Madison doctors offering concierge medicine as primary care providers
Wednesday, February 15, 2017 6:00 PM
MADISON — Two doctors intend to flip the script by offering concierge-style medicine, a fee-based concept that bypasses insurance.
Dr. John Vanderloo, Madison Chamber President Hugh Warren and Dr. Micah Walker at a recent ribbon-cutting
Drs. John Vanderloo and Micah Walker met at University of Mississippi Medical Center where Vanderloo worked as an assistant professor and Walker studied as a resident.
Walker, who is in his final year of residency now, long dreamed of opening a direct primary care clinic where individuals pay monthly memberships as opposed to the insurance-based, pay-as-you-go model.
After much consideration, the pair decided to take the leap, with intentions of opening this summer. That changed and instead the pair opened doors to their clinic, NewCare MD, on Jan. 3 on Fountains Boulevard.
“Three months prior to opening we didn’t have a loan, a doctor, or a building,” Vanderloo jokes.
Vanderloo is all too familiar with this direct primary care model, given that his father’s medical practice began in his house and he often went out on house calls.
“It’s sort of a pure approach to the doctor-patient relationship,” he said. “The last few years insurance companies have dictated what you can do and how you can do it.”
The pair say they went to medical school to help people and not jump through hoops when it came down to filing billing codes and asking permission for some treatment plans.
The way NewCare MD works is members pay a monthly membership fee between $60-$75 based on age. From there, members will have unlimited access to their doctor either in person, or by phone or email.
“The most rewarding part of this is helping those who really need the help,” Vanderloo said.
In one month NewCare MD has already signed up 125 members and the doctors say they will max out at 1,200 members per doctor to avoid lengthy waiting times and other hindrances associated with high patient loads.
The pair hopes to expand the operation in the metro area and bring in other doctors, but the Madison clinic is going to really be the test and see if Mississippi is ready for a different healthcare model that’s taken off in affluent areas like south Florida.
“This concept is new in Mississippi but has been around in places like North Carolina, Washington, Kansas, etc.,” Vanderloo said. “If we can’t do it in a place like Madison, then Mississippi is just not ready for it.”
They are seeing a healthy mix of people from different economic and health backgrounds, they said.
Vanderloo estimated that one-third of the patients they have seen so far already have insurance but like this as an alternative option because of the convenient and more-personal nature of the visits. Others are uninsured and have put off health problems or delayed seeking treatment because of healthcare costs.
Vanderloo and Walker have set up an in-house dispensary where patients are able to receive generic prescriptions of medicine at wholesale costs, oftentimes cheaper than some of the local pharmacies.
Patients also are able to have lab tests run, most under $10, and in-house procedures like stitches and biopsies are done at no charge.
The only revenue generator outside of the membership fee for the clinic are aesthetic treatments such as laser hair reduction or acne treatments.
“Our heart is in primary care,” Vanderloo said. “We also added things to make the membership worth it and fun for a day, too.”
For more information about the medical clinic, visit www.newcaremd.com.