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Patient Stories

A Healthy Investment: Eric Checkoway and Bonnie Polan
By W Ewing


Eric Checkoway of North Andover has a long history with his primary care physician, Maurice Greenbaum, M.D., which dates back to when he was a high school student living in Newburyport. Over the years, the two have built what he describes as a “close and collaborative working relationship,” and he considers Dr. Greenbaum to be a trusted health advisor and advocate. So, when Dr. Greenbaum became affiliated with North Shore Physicians Group’s (NSPG) new MDVIP Program, he didn’t think twice about signing up.

Introduced by NSPG last year, the MDVIP Program is a new approach to primary care that offers patients more time with their primary care physician and a more comprehensive plan for achieving their health and wellness goals. Patients who pay a $1,500 annual membership fee enjoy an enhanced level of service, which includes same-day appointments and 24/7 access to their physician by email or cell phone. Patient appointments run no less than 30 minutes and often last an hour so that patients can discuss their medical concerns in more detail. An extensive annual physical that includes comprehensive testing and the creation of a personalized wellness plan are also included in the program.

“The MDVIP Program offers me a proactive way to manage my health,” says Checkoway, 46, a managing director at an international technology company based in Peabody, and father of two young daughters. “I’ve always had a solid relationship with Dr. Greenbaum, but now I get to spend even more time with him during my visits discussing how to achieve my health and wellness goals. It’s a level of personalized, one-on-one attention that really makes me feel like I’m his only patient.”

When he was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma last year, Checkoway also learned how valuable that extra level of attention can be during a health crisis. “Not only did Dr. Greenbaum help nail down my diagnosis, he was also there quarterbacking my care during treatment and recovery,” says Checkoway. “He was in regular communication with my wife and me and all of the other doctors involved. It was great having that kind of support from someone who really knows my history.”

Bonnie Polan, 60, of Danvers shares a similar sentiment for Brenda Minor, M.D., her NSPG primary care physician for more than a decade. Herself a two-time cancer survivor, Polan was among the first to join the MDVIP Program when it was started last year. “I see this program as an investment in my health,” says Polan, a professor at several area colleges and mother of two grown children. “The extra time that Dr. Minor spends with me during my visits means that we have more than just a superficial relationship – she really knows me as a person. I also like that I can reach her at any time if I have a concern. I’ve emailed her several times on weekends and she always gets right back to me.”

The benefits of the concierge-style practice extend to the physicians as well. “I had thought about retiring and scaling back a bit, but now I can focus on providing care more thoroughly to a smaller number of patients,” says Dr. Minor. “It’s very invigorating at this point in my career to be able to invest so much time with my patients.”

The lighter patient load leaves her more time to organize wellness events and lectures on nutrition, complementary therapies, yoga and other exercise options.

“By practicing medicine this way, we as physicians really get to know our patients more broadly,” adds Dr. Greenbaum. “We gain a deeper understanding of their entire health history and can look at things in a more holistic and preventative fashion.” To learn more about the benefits of NSPG’s concierge medicine practices, or to make an appointment, please contact:

Maurice Greenbaum, M.D., 55 Highland Avenue, Salem, MA, 978- 741-1644

Brenda Minor, M.D., 1 Hutchinson Drive, Danvers, MA, 978-774-7171

John Szymanski, M.D., 331 Highland Avenue, Salem, MA, 978-745-1200

North Shore Physicians Group is a multi-specialty group practice affiliated with North Shore Medical Center. Our more than 200 exceptional physicians, nurse practitioners and healthcare professionals treat patients in 17 locations throughout Boston's North Shore. #nspg.