FAQs

You can find the answers to some of the most frequently asked questions below. If you would like more information, please call our membership coordinator, Amy Lucey at (413) 298-3101.

Membership Medicine and You

Why "membership" medicine?

Membership medicine let’s me practice the way I’ve always wanted and the way I expected to practice. I believe that Medicine’s potential is much more than the version that we are presented today. A doctor should be an educator with the goal to bring patients to a place of deeper understanding of who they are in the world. To me Medicine is ultimately about self-empowerment through self-knowledge and growth.

My practice is ideally suited for the patient with medical complexity. Having a champion who can provide a level of advocacy that is needed to make sense of a system that can seemed fractured at times can make a big difference.

And for those who say “I don’t need a doctor because I’m never sick” I embody a different model of care where coming to the doctor is for the well to stay well. I create the space to scrutinize your daily functioning and our goal is to optimize the intricacies of your life. For patients without chronic illness my model works well to have regularly scheduled meetings regardless of “need” where we first and foremost build a mutual understanding which will be central in times of illness. It also is the platform to catch patterns that have the potential to become illness in the future. It’s true prevention at it’s purest. Strong, practical approaches to stress management, nutrition, and your mental and spiritual orientation are examples of this fine tuning arena. It’s about optimizing your life.

What is "membership" medicine?

“Membership” medicine is a form of medical practice that excels at addressing chronic medical conditions but also has the capacity to emphasize wellness and disease prevention. By charging an affordable monthly or annual fee, we are able to see fewer patients, and provide you with extremely convenient, thorough, personalized and preventive care when you need it. Our focus on ensuring a strong and satisfying doctor-patient relationship is the key to helping you stay healthy.

How does our practice differ from the typical traditional practice?

First and foremost, we provide un-rushed medical care which incorporates a view of the whole person- body, soul, and spirit. My model is to understand exactly how modern medicine would address a concern and then extend that picture using different paradigms and approaches, including an holistic lens. We take the time to address your health concerns and questions and to build a deeper understanding; your office visits will never feel rushed. Because my practice is limited to just a few hundred, not thousands, of patients, I really get to know my patients so I can take a more proactive role in your health and wellness – and be there when you need me.

My goal is to provide you and your family with an experience that will not just meet, but exceed, your expectations for a doctor’s office.

What does membership include?

Your membership includes all that you expect from a comprehensive primary care team but expanded by the ability to spend more time. Typically, care at Berkshire Center for Whole Health includes an annual comprehensive physical exam that incorporates comprehensive screening and diagnostic tests, and focuses on nutrition, fitness and exercise, lifestyle management, mental wellness, stress management, and chronic disease management. The result is a customized wellness plan to guide you in achieving and maintaining optimum health and disease prevention. The frequency of the regular follow up visits, often so important to achieve our goals, are determined together. Emphasis on patient wellness, use of holistic viewpoints, extended communication support and access to the office when you need it results in a far more connected version of primary care.

Also, we can provide a great amount of care and care coordination by phone, email and text, including virtual visits when appropriate.

We are available to discuss urgent concerns nights and weekends when needed. We are working hard to create a practice where you can reach us when you need us, without having to jump through many hoops!

You will enjoy greater convenience and peace of mind. You may also find a reduced need for visits to specialists and the emergency department.

See the many services you will receive.

Who does this membership plan work best for?

People of all ages benefit from the value-added services we offer at Berkshire Center for Whole Health.

It works especially well for:

  • Patients desiring easy and direct communication with their doctor
  • Patients who want a doctor to address the root cause of illness, not just treat the symptoms
  • Those who want to take part in optimizing their health and staying well

Appointments, Referrals and Care

Do you see me if I'm in the hospital?

This can be stressful and often confusing for patients and their families.

As soon as I receive notification of the admission I will contact those providing your care to make sure they have the most accurate and up-to-date information they need to treat you. I will make visits to the hospitals where I am on staff (level 3). I will communicate with the hospitalist, review your plan of care, answer questions, and make recommendations when needed. As your health care advocate, I will communicate directly with you and your loved ones, and help you navigate the health care system.

Do you make home visits or nursing home visits?

Yes, I do. I appreciate that it is often difficult, and even expensive to get to the doctor’s office. I will see patients in their home or nursing facility, or rehab facility in medically appropriate situations, and on a case-by-case basis.

What if I need specialty care?

As your primary care physician, my comprehensive training allows me to handle most of your healthcare needs. However, if you do need to see a specialist we will help you find the right doctor and coordinate your care. When making referrals, we can consult with your specialist prior to your appointment, as needed.

After your specialist visit, we will follow up to discuss any questions or concerns you have, and arrange additional testing if needed.

What if I need urgent care?

If you have a life-threatening emergency, call 911 immediately. A family member or caregiver can call us later to alert me of your situation so we can be in contact with the emergency room.

For urgent problems that are not emergencies, you can contact me when you need to. Often, I can diagnose and treat your need without a visit to the ER. In fact, membership medicine has been shown to result in fewer ER visits for members because we can discuss your medical needs any time of the day or night. And you know you can see us the next day!

What if I need medical attention while I'm away from home?

You can speak with your Practitioner wherever you are and they will help with any medical conditions that can be done by “virtual visit.” If you have a condition that requires in-person evaluation and treatment, they will direct you to appropriate nearby care, and coordinate follow-up when you return home.

What if my doctor is on vacation?

As a member of Berkshire Center for Whole Health, you are never alone. Even when out of town, we will still be available by phone for your urgent needs. You will be notified before any vacations. If I am not available, I will always have another trusted physician available to assist you for any urgent matters or to be seen in the office.

How Insurance Works in the Practice

Do you bill insurance plans?

Yes, we accept most major insurance plans. Insurance does not cover the fee, but is billed for office visits.

Can you see me if I have Medicare?

Absolutely. Berkshire Center for Whole Health participates with Medicare and will bill Medicare on your behalf, as required by law.

Our practice is well suited to handle the more complex medical issues often associated with older patients. We can spend the time necessary to manage chronic disease and the use of medications, and work together to optimize your health and wellness.

Do I still need to have health insurance?

Yes, you do. Private medical practices do not take the place of general health insurance coverage. However, by providing you with extraordinary and connected primary care, your plan utilization can often be reduced.

How to join

How much is the membership fee?

Please call our office for details.

Can joining Berkshire Center for Whole Health actually save me money?

We expect many patients will save money at our practice. We can better manage the risks of the majority of your health issues and concerns because of our smaller practice and more connected care model.

Studies show this model of care reduces the need for unnecessary medications, more expensive testing, and unnecessary referrals to specialists. It is more likely to prevent unnecessary emergency room visits and hospitalizations. This results in saving you money and providing you better care.

Will I still benefit from membership even if I don't expect to need frequent medical attention?

Absolutely. Besides acute care and chronic disease management, our focus at Berkshire Center for Whole Health is on screenings and risk assessments, and lifestyle modifications. We want to identify and prevent disease before it starts, concentrating our efforts on your long-term health and wellness. We listen carefully to you to understand how your life, work and family may be affecting your health. Together we create a personalized plan to achieve and maintain your optimal health and goals. Early interventions can help us identify risk factors and health issues before they cause disease, saving you money, time, suffering and higher costs in the long run. Unlike the traditional practice environment, we have the time to deliver this type of comprehensive and detailed care.

Is there a limit to how many patients can join Berkshire Center for Whole Health?

Yes. One of the most important aspects of private medicine is limiting the practice size to be able to devote more time and energy to each patient. Therefore, once we have reached our ideal practice size, we will establish a waiting list.

What if I want to end my membership?

You are welcome to cancel your membership at any time as long as you give us 30 days notice and the 90 days have passed since your initial join date. We will refund memberships paid for the full year at a prorated rate.

HOW DO I BECOME A MEMBER?

Please call our office for details.