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‘It’s Phenomenal:’ Concierge Medicine Helps Pinehurst Woman Own Her Care
| Date Posted: 3/2/2022
PINEHURST, N.C. -- When it comes to health, working with a trusted physician who understands your needs and acts as a true partner in your care is invaluable.
Pinehurst resident Ann Dixon says she’s found that partner in Miller Johnstone, M.D., and the care she receives through FirstHealth’s new Concierge Medicine service. Dixon decided to try the service shortly after it launched in June 2021.
“I moved back to the Sandhills after being away for 30 years, and when I came back, I was quite a bit older, and things had changed. I tried to navigate the area’s health care options on my own, making appointments and things like that, but I had specific needs that weren’t being met,” Dixon said. “I was very frustrated, so I decided to join Concierge Medicine. I have been nothing but pleased.”
Dixon said she wanted “more” out of her relationship with a primary care physician. Enter Johnstone, one of FirstHealth’s geriatric medicine physicians. Johnstone said he’s been able to get to know Dixon better, and the extra time with her allows him to provide better care.
“I’m interested in my patients’ stories – what makes them who they are and how they live their lives,” Johnstone, a primary care physician and fellowship-trained geriatrician, said. “That’s certainly true in Ann’s case. I’m thankful that we can provide whole-person care and address the many facets that impact a person’s overall wellbeing.”
Concierge Medicine physicians have direct access to FirstHealth’s specialty physicians and convenient laboratory testing. In Dixon’s case, she has seen a urogynecologist, physical therapists and cardiologists who have helped address several of her needs.
“I’ve had listening ears and the training and guidance required to get me the care I need,” she said. “I know I probably could have gotten answers to some of my medical questions on my own, but Dr. Johnstone and the Concierge team have made a huge difference. It’s been refreshing to be able to address issues in a timelier manner.”
The practice’s dedicated patient advocate also helps members navigate specialty providers and schedule appointments, and physicians can share notes and test results easily through the system’s electronic medical records.
Dixon said the advocate was key in helping her coordinate additional appointments. “I took a trip to the Middle East last summer, a trip that had been postponed for 2 years,” she said. “Concierge was great about getting me a COVID-19 test exactly when I needed it so I could go, and more importantly, get back home. I can’t explain how satisfied I’ve been.”
More recently, Johnstone helped Dixon navigate a medication issue, leading to another appointment with a specialist.
“I’m having normal reactions to a medication, so I’m not dying tomorrow, but the side effects have been upsetting,” she said. “The last time I went to Dr. Johnstone and explained my symptoms, he wrote a letter to the heart doctor to set the framework for my visit with them. Dr. Johnstone is willing and wants to take the time to do this because he knows me so much better. It’s phenomenal.”
About Concierge Medicine
Concierge Medicine offers enhanced patient-physician connections and health care tailored to each individual patient. Patients become members of Concierge Medicine by paying a yearly membership fee. Basic membership includes a host of benefits including:
- 24/7 access to a primary care physician
- Guaranteed same- or next-day appointments
- Extended office visits to address all of your concerns
- Emphasis on lifestyle, wellness and disease prevention
- Dedicated patient advocate to coordinate testing and specialty care appointments
- Direct access to FirstHealth Moore Regional Hospital
Patients can also opt to join at the Signature membership level, which includes all basic member benefits as well as annual membership to FirstHealth Fitness Total Health, personal training (30-minute weekly sessions for eight weeks, then one per quarter, for a total of 11 visits per year), quarterly nutrition counseling and bi-monthly massages.
FirstHealth Concierge Medicine is located at 1690 US 1 in Southern Pines and serves patients throughout the Sandhills region. For more information, call (910) 684-5499 or visit www.firsthealth.org/concierge.