WEST BLOOMFIELD – Henry Ford West Bloomfield Hospital and Premier Private Physicians Management of Troy and Clarkston today announced an affiliation agreement to expand access to direct primary care in southeast Michigan.
Direct primary care, or concierge medicine, is a relatively new kind of medical practice, where patients receive direct access to their personal private physician 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Primary care physicians provide personalized service with extensive clinical education. Patient appointments are longer (approximately one hour) and can be scheduled on short notice with little wait time. Patients receive unlimited office visits with no co-pays or deductibles throughout the year. Since there is very little insurance involved, providers have the necessary time required to develop a meaningful patient-physician relationship built on trust.
For a fixed monthly fee, patients have direct access to their doctor, whether it’s in person, or by phone or email. Primary care physicians handle routine health care, like physicals, infections, vaccinations and flu shots, as well as helping their patients with chronic conditions like diabetes or heart disease maintain their health and experience better outcomes. The goal is to provide cost-effective health care with exemplary service.
“This model is a win-win for patients and physicians,” says Lori Washe, M.D., a family medicine specialist at Premier Private Physicians. “My patients appreciate having more time to spend with me and I appreciate having more time to devote the care necessary to create individualized plans for each of my patient’s optimal health and well-being.”
Physicians like the model, as it allows them to practice medicine the way they intended, and the financial need to see 30 patients a day is eliminated. In addition, the complication of third party reimbursement is reduced. Freed from insurance paperwork, the doctor can focus completely on the patient.
Patients like the personalized service and, as deductibles and co-pays rise, the enhanced service comes without much additional cost. Employers like it because the improved preventative care will reduce their health care costs in the long run and protect their most valuable human resource assets.
“My doctor takes a personal and sincere interest in my health,” says patient Michael Brown. “Having a physician like him, who is accessible 24 hours a day and takes the time to explain my medical health status to me in simple, easy to understand terms has inspired me to improve my health. I am so grateful to have Dr. Keith Christmon as my personal physician.”
Americans are required by law to have health insurance, but those who use direct primary care have less-expensive policies, because they only need coverage for surgery, hospitalization, and specialized care.
Nine states, including Michigan, have direct primary care laws, and five more have legislation pending.
Physicians at Premier are able to provide exceptional access and care because each physician limits his or her practice to 500 patients, instead of the traditional 2,500 patients.
Premier Private Physicians currently serves approximately 2,000 patients, and has corporate contracts with companies for their executives, including FIAT Chrysler Automobiles, United Shore Financial Services, Continental Automotive, MASCO and FANUC.
The program has great potential to grow. A similar program in the Seattle area started at the same size and currently has more than 50,000 patients in a broad socio-economic group.
“We are extremely proud of our affiliation with Henry Ford West Bloomfield Hospital,” says John Blanchard, M.D., CEO of Premier Private Physicians Management, LLC. “This affiliation gives our patients access to the world-class hospital services and specialists of the Henry Ford Medical Group. When it comes to quality health care, access is everything. We look forward to working with Henry Ford to expand access to the enhanced private physician services we offer.”
For 100 years, Henry Ford has established itself as an innovator and leader in healthcare excellence. The affiliation with Premier Private Physicians is a reflection of its commitment to find value-based health care solutions and give patients access to an innovative model of primary care delivery.
Both organizations recognize the importance of maintaining the integrity of the physician-patient relationship, as health care delivery moves from volume to value.
“There are many ways to access health care,” says Betty Chu, M.D., vice president of Medical Affairs and chief medical officer of Henry Ford West Bloomfield Hospital. “We want to deliver primary care the way patients want it. This affiliation gives Henry Ford patients more options.”
Sally Ann Brown