Jon Moses believes that being in a conventional medical practice almost cost his wife her life, when her care was rushed, and her doctors overlooked cancer that had progressed. As CEO of MD2 International LLC., Moses needs only to recall that as a reminder of why he goes to work each day.
Initially established in Seattle in 1996, MD2 is most often cited as the first and most exclusive retainer practice. Now operating out of three locations, MD2 bucks the usual definition of a "busy" (and therefore successful) practice, with each of its physicians restricting themselves to no more than 60 clients or families.
MD2 promotes itself as providing care of "the highest quality and the greatest availability for the most discerning and limited number of patients." The average retainer paid per patient is about $10,000 per year, and the group does not charge third-party payers. "We don't do any billing," says Moses.
Experts agree that this is the safest approach, in terms of legalities and regulations, for retainer practices.
"I have a similar client who has the drawing power to create this kind of carriage trade--a breast surgeon who lost half his practice when he went retainer but has the same income as before," says Vasilios (Bill) Kalogredis, president of the boutique health care law firm of Kalogredis, Sansweet, Dearden and Burke Ltd.
MD2 says its doctors serve as private advisors who stand between the patient and the complex and intimidating medical world. "Our physicians are more able to be physicians--to exercise their skills and intellect on behalf of their patients," says Moses. "We are not in any way motivated by the insurance industry or what its executives think or dictate. We don't work with insurers and we don't care what they think."
March 1, 2005
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