Wonderful start !

Member First Name
| January, 19 2024 | for Andrew M. Appelbaum, MD

I switched from a Medicare Advantage plan with Kaiser and just started in January 2024 with Dr. Appelbaum. The difference is more than significant. Kaiser has good people, but it seems like they're more overworked the last year or two, with longer wait times for appointments, being treated more by PAs than MDs, and too often seeing someone different each time for the same issue --- among other things.

In contrast, I just had my MDVIP 'executive physical', and while I felt that the non-lab tests were a bit on the light side, this has nevertheless been probably the most complete testing I've ever had, to include two tests that were new to me (spirometry and ankle brachial index). One of these showed an issue I (we!) should monitor going forward. The (blood draw) lab results were also more complete that I've had elsewhere, including the associated analysis.

Dr. Appelbaum was excellent in the traditional physical exam portion and just talking through the results. He's clearly very experienced, listens well and responds to my questions in ways that are helpful and insightful, and took a great deal of time in so doing --- scheduled for a 60 minute exam we ended up going to about 90 minutes. And I just made a follow-up appointment for the specific day that worked best for me, which is a big improvement over my HMO.

At Kaiser I had a nominal primary care doctor, and she was good, but even for my annual physical exam I ended up seeing another doctor --- the primary care doctor relationship was just not there, they're just understaffed these days IMO. Last time I checked, to get an appointment with my primary care doctor would have required about a 2 month wait.
With the low patient ratio in this new practice I'm confident that I'll be seeing Dr. Appelbaum each time, with a much shorter wait for an appointment, and that he'll act as a coach as well as physician, keeping track of issues that I'm dealing with.

I would say that one shouldn't expect the absolute top-of-the line extensive tests, there is a bit of marketing there, but nevertheless what I am seeing is better than average testing and analysis, a larger set of tests. Coupled with much shorter wait times to see the same doctor (not sure yet about specialists), I'm pleased.

Specific benefits I've seen so far (in my very short thus far association) ? I will be starting on a new medication that will hopefully make minor improvements to two different issues I've been dealing with. Having a doctor that's easy to contact made it easy to get a prescription for a sea sickness patch for an upcoming trip; this might not have been too difficult via Kaiser, but I'm sure it would have involved more hoops to jump through. The new issue that the ankle brachial index turned up --- certainly worth knowing and tracking. The additional blood/lab tests that showed that I'm doing just fine on a number of issues that I didn't know about, as well as one other that shows my level is too high and that I want to further research and follow-up with the doctor. That's quite a lot of benefit just from this initial physical.

Bottom line: so far this seems to me to be worth the extra money.

Note: I'm asked to rate my doctor and MDVIP with a single rating, and I selected 5 stars. If I were able to rate them separately I would give Dr. Appelbaum and his staff 5 stars, but at this point I would rate MDVIP a little lower. In first starting up with them, I felt like they're too marketing-driven in what seemed almost deceptive pressuring to "sign up now". I do think the testing they provide is a real cut above what I had before, but at this point I have a lot more trust in the doctor and his practice than I do in the overall organization. Perhaps I'm overreacting on that point; I'll know perhaps more over time. One way that I'll know: to submit this review I'm required to check a box giving away all sorts of rights, including the right for MDVIP to edit this text before displaying anywhere. I await with interest what might result; if they do opt to edit (and somehow publish), I will certainly never agree to such a thing with them again. This is perhaps looking for trouble before I find it, but the marketing push at the beginning really rubbed me the wrong way.