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Through this COVID-19 health care crisis, my concierge practice has sustained us.
As the owner of one of the last remaining private primary care practices in the Raleigh area, I was no stranger to the business end of medicine. Maintaining a successful, secure practice while trying to deliver the kind of personalized medicine that is critical to good patient care was a challenge few private doctors in my area could sustain. Remaining in full control of my practice was important to me, and while I wanted to explore every option, I didn’t want to be reckless with a practice and patient base I spent years caring for and cultivating. Then I learned about Concierge Choice Physicians’ hybrid approach to membership medicine.
The Hybrid Choice model allowed me to venture into membership medicine at my own pace, with an optional program that patients could select. I continued to see all the patients in my practice, even those who didn’t join Hybrid Choice, and I didn’t have to make any structural changes. If the program didn’t work out or wasn’t well received, I hadn’t risked anything.
What happened next surprised me. My Hybrid Choice program was enthusiastically received by my patients and filled to capacity immediately. I had suspected my patients were as frustrated by the depersonalization of medicine as I was, but I hadn’t realized just how important it was for them to cement their relationship with me and to have peace of mind knowing the doctor they trust would be available to care for them whenever they needed.
Things went well, and after a year of managing both my traditional practice and my Hybrid Choice program, it became clear that concierge medicine was the right path forward for my practice and my patients. The patient demand was too great, and the program benefits too clear, to limit membership. I contacted Concierge Choice Physicians and they helped me to transition my practice entirely to a membership medicine model.
The ability to step into concierge medicine before making a full commitment was invaluable. As a private business owner, my patients and my reputation are my most important assets, and I needed to make sure this style of medicine would be successful. I felt reassured by the process and the ability to proceed at the pace and on the timeline that made sense for my practice, patients and staff, instead of being pressured from the start.
We couldn’t be happier with our decision. Especially through this COVID-19 health care crisis, my concierge practice has sustained us. Not only has it protected my practice from decreased patient visit revenue, it has given me the time to review all of the latest medical research and communicate personally with my patients. I wouldn’t have been able to do that in my traditional practice. I probably wouldn’t still be in business without my concierge program.
I encourage other doctors who are risk-averse but looking for ways to support their practice and their patients to consider the Hybrid Choice model by Concierge Choice Physicians. There are no upfront costs, and nothing needs to change within your practice, other than carving out a few concierge hours from your schedule. You continue to see all of your patients and maintain insurance and referral relationships. You get the revenue benefits of a concierge program without a risky practice overhaul. And, if it works for you, as it does for many physicians, you can move forward if and when the time is right for you.
Octavian Belcea, M.D., is a family physician and owner of Wakefield Family Medicine in Raleigh, North Carolina.