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The Doctor Will See Your Cash Now

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MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Go through the doors at Elite Health Medical Group and you feel as if you’ve walked into a spa hotel!

At Executive Health, it looks like a luxurious living room, and Dr. Al Mitrani said that’s exactly what they’re aiming for.

“We don’t have the typical buzzer with the sliding door. And the rest of the office is also designed in a manner so that it really doesn’t look like a doctor’s office and the patients love this.”

The patients also love the time they get with the doctor, an hour for a first visit, half hour for a follow up. And all calls from patients are returned before anyone leaves at the end of the day.

“We’re really practicing medicine the way it was practiced long ago, where physicians had great relationships with patients. The fee was paid by the patient,” explained Dr. Mitrani.

It’s called “fee for service.” Think of that 70′s TV show Dr. Marcus Welby M.D. “I hope we’re as good as Dr. Welby was!” exclaimed Mitrani.

A typical doctor’s visit at Executive Health will likely run under $400. This doesn’t replace your insurance, which you need to see a specialist or hospitalizations. It means your doctor is no longer dealing with insurance companies. You pay them and get a receipt, which you turn in to your insurance company and pocket whatever they reimburse.

Another way doctors are changing the way they practice medicine is by going to the concierge model.

“Our concierge program is $5,000 a year. It includes an executive wellness exam which has a value of about $3,500,” said Dr. Steve Schnur of Elite Health Medical Group.

Dr. Steve Schnur may be the doctor to TV stars and famous athletes, but others such as Casey Rodriguez see the advantage in paying a yearly retainer to have access to a doctor 24/7 by text, cell phones, even hotel and house calls.

“When I joined concierge, I was diagnosed with a thyroid problem one day and within 24-hours I was in with a specialist,” said Rodriguez.

That thyroid condition prompted Rodriguez and her family to retain Elite Health, in addition to their health insurance policy.

“When it came down to it we really did not want to have to wait three months for an appointment. I didn’t want to wait two weeks to get my lab results. I didn’t want to need medication and have to wait three days to get into my appointment just so i could get a prescription written.”

“You know one of the problems doctors have right now is they’re a mouse on a wheel. So they’re running, running, running, running. We need to change that model which is more based on quality of care not quantity of care,” insisted Dr. Schnur.

Schnur, a cardiologist, does that he says, by focusing on wellness and prevention.

“The insurance you have now is really insurance if you get sick. So it’s kind of a sickness plan,” Schnur said.

Elite also has a $75 a month retainer for the less affluent, and also takes medicare and medicaid. Many doctors have been making the change to fee for service or concierge long before Obamacare. But both doctors we spoke with expect this trend to continue, until health insurance companies begin paying doctors for quality of care, not quantity of care.

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