SOUTH SHORE – If you’re sick of getting pinched by rising health insurance costs and reduced physician time, there is relief.
It’s an emergent style of patient care called concierge medicine. Once found exclusively in high-end hotels like Hilton or Hyatt, it’s now being practiced by doctors who specialize in individual, quality service and show that private membership practice can lead to better patient care.
Dr. Chris Nussbaum, who’s been practicing internal medicine for 25 years, recognized his patients’ need of more personal physician care. So he opened Concierge Care of Tampa Bay early last year, with offices in Brandon and Sun City Center designed to provide an oasis-like environment.
“When you take the insurance company influence out of the equation, it’s just between doctor and patient,” Nussbaum said. “To each patient, we give what they need.”
With no insurance claims to file, patients pay upwards of $2,500 annually to have Nussbaum on speed-dial.
That’s right. Day or night, weekends or holidays, Nussbaum and his staff are, in their words, “hyper-convenient” and a phone call away.
Kings Point resident Dana Dittmar, executive director of the Sun City Center Area Chamber of Commerce and Nussbaum’s patient, doesn’t know what she’d do without him.
“I called him while in the Keys on vacation the day after Thanksgiving, and he answered his phone,” said Dittmar. “(That) saved me hundreds or thousands of dollars from going to the ER.”
And with concierge care house calls are no longer historical lore.
“He comes right to my office,” said the chamber executive. “I was having some respiratory problems, and he came in 30 minutes and spent 45 minutes with me. He takes all the time in the world.”
“I started going to him (Nussbaum) because I can’t afford health insurance,” Dittmar said. “I just have basic insurance and it’s a way to have access to a physician for a couple hundred bucks a month.”
Many concierge patients have complex or multiple medical issues. Others can’t fit prolonged office visits in their schedule. While Nussbaum spends a lot of his time with his patients on preventive care, he also monitors their care when they are in the hospital or rehab facility, visiting daily.
In true concierge flair, if you tire of hospital food, Nussbaum has coordinated with three local restaurants, including Bonefish Grill, to have a low-salt meal prepared and delivered – by him or his staff – right to your hospital bed.
Nussbaum is committed to opening additional concierge offices in Tampa Bay.
“This system is meant to empower physicians and do healthcare differently,” Nussbaum said. “I have an opportunity to change lives – for patients and physicians... The feeling (of knowing) I can have an impact on someone’s life is awesome.”
Concierge Care Tampa Bay offices are at 510 Vonderburg Drive, No. 213, Brandon, and 105 Trinity Lakes Drive, Sun City Center. For information, visit www.conciergecaretb.com or call (813) 689-2961.
Elaine Speer is a freelance writer and can be reached at [email protected]