Dr. Laurie Birkholz opened her Ms.Medicine concierge practice in west Michigan in April 2020 – right in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic. Dr. Birkholz anticipated an uphill battle to get established in such an uncertain climate, so she set a goal of enrolling 100 patients by the end of her first year in practice.
No one was more surprised than Dr. Birkholz herself when she reached her goal just 100 days after opening her doors.
“One hundred patients in 100 days,” she said. “I’m so proud of my team, and so grateful to Ms.Medicine for giving me the opportunity to practice medicine the way I want.” Dr. Birkholz credits the Ms.Medicine concierge care model with helping her establish a thriving practice despite the challenges created by COVID-19.
For example, she believes the lack of corporate red tape allowed her to stay nimble, giving her the latitude she needed to meet the challenges of the ever-changing, evolving-in-real-time pandemic.
“Concierge care turned out to be a big advantage in this environment,” she explained. “I had the autonomy I needed to rise to the occasion. When rapid testing was introduced, we were immediately able to roll it out. As the owner of my own practice, I didn’t have to wait for anybody’s approval.”
The smaller patient load and elimination of quotas also allowed for longer visits, giving Dr. Birkholz the opportunity to build relationships and offer comfort as patients grappled with the uncertainty of the “new normal.”
“I think the pandemic is quickly bringing the shortcomings of the traditional insurance-based practice into sharp relief,” Dr. Birkholz said. “My patients and I truly appreciated the chance to connect and really talk about what’s been happening, and how it affects them personally. I’m able to help them in a way I’ve never had the opportunity to do before now, and at a time when they most needed that extra comfort.”
Thanks to her new autonomy and the stable income of a concierge practice, Dr. Birkholz could bring that comfort directly to her community, reaching people beyond her own patients. “It’s such a good feeling to give back to my community, especially in a medical crisis, and the freedom I now have let me come up with several ways to do that. I used my social media to offer myself as a trusted voice for the people of west Michigan and put the constant stream of medical information into layman’s terms. And when we rolled out rapid testing for our patients, we were able to offer it to the community at large at the same time. I felt like we were really making an impact.” To learn more about opening your own Ms.Medicine concierge practice, click here.