[Disclaimer: I am NOT being paid for this review. I have had NO contact with MDvip except as a member of their service.]
Do any of you watch the show Royal Pains? If you do, you probably still only have a vague idea of what a concierge doctor does. You probably are also under the impression that you have to live in the Hamptons to afford one.
After dealing with a willfully uninvolved internist who had too many patients and not enough time to help coordinate all my doctors, my mom and I started to ask around about concierge doctors. We had been recommended to get one by several specialists. Like many people with immunodeficiency diseases—I’m susceptible to infections just about everywhere (lungs=pulmonologist, sinuses= ENT, GI tract= gastroenterologist, etc. etc.) And juggling the medications, recommendations, hospitalizations—it can be overwhelming and that confusion can be detrimental to your overall care.
Take a look at the questions below:
- Do you find yourself almost constantly going to the emergency room?
- Do you often find that doctors are ignorant about your condition in emergency situations?
- Are you being prescribed medication by more than two doctors?
- Have you had the same test done in a limited time period by more than one doctor due to miscommunication?
- Do you take infusions, injections, or have any other medical self-procedure that needs to be carried out at home?
- Do you fill prescriptions at different pharmacies?
- Do you feel bullied/ignored or otherwise concerned that your current doctors are not giving your case enough time, research or consideration?
If you’ve answered yes to these questions, get yourself a concierge doctor. Like…yesterday.
I called MDvip several weeks ago and spoke to a representative. As it turns out, the cost of a 6 month membership was SIGNIFICANTLY less than what we were paying in emergency room bills. The rep helped me go through the website and see what doctors were in my local area. There were over a dozen to choose from. The rep suggested that I take a few days to call each doctor and ask their secretaries a bit about them. Here were some of the questions I asked when trying to decide if they were the right doctor for me:
- How long does the doctor spend with each patient per visit?
- How many patients does the doctor have in total?
- What hospital/s does he work with?
- What other local doctors does he frequently work with?
- Is he familiar with my condition?
- Does he have other patients with my condition?
- Would he be able to give me some emergency room services in his office? (For instance, getting a saline drip for dehydration)
I’m not saying that every doctor is a great concierge doctor, but after a few calls I settled on one whose team passed the phone around to rave about him. It wasn’t that they were giving him a great review—it was more the fact that they stayed on the line with me for fifteen minutes without complaint going over his qualifications. They also scheduled me for a “meet and greet” appointment for just a few hours later.
My initial meet and greet appointment with the doctor started by being introduced to all of the staff, shown the office, and then an over an hour long interview with the doctor. We discussed some ideas for how we could manage my health, what kind of communication we could ensure between him and the rest of my physcians, and a plan for what happens when I go to the emergency room.
Here were some benefits that sold me:
- The doctor gives you his direct cell phone number and you are able to contact him 24/7 with questions—DIRECTLY. At first I was skeptical but after several weeks with this doctor I can confirm that this is true. I have called him day/night/weekends/holidays and have never had an issue getting him on the phone ASAP.
- Bypassing emergency room procedures. With MDvip, your doctor will call ahead to the emergency room to give the on-call physician instructions as to your care and is able to admit you directly to a room.
- In-office IVs. I’m a POTS patient who has frequent trouble with dehydration. Prior to MDvip I was going to the ER once a week to get an IV. Now I have a scheduled visit every week at his office where I can sit in a recliner while getting an IV with nutritional support.
- No time constraints: ever feel like you’ve been pushed out of an office? With a smaller client load, MDvip patients are able to spend a much longer amount of time with each patient without making them feel burdensome.
I’ve been posting a lot of links to Reddit, and the POTS and Immunodeficiency groups on Facebook and I want readers who visit my blog to know where I’m coming from on this. I am NOT being paid/asked to review MDvip. This is legit something I googled, researched, signed up for and it worked for me.
As someone with a chronic illness, a very ACTIVE chronic illness, working with my concierge doctor has changed the entire process and decreased my personal stress and my family’s stress tenfold.
I also want to stress that I can’t vouch for every doctor in their company. Maybe I’m just lucky to have found one that rocked. But if the other doctors are half as good as the one I got, it’s at least worth looking into.