Why I Chose to Provide Personalized Medicine [Interview][Transcript]

Dr_Joseph_Barry_Personalized_MedicineGuest: Dr. Joseph Barry
Presenter: Neal Howard
Guest Bio: Dr. Barry received his medical degree from the Downstate Medical Center in Brooklyn, NY. He is Board Certified in both Internal Medicine and Geriatrics. He believes you must treat the whole person and not just the presenting problem. He believes there is a real and important connection between your brain, your body and your spiritual self.

Segment overview: In today’s Health Supplier Segment, Dr. Joseph Barry, MD talks about changes in today’s standard healthcare system and why he chose to provide comprehensive care to a smaller group of people.


Health Professional Radio – Personalized Medicine

Neal Howard: Hello and welcome to Health Professional Radio, I’m your host Neal Howard. There have been many sweeping changes in healthcare in the United States in the past year or so and our guest here in studio today with us is here to talk about some of those changes. And why he choose to take a very special route in an attempt to offer the best care to his patients in view of these healthcare changes. Our guest is Dr. Joseph Barry, he received his medical degree from the Downstate Medical Center in Brooklyn New York, completed his 3 year Internal Medicine Residency program in Boston at St. Elizabeth Hospital in 1987. He is board certified in both Internal Medicine and in Geriatrics. How are you doing today Dr. Barry?

Dr. Joseph Barry: I’m very fantastic Neal, thanks for asking.

N: You have a practice there in New York. Could you talk a little bit about why it is that you chose to give well comprehensive care to a smaller group of people as opposed to what you were doing before the Affordable Healthcare Act?

B: Well I was a practicing physician here in Syracuse for 25 years.

N: Uh huh.

B: And I was doing the same thing that my colleagues were doing upstairs now which is seeing people in 10 to 15 minute interviews and trying to just get to 15, 20, 25 people a day and to take care of the illness. What are the illness that brings you? Is it diabetes, is it cholesterol, is it blood pressure? Let me evaluate the illness. And I didn’t get into medicine to be an illness doctor, I got in to be a medicine to be a wellness doctor.

N: Ah yeah, okay.

B: But the modern way of… and insurance companies have in looking at that is they don’t value it. And they give it a value of zero. They make this and this service. And say well we want people to be healthy and well. But they say well give me a half hour to see this patient and along with it charge them after, to give them preventive care. And then you’ve proven to that’s believing in their model. But they don’t really do that. So a company approach me, called “SignatureMD” and they said “You can divorce yourself from the insurance companies. They’re not the enemy, but you don’t have to just try and scramble like a rat and see 20 to 20 people a day. You’d have time to really work on people’s problem and then to work on their wellness, not just getting rid of the illness. But working through the illness and working on the wellness because it has really fallen at the lifestyle level.

N: So we’re basically talking about a departure from what you mentioned earlier the traditional healthcare model of being paid by your insurance company. That’s exactly what we’re talking about, your patients are paying you directly?

B: Well they pay me directly but they also still have to keep up their insurance.

N: Okay.

B: So in order for me not to violate my contracts with the insurance companies, I still pay regular insurance, so you come and I’ll bill your insurance company for that visit, whatever the level is.

N: Uh huh.

B: But then above beyond that, you pay me a separate concierge or personal care management fee. But it’s not insurance … it’s just extra. You could have a Timex or you could have a Rolex, you can drive a Ford or you can drive a Ferrari. And I want to put myself in that class where people say “I want extra, I’m willing to pay a little extra and I want to get extra attention, extra time, extra management, extra approach on my healthcare.”

N: Uh huh. So how long have you been involved in this personalized or concierge type of healthcare, providing healthcare in that way?

B: I took the leap to change my practice in January of 2015.

N: Okay.

B: So it hasn’t been quite a year. And let me tell you, because that was the scariest business, well personal professional decision I ever made.

N: I can bet. I mean you were talking traditionally or an average of 25, 26 patients a day. What are you averaging now with this I guess more comprehensive hands-on approach?

B: Roughly 10 to 12 – sometimes fewer than that, sometimes more.

N: So average … you cut it down about half.


B: That’s right.

N: Yeah.

B: And I need to leave time, for house calls, I need to leave time for hospital calls.

N: Did you just say house calls?

B: Yes, sure I do house calls, faithfully.

N: You actually, you’re a physician here in 2015, about to be 2016. And you actually do house calls?

B: Yes, absolutely.

N: And do you understand how rare a breed you are?

B: Yes I do, well I am.

N: (Laugh)

B: I’m charging extra so I think you charge extra, you should expect this.

N: There you go, absolutely.

N: Especially if you get visit sick and you go on to the hospital, that’s the dangerous place a person can be in America. If that VRE and MRSA and all kinds of other things. When you get sick, there’s your doctor who knows you best, go there and shepherd you during your hours of illness? No, you’re seen by a stranger, by a group of strangers, your doctor’s safely home in bed or in his office working.

N: Uh huh.

B: And oh yes, who get the report from when you’re all set and done. But you should be, but the doctors,…patient bedside of the hospital. And that’s an abandoned fear… because we have managed care, we have hospitalist. But I think that was good for doctors because, we didn’t have to get up at night, but it was bad for patient because they were abandoned to be dealt with by strangers. We didn’t know them as well.

N: Now.

B: Now with this practice, I have time to go to any of the hospitals to take care my people.

N: When you’re dealing in healthcare this way, does that change how you’re dealing with pharmaceutical companies as well? I mean we’ve talked about the insurance companies, is it the same type of deal with pharmaceutical companies? Are you prescribing what insurance will cover or charging for non-generic drugs? How does that work?

B: Well I try and not make it adversarial. And I don’t talk, I’m fighting with the insurance company for them or fighting with the benefits plan. I tell them I’m educating their plans. Because if a person says to me “I would like the non-generic, I don’t want generic, it doesn’t work for me.” then I’m gonna go to bat for them. In the other hand if they takes generic and it works for them no problem.

N: Absolutely.

B: I’ve been with a guy that likes to test with the insurance company and another person says “I need to do the jumps through all these hoops, so I can get this medicine” I’m a hoop jumper, I’m so listen, you’re paying after, I want to fight this insurance company, until they see reason, until they see the logic. They know that I’m not doing anything directly by recommending this medicine, to that medicine. So I have to patient’s best interest at heart and that always wins.

N: And it’s always the best reason for making such a drastic, such a drastic change in your business practice, is always should be in behalf of the patient, yeah?

B: Well in my business, medicine, there’s no ladder of success. I mean I was busy I’ve been busy ever since I’ve formed my practice 25 years ago. I have new people come, we’re always busy. I’ve done everything in the internal medicine world. And I was looking for a new challenge, I could have joined the hospital, I could have become a teacher, could have gone to work for hospice. But I said I wanted to do what I’m doing, I just want a different greater challenge and personalized care has been that challenge.

N: Okay. You’ve been listening to Health Professional Radio, I’m your host Neal Howard. Our guest in studio today has been Dr. Joseph T. Barry, certified Internal Medicine and in Geriatrics. And he believes that he treat the whole person and not just a presenting problem. He says that there is a very real and important connection between your brain, your body, and your spiritual self. Living right now in Lafayette with his wife Debbie and their two kids Kyle and Shan-non. He’s also a proud member of the Optimist Club and he’s been here today talking about some of the reasons that he chose to begin giving comprehensive hands-on care to a much smaller group of people than one would normally expect in a traditional healthcare setting. It’s been great having you here with us today Dr. Barry.

B: It’s great to be here.

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.

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