Membership-based primary care is experiencing marked growth nationwide, and suburban Richmond residents will soon have increased access to concierge-style medicine with the expansion of PartnerMD’s Midlothian practice.

Drs. Susan Scharpf and Robert Cross will join Dr. Kevin Keller to practice in the new, expanded office, which will be located in The Millworks at the Green and will open in December.

“We opened our Midlothian practice with Dr. Keller in 2010, and the demand for personalized primary care in the area has driven us to add two doctors just three years later,” said Linda Nash, PartnerMD founder and chief executive. “Our Midlothian expansion offers a glimpse into the growth that’s occurring companywide.”

Dr. Keller has practiced in the area for more than 27 years and has practiced with PartnerMD in Brandermill for more than three years. Dr. Scharpf, who has practiced medicine for 21 years, started with PartnerMD in mid-August, after previously practicing with another concierge medical provider, MDVIP. Dr. Cross will join PartnerMD in November, after practicing at Physicians of Family Medicine in Midlothian for the past 25 years.

“PartnerMD allows me to offer more services to my patients than I was previously able to offer, including a more robust wellness component,” Dr. Scharpf said. “PartnerMD’s support team also removes many of the administrative aspects of running a practice, which gives me more time to focus on patient care.”

“The traditional primary care model by necessity has had to focus on treating illness, leaving little time for discussion of disease prevention,” said Dr. Cross. “I’m excited about the opportunity PartnerMD provides to bring added attention to disease prevention, which leads to an overall healthy lifestyle.” The growth in demand for concierge-style medicine – marked by increased physician access and a focus on preventive care – has occurred in tandem with health care changes and a looming physician shortage.

According to the Congressional Budget Office, 34 million people in the United States will gain healthcare coverage by 2021 through the Affordable Care Act. The influx in patients will be complicated by an anticipated physician shortage, which the Association of American Medical Colleges estimates could lead to a national shortage of 91,500 physicians by 2020, including 45,000 in primary care.

Richmond-based PartnerMD has experienced exponential growth as the traditional health care system has become more strained and consumers look for a more comprehensive model. Founded in 2003 with one doctor and 40 patients, the membership medical practice now includes 24 physicians and 5,500 members.

“The hallmarks of PartnerMD’s care model are more quality time with patients and medicine with a preventive focus,” Dr. Keller said. “Our patients see the value in this approach, which is why PartnerMD has built and maintained a 96-percent member retention rate over its 10-year history.”

PartnerMD has practices in Richmond, Midlothian, McLean and Lansdowne, Va.; Greenville, S.C.; and Seattle, Wash. The company also is planning to open several more practices nationwide in the coming months, including in Atlanta and Baltimore, Md.

The expanded Millworks office will be located conveniently between Coalfield and Woolridge roads.