By Kathryn G. Menu
Since 2009, the concept of concierge medicine in the Hamptons is most closely associated with the USA Network television show, “Royal Pains,” featuring a doctor who attends to the wealthy and glamorous, often on sprawling estates overlooking the ocean.
But concierge medicine is not just a fantasy on the East End, with at least one company – Executive VIP Medical Care – aimed at providing the personal level of medical services in the homes and offices of clients interested in the old fashioned house call.
Dr. Nathanael Desire, a doctor who trained at Stony Brook University Hospital in the 1990s, and has operated a private practice out of Bellport for the past nine years, founded executive VIP Medical Care three years ago. In an interview this week, Dr. Desire said it was a natural extension of his practice made after it was clear there was a demand for the service from his existing clientele.
“I had clients who were busy individuals and needed someone who was able to provide a greater level of service for them, whether it was in their homes or in their office,” said Dr. Desire. “In a way, it is almost old fashioned, being able to provide what is essentially a house call.”
Dr. Desire runs the business with his wife, Dr. Anthonette Desire, who earned a degree in biology from Mount Holyoke College before continuing her research of immunologic diseases at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center. She is a 2003 graduate of the Stony Brook School of Medicine, completed her internal medicine residency in 2006 and followed that up with a geriatrics fellowship in 2007.
Joining them in the endeavor is Dr. Louis Maldonado, registered nurse Kelly DeSesa – who works out of Sag Harbor on a full time basis – and concierge managers Christine Livingston and Elaine Gastaldo.
Ultimately, while the practice does enable clients to care for their medical needs on their own schedules, and in their own homes, it also allows a closer doctor-patient relationship than what can develop in a formal medical practice, said Dr. Desire.
“It gives up the opportunity to develop a closer relationship with our clients as their physicians,” he said. “We can talk about their physical environment as it relates to their health and it is not a volume business, so we are able to spend a lot more time with our clients, allowing us to understand who they are, what ailments they are facing and how we can best address it.”
For an annual retainer, the company provides one-on-one medical services at your home, office or hotel, based on three plans. Care includes an annual physical exam, acute care visits, vaccinations, travel inoculations, telephone consultations and medical reports.
While developing a long-term relationship with clients is an ideal achieved through concierge medical service, it also is applicable for people visiting the East End who find they develop an acute illness and want on-site medical services, said Dr. Desire. Clients can also ask for service for friends or relatives visiting from out of town who need a doctor.
Primarily, though, the service is geared towards those with medical issues, who want personal service on their terms. Executive VIP Medical Service staff serves almost like a quarterback, said Dr. Desire, in terms of coordinating and interpreting all medical care needs for each individual client.
The company is fully digitized translating to treatment information being easily accessible by any of its doctors and nurses in a real time basis.
“It’s the personal service that makes this kind of practice a little different, and little more comprehensive,” said Dr. Desire.