Cornerstone Private Practice is there for me and my family… and that to me is not just insurance, it’s assurance.

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Concierge Medicine: Your Questions Answered

In the October 2012 issue, we investigated whether it was worth spending $1,500 or more a year on a physician who truly pays attention to you. Here, everything you need to know about what it would cost, what’s included and how to find a concierge doctor that’s right for you

by Cathryn Jakobson Ramin
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What will it cost me?

·         The retainers that concierge docs charge annually range from about $1100 to $2100, although some doctors in mega-bucks neighborhoods charge much more.

·         Note that there are also direct-pay docs who accept fees on a month-to-month basis, but they do not provide all of the amenities described in the next column.

What is usually included?

·         The annual comprehensive wellness physical, including a blood panel and in some practices, multiple screenings and tests.

·         24/7 access to physician by cell phone, email and text.

·         Same-day office visits, with little or no waiting

·         Care from your own physician if you get sick when you’re out of town.

·         Plenty of time to talk over routine concerns during office visits

·         Easily accessed and meticulously maintained electronic medical records, sometimes available to you on line, always ready to be sent to specialists or the ER.

·         Facilitated referrals to specialists, meaning that your doctor will contact other doctors for you, arrange your appointments, discuss your case in detail with the specialist, and follow up with you about your visit to the specialist.

·         Assistance you’re your physician in obtaining pre-authorization and pinpointing the best specialist in network with your health care provider.

·         Focus on preventive medicine, rather than reactive medicine

·         In some practices, but definitely not all, a concierge doc will also care for your post-pediatrician-age child, up to age 26, included in your retainer fee.

·         Some docs offer online services such as medical information, prescription refills, secure online e-mail with one’s personal physician, online lab results and access to digital x-ray reports and images

What is not included in the concierge retainer?

·         The co-payment for office visits, except for the annual comprehensive physical.  (Usually, your co-payment is listed on the plastic insurance card you keep in your wallet. My co-payment, for instance, for my individual Anthem PPO Saver plan is $30 per office visit.)

·         Lab tests, scans and screenings conducted in facilities outside the concierge practice.

·         Appointments with specialists

·         Procedures, surgery and hospitalization, including visits to the emergency room.

How can signing on with concierge doctor save me money?

·         You may be able to switch to a high-deductible health insurance policy, thus reducing your monthly payments. (See: “What kind of health insurance plans work with concierge medicine?,” below, for more on this.)

One of our patients shared this nice write-up from More magazine covering the basics of private/concierge medicine. It’s a quick read in a Q & A format and covers many of the common questions about this practice model. Of course there’s no substitute for the real thing–set up a time to come in and meet us in person to see if we’re a good fit for your healthcare needs!

Primary Care Doctors Burning Out

Some very concerning findings in a new study by the Mayo clinic.

When looking at general internists and family physicians the study found “more than half of the doctors in each of those areas suffered some form of burnout.”  Another specialty, ER medicine, was even worse.

In my opinion this is very concerning, especially in light of the ever greater responsibility being placed on our “front line” doctors.

As a Mayo clinic physician Tait Shanafelt put it, Docs who are burned out are more likely to make mistakes.”

One bright spot, physicians who practice preventative medicine reported the lowest levels of burnout.

Add this to the list of good reasons to consider Cornerstone Private Practice, where a big part of our focus is on prevention and proactive care!

To read an article about this study click here.

“Introducing Dr. Christopher Dowd, a Premier Medical Expert!”

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Check out Dr. Dowd featured on HealthTAP! Did you know he won both the Top General Internist and Most Compassionate Internist in Virginia?! Way to go, Dr. Dowd!

Click here to read the feature!

Cornerstone In The News Again

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Did you see Cornerstone featured in a front page article in Sunday’s Virginian-Pilot? Click on the link below and look for the part with the green text to read about how our proactive approach appeals to a wide variety of people, especially people who believe building & maintaining their health is something worth investing in!

Article in Virginian-Pilot

Happy Easter!

Best wishes for a joyful Easter Sunday!

Dr. Dowd featured in Suffolk News-Herald (again!)

Check out the article on Dr. Dowd and his talk “Building Optimal Health: The Heart of the Matter” featured on the front page of the Health & Fitness section of Sunday’s paper.

Thank You!

Thank you to our Cornerstone Private Practice patients and their guests for making our Building Optimal Health: The Heart of the Matter talk at Sushi Aka such a great success!  It was a great turnout with a standing-room only crowd and delicious food!  We’re thinking about doing something similar in the future so let us know if you have suggestions for ideas or topics.  Thanks again!

Sushi and Building Heart Health

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I’m looking forward to eating sushi and talking with patients, friends and anyone else interested in “Building Optimal Health: The Heart of the Matter”. Space is filling up quickly so let us know soon if you’d like to come!

Thank You to SMART Women

Thanks again to all of the SMART women who came out to listen to my talk on “hot” women’s health issues this week at the Hilton.  And thank you as well to the founders of the SMART Women group–from Breakthru! Consulting, BB&T, Cross Realty, Duke Automotive, the Hilton Garden Inn, and Nansemond-Suffolk Academy–for inviting me to speak.  As promised, I will post links to the sites I referenced in subsequent posts.

Suffolk News-Hearld features Cornerstone

Cornerstone Private Practice is in today’s Suffolk News-Hearld!  Follow this link to read the story on Cornerstone Private Practice