During the interview, Dr. Kim told a story of a long-time patient with macular degeneration. Having the time on her schedule to really listen to her patient confirmed Dr. Kim’s conviction about the benefits of her concierge model.
Exploring various concierge medicine approaches, Dr. Kim described the direct primary care model in which doctors charge cash only rather than bill insurance. By taking out the middle man (insurance company), the doctor can offer drastically reduced prices because the cost of providing care is reduced. No filling out paperwork for insurance companies getting permission to do something for the patient. This is the model used by some primary care doctors. Others do a “hybrid” model of charging insurance and a membership fee. Concierge models have seen accelerated growth in the past twenty years because it has the potential to achieve better outcomes for patients by allowing them more time and attention with their doctor.
Specialty practices typically can’t use an all cash model because of the high cost of many of their procedures, many of which are done outside the office (ie. surgeries). Dr. Kim has successfully transitioned to a hybrid model that combines a membership fee with insurance. Her patients love the short office wait time and more time talking about their medical care and her guidance on what questions to ask their primary care physician or other specialists involved in their care.. Dr. Kim loves that she can blend traditional ophthalmology and retina expertise with an emphasis on overall wellness.
One of the key themes Dr. Kim emphasized was the significance of patients playing an active role in their healthcare journeys. Better communication with healthcare providers can significantly enhance the prevention and treatment of illnesses, as well as the overall delivery of healthcare services. She believes that the relationship created by time and attention with strengthened connectedness encourages more understanding, engagement, and compliance on the patient’s part. All this ultimately leads to better healthcare outcomes for the patient. Ultimately this is an answer to skyrocketing healthcare costs because proactive care is less expensive than reactive care treatments. This also creates a team where both patient and doctor are involved in decision making and care and not just the doctor.
During the interview, Dr. Kim referenced Robert Pearl’s insightful book, “Mistreated,” which critically examines the American healthcare system and challenges the perception of its quality. Medical errors are the 3rd leading cause of death in America because physicians are overworked and burnt out and siloed into specialty areas with little time for effective coordination of care and meaningful communication between specialists that are involved in the patient’s care. This is a big motivation for why Dr. Kim transitioned to her hybrid concierge model.
ABOUT DR. VIVIAN KIM:
As an eye retina care specialist and surgeon, Dr. Vivian Kim has devoted over two decades to providing exceptional eye medical and surgical treatments for retinal conditions. Her focus on macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy, complex retinal detachments, and vitreo-retinal and macular diseases has earned her a stellar reputation in Central California .
As the President and CEO of a solo retina practice, Dr. Kim has recently transitioned the practice to a concierge practice model. Dr. Kim offers her patients a holistic approach to healthcare that blends traditional ophthalmology with a focus on overall wellness, delivered in a setting of reduced waiting times, increased attention, and more education.
Apart from her medical accomplishments, Dr. Kim is an accomplished concert pianist, ballroom dancer, and photographer passionate about lifelong learning and sharing insights and knowledge on a wide range of topics that can benefit her patients. ((author and sought-after public speaker, sharing her knowledge and insights on a wide range of healthcare topics))