Concierge medicine is a growing trend, here on the Suncoast

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Posted: Wednesday, January 8, 2014 5:26 pm | Updated: 6:15 pm, Wed Jan 8, 2014.

Concierge medicine is when the patient pays an annual fee or retainer to his or her primary care physician.

This gives patients special access, attention and other perks they may not get from a traditional family practitioner. Now, more Suncoast doctors are making the transition to concierge medicine.

We all know a visit to the doctor can mean a long wait, a fast exam, and, in many cases you may not even get to see your doctor. Then there's waiting for test results.

This may be why more patients and doctors are turning to concierge medicine.

Daniel Cooper, M.D., FACC of Cooper Concierge Medicine said there are other compelling reasons why he went from the sole practice of cardiology to including the specialty in his new concierge practice.

"Over the past four years.the significant cuts in reimbursement to physicians, and the significant amount of red tape and bureaucracy has tremendously limited the amount of time I can spend with patients." Said Dr. Cooper.

Louis Cohen, M.D., has been a partner of a concierge practice, Lerner Cohen Healthcare since 2005. He said, "Concierge medicine allows better coordination, a better connection and better personalized healthcare for patients."

Dr. Cooper said more and more physicians in the U.S. are going into concierge practice.

He said, "Here in Sarasota this past year an additional three private doctors have gone into concierge medicine." Because he is a specialist, Dr. Cooper includes cardiology with general practice for the annual fee, and all the non invasive exams including stress tests, echo-cardiograms electrocardiograms house-calls visiting nursing calls.

The high-tech house-calls include scaled down versions of diagnostic machines including ultra-sound and echo-cardiograms. Some of these cutting edge tools are able to monitor patients from a distance.

One of Coopers patients, Bob Gault received a phone call from Dr. Cooper when in Hawaii notifying him to alter his medications. His monitoring device had sent the information to Dr. Cooper in Sarasota enabling him to treat his patient.

But, not all specialists are jumping ino concierge practice, and, it may not be the right fit for all patients. Practices differ in both level of service provided and fees.

if you are in great health, know how to manage your health care and don't visit the doctor frequently you may have no need for the extra's.

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