Nevada doctors turn to MDVIP model
MDVIP is a national network of primary care physicians across 43 states that includes four doctors in northern Nevada.
“MDVIP is a personalized preventive care business,” Bret Jorgensen CEO of MDVIP explained in a phone interview.
MDVIP believes their model helps consumers take control of their own health by being more proactive with care than reactive, which leads to physicians stepping in at the diagnosis stage, often too late.
To be an MDVIP member, patients pay an annual memebership fee that gives patients access to leading edge screenings and diagnostic testing, physician counseling focused on important health issues and wellness areas and a personalized wellness plan to make them healthier. As part of their membership, patients can see other MDVIP doctors if they are traveling, have the option to call, text or email their doctor and receive individualized service because MDVIP physicians limit their practice size.
“MDVIP is not an insurance product. It is in addition to insurance,” Jorgensen said.
As part of the model, to be more attentive to their patients, doctors “reduce patient practice size,” Jorgensen explained. “Our doctors typically have two to six hundred patients.
“They also anchor a prevention and wellness model around that practice,” Jorgensen added.
He estimated most patients to be between 50 and 80 years old, but with benefits of MDVIP extending to children of patients, the age can vary.
“Clinically we think MDVIP works exceptionally well for the patient,” Jorgensen said.
The proof for the success of the model lives in the numbers they have seen.
“70 to 80 percent reduction in hospital visits, and 90 percent reductions in readmission rates, he said.
“We see very high levels of doctor and patient satisfaction rates,” Jorgensen explained.
As further proof of the success of the MDVIP model he said that “patients renew well into the 90 percent every year.”
MDVIP strives to provide a wellness plan tailored to meet patient’s unique needs.
“Once people try this model of care, they like it because it works,” Jorgensen said.
Jorgensen explained another way the MDVIP personalized healthcare model is being used is by employers as a benefit for their executives.
MDVIP’s focus on wellness and improving results for patients also includes network reciprocity, so when a patient is in another area they can visit a MDVIP doctor.
The model is also designed so patients can email, text or reach their doctor on their cell phone.
“We do think of this as very affordable personalized care, but we are always mindful that it is an incremental cost,” Jorgensen explained.
The additional cost warrants the question of what makes an MDVIP doctor special.
“Before we bring them into the network, we evaluate them,” Joregensen said.
This includes surveying patients, checking licensing and using their full call center at their corporate location to do a lot of outbound surveying to understand a doctor before working with them.
“After they become an MDVIP physician we do ongoing work,” Joregensen explained.
They do training with the doctors to help them pivot towards prevention wellness rather than just sick care.
“We benchmark clinical and practice standards to help our doctors to continue to improve and meet the needs of their members,” Jorgensen added.
Typically an MDVIP doctor will see between six and 12 patients a day instead of 20 to 30.
“Our practices tend to be a little smaller. Most patients can see the doctor same day or the following day,” Jorgensen highlighted regarding accessibility. “The practice is designed that way.”
“We started 15 years ago,” Jorgensen said. “The company has had 62 consecutive quarters of growth”
Locally, Dr. Merritt Dunlap has seen far-reaching interest from patients in northern Nevada for this type of program.
“A majority of my patients when I started were my existing patients who chose to participate in a model like this,” Dunlap said. “I was the first one in northern Nevada to open an MDVIP practice.”
The newest MDVIP doctor is in northwest Reno and two in south Reno.
“Based on my experience over the past three years I think more patients are wanting this,” he added.
“The main thing I liked is that it gave me the opportunity to practice medicine without barriers to patients,” Dunlap said. “It was much more focused on trying to keep people well, as much as we possibly could,” he added.
Dr. Dunlap sees patients from all over northern Nevada in his Carson-based practice, including Tonopah, Fallon, Yerington, South Lake Tahoe and Reno.
“In order to give patients time and couching you have to (scale down),” Dunlap said. “I am a bit over 500 patients and I am pretty busy right now.”
The MDVIP model works for Dr. Dunlap for a few reasons. He said it, “allows me the opportunity to practice medicine as I and every primary doctor really knows we should practice,” he said. “A lot of primary care is really teaching people. A lot of it has to do with lifestyle,” he added.
Dr. Dunlap also mentioned he sees patients from 5 years old to nearly 100, “much like any family practice,” he said.
Another unique way Dr. Dunlap has seen his MDVIP practice benefit people locally are through employers. “I have several businesses that have basically purchased this as a benefit for their employees,” he explained.
Dr, Dunlap explained the from the employer feedback he has received, “they find less absenteeism with their employees, better productivity and they convey a sense of caring for the whole person.”
Employees “have someone they can go to that they trust that can see them any day,” Dunlap explained.
“In practicing this way patients know a lot about me … a much more open relationship between the patient and doctor. It really goes a long way towards helping people,”
“When we spend a substantial amount of time with a patient each year we can identify certain things early on,”
Dr. Dunlap explained the cost for MDVIP patient care in the northern Nevada region is $1650 annually. A portion of each fee goes to MDVIP for technology support (physician and patient portal), legal and regulatory support as well as marketing and operational support. To learn more about MDVIP and Dr. Dunlap visit http://www.mdvip.com/merrittdunlapmd.
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