FAQs frequently asked questions

What makes you different from most primary care doctors? Why do you charge a membership fee?

Our current healthcare system rewards doctors for volume and speed, seeing as many patients as possible each day. In some private practices, where a 2,000 patient case-load is the norm, doctors are required to spend no more than 15 minutes per patient—just enough time to check your blood pressure, order tests and write out a prescription.

I can’t practice medicine that way. My 30 years of experience as a family doctor and geriatrician has taught me to spend as much time as necessary with each patient, to fully understand your health needs and medical concerns, and work with you to clarify your condition and treatment options so that you can make informed decisions.

Especially as you age and health concerns become more complex, coordination of care across specialists is essential. Should you become hospitalized, you also need an advocate to support and guide you through complicated procedures and choices for treatment. My goal is to serve as your doctor, medical liaison, advocate and steward to help you navigate through the healthcare system and to ensure that you get excellent, coordinated, appropriate care. Throughout our relationship, we’ll have an ongoing conversation about your goals for wellness and medical treatment that will guide your decisions about how to manage your healthcare.

Your membership in Tree of Life Healthcare enables me to devote this kind of extensive, quality time with you. With your membership fee, you gain 24/7 access to me and my medical support team. My medical practice is limited to 200 patients to ensure highly attentive, excellent, compassionate care.

The membership fee does not cover services payable by insurance. Your medical insurance plus your regular co-pays will cover the costs of office visits and other medical services, as defined by your plan. Your membership fee gains you access to a small practice, enabling me to focus intently and intensively on you and your needs.

How much is your membership fee?

We will be pleased to discuss the details of our membership model and fees with you over the phone or during your complimentary half-hour visit to our practice. Please contact us at 508.767.7931 or fill out our Contact form to set up your appointment.

What services does your membership fee cover?

Your annual membership fee buys you 24/7 access to my time and expertise. You receive contact information about a variety of ways to reach me, including my cell phone, office phone and email. If I am unavailable when you call, I will return your call as soon as possible. When I am consulting with you, I do not take interruptions, except in case of emergencies, so that I can give you my full attention.

As my patient, you receive outstanding, compassionate, coordinated care.  We’ll have an ongoing conversation about medical life planning that clarifies your personal values and healthcare goals, to guide your treatment decisions.

If I refer you to a specialist or work with your existing specialist, I coordinate with that doctor and follow-up via phone or an appointment to review his or her findings and help you to assess your options. If you are hospitalized or placed in short-term rehabilitation, I visit you and ensure that your attending physicians understand your full medical history and values regarding treatment, as well as help you to understand what is happening to you so that you can make informed decisions.

If you select the enhanced Home Care Option, I will provide all of my services at your place of residence during scheduled house calls. Because these visits require extra time for travel and discussion, the Home Care Option involves a higher membership fee. This option is designed for homebound patients within a reasonable distance from my Worcester office, and for patients in select nursing homes in Greater Worcester.

If you call while I am away, I provide excellent medical coverage by doctors or nurse practitioners who share my values about treatment, and I follow up with you as soon as I am back in the office.

Please note that the membership fee does not cover services payable by insurance. Your medical insurance and normal co-pays cover regular office visits and other services as defined by your plan. The membership fee makes it possible for me to devote substantive time and attention to you and your medical needs, serving as your healthcare provider, steward, coordinator and advocate.

What happens if I need to be hospitalized?

I serve as your guide, liaison and advocate, helping you to negotiate the complex process of making appropriate medical decisions in the hospital. Coordinating with your hospital physicians and medical team, I ensure that you and your complete medical history are understood, and that hospital staff respect you and your values, your background and anything else they need to know to provide you with quality care. As we learn more about your health challenges, I translate medical terms, explain what you’re experiencing and help guide your decisions for next steps.

I am affiliated with UMass-Memorial Medical Center, but if you’re hospitalized elsewhere, I coordinate care with those providers, as well.

What’s your involvement if I have to see a specialist?

If your medical condition requires a specialist, I am pleased to work with your current specialists. I can also refer you to other doctors whom I respect and trust. After your visit, when we have their recommendations, I help you to interpret the information, provide guidance, help you to get a second opinion if you wish and guide you through your decisions about next steps.

Above all, I coordinate your care across specialists, so that everyone understands your medical history, needs and concerns. I follow up with your specialists to ensure excellent communication, to avoid unnecessary procedures and diagnostics, and to be certain that your medications work together properly to improve your health.

What if I move to a nursing home? Will you still be my doctor?

If you need to move to a nursing home, we will discuss the particulars of our continuing relationship at that time. My ability to keep providing you with comprehensive medical care will depend in part on the location of the nursing home and travel time, and requires that you enroll in the Home Care Option with Tree of Life Healthcare.

Will you take me on as a patient if I currently live in a nursing home?

I will be accepting members who are already nursing home patients at a few select locations in Greater Worcester, including Beaumont Rehabilitation and Skilled Nursing Center at Worcester, The Jewish HealthCare Center and others, as time and travel permit. You will need to enroll in the Home Care Option with Tree of Life Healthcare.

If you’re away, who covers your service?

I am available and on call most of the year. When I am away, I provide excellent medical coverage by doctors and nurse practitioners who share my values about treatment. When I return to the office, I follow up with you about any issues that came up during my absence.

How do I get in touch with you?

I provide you with both my office phone number and cell number. I also respond to brief email inquiries, but I much prefer to speak to you by phone or in person. I am committed to responding to any voice messages as expeditiously as possible.

What are your areas of medical expertise?

I have spent nearly three decades as a practicing physician, starting in 1986 as a family doctor in private practice in Worcester, Massachusetts, where I provided the full spectrum of family medicine, through all life stages.

From 1998-­2012, I dedicated my work to caring for geriatric patients, as Medical Director of The Jewish HealthCare Center (JHC) in Worcester, and most recently as Attending Geriatrician at Hebrew Senior Life in Boston. I was also the founding Medical Director of the JHC’s Jewish Home Hospice.

I am a Board Certified family physician with a Board Certified sub-specialty in hospice and palliative medicine. You can read my more about my professional background in the About section of this website.

Do you offer a complimentary initial meeting?

Yes, I welcome all potential new clients and would be delighted to meet with you for a free, half-hour, initial discussion about my practice and how I might be of help to you.

You may set up your complimentary appointment by calling 508.767.7931 or by completing my Contact form. I look forward to meeting you.