HUNTSVILLE, Ala.--(EON: Enhanced Online News)--When Dr. Michael Carter and Dr. Brooke Uptagrafft measured the average time they were spending with each of their patients, they realized something had to change.
“I went into medicine to help people through the relationships I developed with them and their families”
Along with the practice’s senior partner, Dr. Tim Howard, the two are physicians with one of Huntsville’s oldest and most respected medical offices, Gleneagles Family Medicine Associates (www.gleneaglesfm.com). All three physicians are Huntsville natives and returned to their hometown after graduating from medical school.
While other opportunities are leading Dr. Howard to retire early next year, Dr. Carter and Uptagrafft wanted to find a way to spend more time with their patients despite the changing environment of medicine.
“While many of our patients had requested more time with their doctor, we recognized a concierge program was not for everyone,” said Dr. Uptagrafft. “We love our patients and didn’t want to tell them we would not take care of them unless they joined our concierge practice. So, we feel we have found a way to offer both options to meet the needs of all our patients. We’re excited to be the first practice in Alabama offering this Hybrid Concierge practice – one in which a concierge service is offered but not required.”
Earlier this year, the popular local physicians were introduced to the Hybrid Concierge model of medicine from industry pioneer Concierge Choice PhysiciansTM (CCP), and decided it offered the best option for their practice and patients.
Uptagrafft and Carter will offer the Hybrid Concierge program to patients who want to strengthen and maintain their relationship with their chosen physicians while accessing an array of care services such as an enhanced physical, same or next-day appointments and a direct phone line to the physician for after-hours questions and consultations. With a concierge program, patients keep their existing insurance. The fee for non-covered services averages about $150 a month.
Because the number of concierge patients is kept at a manageable rate (less than 10% of the total practice) – with only a few concierge appointments each day, the physicians can continue to provide quality care to their patients who don’t need or can’t afford the concierge option.
“I went into medicine to help people through the relationships I developed with them and their families,” said Dr Carter. “Most health plans today are requiring more and more of my time to be spent on paperwork, not taking care of the patient. I was looking for a way to return to a style of medicine where I can spend quality time with my patients, not just with their charts. You just can’t get to know people in the seven minutes you’re allotted with most health plans today – it’s all about volume or care from a non-physician – not hands-on physician-based care.”
Health Habits Survey
Dr. Carter and Dr. Uptagrafft have also created their own proprietary approach to the patient physical, developing an innovative Health Habits Survey just for their concierge patients. The survey covers eating habits, relationships, sleeping, friendships, how much time is spent watching TV, and more. All of that critical information is then incorporated into the patient physical and a personalized Health and Wellness Report, with a Health Habits score provided. Combined with an in-depth physical including a full lab panel, review of preventive screenings tests needed, etc., the patient is given a comprehensive and highly personalized report of their health, along with educational materials to understand what the medical tests mean and a guide to improving health.
Dr. Carter and Dr. Uptagrafft also help to coordinate all specialist care and provide direct care coordination to hospitalized patients. Children up to age 25 are covered under their parents’ program.
“The response to our program has been very positive,” notes Dr. Uptagrafft. “We’ve been pleasantly surprised at the wide range of patients who have joined the program - patients are looking for a more meaningful relationship with their physician.”
The Gleneagles concierge program launched October 1 and already has met its initial membership goal making it one of the fastest growing Hybrid programs in CCP history. New concierge patients continue to be accepted.
Gleneagles Family Medicine Associates is located at 1102 Gleneagles Drive, Huntsville, AL 35801. More information is available at http://michaelcarter.choice.md/ and http://brookeuptagrafft.choice.md/.
For more information on the concierge program created by Concierge Choice Physicians, please visit www.choice.md.
About Concierge Choice Physicians
Dedicated to providing real options for patients and physicians, Concierge Choice Physicians™ is the largest private provider of the full range of concierge programs available today – Hybrid, Transitional and Full-Model. CCP is also the industry’s second largest concierge medicine company overall. The company provides an innovative, flexible and affordable model proven to work in medical practices of any size – from solo physicians to large medical practice corporations – both independent and affiliated with hospitals or health systems. Headquartered in Rockville Centre, NY, the company works with medical practices in 23 states. For more information, visit www.choice.md or call 877-888-5590.