concierge care
n. Medical care in which a patient pays a physician an annual retainer in exchange for improved access and services.

Example Citation:
Predictably, the trend for carriage trade has caught the attention of those who currently benefit from the existing medical system. After all, such freedom of choice draws attention to the shortcomings of the existing system, in much the same way that the success of Federal Express and United Parcel Service draws attention to the shortcomings of the U.S. Postal Service. Its critics have termed carriage-trade practices "concierge care," in an effort to create class resentments toward those who want to opt out of the current system.
—Christopher Westley, "Carriage-trade medical services thriving," Birmingham News, August 19, 2001

Earliest Citation:
Burned out from seeing one patient after another, Florida physicians Robert Colton and Bernard Kaminetsky recently trimmed their respective practices and began offering what some call 'concierge care': patients pay an annual $1,500 retainer and in return, get leisurely consultations, same-day lab tests, no-wait appointments and home delivery of drugs.
—Marilyn Chase, "Critics Chafe as More Doctors Offer Privileged Extra-Fee 'Concierge Care'," The Wall Street Journal, July 27, 2001

Notes:
This U.S.-based concept began in Seattle in the mid-1990s and has migrated to other parts of the country since then. Why is it concierge care? A concierge is hotel or apartment staff member who assists guests or residents with travel arrangements, luggage, messages, and information. It's like having a personal assistant, even if for only a few minutes at a time. Concierge care, with its easy access, home drug delivery, and other perks, is like having a personal physician, even if only for a short time. The etymologically inclined will no doubt be please to know that concierge comes from the French word cumcerges, which in turn is derived from the Latin term conservus, "fellow slave."

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