Consumer Watch: Boutique medicine gains momentum

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by Kyle Brown

WHAS11.com

Posted on November 18, 2009 at 7:48 PM

(WHAS11) - It’s a model for modern medicine in today’s healthcare debate that’s gaining momentum, but it comes with a cost.
If you could pay for full-time access to your doctor, would you?

WHAS11’s Andy Treinen looks into “Boutique Medicine” in this week’s Consumer Watch.

When it comes to the great healthcare debate there is no shortage of opinions.

But now, there’s another option for patients who are afraid they may fall deeper into “assembly-line care.”

Doctor Salvatore Ciliberti has built a client base for 24 years.  But on December 29th, he’s saying goodbye to around 1400 of his patients.  

“Sal is a great doctor but he sees so many patients you have to wait 2-3 months sometimes,” says one patient.

Ciliberti has joined the M.D.V.I.P. Network based out of Florida.

It’s a model for modern medicine with old-school charm.

Patients have to pay a $1500 annual fee, and doctors can carry no more than 600 patients.

All of the patients will have Dr. Ciliberte’s cell number and have access to him 24 hours a day.

Doctor Robert Ellis helped convince Dr. Ciliberte to make the move. Ellis joined the network in January after 30 years in traditional medicine.

Boutique or Concieres medicine is making headlines across the country and from the inside looking out both doctors and patients seem to love it.  

The unfortunate reality of boutique medicine for many of these doctor’s patients is that they’re left on the outside looking in.  Unable or unwilling to pay for the right to see a physician that they’ve been seeing for a lifetime, some patients are now forced to find a new physician.

Doctor Harry Renco is Dr. Ciliberti’s partner, and is also moving to the M.D.V.I.P. model.

But Ciliberti says other doctors in the practice are making room for all of his patients who don’t want to pay to stay.

And what about the criticism that this is healthcare for the rich and famous separating the divide between haves and have nots?

“I have just as many plumbers and carpenters and school teachers and truck drivers as I do insurance executives,” says Ciliberti.

The focus is on prevention.

Most of the $1500 pays for a two-hour Mayo Clinic-style physical.

“In the past, it might have been a 30-minute physical. So in the 2-hours there are no stones left unturned.”

If you have a consumer issue you’d like us to look into, send an e-mail to consumerwatch@whas11.com.
 

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