Fed up with increased paperwork, red tape and delays in getting paid by health insurance companies, San Antonio primary-care physicians Simone Norris and John Rodriguez have come up with an offbeat solution: Don’t accept insurance.
Norris doesn’t want to be on a treadmill of seeing 30 or so patients a day. At her new Stone Oak practice, she will treat only 12 a day — spending at least 30 minutes, and as much as an hour, with each one.
Norris’ Integrative Family Medicine charges patients either a membership fee or a fee for each service. The [$49] monthly adult membership fee includes an annual physical and common lab tests and screenings. Follow-up visits cost $20 each, which includes common lab tests.
By refusing insurance, as well as Medicaid and Medicare, Norris says she doesn’t have to hire staff to handle medical billing, coding and collection to get reimbursed by insurers. Her only employee is a licensed vocational nurse who doubles as the receptionist.
Billing, coding and collection drive up medical costs but add no value to the doctor-patient relationship, says Dr. William “B.J.” Lawson, PCD’s CEO and a founder.
A primary-are doctor who can spend more time with patients can educate them on living a better life and provide accountability and follow-up, he says. “That’s how you actually get folks to change behaviors and adopt healthy lifestyles, and bend the cost curves away from the chronic diseases that are killing us,” Lawson says.