The New IRMS Healsa Program – What Concierge Medicine Means To Me

Serena H. Chen, M.D.Healthcare is growing more complicated every day and as patients pay more and more out of pocket regardless of the type of health insurance, people are realizing the high cost of healthcare and the value of having access to a physician that you can trust. As insurance companies lower reimbursement rates to physicians, hospitals and other healthcare providers, patients get less time and less information from their providers. However, sometimes that face to face time, that interpersonal connection can make all the difference in the world for an individual with a medical problem. Not in terms of outcomes. The insurance companies have plenty of data to demonstrate that spending very little time with the patient does not necessarily have a negative impact upon their health or their treatment success. In fact there is a strong drive in our current system to structure care in a way that the physician spends less and less time with the patient and physician extenders (nurses, nurse practitioners, physician assistants, medical assistants, counselors, the insurance company website, etc.) take over a lot of what physicians used to do. These studies show that you can have excellent outcomes and results from treatment and spend very little time with your doctor.

Concierge medicine is an attempt to go back to a time when the physician and the person she was treating had both a personal and a professional relationship. At IRMS NJ, we feel very lucky because of the nature of our specialty to be able to spend much more time during visits with our patients than most primary care providers. We feel strongly that you should know what is going on with your body and your health and your treatment. As women and moms and sisters and patients ourselves, we have always strived to give you the kind of care that we would want for ourselves. We don’t want some person in a white coat to just say – trust me I know what I am doing. We want to know: “what does NGS stand for and what is ICSI and PGS and AMH and FSH and why is this important to me and my health and to the family I am trying to have?” We know that our patients are incredible people who are smart enough to understand these concepts and to participate in making decisions about their bodies and need our help to guide them and treat them with care and respect. We know that we deliver the latest in reproductive technology. We are blessed to have one of the most experienced and outstanding IVF laboratories in the world and to participate in exciting scientific research. However, the thing that we enjoy the most is being able to meet and connect and get to know some amazing people every day from so many different backgrounds. We like holding people’s hands through treatment and helping you to become healthier through this journey.


So when we met Dr Bruce Aronwald and the people at Healsa, we felt that we were already practicing concierge medicine. And indeed the more I look around at other reproductive endocrine practices, I see that we really are practicing concierge medicine – much more individualized care, patient empowerment through counseling and education, an empathetic environment, an acknowledgement that decision making for each patient involves not just medical factors, but multiple other factors including logistics, insurance issues, emotional and mental readiness, relationship issues, religious concerns, etc. and that unless we sit down and help sort those things out with our patients we end up treating people like they are just part of a protocol, instead of treating people the way we want to treat them – as individuals. We see that reproductive medicine, just like other fields, is just getting bigger and bigger and that the trend and the pressures of modern healthcare are leading to larger practices, higher patient volumes and more protocol-driven care.

We have decided as a practice to take the good parts of modern healthcare – the technology that is allowing us to have higher and higher pregnancy rates, and lower complication rates – and to avoid the parts of modern healthcare that we do not like – spending less and less time with patients and treating patients according to standard protocols instead of taking into account individual patient circumstances and patient autonomy.

Healsa is not about changing what we do for our patients every day but it is about creating a space and a program to give more of that kind of individualized attention to the patients that feel that they would like even more contact and connection with their physician then is already available at IRMS. We really enjoy excelling at what we do and we feel that this is the kind of care we deliver better than anyone else. So, having a program that takes our usual individualized, hand-holding approach to the next level seems like a natural. I think that patients that are not in Healsa will continue to feel that they are getting more individual attention than at any other reproductive medicine practice in the NY/NJ area, and the very best of medical care. Healsa patients will get perks that will not change their pregnancy success rates, but might make the journey here a more comfortable, make their days go more smoothly and give the patients that need it the extra support that can help them proceed with their treatment with more confidence.

For more information regarding IRMS’ Healsa program – please drop us a line or contact us at (973) 322-8286.

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