Dear Patients and Friends,
As you likely know, I have moved my medical practice from Qliance (which I helped found in 2007) to my new personal office at 2914 East Madison Street #109, Seattle, WA 98112. We have been up and running since September 1. I have been speaking with many of you personally, but I thought it would be more helpful to communicate with all of you at once.
Frequently asked questions:
1) Why are you moving?
I am not moving because of a dispute or intrigue with Qliance. I am not moving because of illness. This is part of an intentional redesign of my life and priorities that I arrived at with the help and support of my wife Suzanne and my many friends and advisors (including many of you). I want to focus on one major project over my remaining career - to create an ideal medical practice for my patients and for me. Qliance is run by an extraordinarily capable CEO (Erika Bliss MD) and a seasoned board, and they will continue to work hard to create scalable primary care that can serve millions of Americans some day. My personal purpose now is to see what I can accomplish with the patients I have been serving since I started in private practice in 1980. A medical practice is like a garden, and it needs attention, maintenance, commitment and love. I would like to make this the objective of my next 5-10 years (I just signed a 5 year lease with a 5 year extension) and beyond if I am fortunate enough to be able to do it well.
2) Whom will you work with?
Currently I am creating this new practice with the able assistance of Becky Payne who has been my medical assistant at Qliance during much of my tenure there. Most of you know her already as someone who takes care of patients with an intensity, intelligence and good humor rarely seen in medical offices. You may not know that she has also single-handedly developed and run our extremely complex laboratory ordering and pricing system at Qliance with quiet perfection and made this the most reliable and functional system at Qliance. She will be BlissMD's Office Manager and will continue to work as my Medical Assistant full time. We will hire more people as the need arises (additional medical assistant, bookkeeper, technology support, etc) but for now these jobs can be done by me since operations are pretty simple here.
3) What about coverage when you aren't available?
As many of you know, there has been a quiet but energetic growth of direct primary care and concierge care in Seattle. There are at least 3 call groups, all of which I have contacted. It appears that I would be welcome to join any of them. These are committed physicians who already serve patient populations like mine and who understand what medical service should be. I have decided initially to entrust your care to Premier Health when I am out of town or unavailable for other reasons. This is a superb concierge group that I have known for years. They have agreed to allow us to forward calls to them when I am unavailable. I plan to be available by phone for all but 2-3 weeks a year (24/7). I will generally sign out for a few hours to go to a concert or see a movie, but I don't mind talking with my patients when they have urgent issues if I am in town - it is just simpler and better for you and for me.
4) Will you get a partner?
Yes, but only if I have found someone I admire, respect and can trust with my patients if and when I ever retire. I have heard your concern about being able to find another primary care doctor should I retire or become disabled and I am looking for someone who would serve you well should either of those things occur.
5) What will you charge?
For those of you coming with me now, the price of care will be the same as it is currently at Qliance, including any discounts we have agreed upon. For those on discounted plans, my only request is that you chat with me to make sure that the discount is still appropriate for your current financial situation. If you are enrolled in Coordinated Care plans, we need to talk about other options available to you. After October 1, my pricing for new patients and late joiners will likely go up to a number closer to the current market price.
6) What services will you provide? Are they different from Qliance?
I will of course continue to be your full-time medical advisor and the most available physician you are likely to ever meet. BlissMD will provide routine medical care, urgent care and care coordination with specialists, hospitals, ERs, etc. We will continue to provide high quality well-vetted referrals to the best medical services we can find and help you navigate this crazy medical world intelligently. We provide some injectable medications very similar to the current Qliance list at no charge to you. We will provide a variety of splints, walker boots, crutches and other items at no charge. I will not be doing casting in the office. We will handle minor surgical issues (like draining superficial abscesses, removing splinters and repairing lacerations) in our office - and refer out surgical problems beyond my scope of practice. I will continue to provide a limited list of joint injections (Elbow, hip bursa, knee and shoulder primarily). We will provide free flu vaccine annually for all of you who are interested and free Tetanus/Diphtheria/Pertussis vaccine every 10 years to members. Since we are not set up to bill your insurance for other vaccines, we will likely refer you to your local pharmacy for these. Blood draws and IVs will be free. We will be contracted with Quest Labs for laboratory work. We can draw your blood in our office (at no charge) and Quest will do all the processing and bill your insurance. We will no longer have bundled labs as part of the membership since we are now too small to do this kind of a deal with Quest.
7) When will you be open?
After much discussion, our initial hours of operation will be 7 am to 4 pm Monday through Friday. We will also be flexible about staying later for those of you who cannot be seen at our usual hours. When I am available on weekends, please call me with urgent issues. If I can settle these in the office, I am happy to meet you there rather than send you to the ER. I now live 4 blocks from the office.
8) How do I reach you? - Our office number is: 206-489-3505.
This is the best way to reach me both during office hours and after hours. The long-distance number is: 1-844-372-5477 (1-844-DrBliss). I will be available on my cell phone: 425-591-4775 if you cannot reach me through the office.
9) Now that you have your own office, can I refer my family and friends again?
If you have friends who would like to get on my waiting list, please send them to www.BlissMD.com and ask them to click on JOIN NOW at the top of the initial page. This will enter them on the waiting list and my office will contact them when we have room.
10) Do I have to sign contracts to join your practice?
The state requires that you sign a Patient Contract and the federal government insists that all Medicare patients be informed in writing with a Medicare Opt-Out agreement which you must sign (I am opting out, not you - the contract just provides you with information about how that works and let's you know that Medicare will not pay your monthly fee). Once you have joined, we will send you paper contracts to sign and return. If you want to read the contracts now, just click on the blue buttons below.