I decided to leave my big clinic job so I could cut the layers of complexity out between me as a provider and my patients. Having minimal staff at the clinic (no coders, billers, receptionist, etc) allows us to keep prices more reasonable which is especially great for people with high deductible insurance &/or healthcare savings accounts.
I recently had a patient come in for an infection that had returned after similar symptoms 3 months earlier. She has a high deductible insurance policy and wanted to find a more affordable clinic. Her appointment with lab tests in December had come to almost $800. I was able to see her and prescribe treatment for the $100 office visit. She can submit her superbill receipt to her insurance to see if they will reimburse her. This will depend on her individual policy. She left the clinic very satisfied and said she was not worried about the cost because she knew upfront what it would be and that there will not be any surprise additional bills coming later.
Personally, the encounter for me highlights the bigger reason to be a direct pay clinic. I was able to spend 45min listening to her history as well as current symptoms. In my former traditional clinic job, this visit would have been scheduled for 15min but I would have had 5 or maybe (if we were lucky) 10min to actually spend with the patient after she checked in at the desk and went through a prolonged check in process with the nursing staff. I would have saved my computer work for the end of the day and spent hours answering phone messages and emails that had gone through receptionists and triage nurses.
If this patient calls The Joyful Doc Clinic S.C. later this week, I will likely answer the phone or quickly call her back. If she needs another follow up appointment, she will again see all of the options available for a visit on our online scheduling page by clicking the "schedule now" button. She will then get a reminder email the day before the visit. When she returns we will likely have tea and she will leave with a hug instead of a sanitized hand shake. This is care based on love instead of fear.
Returning to a simplified clinic where treatment is an agreement between physician and patient, instead of what insurance allows or protocols dictate, makes me a Joyful Doc and the patients benefit from that joy everyday.
I would love to read your comments below. To meet me (Dr.Jodi Ritsch M.D.) and my wonderful assistants, join us any Tuesday or Thursday at 12:30 for a free 20min "Walk with the Doc."
And of course we would love to have you schedule an appointment by clicking the "schedule now" button above.
Dr. Jodi Ritsch is board certified in Family Medicine and Integrative Holistic Medicine. She’s a proud graduate of the Medical College of Wisconsin and completed her residency in Eau Claire. She previously cared for patients at Mayo Clinic Eau Claire and was also the distinguished Medical Director of Employee Wellness from 2012 to 2013. Dr. Ritsch has also attended more than 500 births in her more than 11 years of doing obstetrics. The Joyful Doc Clinic offers direct pay visits at our clinics in Menomonie and Eau Claire, Wisconsin.