Wellcome MD CEO Linda Nash on the future of concierge medicine
In June, Virginia Business named Wellcome MD founder and CEO Linda Nash as one of the inaugural recipients of the Virginia Business Women in Leadership Awards. When Nash first ventured into the field of concierge medicine in 2002, the patient-membership niche was unpredictable, she described. Doctors in concierge medicine intentionally have smaller caseloads — as little as 10 percent of a regular practice — to emphasize personalized care, according to Virginia Business. That includes more frequent appointments that focus on finding the best treatment for patients.
Get the latest state-specific policy intelligence for the health care sector delivered to your inbox.
By the time Nash sold her first company in 2015, it had grown from one physician to over 30with offices across the nation. In 2017, she founded Wellcome MD, another concierge medicine service, this time with a focus on functional medicine and regenerative, anti-aging care. Wellcome MD now hosts eight physicians with offices in Richmond, Charlotte, North Carolina, and Naples, Florida.
In the Commonwealth, physicians saw an average of 1,330 patients, according to a 2021 study. With concierge medicine taking a fraction of that caseload, Nash says the lower patient ratio was beneficial for both patients and physicians during the pandemic:
“There were so many patients who truly had mental health issues with the pandemic and incredible stresses trying to get everything together. And because we have the lower ratios, we could take more time and identify [those stresses] and help them with other resources.”
With the concierge medicine model, patients are paying a higher premium (an annual fee can cost from $1200 to as high as $10,000 at some practices), but that can translate to better health outcomes, such as developing consistent healthy habits, according to Nash.
“We can do these quarterly follow ups. And for me personally, if I know I’m going back in a quarter, getting my blood work and talking about exercise and weight, I’m going to be much more on it.”
Lower patient ratios allowed Wellcome MD to focus on developing the best model of care for their needs, says Nash.
“The biggest thing that we constantly look into are, ‘What are some things that we can do to help our patients that are not just trendy?’ We’re constantly learning about different types of therapies that we can try.”
For patients seeking restorative aging care, this can involve methods such as using peptide treatments to reduce inflammation, thorough food sensitivity tests, or using naturopathic medicine alternatively to antibiotics.
Nash says that doctors transferring over to the concierge medicine model from other practices often feel burned out. Over the course of the pandemic, provider burnout has taken a toll on the workforce. In June, Vox published a longform story detailing long work hours and stressful work environments — factors that contributed to physicians’ deteriorating mental well-being and high rates of suicide.
One of Nash’s goals with Wellcome MD is to have constant, transparent conversations with physicians, and look for ways to improve their work environment.
“We look for great doctors and a big part of the conversation with them — before they choose to come on with us and leave their practices — in the culture…People don’t feel heard. They feel rushed, overworked, unappreciated, and it’s a goal of mine and something we constantly work on to have a culture that is transparent. And people can speak the truth when they need to. I have one on ones with all the doctors as often as I can. I ask, ‘What could we be doing better? How is it for you? How could we do better for our patients? What are your thoughts?’…They feel like it’s a partnership versus a job. And that’s not always the case. But that’s what I really strive to do, is make it a place that people really want to work and feel that they can change and grow with it and make it better.”