There are probably some of you reading this post who didn’t know that there was such a thing as having only one doctor. A doctor who knew your name, your medical history, and remembered your personal medical issues every time you saw him.

You may not have known that there was a time when you could call your doctor at 9 o’clock at night or on a Saturday evening and he would call you right back and know exactly who you are. You may also not have known that there was a time when if you went to the hospital, that same doctor would come to see you and check on you.

That’s the way healthcare used to be. But today, with hospitals running the healthcare system and insurance companies running the hospitals and the move toward socialized medicine, that type of medical care is gone. Until concierge medicine.

Close-up of female doctor with stethoscope bandaging hand of male patient.

Like a lot of people, I was tired of being treated like an insurance card number, seeing a different doctor every time I went, and having to wait weeks or even months for an appointment. Concierge medicine has changed all that.

My doctor, Nami Khalusi, belongs to a group called MDVIP and is one of the many excellent concierge doctors practicing in New Jersey. On my first appointment, Dr. Khulusi actually opened the office door for me when I came in and met me there. He spent more time with me than I’ve been used to spending with the doctor to the point where I started to feel guilty and said, “are you sure I’m not talking too much?”

Photo by National Cancer Institute on Unsplash
Photo by National Cancer Institute on Unsplash

Also known as concierge care, boutique medicine, retainer-based medicine, platinum practice, and direct primary care, this is membership-based healthcare that pairs exclusive, personalized care with accessibility and convenience. It’s the way of the future for those who can afford it. Or for those, like me, who find it a financial stretch but still figure out a way to budget it in because my health is very important to me and my relationship with the doctor is too.

For a flat monthly, quartet, or annual fee, you get unlimited office and telehealth visits that last as long as you need, as well as direct care from a doctor. You also gain access to your doctor’s direct phone line for medical questions and in many cases simple and diagnostic tests right there in the office. And if you have a major health problem, your doctor coordinates specialist referrals and/or hospital care as needed.

If you're sick, you call your doc and go see him that day. With concierge medicine, there’s no insurance or corporate health system interference, just doctors and patients. The way it was meant to be. Because instead of thousands of patients, he has only hundreds.

Doctor Optometrist examining senior woman's eye in doctors office

Doctors love it because they can practice medicine for the reasons they got into medicine: to show care and concern without worrying about how much time they spend with the patient. They are not at the mercy of the insurance companies, although most do participate with insurance providers. My doctor, for instance, can have a leisurely appointment with me because he is not forced, like doctors who are slaves to insurance companies, to see 30 other patients in a day.

It’s a win/win because my doctor is going back to what he loves to do—practice medicine with care and empathy. And it shows.

Opinions expressed in the post above are those of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Judi Franco only.

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