After spending 20 years working for Scripps Clinic, Dr. Amy Witman has opened her own practice to offer personalized medical care in a small office setting with same day and after-hours access to your physician.
Witman, who formerly worked in Scripps Clinic offices in Encinitas and Carmel Valley since 1998, joined Dr. Richard N. Wolf in December to provide medical care like it used to be – ample time to discuss all your concerns and a doctor who helps you navigate an increasingly complex medical system.
Her unique practice model offers a variety of appointment options including visits in the office, by phone, via secure telemedicine (like Skype) or even email. Most new patient appointments are typically an hour while return appointments are usually about 30 minutes, but the consultations can be as long as they need to be. This allows her to get back to basics of healthcare – talking to patients and getting their story. “That’s where the diagnosis comes from nine times out of 10.” In the traditional medical model, “doctors are in such a hurry they don’t have time to really get to the heart of things and make the right diagnosis. Sometimes you go back to the doctor multiple times or you may end up in the ER.” In this novel approach to Primary Care, Witman takes the time needed to deliver the highest quality personalized care.
Witman has full electronic access to the Scripps Clinic system through its electronic medical record, Epic. This allows her to coordinate care with specialists who she’s known over her 20 years with Scripps Clinic. She also works with and refers to specialists at UCSD and can view most of UCSD records electronically as well. She works with private practice physicians based at Scripps Memorial Hospital La Jolla and Encinitas, as well as those based at Sharp and Kaiser.
Witman’s new private practice has an electronic health record with a secure Patient Portal where you can view her office visit notes and records, book appointments, request refills, and send messages to Witman or her staff directly.
Some people ask how this differs from Conceirge Medicine. Most concierge practices charge an annual fee ranging from $2,000-$3,000. Witman does not charge any annual fee which means you can be seen without a very large up-front cost.
Witman does not bill insurance for office visits, so patients pay for services at the time of the visit. For those with PPO insurance, her office provides a receipt at the end of every visit with billing codes for patients to submit to their insurance, often getting reimbursed 50 to 80 percent after meeting their deductible.
The receipts also work for healthcare spending accounts.
Witman said it’s important to understand that patient’s insurance is still used for all other healthcare issues – medications and procedures such as lab work, X-rays, mammograms, visits with specialists, emergency room visits are still billed as usual through patient’s insurance. The only piece that isn’t billed through insurance is your primary care visit.
She said most of her patients who come to the doctor once or twice a year typically spend less than $1,000 annually for their primary care visits. Billing is based primarily on time and rates range from $350-$500 per hour.
While she said patients can pay more out of pocket than they would with an insurance co-pay, many of her patients find the benefits worth the cost. Patients feel there is value in being able to see their Primary Care doctor the same or next day, getting appointments that work around their schedule, and being able to consult with the doctor without leaving their home or office. For patients without insurance, they have partnered with Lab Corp to offer wholesale/reduced pricing for lab tests that are dramatically below typical retail values, Witman said.
“For example, a woman I just saw, she was having ear problems. She called at noon and we told her to come in right away,” Witman said. “She got in and she got out. She was thrilled because it was quick, she didn’t waste a lot of time and there wasn’t any waiting. That was worth it to her.”
Overall, Witman believes this type of practice allows for a better relationship between doctors and patients.
Witman’s practice, at 12395 El Camino Real, Suite 115, San Diego, 92130, is open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. She is also available for phone consultations during office hours and after-hours, including nights and weekends.
For more information, visit www.doctoramywitman.com.
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