How Independent Doctors are Thriving in 2015

By Melissa Jacobs

Sept. 30, 2015, was the fourth opening day of Dr. Jill Cohen’s practice. The first was in 1997, when she joined Great Valley Medical Associates, a seven-partner primary-care practice in Paoli. Then that practice became Great Valley Health, after the partners sold it to Main Line Health. But they chafed at some of the new rules, so they bought it back seven years later, reestablishing the practice as Great Valley Medical Associates while maintaining the affiliation with the healthcare system and its hospitals.

In September, Cohen initiated what she believes will be the last change in the way she practices medicine. While still a partner in GVMA, she has transitioned her practice to become part of MDVIP, a membership-based model. Now, Cohen’s patients have a host of medical services and benefits—chief among them, extended appointments. The first two are at least an hour each; follow-up appointments are 30 minutes. Having that much time with patients is a luxury, Cohen says with the same satisfied sigh people use when they talk about spa treatments. “It’s been an amazing experience,” she says. “I now get to have long, detailed conversations with my patients.”

But that luxury comes at a cost—to Cohen’s patients. The annual MDVIP membership fee is $1,650. It’s what’s known as concierge medicine, and Cohen knew that many of her patients wouldn’t—or couldn’t—pay. For that reason, she agonized over the decision to adopt the MDVIP model. 


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