Medical Minute 3-2: Flat-Fee Medicine

By: Casey Taylor Email
By: Casey Taylor Email

It looks like any old doctor's office, but H. Lee Adkins runs a unique practice.

"About three years ago, I found out there was an increase in missed appointments and when I talked to the patients, I found out many of them had lost their insurance," said H. Lee Adkins, D.O., Family Physician.

Instead of turning his back, Adkins set up a flat-fee system where patients pay 75 dollars a month for a year.

"It's a very easy way to perform in the office."

Patients get 15 visits a year and access to all services, including blood tests, EKGs and pap smears. Adkins says 30% of his patients are on the self-pay system. It's helped his bottom line.

"Last month, we were up 30% over last year," he said.

While it's difficult to track, one estimate reveals "several hundred" primary care physicians have begun to offer prepaid plans for their patients. Critics say some doctors who use flat-fee services are operating like insurance companies without proper licensing, but Doctor Adkins says he's just offering a service that benefits patients.

"If the doctors don't get active and do something, we'll have less qualified people making our decisions for us."

Mike Scott lost his insurance when he lost his job. A diabetic, he found an affordable doctor in Adkins.

"It offered an opportunity to recheck for my diabetes, to keep it in control, and that's what I wanted to be able to do," said Mike Scott.

Like so many Americans, Kim Turano used to have insurance. When she lost it, her health took a back seat.

"What this program allows is for me to get the care that I had been ignoring in the past," said Kim Turano.

For more information: Ivanhoe Broadcast News2745 W. Fairbanks Ave.Winter Park, FL 32789http://www.ivanhoe.comJulie Marks, Supervising Producer of Prescription: Healthjmarks@ivanhoe.comDirect Line: (407) 691-1500Viewer Line: (407) 740-0789 ext. 579

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