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SPONSORED: An Investment in Your Health and Well-Being

Exec Health Andrew Wright
Lehigh Valley Health Network
You don’t have to be an executive to get executive-level care at the LVHN Executive Health Program.

Andy Wright is such a huge advocate of the Executive Health Program at Lehigh Valley Health Network (LVHN) that he has done it twice.

“Executive Health at LVHN is a top-notch program,” Wright says. “It’s thorough, efficient and convenient. The professionals there did a comprehensive exam, guided me through the various tests, and then went over the results in a way that gave me confidence in what they told me.”

Wright’s wife also has completed the intensive, day-long health assessment at the Executive Health Program. And Wright is encouraging his parents, both in their 70s, to take advantage of it as well.

“As you age, it is important to do preventative maintenance for your health, just like you would do preventative maintenance on your car,” says Wright, 45, of Allentown. “If you can take steps to maximize your longevity, why wouldn’t you do that?”

Perhaps it’s not surprising that Wright uses an automotive analogy to talk about the value he found in the LVHN Executive Health Program. After all, he’s the managing partner of the Vinart automotive dealerships in Allentown.

Wright falls squarely into one of the demographics Lehigh Valley Health Network had in mind when it launched the Executive Health Program a few years ago. He is a busy executive who sets a high standard for himself and others, and who values professionalism, thoroughness and follow-through. And given his packed professional and personal schedules, he needs to be very efficient with his time.

But you don’t have to be an executive to reap the benefits of the Executive Health Program.

The program is ideal for busy parents, for shift workers, for someone who just moved into the area and wants to get established with the health network, for a person who needs help managing their complex health care needs, and for people with high-deductible health insurance plans.

It’s also the perfect gift for an aging parent or for a spouse, or for parents to give to a son or daughter who has not taken the time to be proactive and thorough about their health. People from all walks of life can benefit – anyone who wants or needs a really thorough “look under the hood.”

A day packed with exams, tests and consultations

The Executive Health Program is a one-day deep dive into a patient’s health. It includes a comprehensive medical exam, a battery of important medical tests, and screening for a variety of diseases and medical problems, all completed in the comfort of a first-rate executive health facility.

One of the key benefits of the program is the amount of time a patient can spend with the physicians. This includes a review of the results and recommendations at the end of the day, conducted by an internal medicine physician who takes as much time as needed to go over the details and answer questions.

The program is a valuable opportunity for patients to be proactive, whether it is for their own peace of mind, or to dig deeper into one or more chronic conditions. Many patients finish the day relieved that their diagnostic tests and exams did not show anything serious. Others are relieved to learn about a condition they were not aware of previously, knowing that they now have a good plan of action to manage it.

“The beauty of this program,” says Stacey Smith, MD, one of the internists who see patients in the Executive Health Program, “is that we are able to provide executive level care not only to executives, but to any patient who needs it.”

What is the day like?

A typical day for a patient of LVHN’s Executive Health Program begins with a 7:15 a.m. arrival at the Health Center at Palmer Township, at 3701 Corriere Road, Easton. It’s one of the newest facilities in the health network and it is easily accessed from anywhere in eastern Pennsylvania and beyond.

You’ll be greeted by your dedicated program navigator and escorted to a specially constructed executive health suite which includes comfortable furniture and exam rooms, state-of-the-art audio and visual equipment, and a well-equipped snack and beverage center.

Your executive health assessment is an exclusive experience. On any given day, only one person at a time is going through the Executive Health Program.

After you are settled into your suite, you will meet the primary care physician assigned to you. The physician will go over your personalized agenda for the day, which was developed with your individual needs in mind during a pre-visit meeting with a nurse navigator.

(Also before your visit, a phlebotomist from HNL Lab Medicine will come to your home or office to draw blood samples. The results of your blood tests are discussed when you visit.)

After your vital signs – temperature, pulse rate, blood pressure and respiration rate – are taken, you’ll be off to a variety of ultrasounds and imaging studies such as abdominal ultrasound, carotid ultrasound, arterial vascular ultrasound, DEXA scan (dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry, which measures bone density), and a CT calcium score, also known as a coronary calcium scan. It is a quick, convenient and noninvasive way of evaluating the amount of plaque in your heart vessels.

About this time, you are served a light, healthy breakfast in your suite. Next, an LVHN cardiologist will conduct a cardiac stress test. There’s also an audiogram to check your hearing, a vision test, a skin cancer screening, a vaccination review, and depression and anxiety screening.

Your internal medicine physician will go over your detailed medical history and perform a thorough physical exam. There also is a nutritional assessment conducted by an LVHN registered dietitian, and wellness coaching and a body composition assessment done by a certified LVHN health and wellness coach.

If this packed schedule of assessments and exams has caused you to work up an appetite, don’t worry: a healthy lunch is provided for you to enjoy in your suite.

For women, mammography services at the health center’s Breast Health Services also are included.

‘All the time you need’ with your doctor

For most people, one of the most valuable experiences of the program comes at the end of the day, with an in-depth review of results by the internal medicine physician, along with detailed answers to any questions.

Patients receive a printed and personalized results binder, and the internist covers all results in-depth. “You get as much time with me as you need,” says Dr. Smith.

“With the amount of time we spend with patients,” says Jodi Lenko, MD, another internal medicine specialist who works with the Executive Health Program, “I have much more opportunity to get into some of the important nuances of health. We can discuss sleep or mental health or any other topic of concern to the patient. It’s a real benefit to be able to spend that much time with people.”

Next: A year of detailed follow-up

Executive Health Program patients receive one year of unlimited health coaching sessions. A national board-certified health and wellness coach will create a customized plan based on the patient’s health goals.

Coaching areas could include stress management, quitting tobacco use, weight management, disease prevention, resiliency, physical activity and a host of other areas. And if anyone needs help navigating follow-up testing or visits, there is someone at the program who will handle that too. It’s like having a year of guided concierge medicine.

Cost versus value

The LVHN Executive Health Program costs $3,900, and except for the mammography in the case of women patients, it is not covered by medical insurance. So many prospective patients ask, “Why would I pay that amount of money?” There are a number of very good reasons.

First, many people have high-deductible insurance plans, which are becoming more common. In a high-deductible plan, the patient may have to pay the first $8,000 or more out of pocket before any medical service or diagnostic test is covered.

In that circumstance, the Executive Health Program’s $3,900 flat fee becomes a real bargain compared to the cost of paying for the same exams, consultations and diagnostic testing at standard prices.

Also, on the practical side, the program’s fee can be paid with Health Savings Account funds. The program also accepts all standard forms of payment, and there is a discount for group pricing.

But it’s the intangibles that may add up to the most compelling reasons to get an Executive Health Program assessment. How much would you pay for the peace of mind that comes from learning that you have no major health problem to worry about? What is it worth to find out sooner rather than later about a serious health condition that needs regular medical follow-up and management? And think about the value of knowing the answers to these questions for loved ones as well.

For most patients, the daylong assessment does not turn up a major issue, says Dr. Smith. “But in about 5% of the cases, we do find something of concern, and then we work with the patient to develop a plan to manage that condition.”

Another important consideration is the convenience of having all of the services and testing done in one day. “For a patient to get this kind of comprehensive health review, scheduling all the tests and consultations separately, would easily take six months or more,” says Dr. Smith. “Here, we do it in one day.”

There’s another insurance-related factor to consider: Medical insurance will not pay for a diagnostic test unless a physician has determined that there is a medical need, such as certain symptoms. With the Executive Health Program, a patient can get selected tests and results without needing the pre-approval of an insurance company.

Tests provided during the day are chosen carefully, Dr. Smith says. “Each study is selected to maximize illness detection while limiting unnecessary exposures for the patient,” he says.

Program is growing

The Executive Health Program was launched by Lehigh Valley Health Network in November 2020, according to Sara DeBenedetto, program manager. It has increased in popularity as the word gets out. Patients have come from all across the Lehigh Valley Health Network region, from elsewhere in the United States, and from Canada and South America. “There definitely is growing interest among patients who want to participate in this program,” she says.

“Many of our patients have a lot of anxiety about their health,” says Dr. Lenko. Perhaps they are fairly healthy but are worried they may have an unknown condition, she says. Or it could be that they have complex medical conditions that require complex care, and they need help understanding and managing their health.

“They come in with great stress and anxiety,” Dr. Lenko says, “and at the end of the day, you can see that stress lift off their shoulders. You can visibly see them relax. That’s really rewarding.”

Patient success stories

The Executive Health Program has a growing record of patient success stories. Here are just a few:

  • An over-the-road truck driver’s job kept him away from home for extended periods and didn’t give him much opportunity to live a healthy lifestyle. His work schedule did not allow him to plan and schedule a series of doctor appointments and diagnostic tests spread out over weeks or months. So he turned to the Executive Health Program for a health reset, and it’s a good thing he did. The day revealed significant health problems that require careful management – problems that he may not have found out about without the comprehensive health assessment.
  • A patient in her 70s with several chronic conditions had not been paying close attention to her health. The executive health assessment led to a realization that she needed to make some changes in her habits to improve her chances for a longer and healthier life. For her, the Executive Health Program truly was a “life-changing” experience.
  • Eric Lebby, MD, chief of orthopedic surgery at the Lehigh Valley Orthopedic Institute, spends so much time taking care of his own patients, and living his busy life, that he didn’t take enough time looking after his own health. So he scheduled a day at the Executive Health Program. One of the findings was an elevated prostate-specific antigen (PSA) test. Follow-up testing, including an MRI and a prostate biopsy, confirmed he had prostate cancer, which was then successfully treated with surgery. “If it wasn’t for this Executive Health Program, I might not have seen a doctor for another five years,” Dr. Lebby says. “Then, five years later, it might have been a much different ending. I essentially owe them my life.”

A desire to dig deeper

Andy Wright talks about his experiences at the Executive Health Program frequently, and recommends it to his friends, to his extended family and to his co-workers. For him, the value of the program was not in uncovering an unknown medical condition. “Fortunately, I received a clean bill of health,” he says. “But I learned a lot,” he says, “and I received a lot of peace of mind.

“I’ve always scheduled an annual physical, but I really wanted a more comprehensive and in-depth look,” Wright says. “I’ve always been very proactive with my health. I wanted to make sure there isn’t something going on that I didn’t know about. For me, there’s a great deal of value in that.”

To find out more about the LVHN Executive Health Program, and to meet the team of medical specialists who care for patients there, visit www.lvhn.org/exechealth.