Guest: Dr. Frank Ditz
Presenter: Neal Howard
Guest Bio: Frank Ditz, MD is a board certified physician located in Rockledge, Florida. He specializes in primary care and family medicine. His current practice is located in the Suntree area, but he will soon open a newly built state-of-the-art 8,500 square foot facility 1 mile away in Melbourne, Florida. Dr. Ditz has been practicing medicine in Rockledge, Florida.
Segment overview: Dr. Frank Ditz, MD, discusses his expertise in other fields of medicine and the topics that he has lectured on.
Health Professional Radio – Personalized Medicine
Neal Howard: Hello and welcome to Health Professional Radio. I’m your host Neal Howard thank you so much for joining us today. Our guest in studio today is returning to speak with us Dr. Frank Ditz, he is a board certified physician located in Rockledge, Florida, specializing in primary care and family medicine, currently his practice is located in the Suntree area. He is soon to be opening a state of the art 85,000 square foot facility about a mile away in Melbourne, Florida. He has been practicing there in Rockledge, Florida for the past 12 years. And he is here today to talk with us about not only being a practitioner specializing in primary care and family medicine but to speak specifically about some of the other areas of expertise that he is involved with. How are you doing today Dr. Ditz?
Dr. Frank Ditz: Very good, thank you. How are you?
N: Doing well. Well you’re a very busy man but not as busy as you were before becoming a partner with signatureMD concierge medicine. Could you talk a little bit about how being a member of signatureMD concierge medicine has helped you practice in more than one specialty.
D: Oh well in daily practice of MD, the best thing about daily practice is that we practice in every specialty.
D: So the entire patient’s from birth to death, from the birthing process to deliver babies and to all. My oldest patient is a 104. We practice the whole spectrum. So the Signature helps me to do all that.
N: Now is this something that is extremely expensive?
D: Concierge practice medicine is actually not expensive, whatsoever. If you think about fees, the amount of money that people pay to their health insurance and their medical insurance and then they find when they try to use it they have no access, they can’t get in, the doctors don’t answer their phone, they’re booked 3 months in advance, they find out really what they have. Whereas in a concierge practice, to join signatureMD is probably the equivalent of having a coffee latte at Starbucks everyday. It’s not much more of a $100 a month for the ability to spend a lot more time to see their doctors, to have an hour and a half executive physical at least once a year, to have the ability to do specialized comprehensive metabolic panels of clinical labs. And to really have more time to know the doctors and the staff and have that personal one on one relationship with them.
N: Now you’re a family practitioner but you’re also a local there at the Florida area and a national lecturer for physicians, nurses, pharmacists and others on various aspects of medicine, including but not limited to insomnia and hypertension.
D: In the past I gave lectures for insomnia, osteoporosis, hypertension, disaster response teams, diabetes, all sorts of different things. And the traditional practice of medicine is been so much fun what sometime you take care of the patient and what’s funny you don’t have time to eat lunch or have dinner or see your families. So really outside the practice of medicine, you don’t really usually have a life or be able ability to do such. In the signature program though, you do have the ability to take care of the patients to the best of your ability, you may not be able to take care as many but you can do a lot more quality for the ones you have in front of you. And that does open up the quality of life to do other things. In the practice of medicine like by taking care of one person I can help save their life. There is an instructor I can help train other physicians and pharmacists and their healthcare providers and save by that way thousands of people’s lives.
N: Uh huh. When you’re lecturing say at a learning institution or some other facility, do you talk to students about the possibilities of considering concierge medicine?
D: Well that actually that’s kind of amazes me and I was asked about that. That with all this thing that I’ve given lectures on in my lifetime I have never actually given a lecture on the practice of concierge medicine.
N: Is this something that you think you might consider? It sounds like a huge benefit especially to folks that are getting into the medical profession unaware of the possibility of an absolutely astronomical workload and those long hours and very little time for personal care.
D: Yes I would tell you, I wanted to be a physician since I was 4 years old and I want to spend my entire life to try to get to the goal where I could go up to take care anyone at any place in the world and try to and give the best I can to save their lives, no matter what their medical situation was. And being in the air force and being in war zones and being overseas and here in the practice of medicine I’ve been able to do that but the restrictions, they were given based on economic credentialing by insurance companies so it’s really restricted that. And I would really love to talk to people about being able to practice medicine the way that they’ve always desired to by starting in the sessions in signature program and the concierge medical practice.
N: Now becoming a member of signatureMD concierge medicine or any other type of concierge medicine system or platform, are you saying that you have to practice concierge exclusively? Or are there concessions if you want to continue with patients that you normally deal with in the traditional sense?
D: Well the practice that concierge medicine is quite different, in different location with different doctors. SignatureMD allows what’s called a “hybrid medical practice” and that type of medical practice in my clinic here, it operates in that I see every patient that comes in the door, all my new patients are seen by me instead of the typical 7 minutes given insurance visit that we’re allowed to take care a patient, I spend 45 minutes with each person that come in the door. I usually see them at least once, most of the time I see them a second time so they can take care most of their medical problems, they give their records and the issues from that. At that point in time a lot of times they decide that their clinic…that they want to stay in Signature program and joins our signature practice or if they want to stay in the traditional practice of medicine. In the signature program, again it’s about the equivalent of the pay of latte at Starbucks about $5 a day or less. The patients will then have an hour and half appointment to see me to get even further into the patients to develop an entire comprehensive plan for not only to looking at their medical problems and surgical problems and family history and preventive tests that have done in the past. But also to view this on a comprehensive laboratory that is now available to the signature program. And then look for future risk factors as well as disease processes that they did not know of, this covers the entire preventive plan for the patients. It’s been a wonderful thing where you can actually practice medicine, prevent disease rather than waiting until they cross the line to the disease and really make it an impact by educating the patient in-depth of they might want to do the things we asked them to do.
N: When it comes to referrals, say from the VA how often do you see those come across your desk?
D: Well actually the VA they don’t usually refer out to primary care. A lot of the patients sort of been to the VA system that don’t have difficulty getting into the VA, getting through phone system, getting appointments to see their providers, you know getting referrals from the VA, within the VA or outside the VA – a lot of times the patient will actually leave the system and come out and use their Medicare and or the other insurances and see if you…and then all of them would love, do love to join the signature program in the concierge practice because they’re not used to that.
N: Now do you think that as the Affordable Healthcare Act transitions and grows and transforms over the years, do you think that concierge medicine will be I guess for a lack of a better term more insurance friendly, from the insurance providers’ point of view?
D: Well the insurance companies, a lot of them they were actually I think they would love to have concierge medical doctors. And because the things that we do don’t cost the insurance companies anymore. As a matter of fact it stays on quite a bit, I’m at the insurance companies which I should not name the names, who’d changing me in the last year and each ask me to take more of their patient, because in each program I save each insurance company more than a million dollars from the last year.
D: By spending time taking care of people. For instance I can tell you that last week I had a gentleman that came in, he was a new patient to get established, he came probably about 4:15 in the afternoon. He get settled in and when I first looked at the blood pressure it was 190/120.
N: Uh huh.
D: And so most doctors at that point in time with a 3 minute offer visit will call 911 and have an ambulance come in to their clinic and have the patient will stop to the hospital and you get them taking care of. But instead of doing that I started to talking with him and he was fine, he felt fine, he said he has hypertension. And so I sat with him, I talked to him about his blood pressure and I viewed his exam and I went through all his history, I checked his blood pressure overtime, it was still there, he didn’t have any other signs and symptoms or what’s called hypertension crisis.
N: Uh huh.
D: And so I talked with him and he had just taken a double dose of a nutritional supplement that he uses before he exercises.
N: Uh huh.
D: So I better not say which one it was or which company was it.
D: But then talking with him and seeing this, I was able to give him a medication that we have in our closet it’s called a “beta blocker.” And I gave it to him and I stayed with him until his blood pressure came down to acceptable rates, which is probably about an hour and half or 2 hours later. And then when his blood pressure is acceptable, I checked another EKG, I did another exam on him and I he would leave with my phone number. I gave him the option telling him like send him at the hospital…what normally would happen to him. Or they can do it in this way, of course he didn’t want to spend the deductible the amount of money going to this…when he felt fine. And he’d been taking the supplement you know forever. And so I called him that night he said, and talking with his blood pressure was even better, the next morning I called him, he said his blood pressure was fine. And so as the day went on his blood pressure normalized and he didn’t need to go to stay on that blood pressure medication.
D: And so what I did, I signed him, I saved him a lot of the money to the insurance company, I saved him a lot of time in the emergency room. Again in taking care of the patient I said what it was, so you should not be taking those supplement any longer, and he really changed it, his risk factor for heart attack and stroke and sudden death and aneurysm rupture to really take care a patient and one thing was he was brand new and he was not even in the Signature program or neither was any member of his family.
N: So the effects are far reaching of simply taking the time to delve a little bit more into a patient’s situation and just simply talk. I mean the financial benefits alone should be enough to push this thing forward as far as the entire healthcare industry is concerned.
D: Well the bad thing is in the practice to medicine now, when a doctor is rushed then a lot of times they do I can say a word punt, but a punt is either a referral or a test. And so again if you don’t have time, you don’t want to say to your patient, “I have to be out here in 7 minutes or get fired.” So they will get lots referral which is expensive or they offer them for a test which is usually expensive. And so and when they’re are practicing three minute visits or seven minute visits, then I hate to say it but it’s almost like veterinary medicine that you can’t talk to the patient. It’s like being a veterinarian and that’s very how do you practice as a veterinarian? By sending patients to tests and then doing procedures, which is a very expensive process in our population. So the signature program lets us turn patients back into people. And that we see the person as not a problem but some of medical risk factors that can be changed and manipulated to help people live long healthy productive lives. And it’s very cost effective, it’s very effective, the patients don’t become ping pong balls … into the system, they were getting anywhere. Is to sit down for 45 minutes or an hour and half and once and take care, look at the whole patient and then fix each problem in a short period of time and then come back at the end of it is a wonderful thing to do.
N: You’ve been listening to Health Professional Radio, I’m your host Neal Howard. And we’ve talking with Dr. Frank Ditz in studio today, returning guest to talk with us about signatureMD concierge medicine. He’s a board certified physician in Florida specializing in primary care and family medicine. And we’ve been talking about some of the benefits of practicing concierge medicine, also talking about some of the possibilities of having concierge medicine become more widespread throughout the healthcare industry. It’s been great having you here with us today and thank you so much.
D: Well thank you for having me.
N: Transcript and audio of this program are available at healthprofessionalradio.com.au and also at hpr.com and you can subscribe to our podcast on iTunes.