By Dennis Woltering / Eyewitness News | WWWLTV
August 5, 2013 | NEW ORLEANS — At a time when you often have to wait weeks for a doctor’s appointment, only to get a visit that seems rushed, many people fear Obamacare could mean even more inefficiency, and that could be one reason something called “concierge medical care” is expanding dramatically.
The brand of so called concierge medical care that Dr. Louis Minsky offers in Baton Rouge called MDVIP is now expanding in New Orleans.
Clients pay $1650 dollars a year, per person for the privilege of becoming one of the doctor’s patients.
Denis Fortenberry, a patient, acknowledged a bit of skepticism initially. “Well it’s something new, you know. What value, what value does it bring?”
MDVIP says what you pay for is better access, higher quality care and a greater emphasis on preventing disease.
“We do a wellness exam once year, which is really considered the center of the MDVI Program,” Dr. Minsky said, “where they spend almost three hours in our clinics having labs drawn. There’s a battery of screening tests, dietary, sleeping, cardiovascular, metabolic, sexuality along with labs that are sent to the Cleveland Heart Clinic.”
Three years ago Dr. Minsky said he had a population of 5,000 patients. Now under MDVIP, he says he has 617 patients. He says what that means is he can spend more time getting to know each patient and attending to their individual needs.
“It allowed me to make efforts to prevent some disease catastrophes rather than to always be putting out the fire so to speak,” Dr. Minsky
Critics of the current system say patients often wait two weeks or more to see a doctor; then it’s almost like a medical care conveyor belt where the doctor has 15 minutes with each patient. Dr. Minsky says for him it was a hurried up relationship.
“Come in get this one problem fixed, and run over to the next room,” Dr. Minsky recalled.
In his three years with MDVIP, Dr. Minsky says he has been able to prevent life threatening medical emergencies.
One example. Minsky said, “16 men had underlying heart disease.”
He says none of them had obvious symptoms. But as a result of getting to know their family dynamics — genetic histories and understanding the extensive lab results — he could tell five of the 16 needed cardiovascular intervention.
“Two had bypass and three had stints,” Minsky said. “They did not have acute events which may have left them with part of their function diminished long term — or stroke, heart attack, or death as a result.
Minsky won over Denise Fortenberry who’s been a nurse for 39 years. “And it really takes a lot to impress me.”
She says her 85-year-old father has chronic diabetes was hospitalized for four or five days … with a wildly erratic heartbeat.
Every day even though he had a hospitalist assigned to him, Dr. Minsky came twice a day and saw him, not just pop in and pop out. Came (and) spent 20-30 minutes, (asking) ‘What’s going on?’ ‘Do y’all need anything?’” Fortenberry said.
So she got on Dr. Minsky’s waiting list and is now one of his patients.
“And he encourages you to don’t wait until you’re really sick. Start calling me when you’re a little sick. So that maybe you won’t get really sick, which is a different thought process,” Fortenberry said.
She pays the annual $1650 out of pocket each year. Then, her insurance covers medical care as it would outside of concierge care.
“I’m a believer in the system,” she said. “I think this is what health care needs to be to keep people healthy.”