Business

INDUSTRY-WIDE TREND: Demand for premium level of health care service tailored to fit hectic schedules of corporate leaders.

For a $12,000 annual fee, the Platinum Executive Wellness Program offers your very own 24/7 medical concierge.

Concierge Medicine Today found high-level corporate executives represent approximately 2-3% of concierge medicine consumers nationwide. 

By Gabrielle Braud

NOV. 29, 2014 – Imagine paying for health care as if it were a first-class airline ticket. Just as business professionals often justify a more expensive flight with the payoff of a more productive workday, the same is now true in the health care arena for CEOs in the Capital Region.

With business constantly on the brain for many executives, Dr. Curtis Chastain, medical director of Our Lady of the Lake’s Executive Wellness Program, noticed a demand for a premium level of health care service tailored to fit the hectic schedules of Baton Rouge’s corporate leaders.

In 2002, Chastain introduced the Executive Wellness Program, which he structured to cater to the needs of top executives. It offers a tightly packed, full-body physical exam designed to have a patient in and out before lunchtime. The fee for this kind of fast, efficient and comprehensive health care service: $3,000.

The doctor is now providing an even higher-touch level of service through the new Platinum Executive Wellness Program, created to circumvent the challenges many professionals and business leaders face in accessing health care.

This exclusive, fee-based medical program offers what Chastain calls the “highest level of convenience and customized care,” with the doctor personally navigating patients through the health care system.

With a cap at 50 patients per year, Chastain says the Platinum Executive Wellness Program will provide some of the most exclusive medical attention ever seen in the Baton Rouge community.

It’s premium health care at your fingertips, if those fingertips can reach the price point, which is an annual fee of $12,000.

“It’s just like riding first class on an airplane,” Chastain says. “Everyone is going to the same spot, but if you want to pay for the amenities, you go right ahead.”

MONEY FOR TIME

Notwithstanding the price tag, the benefits can outweigh the cost. The annual fee covers all in-office medical expenses for the entire year, with the added bonus that Chastain is on call 24/7 and will work with his Platinum team to navigate patients through the system by scheduling appointments at times convenient to them.

“An executive is constantly battling a money-for-time ratio,” Chastain says. “There is no point to an executive being on hold trying to schedule an appointment. We’ll handle it.”

Besides, as the medical arena becomes tougher to navigate with an estimated 30 million new patients entering the system via the Affordable Care Act, it will be harder and harder for people to get the care they need when they need it.

“That is a lot of people who are going to be competing for the same resources” to which other people already have access, Chastain says. “And over the next 10 years, they are predicting 20,000 fewer primary care physicians.”

The Executive Wellness and Platinum programs are indicative of a wider trend in health care in which an increasing number of doctors are offering a more personalized, less-complicated avenue of care by going off the grid with so-called concierge health care practices.

“I’m not saying what we have universally is bad,” Chastain says. “There is just another level you can go to, but you can’t go there if you are going to depend on your insurance companies for it.”

The American Academy of Private Physicians reported in 2012 there were 4,400 concierge doctors in the United States, a 30% increase from 2011. The following year, research by Concierge Medicine Today showed 5,500 concierge medical doctors nationwide.

The national trend toward catered private medicine is one avenue that both patients and doctors are exploring to stem frustrations with a health care system in which the average family physician sees between 2,000 and 4,000 patients annually.

“It does exactly what everyone wants: It lowers costs and increases quality,” says Jeff Williams, executive vice president and CEO of the Louisiana State Medical Society. Although Louisiana has been somewhat insulated from this trend, he expects the state to see an increase in these practices. “They are going to grow organically because, I think. the patient is going to be really satisfied,” Williams says.

Enrolled executives can offset the cost of the program by altering the way they pay for their traditional medical insurance. By raising their insurance deductibles as high as possible, patients can often cut their monthly premiums in half. Chastain says patients also can set aside up to $6,000 of pretax money in a health savings account, funds that roll over each year if it goes unused. The HSA funds can be applied to any qualified expenses, which include all the services Chastain provides within his office.

“This whole deal is off the grid as far as payers go,” Chastain says. “We can play without any handcuffs. No strings attached.”

Other concierge practices, such as a national program called MDVIP, provide members, paying a minimum of $1,500 per year, with
a high-touch level of service through their primary care physicians. However,

Chastain notes that these physicians often manage about 600 MDVIP patients each compared to Platinum’s maximum of 50. In addition, insurance co-pays, premiums and other costs fall on top of the annual MDVIP membership fee.

THE COMPLETE EXAM

Chastain’s inspiration for the original Executive Wellness program came from one of his patients who received an executive physical from Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Fla.

“They basically turned him inside out,” Chastain says. “[He walked] out with a complete assessment of what his medical risks are to bring back to his   primary care doctor to implement those recommendations.”

With the realization that he could operate under the same framework for a select group of individuals, Chastain created the Executive Wellness Program. After touring Mayo Clinic, Cooper Clinic in Dallas and others, he discovered he could complete an in-house medical profile of a patient all in the span of a single morning.

With both the Executive Wellness Program and the Platinum program, the physical exam begins at 7 a.m. The patient undergoes blood work and a full-body assessment, chest and organ X-rays, a treadmill test, and an ultrasound, among other things. By about 9:30 a.m., Chastain personally reviews the results with the
patient.

Chastain, who also serves as president of Our Lady of the Lake Physician Group and medical director of Lake Men’s Health Clinic, understands how beneficial preventive wellness exams can be.

“We are finding stuff early on and are able to address those conditions and get them taken care of before they become a problem,” the physician says.

For Platinum patients, the doctor is available at a moment’s notice via text, a phone call, Facetime and Skype. He can also review a medical profile in the palm of his hand through a patient’s MyChart account. Other benefits include access to same-day or next-day appointments, urgent referrals to specialists within 48 hours, and annual consultations with personal trainers and nutritionists.

Because the Lake’s Platinum program seeks to eliminate the traditional inconveniences of managing one’s health needs on a regular basis, patients no longer need to worry about scheduling appointments, filling prescriptions, or even completing insurance forms. The Platinum team ensures that every health care need—from the most chronic of health conditions to the monotony of paperwork—is handled.

ALL-ACCESS PASS

Stephen Rotenberg, president of Louisiana Chemical Equipment, says he signed up for the Platinum program when it became available in October so he could have an all-access pass to the primary care doctor he has known for 12 years.

“I wanted to have access to him for questions and a comfort level that there was someone I could rely on,” Rotenberg says. Prior to the Platinum program, he was seeing Chastain for the full executive physical that is now part of both the Executive Wellness Program and Platinum program.

“Everyone has a friend or relative who is a doctor, but they don’t really know you,” Rotenberg says. “With this, you are asking someone who knows your medical history.”

With more than 30 executives already signed up since enrollment for the Platinum program opened in October, Chastain says he is looking forward to focusing on each individual.

“We are going to get you what you need so that when you walk out this door, you know exactly where you stand from a health care standpoint,” Chastain says. “That is what I love. That is what I am passionate about.”

SOURCE: http://www.businessreport.com/business/high-end-health-care

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