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

Our Spring 2013 Newsletter


Spring is here and so are allergies, travel, and more!  Check out our Spring 2013 newsletter to help overcome allergies, celebrate our nutritionist and the Cornerstone Striders as they ran the Shamrock Half-Marathon, and learn even more stories about how Cornerstone stands out in the crowd!


More on Private Medicine

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
woman doctor and patient image 

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!

In Your Corner – March 2012 Newsletter

Happy March everyone!  With March comes Saint Patrick’s Day, and with St. Patty’s comes Guinness and shamrocks and much more.  Check out Cornerstone’s March 2012 newsletter for some ins-and-outs of alcohol, fun facts, a clover search, and even a recipe!  Follow the link to read the newsletter…from our corner to yours!

Cornerstone – In the News Again! Featured in the Health Journal!

Did you see who was featured in February’s edition of the Health Journal?  Our very own, Dr. Christopher Dowd, was interviewed in a discussion about some home remedies that can be effective versus those that are better left alone.  Even if home remedies might do the trick, all of the doctors interviewed agreed that it was important to include your doctor in what’s going on and which home remedies you plan to use to treat a problem.  To read the article online, click here.

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


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!

Hurricane Irene: Resources to Prepare


It’s never a light matter when nature’s threats come our way.  Be smart, be safe, and be prepared.  Here are some helpful resources and lists to get your through Irene.  Good luck, and have a safe weekend!  

Safety checklists

Stay or Go?

State/Community Information


(photo by smiteme on flickr; Hurricane Katrinia 2005)

A Summertime Occurrence: Snake Bites

Good afternoon everyone! Someone had recently asked us to do a post about snakes and snake bites, and we obliged!  We hope you find it interesting, helpful, and informative.

A new place to call home!

Well the past week has been busy, but we’re excited to now be in our new location in Harbour View!  Cornerstone has been growing and we needed a little more space to make sure we can best serve our growing patient family.  And we think you’ll like our new home too–come on by for a visit or to say hello!  We’re at:

5849 Harbour View Blvd.  Suite 250 in Suffolk. (Our phone number stays the same!)


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Survive the Heat


With the heat index pushing 120, drinking water is more important than ever.  Water keeps you hydrated and helps regulate your body temperature, decreasing your risk for heat stroke.  Stay indoors during the hottest part of the day and wear light-colored, loose clothing.  Children are particularly susceptible to extreme heat.  Their sweat glands are not fully developed yet (the body’s way of cooling itself down).  Pay attention to irritability, tiredness, or other actions that may seem like misbehaving as this could be a sign it’s time to get inside and cool down.

Tick talk

Tick season has been bad this year, and one reason is Virginia’s new tick: the Gulf Coast Tick.  This tick can lead to Tidewater Spotted Fever, which is generally not deadly, but can make you feel lousy and look “spotted” for awhile.  This tick seems to have migrated from the Gulf Coast, and is now probably a permanent resident.

Most people have heard of Lyme disease, but ticks can actually transmit a number of different diseases, and now Tidewater Spotted Fever can be added to that list.  Prevention remains the best approach to dealing with tick-borne diseases.  Here are some important precautions you can take:

  1. Check for ticks every day.
  2. Wear protective clothing (i.e. long pants/sleeve).
  3. Use tick repellent on clothing & exposed skin.
  4. Avoid areas where ticks are abundant.

If you do find a tick on you, make a note of whether it is engorged or not, carefully remove it with tweezers, and then save it.  Put it between two sticky sides of tape and date it.  In general, a tick that has been attached for less than 48hrs is at very low risk for transmitting Lyme disease.  However, other tick-borne diseases can be spread sooner than that.  Monitor for any new rash or symptoms and contact your doctor with questions or concerns.  

Here’s a short segment on the new tick that recently aired on WAVY:  

New ticks in Hampton Roads: