Tag Archives: Internal Medicine Associates of Westport

Unsung Heroes #144

Every medical professional today is a hero. Doctors, nurses, technicians and anyone else who dons protective equipment to help others in the face of this pandemic is owed our overwhelming, everlasting thanks.

Jessica Ryan wants to single out others, for their work long before — and now during — the current crisis.

Fourteen years ago — the day after completing a triathlon — a texting teenager hit her motorcycle. She had always been healthy, and had no primary care physician.

She lost her left foot, suffered a compound hip fracture and, in the years since, has had 9 bone infections. The last one was caught by blood work from Dr. David Baum. All the metal was removed, and she’s never felt better.

She met Dr. Baum shortly after her accident. “He hasn’t missed a thing,” Jessica says. “His instinct to check the most normal thing has been life-saving for me.”

Dr. David Baum

Dr. Baum was part of Internal Medical Associates. Dr. Robert Altbaum led the group with great wisdom and insight.

Three years ago he stayed on the 3rd floor at 333 Post Road West. His colleagues moved to the ground floor, where they established Concierge Physicians of Westport.

“These doctors make sure that one small thing doesn’t turn into, or is part of, something more serious,” Jessica says.

“The commitment of everyone in the office is amazing. They send out short, informative emails. Their tele-health system is incredible. Their recommendations for specialists are flawless. They stand next to you not just physically, but emotionally. I’ve never had better care in my life.”

She adds, “Dr. Baum or a nurse calls back within minutes. He has never rushed me off the phone. He never makes me feel like a hunch should be ignored.”

Jessica hails both Dr. Altbaum and the Concierge physicians: Dr. Baum, Dr. Jill Denowitz, Dr. Nina Karol and Dr. Robert Teltser.

At a time when Westporters take their health seriously, she wants everyone to know how well taken care of she feels. Done!

(To nominate an Unsung Hero, email dwoog@optonline.net)

Concierge Care Comes To Westport

For 27 years, Warren Steinberg‘s waiting room was always filled.

The Westport internist had a thriving practice.  He saw 30 patients a day — there were 2500 in all — and they loved him.

Soon, things will slow down.  He’ll have only 600 patients.  But instead of 15-minute appointments, they’ll enjoy a leisurely 30.  They’ll have his cell number and email address, for direct 24/7 access.

Plus a “free” physical and lab tests, and coverage for a few more incidentals.

The fee for this more personal touch — called “concierge medicine” — is $2,000 a year.

Soon, some of Warren Steinberg's patients will spend as much time with him as Marcus Welby did with all.

Dr. Steinberg’s 1900 patients unwilling — or unable — to pay the $2,000 up-front fee will have a new physician.  Dr. Steinberg is working to get at least 1 new person into his office.  He will transition slowly to the new model, and will not leave any current patient without a doctor.

It was not an easy decision, says Wayne Lipton.  He’s the founder of Concierge Choice Physicians (CCP), a private Long Island-based company that offers marketing, accounting and design services to concierge doctors.  Dr. Steinberg joins CCP’s 180 doctors, in 18 states.

Lipton has known Dr. Steinberg since the 1990s.  “I always thought he’d be a good candidate for this,” Lipton says.  “He’s warm and genuine.  He knows his patients on a real, personal level.

“But as he was getting older — as everyone does — he realized he couldn’t continue to see so many patients a day.  Medicine has become a revolving door.  With rising costs,  doctors have to see more patients just to maintain revenue.  That means they have less time with each of them.”

Steinberg’s decision was not easy.  “I believe it took Warren at least 4 years to do this,” Lipton says.  “Change is not easy.  Warren’s commitment to adding a doctor, or doctors, to his practice shows how important his patients are to him.”

Steinberg is not the first concierge physician in Westport.  Six of the 7 members of Internal Medicine Associates are affiliated with Lipton’s CCP — though in a hybrid model.  A small number of their patients pay for concierge medicine; the rest are part of the doctors’ traditional practice.

One consolation for anyone lamenting the move to concierge service:  The $2,000 fee may be tax-deductible.  (Lipton advises patients to check with their tax advisors.)

Also worth noting:  The $2,000 fee is nowhere near the top of the scale.  Lipton says at least one Fairfield County concierge physician charges $10,000 a year.

He is not, Lipton quickly adds, a CCP doctor.