What is a membership style medicine?

Dr. Levens runs a membership-based program designed to foster greater connectivity with your physician and conveniences that simply aren’t always possible in today’s high volume traditional-style practices. Lower numbers allow patients to receive a heightened practical medical experience with their physician.


This type of practice will allow your doctor more time with you to:

Get to know you as an individual with unique lifestyle and health profile
Collaborate, comfort, review treatment regimens and work towards health goals
Advocate with specialists and other care providers on your behalf
Be available when you need us with an appointment that starts on time

This type of practice is a more personal relationship between a patient and a primary care physician in which the patient pays an annual fee or retainer. In exchange for the retainer, doctors provide enhanced care, including principally a commitment to limit patient loads to ensure adequate time and availability for each patient. This includes personalized care and a watchful eye on patients at times of need.

The practice has been referred to as concierge medicine, retainer medicine, membership medicine, cash-only practice, and direct care. While all "concierge" medicine practices share similarities, they vary widely in their structure, payment requirements, and form of operation. They differ in the level of service provided and the fee charged. Estimates of U.S. doctors practicing direct pay/membership-based medicine now are in the thousands and growing every day. The primary need of a concierge doctor is availability. 

These types of physicians' care for fewer patients than those in a conventional practice, ranging from 50 patients per doctor to five hundred, compared to 3,000 to 6,000 patients that the average traditional physician now sees every year, (Dr. Levens had just over 4,800 in his previous traditional practice). All claim to be accessible via telephone or email at any time of day. The annual fees vary widely, ranging, on average, from US$1650 to US$10,000 per year for an individual. Some of the other benefits of concierge healthcare are Phone medicine, worldwide access to the doctor, and personalized hospitalist team.

Membership based vs. conventional practice

Membership based practices remove barriers to accessing care whenever it is needed: the annual fee often includes most or all physician services. 

Simply stated, the biggest difference between conventional primary care and retainer-based practices is that concierge takes a flat up-front rate fee whereas in other model's co-pays equal or exceed the costs in co-pays and deductibles over the period of the year. The restraints of insurance based clinical practices make concierge medicine a choice for those attending strictly to the practice of medicine and the recipient of more personalized and individualized care.

Gerald Levens MD