The Doctor Will See You Now ... For An Extra $1,500
A Florida company is at the epicenter of what's called Concierge Care
Dr. Jackie Lefferts decided to contract with MDVIP after growing tired of the high-stress pace of her practice; at one point she had more than 2,000 patients.
Dr. Jackie Lefferts, Key West
Dr. Lefferts, a board-certified physician in both internal medicine and pulmonary disease, has practiced medicine at a high-stress pace for 20 years. She was in a "very busy, and very lucrative" Miami pulmonary group, where she did rounds at six hospitals each day, driving madly between Miami-Dade and Broward counties. "I may have had a beautiful car, but the inside looked like a fast-food joint -- I wasn't happy, and this was not the way I wanted to practice medicine.
"Six and a half years ago, Lefferts moved to Key West to practice internal medicine at what she thought would be a more reasonable pace where she could spend time with patients. Instead, she soon had a patient load of more than 2,000 and a growing sense that she couldn't care for each properly. "I'm taking care of 2,000 lives, not 2,000 potted plants," she said. "I don't want to make a mistake -- not even once."
After agonizing, Lefferts recently decided to contract with MDVIP and transition to a concierge practice. She worried about the 1,500 patients she would shed to four other area doctors. But if she hadn't made this change, she says, she would have given up her practice altogether, dropping all 2,000 instead of 1,500. "I just want to love medicine again," she says.