"Very Important Patients" Pay $1,800 Extra

Program allows patients to pay big money for specialized care

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    NEWSLETTERS

    In a perfect world, you'd have unlimited time with your doctor. You'd get an appointment the day you need it, and have your doctor's cell phone number and email, for direct contact.

    This is what something called "MD-VIP" aims to do. It offers personalized care, with a focus on wellness and disease prevention.

    But critics say these "elite" health care programs are no solution to the nation's health-care crisis.

    John Rohring has a "VIP" arrangement with Doctor Andre Sanschagrin. He pays $1800 a year for the extra attention.

    'Very Important Patients' Pay $1,800 Extra

    [DGO] 'Very Important Patients' Pay $1,800 Extra
    The program allows patients to pay big money for specialized care

    When he broke his ankle, the doctor met him at the emergency room, to supervise his care.

    "I got there about midnight, and there was Doctor Sanschagrin, already waiting for me," he boasted.

    Doctors in the MD-VIP plan limit their practice to 600 patients, compared to the 2500 seen by a traditional primary care physician.

    "MD-VIP" patients get a comprehensive annual exam; same, or next-day appointments, and a custom wellness and prevention plan.

    "We know our patients well, and it's a long-term relationship," Dr. Sanschagrin said.

    But Doctor James Grisolia, who has a traditional practice, worries that "concierge medicine" might create a "two-tier" system, that favors the rich.

    "Everybody else is kind of left to flounder, and that's really not the solution people are looking for," Grisolia said.

    Patients must also have health insurance to pay for routine doctor's visits, specialty care and hospital stays.