For internal medicine physician David Nadolski, retiring earlier than anticipated seemed inevitable. The Midland, Mich.-based physician had been practicing independently for nearly three decades, and he just didn't see how he could keep his doors open much longer. "The biggest thing was that reimbursements were not going up, and my overhead continued to go higher — it was difficult trying to run a business in that type of scenario," says Nadolski. "Every year the reimbursement wasn't good enough to cover the changes that we had."
But a lot has changed for Nadolski over the past few years. Today, his practice is not only open, it is thriving. So what made the difference? In December 2011, he added concierge patients to his practice; patients who, in addition to holding traditional insurance, pay Nadolski an annual fee for extra services such as improved access to care and a more complex annual physical. "It's allowing me to continue to practice more easily with less financial pressure on me," he says of the change.
The model Nadolski is embracing is called hybrid concierge, and for many physicians, it provides a happy medium between a full concierge-model of care and a traditional fee-for-service practice. That's because it enables physicians to retain many or all of their current patients, while bringing in an additional source of revenue through concierge patients.
To learn more about hybrid concierge and what the transition to it entails, we asked Nadolski to weigh in. Here's how he made the transition, and how it is affecting his practice, his patients, and his revenue.
Transitioning to a hybrid concierge model is no small undertaking. It will of course, dramatically change your practice. Nadolski, who refers to the transition as a "life-changing event," didn't take it on alone. Instead, he retained Concierge Choice Physicians (CCP), a company that helps doctors transition to concierge and hybrid concierge practices.
Before jumping into the transition process, Concierge Choice assessed Nadolski's practice to determine if it would be a viable hybrid practice. For instance, it assessed whether enough of his current patients and individuals in his geographic area would be interested in paying an additional fee for concierge services.
The results were promising, so Nadolski decided to move forward. He, and Concierge Choice, embarked on a comprehensive marketing campaign to spread the word about the concierge side of his practice. The campaign included a town hall meeting, promotional mailings, and placing a Concierge Choice sales representative inside Nadolski's practice to explain to patients how concierge medicine works.
Defining the details
Ultimately, about 100 patients decided to join the concierge side of the practice, and the majority of them were already Nadolski's patients. "They wanted to retain me as their physician, and adding these extra things was a good fit," he says, noting that many of these patients were elderly with complicated healthcare needs.