September 1, 2014

Healthcare

The Doctor Will See You Now ... For An Extra $1,500

A Florida company is at the epicenter of what's called Concierge Care

Cynthia Barnett | 6/1/2006

VIP SERVICE: Dr. Robert A. Briskin (right) and Dr. Michael Milstein, who are gradually building up a concierge service, plan to keep treating traditional patients.

Drs. Robert A. Briskin
and Michael Milstein,
Jupiter

Model: Hybrid practice

Dr. Briskin is a board-certified internist and fellow of the American College of Physicians who's practiced internal medicine in Jupiter for 21 years. In 2000, he started the first concierge practice in Florida, VIP Primary Care Associates. He got the idea from his patients: One asked if he could pay more to spend more time with him. Another asked if he could pay extra to make sure Briskin, rather than a hospital doctor, came to see him during a hospital stay. "Patients weren't getting the care they wanted," Briskin says.

Unlike many concierge doctors, Briskin and his partner, Dr. Milstein, who joined the practice nearly three years ago, haven't shed all of their traditional patients to start a concierge practice. Instead, they're gradually building up a concierge side. Their goal is about 500 patients each, with 400 paying for concierge service. They offer three levels of executive care: $1,500 a year, which includes next-day visits, hourlong executive physicals and the doctor's cell phone number; a $2,500 level includes house calls twice a month and same-day service; a $5,000 level includes daily contact with the doctors or nurses and weekly house calls.

At this point, about a third of the practice's patients don't pay the VIP fee. They don't get the doctors' cell phone numbers, but they otherwise receive the A-team care. Briskin and Milstein say by charging the executive patients and not having to turn some of that money over to a management company such as MDVIP, they are able to keep more patients who can't afford the executive care. "Doctors are caring people who want to treat all their patients like VIPs," says Milstein. "This is the way we've figured out how to do that."

Tags: Around Florida, Healthcare

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