Concierge medicine 90210

LUX Health Network co-founder Akiva Greenfield
LUX Health Network co-founder Akiva Greenfield

LUX Health Network bills itself as “the most exclusive, personalized, and comprehensive health care experience.” Its concierge-style primary care and specialty physicians practice in Beverly Hills. It sounded interesting, so I interviewed co-founder Akiva Greenfield to learn more.

Concierge practices are typically primary care only, and I’ve often wondered about how they handle patients who need specialist care. So I’m interested to learn about the LUX model. How did you come up with the idea?

We talked with patients and we talked with physicians about what’s important in concierge style care. Patients told us that they certainly want great care from their primary care physician but, just as important, they consistently told us that they want outstanding seamless care from specialists as well. We believe this is a reasonable request, in fact it’s their prerogative.

So, I saw that this model of interdisciplinary care would fill a critical void in the concierge medicine marketplace. LUX Health Network has become the solution because we bridge the gap by providing highly-coordinated care among internists and specialists who all offer our concierge services.

LUX has assembled an elite network of specialist physicians who work as one team to deliver highly integrated, cross-disciplinary care, quickly and conveniently. LUX patients, who we refer to as LUX clients, have around-the-clock access to their team of specialists, who work in close coordination with their primary care physician to provide patients with a complete and synchronized healthcare experience. An added highlight of the LUX network is our client care coordinators who facilitate all scheduling and oversee insurance correspondence on their behalf, eliminating the stress and lost time that often precedes and follows medical appointments and procedures. Each member’s personal care team conducts periodic interdisciplinary conferences to discuss member needs, treatment, and progress to ensure full coordination of care.

Clients, especially those who are content with their internist, can also choose to pay for an annual retainer fee to receive concierge access to the specialist of their choice, who will work closely with their primary care doctor to develop a care plan tailored to client needs, and one that adheres to their preferences.

How does LUX compare to a typical concierge model? What are the similarities and differences?

We’ve been able to review and revise the way healthcare is delivered and managed from our unique perspective. LUX was not founded by physicians but by young entrepreneurs who have worked closely with doctors and thoroughly understand the healthcare industry. Other medical concierge models focus primarily on internal medicine. LUX is the first company to include internist and specialty medicine, where each physician practices independently and is not employed by us. We value their autonomy, as do they, and make the client-doctor connection, while keeping the physicians in full control of managing care. There are no limits to the number of concierge patients and/or families accepted by our doctors, a criterion imposed by other companies operating in this space.

To help support our network and clients, LUX’s client care coordinators serve as patient advocates and are at the patient’s disposal 24/7– no request is too big or too small. We even offer to correspond with insurance companies on behalf of clients so they can focus on what matters most to them. Additionally, our membership plans are fully customizable. We work with our clients to develop a mutually beneficial health plan.

Parts of our business model including membership-based concierge level access (same or next day appointment, unhurried visits, etc.), health and wellness options, and scheduling, is similar to that of other companies.

Typically primary care concierge practices convert their entire panels to the concierge model. Is that the case here as well? 

No. We do not require our physicians to convert their entire practices to a concierge style. Instead, they offer this extra level of care and access to patients who they believe can benefit from our programs. This allows the doctor to operate a hybrid practice, accepting both concierge and non-concierge patients.

It is often believed that a doctor with a hybrid practice will provide superior care to his or her concierge patients because of the promises made to them. Naturally, this can create an array of problems within a practice and to prevent such occurrences from arising, LUX works closely with doctors’ staff to reserve ample time on the schedule for concierge patients, well in advance of scheduling other patients. This alleviates the concern for non-concierge patients, knowing that patients paying an extra fee will not cut into their appointment time, and removes the burden from the doctors and their office staff by keeping the work day organized.

Do the specialists also convert their full panels? If not, what are the implications? If so, how many patients do you need in the LUX network to make that possible?

At LUX, specialists concierge model operates just like primary care model. They may keep their traditional care patients, while adding concierge style clients to their practices. The only change we request to be made is for them to cater to our concierge clients with the breadth of LUX services, which is agreed upon prior to them joining our elite network.

What happens to a patient if their specialty isn’t represented within the LUX panel? And doesn’t the idea of having access to just a few specialists run counter to the goal of maximizing choice? It sounds like it might be just another narrow network (albeit a gold-plated one). 

Most major specialties are represented by quality physicians in our LUX network. However, if a patient needs a specialist that is not represented in our network, we do our due diligence to find a doctor who is willing to join our network, and meets our admittance criteria outlinee by our Physicians Advisory Board, to serve the client. We are expanding our network of physicians to include other specialties like pediatrics, neurology, and psychiatry. It is also pivotal to our business to have larger numbers within each specialty, which is another area we are currently developing.

What happens when a patient is hospitalized? Does LUX have concierge hospitalists?

The client’s LUX primary care and/or specialty physician(s) will visit the hospital to ensure continuation of care.

One concern I have about concierge practices is that they appeal to physicians who want an easier lifestyle. I don’t begrudge them that, but concierge patients may actually prefer that their physicians are totally dedicated to the job. What do you think?

LUX network physicians are totally dedicated to their patients. In fact, I think that practicing medicine through the concierge model allows physicians to be more dedicated because they have more time to allot to each patient. Concierge medicine compensates physicians for the time spent to build a strong physician-patient relationship, thus allowing them to be more successful at their job and the care of their patients.

All your doctors are in Beverly Hills. Can the model work elsewhere or is this setup just for the rich and famous?

Our innovative approach to concierge medicine is designed for those who put a priority on their health and wellness and value their time. We plan to expand our model to other cities in California like San Diego and San Francisco as well as nationally. Although our main target audience tends to be a more affluent population, our plans are not designed exclusively for them. Our custom pricing is contingent upon the client’s medical needs and we do our best to match that. Our prices also reflect the caliber of physicians we’ve selected to be a part of our network. Each one has a stellar reputation among patients and other clinicians.

By healthcare business consultant David E. Williams, president of Health Business Group.

September 18, 2015

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