Access to Excellence
"Primary care practitioners in several states ... decided to restructure their practices in a way that enables them to see a much smaller number of patients and to spend more time with the ones they do see. Patients enrolled in these practices, referred to as "luxury primary care," pay an annual fee to the practice. In return for this annual fee, they can expect certain amenities that are not ... part of primary care, such as access to their physicians 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, using cell phones or prompt paging devices. The primary care provider is no longer under pressure to see as many patients as possible each day, because the up-front fee paid by the patient changes the financial structure of the practice. Many physicians are enthusiastic about this new approach because it allows them to take more time in providing care for individual patients. Many patients who dislike the rapid pace and tight schedules that have become characteristic of primary care in the United States are also attracted to this model."
New England Journal of Medicine, April 11, 2002
After practicing internal medicine at the Eisenhower Medical Center since 1990, Dr. St. Louis introduced the first-of-its-kind "Luxury Primary Care" medical practice in the Coachella Valley in 2003.
Since then, patients have experience the "ideal" doctor’s office: the assurance of unprecedented physician access, including immediate contact 24/7 via cellular telephone or direct pager; the security of cutting-edge medical care with added emphasis on disease prevention and health promotion; and the comfort and convenience of unparalleled personal attention. Amenities include same day appointments, frequent and extensive physicals, unhurried visits with no waiting, even housecalls when necessary. The headaches, hassles and delays often encountered in our local medical systems are eliminated because we are each patient’s personal advocate with subspecialty consultants, radiology and laboratory services, and other ancillary medical care providers. The size of the practice is carefully restricted (no more than 200 total patients) to ensure that at all times, "each patient is the only patient." This arrangement offers a renewed opportunity for an "old-fashioned" patient-doctor relationship, working year-round towards optimizing each individual’s good health. The worries and discomforts of medical problems are not compounded by delays in communication or scheduling or by frustrations in arranging subspecialty testing or consultation. Urgent conditions are managed by us, not by an overburdened emergency room doctor. Office evaluation, explanation and treatment, health screening and preventive education are never pressured by time constraints. Year-round continuity of care is encouraged through direct communication with out-of-town physicians. Our physicians continue to pursue traditional standards of medical excellence - patience, empathy, attention to detail, scholarship, conscientious follow-up, and respect for the personal needs of each patient.