by Hermes Koop MD, Naples, Florida.
Health care is rapidly changing in many ways, not only in terms of the science and treatments, but also in terms of the delivery of health care. Many individuals don’t realize the increasing changes and choices they have. This can be unfortunate when they have to make choices in the midst of an unexpected medical emergency.
Concierge medicine is an option that has gained momentum around the United States. There are different variations but, in essence, it involves paying an annual retainer fee for all the services a medical doctor normally provides in a year. This fee is typically not reimbursed by insurances or Medicare.
In my concierge practice this fee covers a detailed annual examination, office visits, hospital visits, nursing home visits and even home visits. It also covers routine office procedures such as routine immunizations, electrocardiograms, stress tests and joint injections. For the laboratory work and X-rays that are recommended, the costs will continue to be covered by the patients’ insurances. We will assist the laboratory and radiology facilities with the billing for these procedures. Being part of this practice will in no way interfere with relationships with other specialty physician care.
Most importantly this practice allows for a much more personalized and comprehensive level of care. By having a smaller number of patients in my practice I can have longer patient visits and more thorough discussion of patient questions, concerns and treatment options. We can focus more on preventative health strategies and nutrition. I can respond more quickly to patient needs and I am directly accessible, 24 hours per day, by telephone. Many primary care physicians are choosing to limit their practices to the office setting only, and this requires patients to be turned over to a hospital-based physician (a hospitalist) when they require admission to the hospital. In my practice not only can I continue to care for patients in the hospital, but I have expanded my services and can also see my patients if they require admission to a rehabilitation or nursing facility. I strongly believe patients are the most comfortable if they can have the continuity of service, from one doctor, who they know and have developed a trust in, no matter where they need to be cared for. This relationship is the most important at times when patients are acutely ill.
If you are interested in my practice or if you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact my office. I have an office staff that is extremely professional, kind and caring. My goal is to have my patients feel they are getting the best of medical care. I want my patients to feel informed and confident that they will be well taken care of if they become ill. I also want my patients to feel they have the tools and information needed to maintain good health.