When Dr. Neal Mogk began practicing medicine more than 25 years ago, his mission was to help people and take care of his patients.
But, through the years, the practice of medicine has changed. Now, instead of devoting his time to his patients, he has mountains of paperwork at the end of the day and his medical decisions are second-guessed and overseen by insurance companies.
Dr. Mogk decided things had to change, at least for him, so he could get back to what he originally set out to do: practice medicine.
To that end, he has decided to change his practice to a concierge practice. “I would say it allows for more personalized care,” he said.
While it will still be an office-based practice, he plans to reduce his patient load, go out on house calls and work more at Northland Hospice, where he is medical director.
And if all goes according to plan, he will be able to spend more time with each patient and still get home in time to have dinner with his wife.
“There also will be more time for preventative care and more time for individual objectives and treatment goals,” he said. “I think we [doctors] have just been pressed for time more and more over the years and we have lost the opportunity to do house calls or to see patients in the hospital. It was a gradual process. It actually got worse when we started the electronic medical records. It seems to take longer. It was the last straw. You don’t have enough time to take care of everything during the day.”
The process hit the tipping point when he found himself spending far more than 50 percent of his time taking care of paperwork. He says the practice of medicine has moved too far away from the patient these days.
“The worst part of it is dealing with insurance companies and Medicare and other programs. They require additional paperwork to order a medication, send a patient for a test, to justify the treatment to a reviewer. It’s as if they don’t want us to make the decision any more. They get to make the decisions,” said Dr. Mogk. “Documentation consumes more and more of our time, and this work piles on at the end of the day. For every six hours seeing patients, there are two hours of paperwork related to those patients.”
He would rather use that time to take care of his patients. “I’ll be able to reduce the number of patients in my practice so I can offer longer visits.”
The short visits, currently 15 minutes, will be expanded to 30 minutes. The longer ones will expand from 30 minutes to an hour. The practice includes Family Nurse Practitioner Karen Siegel, FNP, and Dr. Amy Clark, M.D., who joined the office this fall. Both will take up the slack and the patients who are happy with their current doctor office visits. “They can take the patients who elect not to sign up. We don’t have to tell anyone they can’t stay here,” he said.
Dr. Mogk will still be in the office, but his house calls will be for people who are too sick to come to the office. “I think it will be the older patient who has several medical problems or multiple medications, who is seeing multiple specialists and needs someone to make sure the medications aren’t interacting with each other,” he said.
You do have to sign up for the new practice and pay the annual fee of $600 a year, which can be paid annually or quarterly. “We’ve already had 125 people sign up,” he said. “That gets you enrolled in my practice. It will provide the longer visits and the ability for me to have time to do house calls. It also makes me available the same day you are sick.”
All of Dr. Mogk’s patients have been notified of the changes in the practice. “We are ready to answer their questions about what is involved and make sure they have coverage somewhere, either through the other practitioners in our office or somewhere else.”
Dr. Mogk had his medical training in Illinois and moved here in 1988 to begin his practice. He joined two other physicians who have since retired.
The Mogk family likes to cross-country ski and hike. He is married to his wife, Laura, and has two grown children. “We wanted to move out West to a place with mountains and snow. We love the community. We get to see people as we go through town. It is educated and outdoorsy. The population loves to enjoy the outdoors.” FBN
Dr. Mogk can be reached at the Beaver Street Family Practice, 715 N. Beaver Street in Flagstaff. To learn more, call 928-774-7345.