I arrived at 9:33 (I was late). And I left at 10:48. What did I do while I was there?
I checked in. I waited three minutes. And then I spent an hour talking to the doctor.
And I wasn’t even sick!
You read that right. I visited PeakMed Primary Care just to visit with the doctor and decide if I wanted to be a patient at this Primary Care clinic. And he talked with me for an hour.
I asked Dr. Mark Tomasulo how this was possible and he explained how PeakMed does business.
You join PeakMed the way you would join a gym. They charge you every month and you go whenever you want.
You see, doctors don’t really like the current system with insurance either. Most primary care physicians became doctors because they wanted to help people maintain their health and that’s difficult to do when you have to see 35 patients a day just to support your insurance-billing infrastructure. Insurance requires a lot of paperwork and doctors offices pay people to support that paperwork. It’s expensive and none of that really makes anyone healthier, plus it puts a lot of pressure on the doctors to earn enough money to pay for all the infrastructure needed just to get paid.
Seems like a crazy system when you think about it that way, doesn’t it?
Dr. Tomasulo thinks so. He moved to Colorado Springs with his family to start a different kind of practice. It basically works like this:
1. You sign up and give them a credit card number. The clinic charges you a fixed rate every month, just like the gym or the newspaper.
2. You are assigned a doctor and that person is your doctor as long as you’re a member of the clinic.
3. When you want to see the doctor, you can email him or call the office to set up an appointment.
4. When you don’t want to see the doctor, but you have a medical question, you can call him on the phone, just like he was a regular guy. Or you can email him.
A friend of mine who is also a PeakMed member related a story of emailing the doctor a picture of a mild injury her son had sustained. She received advice via telephone and never had to set foot in the office! I love that!
5. If you need medication, PeakMed orders it for you. Dr. Tomasulo told me they charge the patient whatever the medication costs them. As I’m sure you’re aware, they are allowed to charge extra and many practices and pharmacies do. This is a huge financial benefit to being a member if you take any regular medication.
6. When you don’t want to be a member anymore, you call and tell them to stop billing you.
It’s ridiculously simple and kind of old fashioned.
I thought about all this today when I stopped by to pick up a prescription. My doctor, Dr. Eric Hetzel, was at the desk when I came in and I mentioned that I thought I might be getting a cold.
“Oh, come on back!”, he said. We headed back to an exam room where he determined that I am not getting a cold. And then we spent fifteen minutes discussing how best to keep from getting colds and whether I get enough rest after CrossFit and several other things I had been wondering about.
I took this picture in the lab just before they drew some blood for me one day.
Check out the clinic and do it in the next week or two. The insurance Open Enrollment period is right now, which means you might be able to save money by joining PeakMed and choosing a high-deductible insurance plan. You can call them at 719-460-2159 or email Dr. Mark at firstname.lastname@example.org to set up a visit.
Just be sure to give yourself enough time.
©Hungry Chicken Homestead 2014
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