Becomes first practice in Alabama to offer innovative Hybrid model from Concierge Choice Physicians
HUNTSVILLE, ALA. — When Dr. Michael Carter and Dr. Brooke Uptagrafft measured the average time they were spending with each of their patients, they realized something had to change.
Along with the practice’s senior partner, Dr. Tim Howard, the two are physicians with one of Huntsville’s oldest and most respected medical offices, Gleneagles Family Medicine Associates(www.gleneaglesfm.com). All three physicians are Huntsville natives and returned to their hometown after graduating from medical school.
While other opportunities are leading Dr. Howard to retire early next year, Dr. Carter and Uptagrafft wanted to find a way to spend more time with their patients despite the changing environment of medicine.
“While many of our patients had requested more time with their doctor, we recognized a concierge program was not for everyone,” said Dr. Uptagrafft. “We love our patients and didn’t want to tell them we would not take care of them unless they joined our concierge practice. So, we feel we have found a way to offer both options to meet the needs of all our patients. We’re excited to be the first practice in Alabama offering this Hybrid Concierge medicine practice – one in which a concierge service is offered but not required.”
Earlier this year, the popular local physicians were introduced to the Hybrid Concierge model of medicine from industry pioneer Concierge Choice PhysiciansTM (CCP), and decided it offered the best option for their practice and patients.
Uptagrafft and Carter will offer the Hybrid Concierge program to patients who want to strengthen and maintain their relationship with their chosen physicians while accessing an array of care services such as an enhanced physical, same or next-day appointments and a direct phone line to the physician for after-hours questions and consultations. With a concierge program, patients keep their existing insurance. The fee for non-covered services averages about $150 a month.
Because the number of concierge patients is kept at a manageable rate (less than 10% of the total practice) – with only a few concierge appointments each day, the physicians can continue to provide quality care to their patients who don’t need or can’t afford the concierge option.
“I went into medicine to help people through the relationships I developed with them and their families,” said Dr Carter. “Most health plans today are requiring more and more of my time to be spent on paperwork, not taking care of the patient. I was looking for a way to return to a style of medicine where I can spend quality time with my patients, not just with their charts. You just can’t get to know people in the seven minutes you’re allotted with most health plans today – it’s all about volume or care from a non-physician – not hands-on physician-based care.”