Physician by Phone

Concierge practice is accessible to traveling patients.

In their retirement, Jerome and Annette Baesel like to travel. They’re away from their Florida home four to five months out of the year. They feel their health is in good hands when they’re traveling because wherever they go, they have their primary care physician with them.

Photo courtesy of Jerome and Annette Baesel

Jerome and Annette Baesel

Michael A. Zimmer, MD, the Baesels’ physician, is a board-certified internist with Zimmer Medical Services in St. Petersburg who practices concierge medicine. With this practice model, physicians see fewer patients, so they are able to spend more time with the patients they see. They are also accessible to their patients after hours by phone and email.
For Dr. Zimmer, that accessibility includes when his patients are traveling.
“The ability to reach Dr. Zimmer by email and text when we travel is a benefit of his concierge practice I didn’t foresee,” Annette relates. “If something comes up while we’re away, we can contact him, and he responds right away.
“This summer, while we were in Canada, we thought Jerry had an infected bug bite. We contacted Dr. Zimmer by email, and he figured out it was actually shingles. We found out what the problem was and what to do about it while in a place where it would’ve been difficult to find a doctor who’d treat us.”

Constant Contact

The concierge model works well for traveling patients, notes Dr. Zimmer, because physicians who practice this way are not limited by the regulations of Medicare and commercial insurance. These insurers require office appointments for physicians to provide care to patients.
“Concierge physicians see patients the traditional way, of course, but we also have the benefit of using technology to communicate with them,” observes the doctor. “We can provide care without forcing patients to physically be in the office.”

“Annette and I are exceedingly happy with the concierge practice.” – Jerome

Dr. Zimmer recalls the occasion of Jerome’s shingles. He remembers being in constant contact with the Baesels as they gave a detailed description of Jerome’s symptoms. With that information, Dr. Zimmer was able to make his diagnosis, then carefully relay instructions for Jerome’s treatment to the couple in Canada.
“I started Jerome on medication to relieve the pain related to the shingles infection,” Dr. Zimmer states. “The medications we use have side effects, so I have to monitor those and adjust the dose of medication accordingly. This usually requires frequent face-to-face visits.
“In this case, however, I was able to use the internet and phone to stay in touch with Annette and Jerome, engage Jerome’s response to the medication and adjust as needed. I was able to provide the appropriate care while they were in Montreal.”

Best Benefit

For Jerome, the extra time Dr. Zimmer spends with him is one of the best benefits of concierge medicine.
“We have three meetings each year when we spend half an hour on my issues,” Jerome describes. “Dr. Zimmer reviews everything in my file beforehand, so he’s familiar with my issues when we sit down and talk. He addresses whatever issue I want to talk about.
“Annette and I are exceedingly happy with the concierge practice.”

Print This Article
    • Zimmer Medical Services

      The mission of Zimmer Concierge Medical Membership has always been to provide excellent, evidence-based, advanced medical care in a compassionate and individualized manner. We understand that the little details matter when it comes to your he... Read More

    • Michael A. Zimmer, MD, FACP

      Michael A. Zimmer, MD, FACP, is board certified by the American Board of Internal Medicine and is a fellow of the American College of Physicians. Dr. Zimmer completed his undergraduate studies at Temple University in Philadelphia, where he grad... Read More