Practice introduces concierge medicine to Steamboat Springs | SteamboatToday.com

Practice introduces concierge medicine to Steamboat Springs

Teresa Ristow

Steamboat Family Medicine staff, from left, owner Dr. Rosanne Iversen, Dr. Barbara Novotny, physician's assistant, Millie Flanigan and Dr. Phaedra Fegley.

— Dr. Rosanne Iversen has always tried to provide her patients with personalized care at Steamboat Family Medicine.

But Iversen knows that, on average, doctors today are so pressed for time that most only spend about eight minutes one-on-one with each patient, which leaves very little time to spare.

For example, in eight minutes, a doctor might have time to quickly discuss a patient’s newly discovered high blood pressure and write a prescription for medication.

With more time, the same doctor could work on building a relationship with the patient, inquire about life changes that might be the cause for the change in blood pressure and discuss changes in behavior before writing a prescription.

"You need time to listen and to care," Iversen said.

In order to give herself and other doctors in her practice more time and patients more personalized attention, Iversen and her team are turning Steamboat Family Medicine into a concierge medical practice, the first of its kind in Steamboat Springs.

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"I went into medicine to take care of the whole person, not just the illness," Iversen said. "You can't do that in eight minutes."

The concierge medicine concept is relatively new among medical providers and involves patients paying a monthly or annual fee for a increased level of service.

For Steamboat Family Medicine, people who sign up for the concierge service will benefit from longer and same-day appointments, more complex annual physicals and 24-7 phone access to providers. The practice will still work with insurance for regular appointment costs.

The practice will charge $100 to $125 per month for adults and $25 to $42 per month for children.

Iversen said because the practice will see fewer patients, the providers aren’t expecting an increase in profits, but are motivated to try a concierge model to better serve patients.

The team, which includes Dr. Phaedra Fegley and physician's assistant Millie Flanigan, will transition the practice into a concierge platform beginning Dec. 1. Dr. Barbara Novotny, who joined the practice in October 2015, will transition in 2017.

With the exception of some appointments with Novotony, the rest of the providers will only provide service to concierge patients after Dec. 1.

Iversen, who has practiced in Steamboat Springs since 1992, said she thought long and hard about pursuing a concierge medicine practice.

"I've always tried to practice whole, holistic medicine," she said. "What I do, I want to do it well."

Iversen talked with more than a dozen other providers across the country who practice concierge medicine and met with the other providers in the practice before the group chose to transition the practice.

Steamboat Family Medicine is working with concierge medical specialists Specialdocs Consultants to help with the transition.

Iversen said while some patients might not be interested in paying the fees associated with the concierge service, studies show that fewer healthcare dollars are spent, overall, by people using a concierge practice for their care.

"It's all about the patient and offering quality care," she said.

Steamboat Family Medicine has invited all current patients to use the concierge service, and Iversen said they are also open to caring for new patients interested in the program.

To reach Teresa Ristow, call 970-871-4206, email tristow@SteamboatToday.com or follow her on Twitter @TeresaRistow