ENGLEWOOD — Dr. Joseph Chirillo Jr. MD started caring for patients with his Dad in 1988 on West Dearborn Street.
The younger Chirillo would later join the Millennium Physician Group in 2009. But now the 59-year-old Chirillo is back on his own.
He’s been signing up patients and transferring their medical records to his new office at 670 Old Englewood Road, at the corner of Old Englewood Road and Artists Avenue. He starts treating patients Monday.
Chirillo will accept Medicare immediately and is applying for certification with private insurers that he had under Millennium’s umbrella. He said the process that can take 90 to 120 days.
Because of confidentiality in his separation agreement with Millennium, Chirillo would only say he and the physicians group had a “difference of opinion” conducting a medical practice and how employees should be treated.
He’s looking forward to treating patients again.
“I got into the practice of medicine and will continue to practice as long as I can because I love people and love caring for people,” Chirillo said.
He served on the founding board of the Englewood Community Care Clinic. He still volunteers his time treating patients at the free, nonprofit clinic in the Charlotte West County Annex on San Casa Drive in Englewood. The clinic treats lower-income residents from 18 to 64 years old who cannot afford medical insurance and care.
“It’s a command by Jesus,” Chirillo said of his commitment to the free clinic. “I do it out of gratitude.”
Going solo for a physician is not an easy decision in today’s economy, Chirillo said. In a group practice, a doctor’s overhead could be 33 percent of the practice’s gross earnings. A doctor alone could see those costs double. Those costs, however, do not outweigh the benefits for Chirillo.
“I can truly deliver the best care I can to my patients, unrestricted,” he said.
Chirillo isn’t the only Englewood doctor to go it alone.
Dr. Jaclyn Nadler MD, formally with the Gulf Coast Medical Group, recently opened her Coastal MED DPC practice at 1861 Placida Road. She’s the first physician in Englewood to practice Direct Primary/Patient Care.
“I’m sure many of you understand the pressures placed on physicians in today’s healthcare system: third party intrusions, unnecessary administrative burdens and mandates to see more patients in less time,” Nadler states on her website, www.coastalmeddpc.com.
“I was not willing to compromise the care and attention my patients needed and wanted to maintain the autonomy to practice medicine the way I was trained,” she said. “I want to restore the critical physician-patient relationship that is so important for providing personalized care and will allow me to enjoy practicing medicine again.”
Unlike other medical practices, even some concierge practices, Nadler does not accept any medical insurances — even Medicare. Instead, her patients pay a flat monthly fee — as little as $25 a month for dependent children and as high as $95 for seniors. Her patients’ Medicare and other insurances can be applied to pay for laboratory testing, imaging and specialist visits.
Medicare, but you may continue to use your insurance/Medicare for labs, imaging, specialist visits
In return, Nadler promises her patients more time and attention, such as allowing for 30-minute to one-hour visits, than what is possible with physicians group since she will be devoting her time to and treating fewer patients.
“Typical doctors carry loads upwards of 3,000 patients, sometimes more,” Nadler said. “At Coastal MED DPC, our limit is 650 patients. Once we are full, we will utilize a waiting list, but will always prioritize friends and family members of our current patients.”
According to the Millennium website, millenniumphysician.com, the company represents more than 300 health care providers throughout Florida — the majority of whom practice from Marco Island north to Sarasota. Millennium is one of the major primary medical care groups in the state.
Gulf Coast Medical Group is a multi-specialty medical group with convenient offices in the Venice, South Sarasota/Osprey, Englewood and North Port communities. Affliated Venice Regional Bayfront Health. The Gulf Coast counts 62 physicians among its medical professionals.
Most physicians and medical professionals in Florida join group practices.
According to a 2018 Florida report on its medical work force, 60 percent of the state’s physicians see their patients in an office setting. Two-thirds, an estimated 67 percent, of those doctors are members of a group practice setting. Only 33 percent of Florida doctors are working in a solo practice setting.
The smallest percentages of Florida’s physicians practice in county health departments, nursing homes/extended care facilities, and volunteer free clinics.