Sarasota, Florida - Instead of Doctor Daniel Cooper's patients seeing him, he's the one making house calls.
As he carries a large brown leather doctor's bag, reminiscent of the ones used when doctors visited patients at home, Cooper stops by new patient John Sullivan's home for a consultation. Sullivan says he and his wife spent about a year thinking about turning to a concierge medical service.
"It's a big value the concierge service for us, the fact we have a doctor we can sit down and talk to. I can understand the medical condition and I'm not rushed," says Sullivan.
Rushed is how Doctor Cooper felt before he added concierge service to his cardiology and internal medicine practice last year.
Cooper says before transitioning to concierge care, he would see between 25 to 50 patients a day at his practice and the hospital. He'd have about 5 to 10 minutes to spend on each, and a waiting room filled with patients.
Cooper says now he can spend as much time as needed with his patients."If they need to spend an hour, we spend an hour. If we have 1, 2, 3 exams, they can get them done all at the same time."
Patients pay a flat rate similar to a retainer for care available 24-7. Price varies based on cost and services starting as low as $1,500 up to several thousand dollars a year.
"All exams EKGs, stress test, ultrasound, and there's no additional fees," explains Cooper.
Technology allows Cooper to do some of those tests at the patient's home without needing an insurance company's approval. Cooper pulls out of his bag a small portable ultrasound. The device is so small the monitor flips it open in his hand. Cooper says it's like something you'd see on the sci-fi series Star Trek.
"There's a lot of uncertainty in the medical world right now in insurance, with doctors and reimbursement. This is one way to mitigate that uncertainty," says Sullivan.
That kind of red tape is why Cooper says more doctors are making the switch to a concierge-type practice. "Nationwide, this is an alternative to a system that is going from bad to worse."
To view Dr. Coopers website click here.
According to the American Academy of Private Physicians,there are reportedly 3,500 private doctors in the concierge service today nationwide compared to 700 doctors 5 years ago.
Sullivan says he and his wife maintain health insurance for critical medical needs. The concierge service provides the personal care they want. "We think it's the best decision we ever made."