We have found that investments up front—such as courtesy services, drop-in visits, and smaller patient panels—increase patient access to primary care. With this concierge-style model, doctors are able to spend a remarkable amount of time with each patient. When we examined our data, our physicians averaged 189 minutes in face-to-face appointment time with each patient, while the 2014 National Ambulatory Medical Care Survey (NAMCS) notes that U.S. patients are seen by general and family practice physicians for an average of 20.9 minutes each year. Increasing time between physicians and patients simply would not work under traditional Medicare fee-for-service.
We’ve found this increased face-to-face time makes a noticeable difference. It allows physicians to focus on preventative care, make earlier diagnoses and timely interventions. For our patients under this model, in 2015, rates of ER visits were 33.6% lower than the average among all Medicare beneficiaries in the counties in which we operate. The impact of up-front investments also applies to hospitalizations: our patients averaged 28% fewer hospital admissions and 25.7 fewer in-patient hospital days than average.
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