Aug 21, 2014 – DECATUR, Ala. – There’s a growing trend across the nation that’s changing the way patients get treatment. And now concierge medicine is being offered at a clinic in Decatur.
Roxanne Vanhoozer is a patient at A Heartbeat Away Clinic on 6th Avenue in Decatur.
“Convenience” said Vanhoozer. “It’s wonderful.”
Vanhoozer uses the clinic because it’s right next door to her office. She has insurance, but it’s not accepted at the clinic.
“What I’m doing is unprecedented,” said Nurse Practitioner Kimberly Samuel. “I’m not accepting any insurance whatsoever.”
Two weeks ago, Samuel opened the clinic to cater to those who don’t have insurance after researching the growing trend of concierge medicine in larger cities.
“I’m servicing a lot of the Hispanic population and I have a translator on staff,” said Samuel.
By eliminating the cost of billing insurance companies, Samuel can cut overhead expenses up to 40 percent and transfer the savings to her patients.
“I’m doing a concierge type medicine where people pay a monthly amount. It’s a very minimum amount and I’ll see them as often as they would like to be seen,” said Samuel.
Samuel charges a monthly or yearly membership fee that starts at $50 for an individual and $100 for a family of 4.
The fee includes appointments or walk-ins for reduced wait times, 24 hour access by phone or email, and 45 minutes for each visit. The fee also includes a wellness panel with blood work.
A growing number of doctors are going the concierge route due to what some call a costly amount of insurance regulations and red tape in the Affordable Care Act. Samuel said cutting out the middleman allows her to focus more on her patients.
“To try to accommodate the people who have no insurance and who could not afford the insurance. And everybody’s required to have some type of insurance at this point,” said Samuel.
Samuel said the clinic is a dream come true because she knows how it feels to work and not be able to afford insurance.
“I went for several years with no insurance raising two boys,” said Samuel.
Patients also have the option to pay a one time fee of $60 dollars. If you do have insurance, you can turn your bill in for possible reimbursement. And with 40 patients already, Vanhoozer expects business at the clinic to grow.
“I think she’s going to be overflowing with customers once her advertisement word gets out,” said Vanhoozer.
The clinic also partners with the pharmacy next door to offer prescriptions for patients at a fraction of the cost.
Samuel hopes in the future to be able to open another clinic in the Athens area.
For more information, go to http://www.aheartbeatawayclinic.com/concierge_medicine.