The Danger of Urgent Care Centers [Interview][Transcript]

Wayne_Lipton_Concierge_MedicineGuest: 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 discusses the growing popularity of urgent care walk-in clinics, and how they can delay care for patients with more complex issues.


Health Professional Radio – Concierge Medicine

Neal Howard: Hello and welcome to Health Professional Radio. I’m your host Neal Howard, where health professionals learn from other healthcare professionals. We’re here today to talk about the rising popularity in urgent care facilities and as our guess warns us urgent cares find for some patients with issues that are relatively simple but can actually delay care for those patients who may have more complex health issues. Our guest in studio today Mr. Wayne Lipton, with more than 35 years of experience in healthcare and business including the past 7 years as Founder and Managing partner of Concierge Choice Physicians, LLC. How are you doing today Wayne?

Wayne Lipton: Oh just fine Neal, thanks.

N: Thank you so much for joining us today. You know when we’re talking about “urgent care” we’ve all seen the urgent care centers in different neighborhoods across the country and maybe even across the world. I’m not familiar with how popular they are in other countries but here the United States those urgent care or emergency care centers seem to be popping up all over the place. What is contributing to this popularity of walk-in urgent care clinics?

W: Well I think there’s a consumer appeal to the idea of being able to get to see a doctor or a provider without an appointment. And certainly places that are more conveniently located, as in commercial districts maybe more appealing than going to a medical center or going to a different location. I think the concepts is re-appearing and it’s an interesting business model because it takes advantage of the low-hanging fruit. Just like hospitalists are affectively are a very profitable center because of the ability to see lots of people with a defined set of needs in a hospital setting, urgent care sees the patient in theory sees the patient who have the lease critical needs and therefore can be seen rapidly and as a result can be a very good business model. And so I think the rise has been driven by both the business success of the model and its appeal and also by the appeal to the consuming public that would, especially young people who would say “Well I’d just rather pop in there and maybe I’ll get to seen right away and is in that much more convenience.” So I think those are the reason why it’s growing and popularity.

N: Well are we trading “convenience” for proper care? There is a warning, well from you as a matter of fact about folks coming in with severe or maybe more serious problems than should be treated at one of these urgent care centers that can be dangerous can’t it not?

W: Yeah, I have to relay a story to you, I won’t use any names but a fellow that I know, last week went into an urgent care center and had a headache. And he was told to go home and just take it easy and he eventually self-decided that he’d better go to an emergency room and then he died. The point is that it wasn’t detected early, it wasn’t seen early and it was a shame. I think that what happened is the general, the original concept of primary care that took care of people with simple needs and also more complex needs, offers an opportunity for really educated and experienced triage. Where in urgent care, there just isn’t that level of experience and understanding. And so as a result there is a potential for those with slightly more than the simplest level of needs are getting the wrong kind of service.

N: Well when you say…

W: And so … go ahead.

N: When you say that there is well not as much understanding at an urgent care center, I was on the impression that just because it’s an urgent care center, it doesn’t mean that the staff aren’t medical healthcare professionals with the same training that you might find at your primary care doctor or at an ER, am I mistaken in that?

W: Well I think that more and more, the centers are being staffed with not just doctors, but more both nurse practitioners and TA’s. And I believe that they certainly do not have the experience of knowing these patients over a longer period of time. And just like in concierge care we really believe that having knowledge of the patient and what their norms are and what their past history is can be extremely valuable in diagnosing properly.

N: Now you…

W: So yeah…

N: Yeah go ahead. Now you’re the Founding and Managing Partner of Concierge First Physicians, tell us about Concierge Choice Physicians. And how maybe Concierge Choice Physicians can maybe educate folks about some of the dangers of going to urgent care when more urgent care is needed?

W: Well I think there’s certainly a niche that make sense for urgent care, look I have a son in his 20’s and he for a rather low level issue went into an urgent care center and I think for people who are relatively healthy there is a lot can be said for urgent care. The same might be true for somebody who works in a city environment and needs to run in somewhere, for a low level issue perhaps a laceration or something that’s very simple. But sometimes simple things just aren’t as simple as they seem. And the perfect example was a gentleman in his 50’s who passed away from what was just showing as headache.

N: Yeah.

W: And I think there concierge care offers a much higher level of service and a greater relationship, and that’s the core of what concierge care is all about. It’s about relationship building, we’re in a world where the information flow from patients to providers is still not perfect despite all the efforts of government and insurers, and in providers of improving the information sharing capability. That information sharing capability is still in its earliest phases so the knowledge that you get from working with the patient over a long period of time has value and with concierge care you add the element of time. Time really helps doctors to be the best providers that they can be, the best diagnosticians and treaters of illnesses. And for patients it adds the convenience, the availability and the connectivity, through all kinds of means to the patient to make the experience more effective and more convenient. So concierge care is just the opposite of urgent care, it’s a much higher level provider, it’s a much greater amount of time and it still adds convenience and connectivity.

N: Now as we wrap up Wayne, could you talk very briefly about the difference between “full model” and “hybrid concierge practices” and the benefits of both?

W: Sure. In full model of concierge care, the doctors are like to move into a model where all the patients pay a membership fee and as result of practice is reduced down dramatically in size from thousands to hundreds of patients. In certain providers the thought of saying good bye to so many patients is either reprehensible or inappropriate for all kinds of reasons. And so the hybrid model is an opportunity for a doctor to offer a choice to patients to say “If you would like to have the concierge experience, I will offer that in part for small part of my day, and for the remainder of my day I will continue to treat traditional patients so that you have the opportunity to continue to have me as a provider. But if you would like to have the greater time, the greater emphasis on prevention and management, coordination of care that comes with concierge care, then you can have that as well, but that’s an out of pocket expense.” And again it’s totally optional. So the hybrid is a much kinder, gentler approach to this concierge model and is therefore more accessible to more doctors, and more appropriate for many more environments.

N: And where can our listeners get more information about Concierge Choice Physicians?

W: Well you can certainly learn about us by going on the web where at is our web address. And certainly they can also call our offices or reach out to any of the hundreds of doctors who work with us throughout the country.

N: Thank you very much. You’ve been listening to health Professional Radio, I’m your host Neal Howard. We’ve been in studio talking with Wayne Lipton, Founding and Managing Partner of Concierge Choice Physicians. He is held that position for the last 7 years, he’s got more than 35 years of experience in healthcare and business as I’ve said with Concierge Choice Physicians. And he’s been here with us talking about the rapid rise and the popularity of urgent care centers, and while they may be perfect for those suffering from minor injuries to even up to upset stomachs, for those people who have maybe something more serious going on below the surface of the initial symptoms, urgent care may actually delay proper care and become extremely, extremely dangerous. It’s been great having you here with us today Wayne.

W: My pleasure.

N: Transcript and audio of this program are available at and also at and you can subscribe to our podcast on iTunes.

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