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Executive Physicals: 5 Differences of Hospitals vs. Concierge Medicine

Executive Health

More top employers are offering executive health programs, also known as executive physical or corporate health programs, to keep their most important employees healthy, happy, and productive.

Some companies only offer them to executives (hence the name). Other companies offer them beyond the C-Suite to anyone with an indispensable skill set.

Maybe you are a small business CEO who can’t afford to have a major health problem.

Or you might be an HR director trying to attract and retain top talent.

No matter the size of your company, an executive health program can be a valuable benefit to offer your most critical employees.

But now that you’re interested in adding an executive health program to your benefits package, how do you get started?

A quick Google search probably shows you two primary options for executive health providers — hospitals or concierge medicine practices. Let's explore the differences. 

Executive Health: Explore Your Options

Within the hospital category, you have large hospitals like Mayo Clinic Executive Health and Cleveland Clinic Executive Health, and regional health systems like Inova VIP 360 Executive Health in Northern Virginia or Emory in Atlanta.

Large hospitals attract patients from all over the world, while regional health systems tend to be the dominant healthcare providers within their region and draw their patients from that area.

Concierge medicine practices are smaller and more locally focused, but can also draw executives from several regions depending on what makes sense for the company.

Concierge medicine practices also see far fewer patients than a hospital and offer a more intimate atmosphere when compared to the larger hospital systems, while still providing the benefits of an advanced executive physical exam.

We’ve been a leader in executive health for more than 17 years. We’ve identified six major differences between executive physical programs offered at larger hospitals and health systems and those offered at boutique practices like ours. Those differences are:

  1. Prestige and Reputation of the Medical Practice
  2. Number of Patients Served
  3. Time Commitment
  4. Cost of the Executive Physical Exam
  5. Customization of the Physical

We want you to choose the best executive health program for your company. To do that, you need as much quality information as you can get. Read on to find out more about all the major differences.

1. Prestige and Reputation of the Medical Practice

Places like the Mayo Clinic, the Cleveland Clinic, and Johns Hopkins are internationally recognized healthcare facilities. They have provided excellent care for patients for decades and employ some of the top doctors and researchers in the world.

If you’re thinking about choosing a program at one of these facilities, the value of their prestige and reputation might outweigh everything else on this list. If that’s the most important thing for your company and your employees, then they are probably the right choice for you.

Now, top doctors are also prevalent in regional health systems and concierge medicine practices.

The difference is they just aren’t going to have the brand name recognition that comes with practicing medicine at one of the world’s most famous hospitals. That doesn’t mean they are any less of a doctor – it just means they’ve taken a different career path.

Patients waiting in a hospital room

2. Number of Patients Served

The Mayo Clinic employs more than 4,500 physicians and scientists and treats approximately 1.3 million patients each year, according to its website. According to a Forbes article from 2017, they did 7,000 executive physicals that year.

Regional health systems, while not household names throughout the world, treat a similar amount of people, if not more.

For example, Inova’s 400+ physicians treat more than two million people annually in Northern Virginia and Washington D.C.

As far as the experience for your employees, it’s simple math. Seeing that many patients make it difficult for large hospitals and regional health systems to provide a personal, intimate experience for everyone.

In a concierge medicine practice, the entire model is based on having fewer patients, which allows time for more focus and personalization.

Concierge practices might have just a solo practitioner or a handful of doctors, and the number of patients they see each year is in the hundreds. This allows for a more intimate experience than one offered at a hospital dealing with thousands of patients each day.

3. Time Commitment

One of the biggest differences between large hospitals, regional health systems, and concierge practices is the potential time commitment.

And it’s not about the length of time your employees are spending at the facility getting the physical. Most providers do offer some form of a one-day physical these days.

The big difference comes when you factor in time spent traveling. Most concierge practices are practically in your backyard. A regional health system may be as well, or it might be an hour or so away, but it’s still in your region.

But for most, choosing a large hospital like Mayo Clinic Executive Health means you are committing to additional travel time and cost.

While the healthcare professionals at these large hospitals can get you in and out of the facility in a day, your employees will likely have to fly in or drive in the day before, and they might spend the entire day afterward traveling back as well.

That means you can expect a 2-3 day commitment once travel is factored in. Regional health systems are probably within a day’s drive and boutique practices are likely even closer, reducing the need for extended travel.

If you’re aiming to reduce the time your employees spend out of commission, using a large hospital might not fly.

4. Cost of Executive Physical Exam

As with any business decision, the cost is a huge factor. And with any executive health program, you need to think about the full cost, which includes the actual executive physical exam and tests, as well as travel.

At a large hospital or regional health system, an executive physical ranges anywhere from $3,000-$10,000. For example, the least expensive physical at Emory Healthcare, a regional health system in Atlanta, for a 40-44-year-old female is $3,186.

If you select a program that requires travel — either by plane or by car — and overnight stays at a hotel, be sure to factor travel costs into your budget. And that’s before the cost of the employee not working for two or three days.

At a concierge medical practice, executive physical costs can vary but are typically less than at a major hospital. At PartnerMD, our executive physicals range from $1,000 to $4,000. We provide our prices on our executive physical cost calculator. In addition, you are likely saving on travel costs and time spent outside the office.

Physician meeting with two employees during executive physical

5. Customization of Executive Programs and Physicals

And lastly, we’ve come to customization options. This covers clinical options (tests, specialist evaluations, etc.) but also customization options for the business in how the program is structured.

It’s essential to think about what is important for your company and your employees, and also how you can structure the program so it best aligns with your business goals.

Clinical Customization (Tests, Evaluations, etc.)

Most providers offer a range of tests and different packages to choose from. This represents your traditional physical exam and any additional standard tests offered, such as mammograms, HPV tests, heart screens, stress tests, etc.

The main factor that influences how many customization options are available is the volume of patients seen each year.

Large hospitals and regional hospitals, because they see so many patients each day, look to streamline the process by offering a consistent set of physicals with variations based on age and gender.

They feature a few customization options available for each patient. Your employees also likely won’t get to replace a test if, say, you had your bone density or chest x-ray last year and don’t need it again this year. It just doesn’t happen that year (and you may end up paying the same price as the year you did get it).

Concierge medicine practices, because they see far fewer patients, can spend the resources customizing each physical for each employee. They also are able to substitute other options in subsequent years to make sure each test is useful and valuable.

Corporate Customization

As a company, the primary decision when designing an executive health program is how many employees to include in the program. Is it just for your C-Suite executives? Might other top performers get included? Or does it make sense to offer a corporate health program company-wide?

The big difference between large hospitals, regional health systems, and concierge medicine practices comes in how the program is managed. Here are some key questions to consider:

  • Among your participants, for whom is a physical mandatory, and for whom is it optional?
  • Are there specific physicals for each group of participants?
  • Will the physical results be kept confidential or will they need to be shared with the company’s leadership team or board of directors?

The size and number of patients at large hospitals and regional health systems make it hard to effectively manage that level of detail. Most employ a one-size-fits-all approach. For boutique concierge practices, it is much easier.

For example, at PartnerMD, we frequently work with companies to design programs such as:

  • Mandatory Signature (8-hr) physical for all C-Suite executives with results reported to the board of directors.
  • Optional Enhanced (5-hr) physicals for the next level of leadership and top performers, results confidential.
  • Optional Classic (2-hr) physicals for all employees and sometimes even spouses.

Next Steps Before Choosing an Executive Health Program

Now that you know what differentiates each executive health provider, you’re one step closer to making the decision. Before you make a final decision, be sure to consider these questions:

  • Is hospital prestige a priority in where you send your talent?
  • What type of relationship with the doctors will your employees value the most?
  • Do you have the budget for travel costs and unexpected medical expenses?
  • How important are customization options for your advanced physicals?
  • How many employees should be a part of the executive health program?
  • What level (c-suite, directors, top performers, everyone, etc.) should be included in the program?

Once you answer these questions, you are likely ready to make the right choice for your company’s executive health program.

Executive Health at PartnerMD

At PartnerMD, we know every executive and C-Suite hire you make is an investment. Our executive physicals allow you to gain greater insights into the health and wellness of your top talent, so you can rest assured that your investment continues to pay off over the long haul.

Ready to discuss the options available for your business? Complete this form and a member of our team will reach out to discuss. 

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