Interview with Dr. James Eells pt. 1

Dr. James Eells of James R. Eells, MD Concierge Medicine talks about his practice, his professional experiences, and everything in between. Aspiring writer Jack Sweeney conducted the interview.

Jack Sweeney: Was there a deciding point when you wanted to be a doctor, or did it just come about? What exactly made you want to study medicine?

Dr. James Eells: I completed a Bachelor of Science degree in biology and chemistry from the University of Nevada in 1985. During my coursework, the medical sciences had a lot of appeal to me. Also, I had served two years in Chile on a mission with my church in the early 1980s, and while I was there I saw how many people faced struggles in their lives due to inadequate healthcare. These experiences shaped my thoughts, and I felt that pursuing a medical degree would give me the opportunity to help people live healthier lives.

JS: What attracted you to the idea of concierge medicine?

DE: The very personalized nature of concierge medicine was very appealing once I learned about the concept. Too many medical practitioners do not get the opportunity to get to know their patients beyond their current symptoms and conditions. In my practice, I really get to know my patients and can track changes in their health due to these relationships. Patients in a concierge medicine setting get the exact care they need, and I can do this in a very personalized way. The concierge medicine model also allows us to be proactive, detecting health issues early on and preventing diseases from impacting patients’ lives.  Read more on the benefits of concierge practice:

JS: What is concierge medicine, in your own words?

DE: Concierge medicine is the practice by which a patient retains his or her own physician by means of an annual fee or retainer contract. This model of healthcare allows the physician to offer very personalized care to the patients who have become members of a concierge practice. Concierge physicians limit their patient load, giving them more time to be available for the patient clients they have been retained by. The whole purpose is to provide enhanced care to our patients – at James Eells MD, Ltd., we are able to really get to know our patients, their health histories, and concerns, and provide for them a wide range of services as part of the annual contract. Because I see fewer patients at my practice, I am able to be responsive to emergencies and urgent health issues around the clock. Traditional healthcare providers can’t claim that!

JS: What are the benefits of a flat yearly rate for your customers?

DE: Our yearly fee covers most of the services I provide in our clinic, including basic vaccinations, routine laboratory testing, annual physicals, x-rays, and comprehensive health evaluations, depending on the specifics of the personalized care membership the patient agrees to. This business model doesn’t rely on insurance co-pays, insurance fees, or deductibles for coverage. Another benefit is that this fee ensures that patients to our clinic get the best, most personalized care, with 24/7 access to medical services. I don’t see as many patients as traditional clinics, which helps me respond more quickly to specific needs and urgent health issues than I would be able to in other settings. Our clinic works with the patient to determine what sort of membership plan is suitable for his or her own unique health needs – one that fits any budget. It is important to me as a physician to provide the best care and preventive medicine for my patients regardless of their financial circumstances.

See Dr. James Eells online

JS: What are the benefits of patient connections? Portals, a full team, etc.

DE: At our clinic, we believe that a dedicated team is important to provide outstanding care for our patients. My staff and I strive to give our patients access to the entire team, helping to facilitate prescriptions and refill requests, scheduling appointments and well visits, and assisting with any paperwork or records requests. Teamwork is the key to having our clinic run smoothly, and it ensures our patients get the very best care possible. Our patients report that they feel the entire clinic is on their side, eliminating the hassles and confusion traditional medical clinics sometimes pass onto their clients.

JS: Dr. Eells was named America’s Top Physician in 2009 by the Research Council of America. Is this your greatest achievement? Describe what that means to you personally and professionally.

DE: Being named America’s Top Physician was a tremendous honor for me, both personally and professionally. I became a physician to help people with their health concerns, so to be recognized by the Research Council of America reinforces my commitment to outstanding patient care. It was a great feeling to be honored in such a way, and helped me understand that I made the right choice by pursuing concierge medicine in my clinic. I don’t let achievements like these go to my head, however; my staff and I are continually seeking ways to better help our patients, whether that is streamlining the prescription requests or making it easier to schedule routine or urgent appointments. I cannot rest on my laurels, as my patients depend on me for their healthcare needs.

JS: How was being a physician in the Air Force? Can it compare at all to being a doctor in the civilian world?

DE: Patient care is the same, whether you are a civilian physician or in the military. There were a lot of differences in the types of tasks I was responsible for as a military healthcare provider, though. Medical profiles are one – these are medical workups that determine whether or not a service member has duty restrictions or any physical training restrictions that may keep them from doing their jobs. A service member has to be deployable at a moment’s notice, and obviously anyone with certain medical conditions would not be able to safely travel to or perform their duties in a warzone. So, military physicians and healthcare providers spend a lot of time on pre-deployment screenings for the service members at their duty station. I always had to be ready to go to perform medical duties in a deployed setting as well, and for me that meant keeping current on any training requirements the Air Force had in place.

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