Patients and doctors need to ask how medical practices should be run.
For doctors: Would you like more time with your patients; fewer or no insurance company hassles and prior authorizations, and less paperwork? Would you like to determine a fair price for your service, together with your patient?
Would you like your daily receipts to equal your daily charges? For patients: Is this the kind of doctor you would like to have? And would you like your current doctor to stay in practice?
If so, you should ask your doctor to carefully consider this article. It might enable him to be there for you.
Many doctors reached the fork in the road where I was seven years ago.
I completed the certification exam in age-management medicine, and offered services that the insurance companies said were “non-covered.” Overhead continued. Receipts went down.
On the verge of bankruptcy, I received a flyer titled “Thrive, Don’t Just Survive,” so I charged my airline ticket and room to my credit card and went to check it out.
I heard a family physician tell how the HMO’s turned the screw one more notch and bankrupted half of the family practices in the state. Then he told how he turned the situation around.
By God’s Grace, the office I used was going to be vacated in two months, and the lessee still had lease obligations. The equipment there, which I had sold them when I was called up for Desert Storm in 1991, was going into storage, as the doctor was moving to a newer, better equipped facility.
I took over the lease in return for the equipment October 1, 2003, I started over with one employee and no patients. I bought supplies and signage with credit cards.
We handed out flyers to local businesses. I met with business owners, explaining that I was committed to them and their employees, not the insurance companies.
Starting from less than zero, I made a profit in month five. A doctor who kept all but 20% of his patients, but cut out insurance overhead and write-offs, could be profitable the very first month.
The patients who stayed would be choosing their doctor-not picking an insurance company doctor from a list.
In 2006, I bought out another doctor in Hays, Kansas, which required that I buy a Mooney 201 airplane in 2007. In 2008, I bought a Dexa bone scanner to complement my Thermography service. And this past June, I bought a new Expedition to keep my taxable income as low as possible.
Today some of my patients ask, “How will the new health law affect you? You won’t quit, will you?”
Of course I won’t. My practice is what I dreamed of when I started medical school. I work for my patients-not the insurance company or the government!
Dr. George Watson may be contacted by e-mail: email@example.com or http://www.aapsonline.org.