that appeared in the journal Health Affairs that showed as women age, they spend more on health services. According to ModernHelathCare.com, among the elderly, women accounted for 61% of all healthcare spending, and women’s out-of-pocket per-capita costs were 50% higher than that of elderly men. Elderly women also spent more on prescription drugs: $ 1,703 per capita for women compared to $ 1,364 per capita for elderly men. The authors attributed greater healthcare spending by elderly women to their longer life expectancy.
Where does this all leave concierge medicine? It’s common knowledge that a mother will tend to her family and children before herself, and if a fever hits or symptoms occur during after-hours, or if appointments interfere with daily life and hectic schedules, women will avoid rocking the boat and will disregard crucial health care issues. Concierge medicine offers women the opportunity to continue with their hectic schedules and meet with their doctor when they have time, not when their doctor has time. It’s a health care alternative that meets the needs of the patients first, no matter what time of day or night, and this system appeals to mothers and busy heads of households.