The scene at Leon Medical Centers’ Healthy Living Facility in Miami on a recent Thursday resembled a cross between a luxury hotel and a theme park.
White-gloved doormen wearing porter uniforms ushered elderly patients from white vans into a gleaming lobby with colored terrazzo floors and a bubbling fountain. Greeters in green vests and ear bud radios welcomed the Medicare members and made sure their doctors knew that they’d arrived. Refreshments were proffered: Would they like a cafecito and pastelito for the wait?
And that was just the entranceway. Three more floors of the sprawling center bustled with Leon members meeting with physicians or dentists, taking healthy cooking classes, exercising in the fitness center or learning to use Facebook in a lecture hall…
With so many providers in one place ― most of them salaried employees of the center ― [Benjamin Leon, Jr., founder of the center] says members can shorten the time between primary care physician referral to specialist to diagnosis.
“What takes six to eight weeks,” he said, “we can do in 3 1/2 to four hours.”
But Leon also holds down costs by managing patients within the center’s network of providers. Fewer referrals to outside specialists means bigger savings for Leon, particularly important as Medicare Advantage cuts are phased in. He said the plan has not eliminated any benefits for 2014.
Source: KHN/Miami Herald.