First woman internist in Vermont to join national “concierge health care” movement

South Burlington, Vermont (PRWEB) February 13, 2013 | Dr. Alicia Cunningham today announces the opening of her concierge internal medicine practice in South Burlington, Vermont.     This new, simple medical practice model is sweeping the nation, and is one of the fastest growing trends in American health care.    With it, Dr. Cunningham can bring simple, long-overdue changes to how patients are cared for in the Lake Champlain region.

“Everything about my new practice is designed to put the patient first, and the quality of his or her health is the only thing I think about,” says Dr. Cunningham. ” I have simplified health care by orders of magnitude: focusing on ‘health’ and ‘care’ rather than billing, insurers, and big system efficiency mandates.    There are only two parties in my practice: the patient, and me. It’s amazing how wonderful patients feel when they get my complete attention and no complexity.”

The practice is simple. People looking to find a doctor pay Dr. Cunningham a set fee for the year, and she takes care of them. Because her practice is less than a third the size of typical internal medicine practices, she can offer comprehensive care in an innovative way:

  •     Patients can contact her 24/7 on her cell phone or via email.
  •     Same day and next day appointments are available, including after hours.
  •     If patients need an hour or more for care, they receive it.
  •     With more time per patient, specialist referrals can be managed smoothly and families can be kept informed .
  •     Wellness and prevention get time and attention.

“For several years I have known the current system is untenable from a patient perspective,” notes Dr. Cunningham. “People refer to it as ‘hamster wheel medicine,’ where a smaller and smaller group of internal medicine doctors are required to do more in less time, with more mandates and more paperwork being demanded of them. It makes no sense, because excellent care depends on having internal medicine doctors seeing patients themselves, without being buried in paperwork. ”

Independent research confirms two amazing facts about concierge medicine. The first is that the renewal rates for patients who join these practices are among the highest not just in the medical field, but in any field. The second is that concierge doctors save the medical system enormous amounts of money because they have the time and the training, as internal medicine doctors, to treat a wide range of issues in the office.

An excellent doctor that a patient can reach easily, with no complexity, is an inexpensive and effective way to design a health care system. It’s an organic, grassroots approach that works.

Dr. Cunningham continues, “Vermont is a birthplace of the local foods movement. But our health care is starting to resemble the industrial revolution. With my new practice, I hope to be a small point of light for patients and families frustrated by the current system, and to take care of them the way I was trained. And I hope to inspire medical students, almost none of whom are going into primary care anymore, that this is a Vermont practice model that they will love.”

Dr. Cunningham is a graduate of Harvard Medical School and the Brigham & Women’s Residency program. She is the first female concierge doctor in the state of Vermont. For those looking to find a doctor, her practice is accepting new patients.


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