Dr. Cyrus Peikari received his MD from Southwestern Medical School in Dallas, which included several prestigious externships abroad. He then finished his Internal Medicine training at Presbyterian Hospital in Dallas. Dr. Peikari is a well recognized physician as well as an author haven written several books. His medical textbook is used by physicians nationwide as a study guide for the ABIM Internal Board Exam certification.
After 10 years of holding leadership positions at Baylor Medical Center and Presbyterian Hospital, Dr. Peikari decided to change course and opened a solo practice. Being born and raised in Dallas, he has always felt a strong tie to the local community. A few years later, he turned to a Concierge style medical practice.
With a Concierge style practice (also commonly called boutique or retainer based medicine) patients are charged a monthly or yearly fee. Insurance is not accepted. This, according to Dr. Peikari, eliminates a whole host of problems the typical physician encounters. Dr. Peikari typically takes no more than 200 patients in his practice and spends at least 30 minutes with each patient per visit. This allows for highly individualized care. Most physicians see 30-50 patients per day. Patient satisfaction in this type of setting is predictably higher.
Although this model tends to favor those with higher incomes and individuals with more complex medical conditions, the model has been successful in places like Seattle where Quliance has not accepted insurance reimbursement for over 15 years. Patients pay a flat monthly fee for unlimited access to 13 physicians. This model has been extremely effective since typically 40-50% of the overhead in a medical office is spent on billing and collections. As Dr. Piekari states “Everyone in health care is in transition, the market is eliminating traditional practices, which are going bankrupt. It’s becoming either Concierge Care or Mass Medicine.”
We were fortunate enough to take a few moments out of Dr. Piekari’s busy schedule and have him answer a few of our questions about Concierge style medical care.
Kevin: Dr. Peikari, one of the major complaints from most patients is that they are seeing an increase in waiting time and a decrease in individual attention from their doctor. Concierge care is a trend that is increasing in popularity. Could you explain the basic business model and why more physicians are opting for this type of practice?
Dr. Peikari: Concierge or “cash only” practices are changing medical care back to the way Marcus Wellby practiced it on TV. Until now, third parties, such as insurance payors and the government, have crowded themselves into the exam room. Concierge care brings back that close, private and personal care. You once again have a trusted physician, just like the one you had growing up.
Kevin: How can a patient expect to be treated differently in this type of setting?
Dr. Peikari: Concierge medicine allows enough time for a full discussion of your issues. Often, I don’t figure out what the real problem is until 30 to 45 minutes into the conversation with a patient. It is so refreshing to be able to get these major breakthroughs in health. This is what you miss in a 3 minute visit.
Kevin: Do you feel this will be viable alternative to traditional insurance based medical care now that The Affordable Care Act is about to take effect?
Dr. Peikari: It is viable because in a cash only practice, the market determines the prices. Although the nature of our specific services puts us at the higher end of the cost spectrum, you can now find Concierge services at a great price… thanks to free market forces at work.
Kevin: Can you explain how this type of practice gives you the ability to spend more time your patients?
Dr. Peikari: By eliminating 3rd party payors, our busywork time goes down by 90%, which allows our face time with our patients to increase by 1,000%. So a rushed 3 minute visit automatically becomes a leisurely 30 minute visit.
Kevin: How can a patient get the individualized attention of Concierge care and at the same time be prepared in the case of catastrophic illness?
Dr. Peikari: We do recommend higher deductible catastrophic insurance. In fact, this is what “insurance” originally was created to be: to “insure” you against catastrophe.
Kevin: To wrap this up Dr. Peikari, what is the biggest consideration one should make when deciding on what type of physician care best suits their needs?
Dr. Peikari: Your personal view on healing is what is important. If you believe that a prescription for drugs and a 3 minute visit is all you need, then the current system works well for you. However, others believe that it is the relationship with the physician, rather than just drugs, that helps unlock your inner healing abilities.
Dr. Cyrus Piekari runs his Texas MD medical practice in Dallas, Texas. He can be reached at 214-739-6100. His business website is texasmd.com.
Kevin Nimmo is an online media strategist and writer. He interviews subject matter experts and educates his readers based on information provided by experts in their respective fields.