FLOYDS KNOBS — Though not a novel idea, what doctors Dan Eichenberger and D. Mark Bickers have planned is unique for Floyd County.
The physicians are eying a January launch of a new medical practice, Concierge Care of Southern Indiana, which they believe will provide better accessibility and service.
The two doctors will soon begin accepting up to 300 clients each in a membership-style general practice service that they say will cut through the red tape of lengthy wait times and delayed appointments.
“We’ve been really frustrated the last couple of years, watching the trend of health care and how it’s going,” Eichenberger said. “The corporate medicine platform doesn’t work well and patients aren’t satisfied, and physicians aren’t satisfied. Our motto for this practice is health care the way it should be, because that’s what patients want and deserve.”
Eichenberger and Bickers combine for over 60 years of medical experience.
Eichenberger was the CEO and president of the former Floyd Memorial Hospital and Health Services, now Baptist Health Floyd, for more than four years beginning in 2015. Bickers is a cardiologist who has had affiliations with several area hospitals. He said he’s excited about getting back into general medicine practice.
One of CCSI’s focal points will be easy access between patients and doctors. The physical office will be located in Floyds Knobs at 500 Lafollette Station, Suite 100, but Bickers emphasized that he and Eichenberger will constantly be available to patients by cell phone.
“We think we offer a high quality of medicine with a lot of experience, but what we also offer is accessibility. The ability to get your doctor 24/7, when you need it,” Bickers said.
Concierge physicians typically offer direct care to patients based on an annual membership fee. As a result, Bickers said there won’t be wait times for patients.
“We’re scheduling patients one per hour to give plenty of time for a full evaluation,” Bickers said.
The membership fees cover patients’ in-office costs, though Eichenberger said they will still need to maintain health insurance. Though members are required to pay an annual fee, it can actually come at a cost-savings to patients, he continued.
The reasoning lies with what the doctors described as under-qualified providers and over-diagnosis. A nurse practitioner may not be able to identify the cause of an ailment, or an urgent care facility may refer a patient to the emergency room because they can’t correctly address a health problem, they said.
“One trip to the emergency room and you’ve paid for that membership fee,” Eichenberger said in comparing the differences between more traditional medical practices and concierges.
“The health care system would certainly save money with this type of model.”
CCSI members will receive health risk, vision and hearing assessments. The facility will have the capability to provide pulmonary function testing, blood draws, EKGs, comprehensive lab screenings, body fat analysis, immunizations and custom wellness plans.
The office space is being built out and the doctors believe they’ll be ready to start seeing patients in January. The business website, www.conciergecaresi.com, is expected to be up and running early next week. When it goes live, members can begin signing up for the service.
Eichenberger believes concierge medical practices will become a trend, but he stressed that he and Bickers will only take 300 patients each to start. If that number is met quickly, they may consider bringing on another provider.
There are similar services in Louisville, but the doctors said they’re unaware of any complete concierge practices in Floyd County.
“We’re just introducing this concept and we’re quite confident that those people who find this to their liking and can afford it, will love it,” Bickers said.