‘You deserve to live’: Why I became a concierge medicine physician

November 2, 2020
David Maleh, M.D.
David Maleh, M.D.

My gut response to fix things was to work harder, faster, and start earlier. But now I've found a better way.

I came home late one night and told my wife Jennifer that I was just so far beyond exhausted. She looked me in the eye and didn’t miss a beat: “You deserve to live.”

Before I joined MDVIP, my life was hell. I was a solo practicing internist with a 15-year career and at 46, I was already burned out, fried, had no time with my family and friends or my hobbies, let alone time to stay up with the latest medical research beyond skimming headlines. Each day was a high-pressure, uphill battle of not enough time.

I was working 16-hour days, seeing 25 patients for a rushed 10 minutes from as early as 6 am just to get them in, and scheduled the whole day through until 7 or 8 pm — no break for lunch, no time for catch-up. I’d get home at 8 or 9 pm after putting out fires, looking at test results, and dealing with the increasing amount of paperwork that was drowning me, then working all day Saturday and half of Sunday just to try to keep on top of things. I was mentally and physically depleted and constantly stressed. I put on 30 pounds, felt lousy and had no quality of life.

Now that I’m an MDVIP-affiliated physician, there isn’t one part of my life that hasn’t improved. I have time with my family, I’m feeling healthier, I’m doing what I enjoy: hiking, cycling, cooking, and even got a guitar. And I spend on average at least half an hour with each patient. I can finally fully practice preventive medicine and really address each patient’s underlying needs. I’m also making twice as much income from my practice with 20% the patient volume, thoughtfully seeing 10 to 12 patients a day and able to dedicate time to their needs and do research.

I have my wife and kids to thank in a big way. They said, “We need you. Something has to give.” They were right.

Before that moment, my gut response to fix things was to work harder, faster, and start earlier. But this time I took action the very next day and started my due diligence looking at my options. I explored selling my practice to one of three local hospital systems, and after meetings with them, received three offers. Then a physician friend who’d joined MDVIP said, “Look, you should check it out. It changed everything for me, and it could for you.”

Making the call to MDVIP was the best thing I’ve done for my practice, my family, my life—and my patients. It’s a big decision — I know. I was scared. But then I spent a weekend with the MDVIP executive team — at their invitation and on their dime — at a gathering of affiliates and other physicians considering joining the network to find out more about MDVIP. Being able to maintain my autonomy while benefitting from MDVIP’s support resources convinced me that this style of practice and working with them — the company with the most experience — was my solution. I tore up the employment offers and within a week signed with MDVIP. I can honestly say it was one of the best decisions of my life.

It’s amazing to be able to give patients more time and to be more present for my family. In a nutshell, I got my life back and love being a doctor again.

David Maleh, M.D., is a board certified in internal medicine physician in Wilmington, Delaware.