A few weeks back, I got a letter from my old GP’s office saying that my doctor was leaving the practice and the practice itself was going to a concierge plan. Considering I wasn’t a huge fan of the practice (I liked my doctor well enough, but the place wasn’t anything special), I wasn’t about to pay a chunk of money to stay there.
I asked around online and in person and a number of people recommended a different concierge medicine practice just a few blocks from my office. So I thought I would check it out.
From what I can tell, the difference with a concierge medicine practice is that you pay a fee (be it monthly or annually), which allows the doctor to see less patients and so you get better service. The doctors are more accessible, frequently by phone or email, and no more “Oh, you might have an ear infection? We can see you in three days.” Nope, you get an appointment that day, maybe not with your doctor, but someone will see you. Sounds like a good thing, but it also feels a bit elitist.
However, since the practice waives the fee for people with my insurance plan, it didn’t hurt to try it out.
I scheduled a new patient physical and printed out my InsideTracker blood test results. I wanted to talk to the doctor about the cholesterol numbers specifically, plus I needed my generic Effexor XR refilled. I had requested that my old doctor send over my medical records, but of course, they didn’t. So I sort of had to explain my medical history to the new doctor and hope she would be willing to refill my anti-anxiety meds.
(Quick catchup for those not in the know – I’ve been on an anti-anxiety medication since 2010 when I had uncontrolled panic attacks. I’ve made some major changes in my life since and probably wouldn’t have the same issue, but I discovered something else once I started taking the meds. For most of my life, I had stomach problems. I saw a gastroenterologist, took a daily medication for my stomach, and mostly just dealt with the fact that I would get random stomach pain and nausea. Turns out? It was all anxiety related and the anti-anxiety medication fixed the problem. Winning!)
I gave the doctor a brief medical history, detailing out the panic issues and the heart issues (which are not issues), and she was totally chill about it. Without me asking, she asked if I needed a refill for the Effexor XR, and commented that it was a super low dose, which is somehow reassuring for reasons I cannot explain. So one thing checked off my list.
I showed her the Inside Tracker numbers and she was really intrigued by what they were testing. I think she was a bit worried about what their recommendations might be until I said that they recommended dietary changes and didn’t push pills or medications or try to sell anything. And really, no one ever died from eating more kale. (Well, maybe if you’re deathly allergic to kale it might be a bad plan.)
I asked her about my cholesterol numbers and she agreed, it’s probably hereditary. But she also said it’s not something I need to worry about. My ratio is good, and I have none of the risk factors (female over 50, diabetes, heart disease, family history of young heart attacks) that would normally make high cholesterol worry them. So it’s nice to know I don’t have to be too concerned. Doesn’t mean I’m not going to be following the Inside Tracker dietary recommendations to try to improve those numbers, but it’s good that it’s not necessarily a “bad” thing.
All in all, I’m really happy with this new practice. They seem to be really responsive, and I was in and out of there in under 30 minutes, which is amazing. Now hopefully I don’t need to see her until my next annual physical!