SOUTH TAMPA — While health insurance coverage is a hot topic among politicians this election cycle, some doctors would prefer to opt out of traditional plans — and traditional offices, too.
For two area physicians — David Christianson and Jon Hemstreet — change has arrived.
They're making house calls for EliteCareMD, a "concierge" medical practice that launched two weeks ago. The doctors are based in an office near Kennedy and West Shore boulevards, and EliteCareMD also promises home or office delivery of prescriptions and plenty of personal attention.
That attention comes at a price. For an annual $4,000 fee, clients can have up to five visits from one of the two staff physicians, who can travel to home or office with equipment such as EKG or ultrasound machines. The annual fee also includes unlimited visits with one of three nurses and a comprehensive workup that includes lab tests, evaluation by a nutritionist and a personal trainer.
"What we're doing is bringing house calls back," said director of operations Nate Colleps. "We're trying to perform our own little revolution of health care by giving people better access to their medical team.
"In a concierge medical practice, physicians are more capable of having that one-on-one, personal visit. … I think a lot of doctors are craving that."
The practice was created when Christianson, a Tampa physician, joined forces with Hemstreet, a family practice doctor who opened a small concierge-style practice in St. Petersburg last year. EliteCareMD merged with Hemstreet's practice and plans to serve Pinellas and Hillsborough counties and points beyond.
"The physician-patient relationship is in itself a therapeutic thing," Hemstreet said. "This is a way to intensify that experience."
The practice accepts no insurance, Medicare or Medicaid, but can provide forms to clients to file with their own providers for reimbursement.
"We're looking for some people who may be underinsured or may not be able to get a good insurance plan," Colleps said. "We're also catering to those who want to supplement a very good insurance plan."
Colleps said EliteCareMD also has developed a network with doctors from 12 major sub-specialties. Doctors are on call around the clock; appointments made before noon are guaranteed for the same day. For more information, call (813) 321-8800 or visit www.elitecaremd.com.
Dollars and scents
Trista Page knows some people may not have money these days for a new car, lots of trendy clothes or a new sofa. But, she figures, they still like to shop.
Page, who opened a specialty soapmaking business out of her home last year, has taken over a small retail space at 3205 W Bay to Bay Blvd. The store, called Indigo Bee, will offer not only her signature soaps but a range of lotions, creams and bath products that can be formulated to order.
Shoppers will be able to combine their favorite product with any of 100 scents and a variety of colors.
"(People) buy my stuff because of the way it smells," Page said. "I came up with this as a way to offer every scent I could think of in really high-quality products. This way, anybody can be satisfied."
Page understands the problems in the economy pretty well (she used to work in the mortgage industry) but thinks that people will splurge on something small, even when they are holding tight to their wallets.
"It's a really tiny thing that can make people feel really good," she said.
Indigo Bee is expected to open in mid November. Hours will be 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday. Prices range from $6 for custom soap to $18 to $26 for custom lotions and other products.
Do you know something that should be everybody's business? Call (813) 226-3394 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.