Doctors Flock to Concierge Practices

When one of Lisa Mehalick’s six children falls ill, she calls Dr. Scott Serbin’s cellphone, and he comes to her Pine home.

As they did in the 1950s, some doctors today make house calls.

Serbin is among an increasing number of physicians nationwide who are fed up with traditional medical practices that they say have grown complicated and impersonal. Their antidote is to form so-called concierge practices in which they collect monthly cash fees from patients instead of insurance reimbursements, and reduce the number of patients they treat to provide personalized service, such as visiting patients at home and taking calls 24 hours a day.

And many people, tired of long waits to see doctors and rushed appointments, are seeking out concierge practices.

“It’s a movement that’s growing at a rate of about 25 percent a year,” said Tom Blue, chief strategy officer of the American Academy of Private Physicians, a Richmond, Va., nonprofit that represents concierge doctors.

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