Tulsa Doctors Open Boutique Practices

Wednesday, March 4th 2009, 9:59 pm
By: News On 6

By Chris Wright, The News On 6

TULSA, OK -- A new type of healthcare is coming to Tulsa.

Two physicians are opening boutique or concierge practices as part of a growing trend that has supporters and critics.

The program MDVIP will mean more personal attention to patients, but it does come with a price tag.

Dr. John Hubner says he deals with a never-ending mountain of paperwork. During the past decade, his primary-care practice has grown to about 2,500 patients.

"I became somewhat disenchanted with how I was living my life and how I was practicing medicine," Dr. Hubner said. "And I knew there was a better way. There had to be a better way where I had time to spend with my patients."

Recently, Hubner opted to sign on with MDVIP. A boutique medical service that boasts 300 physicians in 26 states, it will drop his patient load to 600.

But in addition to their insurance premiums, those who stay on will pay an extra $1,500 a year for his services.

MDVIP officials say patients will get perks like in-depth physicals, day-of appointments and Hubner's cell phone number.

Lisa Riggs immediately signed up.

"There's honestly nothing more valuable than your health," she said. "If you don't have your health, nothing else matters. You can spend money on lots of things, but if you don't have your health, you can't enjoy them."

But critics of MDVIP call these programs "country club" medicine because 1,900 of Hubner's patients will soon be without a doctor.

"It's been very difficult," Hubner said. "I was probably 10 to 15 pounds heavier three months ago. This has been the hardest decision I've ever had to make."

But as more primary care doctors struggle to deal with too many patients, Hubner expects more to opt for a scaled-down practice.

"It didn't come easily, and it didn't come on a whim," he said. "I knew I had to make a change to strike that balance."

MDVIP says those who sign up for its program are happy with it. The yearly renewal rate for patients nationwide is 95 percent.

To learn more or to reach Hubner or Dr. J. Frederick McNeer, the other MDVIP physician in Tulsa, call (866) 696-3847.