By Reporter – Jason Hibbs
SEPTEMBER 10, 2013 – PADUCAH, Ky. – Two local doctors are changing the way they do business by drastically reducing the number of patients they see.
Thousands of local patients recently received a letter stating their doctor’s office is turning into ‘concierge care’ where patients can stay, but they’ll have to pay $1,650 each year.
Doctors Karen Banister and Lee Meals of Paducah didn’t return our calls but Local 6’s Jason Hibbs did talk to the CEO of MDVIP, that’s the concierge care network of physicians owned by Proctor and Gamble.
Members get an extensive physical each year, appointments start on time, they get more appointment time, and their doctor’s cell phone number, among other things.
But that comes with a price a lot of local people can’t afford.
Rhonda Timmons feels betrayed by the fee.
“First few days I didn’t sleep at all,” Timmons said.
“I don’t want to lose her as a doctor, but I’m not going to have a choice,” Timmons said.
She can double that because her husband is a patient there too.
“I don’t have $1,600 let alone $3,100 or $3,200,” Timmons said.
When Local 6 inquired if this was an attempt of doctors to ‘weed out’ the poor, the MDVIP CEO said, “The VIP patients come from all walks of life, you’d be surprised, while some people, think they come from a wealthier background that’s not true, many patients are retired and on fixed incomes.”
“It has to be a way to weed out somebody,” Timmons said.
Sadly, she and her husband are two of the people who will be weeded out.
“I’m not going to hold it against her but it doesn’t change the fact we have to find another doctor, period… and quick,” Timmons said.
Doctors Meal and Bannister will make the transition on November 26. There are two upcoming patient meetings where people like Timmons can learn more. Timmons said she will go to the meetings but doesn’t expect it’ll make any difference because she doesn’t have the money.
The MDVIP CEO said they have over 650 affiliated practices across the country. They’ve been around for more than 20 years.
Right now, the two Paducah doctors are the only two in the local 6 area. Only time will tell if others follow their lead.
If you’d like to learn more about MDVIP, click here.