By Jana Soeldner Danger
Tired of waiting for an appointment with your doctor and then waiting some more on the day you arrive at the office? Wish that when you do see the doctor, he or she would spend more time listening to your concerns or answering questions?
Cleveland Clinic Florida is offering a new concierge medicine program designed to create more personalized care and in-depth patient-physician relationships. For a $4,000 annual membership fee, a patient receives benefits that include direct communication with his or her personal physician by phone or email 24 hours a day, seven days week; extended office visits; an annual in-office, comprehensive physical exam and medical history; a customized wellness plan; coordination of care with specialists and hospitals; access to healthcare records online; and support and coordination of care in emergencies and when traveling. Spouses pay $3,000 annually.
Same day appointments
Primary care physician Dr. Nabil Tadross is leading the program. “Concierge medicine provides solutions for today’s complex health care,” he says. “A lot of patients have requested that model of service.”
Members can usually get appointments the same day or the day after they request one. “There’s no waiting, which eliminates hassle,” Dr. Tadross says.
A patient can expect an hour’s worth of the doctor’s time, if needed, instead of the 10-minute visit that is routine in many physicians’ offices, Dr. Tadross says. “It’s a low volume practice. We plan to sign up just 400 or 500 patients and see only eight to 10 a day, compared to the 20 that is typical in a regular practice. To provide good medical care you need time, and that’s not always available in a regular practice.”
Instead of CCF’s Weston campus, the program’s headquarters are in an office on Broward Boulevard near Las Olas. The location was chosen to be convenient for CCF patients who live in east Broward and to attract others who live and work in or near downtown.
If a member needs to see specialists, concierge staff will facilitate and coordinate appointments. When members are traveling and require immediate care, they will usually have access to a network of doctors and hospitals, Dr. Tadross says.
The program does not accept insurance; the patient pays out of pocket at the time of a visit. Office staff will, however, complete paperwork so insurance companies may reimburse patients directly, based on the benefits of their plans.
Time and attention
Real estate professional Patricia Post recently became a member. “I liked the idea of having access to my personal doctor 24/7,” she says. “I’m a busy executive and it’s hard to plan ahead for medical care.”
Post was pleased with the amount of time and attention she received from the doctor at her initial appointment. “He spent almost two hours with me,” she says. “I felt he really took a personal interest in me. He was very proactive about my health.
“It’s like an old-fashioned medical practice, like Marcus Welby, M.D.,” Post says. “It’s a refreshing change.”