This month Grace Care highlights one of our favorite doctors, Dr. Jeremy Fine from Cedars Sinai in Los Angeles. We’ve had the pleasure and privilege of working with Dr. Fine to serve our mutual clients since 2011. He is a true example of what we all want our doctor to be: available, compassionate, and someone who really takes the time to listen. Dr. Fine expanded to a concierge practice ten years ago so he can offer these things to his patients. We sat down with him recently to talk about his concierge practice and also to get advice on how to find the right doctor to fit your needs.
Dr. Jeremy Fine, a native of Johannesburg, South Africa, grew up in Los Angeles. He completed his medical training in internal medicine at Cedars Sinai Medical Center in 2004 and was then selected to be Chief Resident, a role in which he enjoyed teaching the practice and more importantly, the “art” of medicine to physicians and medical students.
Dr. Fine has served on the Executive Committee, Bioethics Committee and the Medical Informatics Committee at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center. He is also a former Clinical Instructor of Medicine at both the UCLA and USC Schools of Medicine. Dr. Fine is board certified in Internal Medicine. His practice philosophy incorporates an emphasis on not only listening to his patients but also hearing what they have to say.
He was chosen by Los Angeles Magazine as one of the Best Doctors in Los Angeles for his exemplary skills and innovative approach to medicine. He has also been selected as one of California’s Favorite Physicians. In 2010, he was voted Most Compassionate Doctor. We thank Dr. Fine for taking time away from his busy schedule to sit down with us, and below we feature his recent interview.
How has your practice of medicine changed since you started doing concierge services and what aspect do you enjoy most in contrast to your office practice?
I first went into medicine because I wanted to take care of all sorts of people, with different issues at different ages, and I started with a traditional practice. The problem is that with the system we have, the doctors are driven to see lots of patients everyday. The effect of this, is that the doctor is unable to spend lots of time with each patient due to time sensitivities and is only allowed to address a couple of issues during each visit. This doesn’t allow the doctor to really get to know their patients on a deeper level and spend time learning how they are really doing and feeling. I found the traditional practice too hard for these reasons, which led me to open a more personal concierge practice.
The concierge model allows me to spend more time with my patients. While the practice volume goes down, the intimacy between doctor and patient goes up. The relationship is intensified and solidified and it goes to a deeper level that might not otherwise be available in the traditional model, due to lack of time. So, I think it’s enhanced my ability to really get to know my patients more, spend more time with them, and dive into their personal and medical issues deeper than if I didn’t have this type of practice.
For most of my patients 90% of their care is still in the office, but they can now call me on my cell phone and I go to their homes after hours or on the weekends. So, the practice is the same but it’s different in the availability and time allotment for each patient.
When did you decide to transition to a concierge practice?
I decided to expand my practice to a concierge model in 2005.
What do you think is the most important thing (or things) that elders and their families can do to secure good health care and get the care they need?
It’s important for them to find a doctor that they click with and who they can take time to get to know. Especially people who are older and have a lot of life experiences and things going on in their lives at all levels. It’s imperative they have someone they like, can trust and most importantly who is available. They should also find a doctor that has an approach to medical care that is consistent with them. For instance, some people are more aggressive with their medical care, while others like a more of an eastern approach to ailments. For these reasons, it’s imperative for a doctor to really have time to get to know their patients and to learn how to treat them in a way that they prefer. I think it’s important to find someone you like on a medical basis, but also on a psychosocial basis.
What benefit has care management been to you and how do you see the care manager’s role in patient centered care?
Care managers are very important because they are a strong liaison and link to patients, families and all of the medical staff. The doctors cannot be there all the time and in the end the care managers are really “quarterbacking” the case. If they see something that the doctor doesn’t see, they help identify problems and more importantly solutions to those problems. Care managers spend a tremendous amount of time with the family, getting to know them and understanding their needs. Without them the team wouldn’t function properly, but with them medical needs are identified and carried out successfully. They are on all levels crucial to the patients care since they not only act as a link to the patient and the doctor, but also a link between the caregivers, other medical staff and the patient themselves.
Grace Care Management does a great job advocating for the patient. I’ve always been happy with the care they provide and they are a pleasure to work with. Grace Care is very reliable and trustworthy in all areas and they consistently contribute to the patient’s well-being. It is a pleasure to work with them!
What is your dream of where you would you like to take your concierge practice in the future?
For now we service the local LA community, but it is always nice to meet like-minded people who do what we do and to keep possibilities open. If there are other people in other counties with my same way of practice, I hope to meet with them. It would be great to create a system where we can reach and care for more people together.
To find out more information on Dr. Fine’s private practice, please visit his website at www.jeremyfinemd.com.