Guest: Wayne Lipton
Presenter: Neal Howard
Guest Bio: In 2005, Wayne Lipton founded Concierge Choice Physicians, LLC, where he pioneered the innovative Hybrid Choice™ and FullFLEX™ models of concierge care. The models combine the best aspects of concierge care with the flexibility to blend seamlessly into an existing practice or to stand alone – whatever model best supports the physician and practice. Today, he is recognized as one of the most experienced and successful executives in concierge medicine.
Segment overview: Wayne Lipton shares some thoughts on adult children caring for parents and overseeing their medical care and how concierge medicine can help.
Health Professional Radio – Aged Care Concierge 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 warns that while urgent care is growing in popularity and maybe fine for patients with issues that are simple, urgent care centers can actually delay care for those patients who may have more complex health issues. And he also says that in many times urgent care center act as a kind of a triage center, treating the pressing symptom at the time but referring patients back to their primary care physician for thorough review of their symptoms and a proper diagnosis. He is here with us today to talk about adult children caring for parents and overseeing for their medical care and how concierge medicine can help those folks. How are you doing today Wayne?
Wayne Lipton: I’m doing fine Neal.
N: Thank you so much for returning. Now Wayne Lipton you’ve got more than 35 years of experience in healthcare, could you talk a little bit about your background and about Concierge Choice Physicians as well?
W: Well It started in just after college, I got involved in the family business of pharmacies and the early 90’s, my brother and I, a doctor in Connecticut built an IPA and a physician management company and we help doctors to realize … the equivalent of what is an ACO today and risk contracting very, very early versions of the models that are being built today. In the early 2001 – 2002 I worked with a large company in concierge care and I said to them that I thought it would be good idea to consider a partial model of concierge care. They weren’t particularly interested in that, but I thought it was a great solution and so I found the Concierge Choice Physicians dedicated to offering a variety of approaches to concierge care, including a partial mode which then I called “Hybrid” and it’s now become the termed to describe doctors and practices that offer a part of their time in the concierge mode.
N: What kind of feedback have you gotten from physicians who’ve transitioned say totally into concierge? Is this something they do before they decide to totally go into concierge or is this the partial time when way or the other something that you can do from now on or is it, how does that work? Is it a choice or is it a transition?
W: Well we’re called “concierge choice” for a variety of reasons and I think it’s not just the choice of patients but the choice of the doctors too. For some doctors they either can’t move into a full model because it’s inconsistent with what their business goals are or their professional goals. It maybe that patient base could not support enough people in a concierge model to make that work. It maybe that the doctor just doesn’t have the heart to say goodbye to people that they’ve known for many, many years. So about 90% of the practices we have as clients are in a Hybrid model and some of them ultimately gravitate to a full model and some never gravitate. We have Hybrid models that have been in practice now for 10 years and we have full models that have been in practice for 10 years. So it varies and the good news is that it’s a flexible approach that works, not only for primary care doctors but also some specialists as well in the Hybrid approach.
N: Now many of us baby boomers are making decisions and plans for taking care of our aging parents, relatives, loved ones and what not. How can concierge medicine come in and divide services to better care for those of us who are gonna be taking care of our parents?
W: Well I have experienced this myself. In fact I am about to move one of my parents into a facility and talked at length with her doctor. I think concierge care is an opportunity for us children who are dealing with our parents’ needs to have greater connectivity with the doctor, ease of access, ease of communication and more time to understand the details. Because it’s not just easy when you call and leave a message with the nurse and then or a PA or someone in the office and then you hope for the callback at some point to get a few minutes with the doctor. And also parents need more time especially those who are confused or have difficulty to communicate with the doctor. I think that there are instances where people have a very fine care in health facilities. If you tend to be at home and or maybe supported by other support providers, other caregivers, then a concierge program really helps people at a distance or even nearby, the families to communicate. It’s well worth of the fee involved to have that level of communication, to make sure that your love one is being given the best treatment possible and understand all the complications. Look, it’s a very complicated set of issues when they reach certain ages not just Alzheimer’s but all the mobility issues, all the general health issues and managing all this can be extremely difficult. So it’s not just having somebody on the telephone that takes care of a little care coordination. Being able to talk to the doctor and spend serious time with the doctor both as patient and as the child taking care of a parent, I think is very, very important and actually I think about 5% or maybe few more points higher than that of the providers that we work with are geriatricians and they have a concierge program because they give as much as time as they can to older patients but some patients are very much interested in more time, and some families are more interested in more time, and this is a way to have it available to them.
N: And you were talking about the added fee, that it’s worth the extra fee. How affordable is concierge medicine? And is there a huge difference between the full concierge model and the hybrid concierge model that you promote?
N: Well the fees tend to be the same whether it’s full or hybrid but the fees for the programs vary slightly. I think we encourage a certain range of fees in order to keep the number of people who participate some unlimited as foreseen hybrid approach and also to meet the economic needs of giving the time that people really want. So the fees run anywhere from about $1,600 a year generally to about $25 dollars a year. There are some providers that we work with that go even higher than that, upwards of $6 or $7,000 but very, very few. We try to encourage a fee structure that’s reachable and comfortable for a reasonable percentage of the patient population that the doctor is serving, I think that’s an important piece as well.
N: Is there a significant portion that’s paid by Medicare?
W: Medicare doesn’t know, this is entirely an out of pocket cost.
W: It is entirely. But the cost of $125 to let’s say $200 a month particularly for someone who has some very serious needs, both emotional and medical can be well worth it. And I think this is consumer driven healthcare, meaning the consumer decides do I want this or not. And if the benefits are appealing to the individual then they can purchase it or not. I think that’s one of the big difference is between a full model and hybrid model, the motivation for full models often times is that the patient doesn’t want to lose their doctor. But in the hybrid model the decision is entirely about do “I want the benefits that available to me because I’m gonna see the same doctor whether I’m in the traditional side or the concierge side.” And the number of people who joins in a hybrid tends to be in the order of anywhere from 50 to 150 members which may occupy up to about a quarter of the doctor’s time. So it’s not a very large number, the doctor’s practice probably work with variants size from a thousand patients to say a 3,000 patients in their traditional side. So it’s a portion, a small portion. Again it’s a choice and an opportunity but it’s not for every patient in the hybrid approach.
N: Now could you talk about Concierge Choice Physicians as far as being in the local area? Do you have any outreach, any other offices outside the New York area and where can we get more information about Choice?
W: Well we work all over the country. We have practices right now in Hawaii, in California, in New York. In Florida, all over the Midwest to South, I mean we’re in 23 states.
W: And with hundreds of doctors, it’s not tens of thousands but certainly we are the second largest company in concierge services in the nation.
W: And while we have one office we have representatives all over the country. So if someone who want to reach out to us, they can go on to our website which is www.choice.md They can call our offices at our lines, and were you just look up Concierge Choice Physicians on google or whatever your search engine is and you’ll find us, we’re on call for doctors.
N: Thank you so much. You’ve been listening to Health Professional Radio, I’m your host Neal Howard. We’ve been in studio today with Mr. Wayne Lipton, Founding member and Managing Partner of Concierge Choice Physicians. And with more than 35 years of experience in healthcare in business including the past 10 years with Concierge Choice Physicians, he’s been here with us talking about how “hybrid concierge models” of healthcare can support groups and institutions and also how adult children caring for parents and overseeing their medical care can benefit from concierge medicine. It’s been great having you here with us today Mr. Lipton.
W: Thank you so much Neal. It’s a pleasure having the opportunity.
N: Thank you. Transcript and audio of this program are available at healthprofessionalradio.com.au and also at hpr.fm and you can subscribe to our podcast on iTunes.