New wave of physicians join concierge medicine movement

Drs. Carrie Cardenas and Scott Tong join the growing group of Specialdocs clients in the SoCal area

As the demand for concierge medicine continues to rise nationwide, the high-touch approach to care is of particular appeal in the high-tech environs of Southern California.

“We’ve seen an enormous surge in interest among area physicians and patients in the last decade, as the effects of the extraordinary care made even more possible with concierge medicine become evident,” says Terry Bauer, CEO of Specialdocs, an industry pioneer in concierge practice transitions and management.

For Carrie Cardenas, MD, taking the reins of a concierge medicine practice in San Diego this year represented a unique opportunity to reshape her career with care she has long sought to provide patients. An internal medicine physician since 2005, Dr. Cardenas had become increasingly frustrated with the direction of healthcare.

“The human experience is often lost in the medical mainstream,” she says. “There was never time to listen or hear my patient’s life story. As a result, I began to lose the genuine joy of practicing medicine.”

The change to a concierge model this fall was “transformative,” says Dr. Cardenas. “Without question, the ability to connect with each patient in a holistic and very personal way is what I value most about my new practice.”

Scott Tong, MD, looks forward to restoring his love for medicine and role as patient educator when South Bay Concierge Medicine launches early next year.

“I’ll be able to return to the way I cared for patients 20 years ago, with time to help each one stay healthy and age gracefully,” he says. “This is almost impossible to achieve in a traditional model.”

Bauer says concierge medicine offers a most viable solution for dedicated doctors struggling with a challenging environment.

“Physicians are barraged with higher operating expenses, reduced reimbursement and a focus on volume-based care, and frequently need to spend more time with the computer than the patient,” he says. “All are major contributors to medicine’s burnout factor.”

He continues: “The much-reduced patient panels and membership model of concierge medicine offer physicians a rare chance to step off the treadmill and practice medicine the way they’ve always envisioned.”

In Atlanta, Marc Harrigan, MD, a highly-respected primary care physician with nearly 20 years of experience, is opening his new practice, Concierge Medicine of Buckhead, in January 2019.

“My philosophy of patient care is simple,” says Dr. Harrigan. “I care for every patient as if they were a cherished family member, and in fact, I consider them exactly like that.”

[Read more about the recent expansion of concierge medicine in Atlanta]

For Morris Hasson, MD, the 2012 change to a concierge model has enabled him to develop a concierge wellness program for Orange County residents and corporations, spend extra time with his patients and enjoy family life.

Since her 2015 transition, Monica Sarang, MD, has maintained a work-life balance that has proved elusive for many physicians, particularly women.

“I wanted to be home in time to read to my children and put them to bed, and give my patients as much time as needed to answer all their questions. Concierge medicine was – and still is – the best way to achieve both,” she says.

About Specialdocs Consultants

Specialdocs has provided expert guidance to physicians across the country since 2002, helping them transform their lives with concierge medicine and remaining with them long afterwards.