What is exactly changing about your practice?
We are adding a wellness component to our primary care practice. We will continue to manage chronic medical conditions but we well add additional services to our current preventive medicine practice that will be beneficial for everyone aged 20-100. In order to do this, we have to charge a yearly fee. This wellness component includes a focus on customized nutrition advice, prevention of disease, stress and anxiety management and sleep management. As before, we will have our longer and same-day appointmentavailable and expanded and lunchtime appointment.
Why are you implementing this yearly membership?
Much of the counseling and management we were doing for diet, anxiety, stress, sleep disorders is time-consuming and unreimbursed by insurance as outside plan coverage. We cannot see 25-30 patients a day doing plan-style primary care (diagnosis and treatment) and also focus on our passion for what we believe can truly make a difference in our patients’ lives. If we continued our current practice model and continued to try to fit our vision of healthcare into what plans reimburse, we would eventually have to close our doors. We know that many of our patients value what we do, and know that we care about them, and appreciate that for less than the cost of a cell phone or cable bill per month we can hopefully change lives for the better. We can only accomplish this in partnership with our patients, who invest in our new services.
Will you take my insurance?
Yes- to the extent we are in-network with health insurance plans, we will continue to take your insurance for regular visits or insurance-covered physical/routine visits. Our yearly fee covers only the wellness-related services that are outside plan coverage. See our payments page to see all the PPO insurances that we are in network.
Will you take medicare?
Yes, we will continue to take Medicare and hope to add more services for our Medicare population. And we believe that our Medicare patients will particularly benefit from our new services, which are outside of Medicare coverage (please do not submit any of our private fees to Medicare for reimbursement—those fees are not covered by Medicare, and the services provided via those fees are not covered by Medicare). We will continue to review and reconcile your medications to see what continues to be necessary as you age or your overall medical conditions change.
Will I still have to pay co-payments and deductibles?
If we deliver plan-covered services, yes, because we continue to accept insurance, we are mandated to collect co-payments and deductibles to the extent required by plans. But our additional subscription services will not trigger co-payments or deductibles as those services are outside plan coverage.
Will you do home visits?
We always encourage you to come to the office but if you can't make it, we offer home visits depending on location. We will offer up to 6 home visits/year for the regular fee and if patient is totally home-bound, please see our fee schedule. Please call our office to see if we can do home visits to your facility or private home for home-bound patients. We will have a smaller cap on the number of home-bound patients (due to logistics), so please contact us if interested.
Can I get your cell phone telephone number and text or call your cell?
No, but you can message us through MyHealthOnline for non-urgent issues any time or call our office, or reach us through our nurse-staffed answering service in the evenings/weekend. Part of our additional services is subscription to this platform to better enable our communications.
Will you come to the hospital?
Yes we will make visits during your hospitalization at Mills Peninsula Medical Center. Your care will be coordinated with the hospitalist physicians/specialists closely throughout your hospitalization. We are on the same electronic medical record system as all other Sutter hospitals/Palo Alto Medical Foundation/Stanford/UCSF- so we have direct access to your records in case you are hospitalized or see specialists at those institutions.
Can I cancel my membership?
Yes, at any time you can cancel but know that after your first visit and diagnostic wellness exam, the bulk of your yearly fee will have been earned. Please be advised that although we offer monthly payments, this is not a monthly membership plan but yearly. Managing chronic disease, prevention and wellness is a long-term plan. We encourage you to have a meet-and-greet with the physician if you are not currently an established patient to see if we are a good fit for you.
Will you manage chronic pain?
We are not pain management physicians and will not refill chronic opiates. We will be able to refer you to the appropriate specialists for those services. We will still be able to otherwise manage acute pain issues and neuropathy issues managed with non-opiate medications. For patients on other chronic controlled substances, we will evaluate on a case-by-case basis, and those patients will need to be seen monthly and sign contracts with our office.
When will the new practice be implemented?
We converted our traditional practice mid-February 2019. We will continue to accept patients until we have reached the maximum of our limited panel. We encourage you to sign up soon and once we have reached our maximum, we will maintain a waitlist.
Do I need to subscribe to your new services to remain in the practice? And how do I sign-up for pay your practice for the new subscription services?
Yes, because we strongly believe in this new version of care services, we will need all of our patients to become part of the new program. To sign up with us, you’ll need to review and sign our patient agreement and start the subscription payments (which you can either pay all at once, or monthly). We will accept checks or credit cards. We can set up automatic monthly payments with your credit card or you can pay the discounted annual price up front.
Can our company offer this to our employees?
We welcome small start-ups/companies interested in the convenience of same day/lunch time appointments/televisits/coordinated care and our prevention model. We conveniently also have laboratory and radiology in the same building and are across the street from Mills Health Center (Sutter). Our model can actually save employees and companies money on their healthcare overall, even if they have high deducitble plans. Contact our office to find how we can help if you have at least 10 employees to enroll.
Why should I pay for concierge when I already have health insurance?
Currently, health insurance rewards doctors for having sick patients- putting people on medications, referring to many specialists, ordering a slew of tests. It does not reiumburse doctors for preventing disease, reversing disease, minimizing medications, avoiding urgent cares/hospitalizations.
By structuring our practice to allow for a low FSA/HSA eligible yearly fee and insurance billing, we can provide our patients the care they need. Concierge care can save you money on urgent care visits, avoid hospitalization, reduce specialist referrals and unnecessary testing, decrease time away from work, etc.
Our younger patients face issues like pregnancy, injuries, insomnia, stress, anxiety, prehypertension, prediabetes- that all require the care of a physician. Our older patients sometimes face complex medical issues, multiple medications, falls, memory impairment, wanting to age-in-place, that require time and patience. Only you can decide the value of a concierge practice.