It’s Winnie writing for the week. Like any parent, I dread my daughter getting sick. It’s always a struggle to call the doctor and drag her in for an appointment when all she wants to do is rest in bed. Not to mention the hazards of strapping a sweaty, possibly puking, possibly pooping kid into a car seat and hoping nothing goes south on the way there. It’s like Sick Kid Russian Roulette!
And that’s IF you can get a same-day appointment. When I’m lucky, the nurse squeezes my daughter in, but then I’m at their mercy, sitting in the waiting room for ages wondering if we’re all just going to get sicker after this visit.
After years of stressing over this broken system, I learned about a local pediatrician, Dr. Nitin Gupta, who is the Netflix of doctors. (Unlimited access in my house for a small monthly fee?! Mind blown!) I wanted to learn more so we visited him at his wellness office in Dobbs Ferry to get the scoop.
What is concierge care?
I’m tired of my kid being just a name and birth date in a file. As parents, we want our doctors to know our children, listen to them, and most important: care about them. And when they’re sick, why shuttle them to an office with other sick kids, potentially making them or the other kids infected? What happened to the good ol’ days of house calls?
Well, the good old days are back: enter Concierge Care. Nitin Gupta’s practice is called Rivertowns Pediatrics. It’s a subscription-based service where parents pay an affordable monthly fee for unlimited access to the doctor via phone, text, or email. No more worry about repeated pleas with an answering service to get the on-call doctor to help you out.
Dr. Gupta is a 21st-century kind of guy. During our interview, he excused himself a few times to get back to a worried parent or evaluate a photo of a rash that was texted out to him. I could practically feel the parent’s panic subside through the phone as he typed his immediate reply. That’s my kind of doctor!
When my daughter and I walked into the waiting room, my first impression was Wow! It doesn’t feel like a doctor’s office. The waiting room was bright, cheery, and intimate. There’s no front desk or receptionist because Dr. Gupta doesn’t overlap patients like a traditional physician’s office.
He came out and greeted us personally. He was very patient and did his best to put my super-shy daughter at ease. He gave her a choice of doing her check-up in the waiting room or in his office. Dr. Gupta was friendly and warm, and very soon had my daughter giggling. She totally loved the experience and after we left, said that she wouldn’t mind going to the doctor if we can go back to Dr. Gupta!
The doctor does not accept traditional insurance and suggests that you still keep your kids insured, though with his care you may be able to downgrade to a less inclusive plan. Even with insurance, the monthly fee for his service could easily be less than the combined monthly cost of traditional copays, test fees, and trips to urgent care or the ER. His fee includes wellness and sick visits as well as common shots and tests such as Strep, Flu, and Mono. He can even do sutures and carries many commonly prescribed medications, so if your child needs a prescription, he might be able to give it to you on the spot! Anyone who has stood around CVS with a miserable kid knows that’s worth its weight in gold!
As current member Imaan Chowdury notes “Dr. Gupta is the best thing that happened to me.” The convenience of appointments on your schedule means parents don’t have to take time off work or take kids out of school to make an appointment. And if your baby gets sick after hours, you don’t have to go to the emergency room or late-night urgent care center.
Patricia T. drives down from Rockland County to see Dr. Gupta with her three sons. “Dr. Gupta is a special person. It’s hard to find a doctor like him.” Case in point: due to one son’s need for special care, Patricia frequently visits specialists; Dr. Gupta accompanies them on their appointments. He gives input based on his knowledge of her son’s medical history. This facilitates the visits and ensures the best possible care.
Whole body preventative care
Dr. Gupta’s philosophy goes beyond the typical wellness/sick visit cycle. Membership includes access to a dietician, and his office offers additional services such as child therapy and lactation consulting. He partners with family physician Lori Solomon, a great fit for teenage girls who request a female doctor.
He offers comprehensive healthcare and preventive measures to keep his patients healthy. Preventive care can result in less antibiotics, lab work, and prescribed medicine. During the last heat wave when air quality was bad, Dr. Gupta texted his asthmatic patients information about the heat index and asthma attack triggers. As a patient, you can expect this kind of care from a doctor who is invested in your good health.
I hope this answers your questions about concierge doctors. For more info, head to the Rivertowns Pediatrics website. If you are interested in a membership, please reach out to Dr. Gupta and mention BabyGotChat for a free consultation.
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