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Discussion Starter #1 (Edited)
I was watching the NBC Nightly news and watched a story about a restaurant that has no prices listed on their menus. More than half of the customers are homeless. The other half are paying customers that just put whatever they want in a donation box. What is amazing is that all were saying that the food is top notch and first class. The people getting the free food would help clean some tables, sweep, wash some dishes to feel that they earned their food and not just given a hand out. The paying people were saying that they donate 2x-3x normal cost of food because of how much they appreciated what the restaurant owners were doing and the fact that the food is so good.

So in this economy i want to do something to help the community now that i have two offices. What i have seen lately are parents bringing their kids so much later in their disease process than they should have that the kids are much sicker that i normally see them. I know that wallets are tight and this is the major reason. Unfortunately, i just cant have people walking off the street helping around the office for a free visit:)

I am looking for some ideas from you guys about what i can do to help the community, particularly the people that have lower income or no insurance. I dont want to do something that regular people take advantage of or abuse. Here were somethings that came to mind but not really well thought thru:

1) A certain type of large discount for patients without insurance
2) Seeing kids below a certain age for free of charge
3) Reduced visits for low income families-but now sure how i would verify this without every tom dick harry abusing the system.

I really would appreciate all inputs and ideas..

And as much as i appreciate it, this is not a thread to fill up with "what a nice thing" i am doing. I really want good ideas that i can implement to help in anyway i can. Thank.
 

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Flesh Into Gear
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Well...

- Do you perform vaccinations? Maybe free/deeply discounted vaccinations for younger kids who need them the most?
- Perhaps there's some way to partially subsidize common medications such as inhalers?
- Maybe something similar to that restaurant's plan: Well-do-do customers volunteer extra funding for those who cannot afford it on their own. "Adopt a patient"?
 

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Discussion Starter #3
Well... Do you perform vaccinations? Maybe free/deeply discounted vaccinations for younger kids who need them the most? Perhaps there's some way to partially subsidize common medications such as inhalers?
Because i have an urgent care center we dont do basic pediatric vaccinations, since the city provides that for free anyways. In Jacksonville, Publix grocery store gives away free generic medications such as amoxicillin, cipro, erythromycin. And more generic medications are available for $4 thru walmart nationwide. So the medication idea which sounds really good is not as big of a deal. But good thinking :)

Keep em coming.........
 

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...smell like cabbage
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Instead of giving a discount to those without health insurance, since I feel that really isn't fair, charge more to those with insurance. The insurance company will cover it anyway but you can then have a little fund to help those without insurance. I'm not sure of the logistics of this but I think it's better than a discount.
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Instead of giving a discount to those without health insurance, since I feel that really isn't fair, charge more to those with insurance. The insurance company will cover it anyway but you can then have a little fund to help those without insurance. I'm not sure of the logistics of this but I think it's better than a discount.
I wish that was true. We have contracted rates with insurance companies and every procedure or visit has a certain code that has to be billed so i cant charge the insurance company more than what my practice's contract is with that particular insurance company. Most people with insurance have a small copy anywhere from $10-$50 and the insurance covers everything else which is not bad.
 

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...smell like cabbage
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I wish that was true. We have contracted rates with insurance companies and every procedure or visit has a certain code that has to be billed so i cant charge the insurance company more than what my practice's contract is with that particular insurance company. Most people with insurance have a small copy anywhere from $10-$50 and the insurance covers everything else which is not bad.
Oh I didn't know they had it calculated to such a degree. I thought you just wrote the bill and they covered the difference between the copay and the total.
 

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Just some guy
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Well, I don't know what you charge uninsured patients, but from what I've seen, uninsured patients are usually charged 3x the amount of the contracted insurance price. Maybe charge uninsured patients the same rate as your contracted fees with the insurance company? It's a start.
 

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Ive seen a sew doc's who have a set menu with low prices for vaccinations and small injury aid. It seriously looks like a Chinese food menu. Stitches to a broken arm, flu shot, check up, physicals etc... set prices. It started as mix of what you want and that they hate dealing with insurance.

They do run into problems when ever they have free on anything as you said the tom dick and harry's come in.

Honestly, go to local elementary schools and let them know what you want to do, maybe a "check up day" or they'll put a notice in their ad's that kids take home to their parents. Philanthropy is great advertising too. Have a weekend spent a school with the nurses (and yours) just giving physicals and going over ideas with parents. Ask them their problems and add how you think you can help.

Shit, I wish I was local. Ive been specializing in non-govt. private solutions to health care costs in my economic research and this is perfect.
 

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this is fairly tricky...

Maybe have one day a week where medical visits are 1/2 off.

This would attract lower income families to come that day, and once they are there, it's up to your discretion to charge them or not based on the age, severity of their situation.

This would also not alienate your patients w/ medical insurance because quite frankly if you have medical insurance, you'll see a doctor whenever you can because you're covered.

just a thought... hopefully one of these ideas works..


if Mother Theresa and Peter North ever had a kid, i think you'd be it... i've never met someone that exemplified such a saint and porn star at the same time.
 

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Im sure the local paper would be very willing to publicize and encourage donations for the cause. Maybe pull a few other doc's in the process.

Imagine a field day with all these kids getting checkups they other wise wouldn't get. Their parents would be thrilled.

You could also help provide awareness to families. Maybe have small cards made with healthy living tips.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
this is fairly tricky...




if Mother Theresa and Peter North ever had a kid, i think you'd be it... i've never met someone that exemplified such a saint and porn star at the same time.




LOL, thanks i just spilled coffee all over my keyboard:)


Just to give some more info about my practice. We already have a built in discount for self paying patients that do not have insurance. For non-insurance patients my office visits are categorized in three levels of service:

LEVEL I $85= Basic physician visit without any diagnostic tests, labs etc, you get a prescription for your ailment if needed.

LEVEL II $145= A visit which required ONE diagnostic test/lab or image such as getting a single body part x-ray, strep test, urinalysis etc.

LEVEL III $225= Basically a comprehensive visit that will require more than one test, imaging, including fracture care, laceration and wound repair, burn care, etc. Basically you can come in with a broken leg, and a 3" laceration and with everything the maximum is $225. An ER will bill you $4000 for such a visit.


So i am wondering whether i should give a certain discount on the already discounted services for non-insured patient?
 

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3) Reduced visits for low income families-but now sure how i would verify this without every tom dick harry abusing the system.
There are many government agencies that only provide services to those that have successfully demonstrated need. Successful enrollment in these programs means that they have be screened.

Maybe offer discounted services for people who are already enrolled in a welfare program? Basically, let the gov't do the screening for you.
 

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damn '02's...
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How about maybe once or twice a month (or more?), when a family (or individual) comes in that does not have insurance, but is clearly in need of some help, do that pro-bono....? Not sure if that is possible, but I know that would make a huge difference in several peoples lives...
 

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Discussion Starter #14
How about maybe once or twice a month (or more?), when a family (or individual) comes in that does not have insurance, but is clearly in need of some help, do that pro-bono....? Not sure if that is possible, but I know that would make a huge difference in several peoples lives...


Believe it or not i already do that and i mean at least 3 to 4 times a week. However, i just dont think that is enough or i am making a big enough impact. I have always thought about paying it forward and helping complete strangers in times of need and god knows these times are one of those times. I am looking for something that is more systematic and more regular so when it is advertised that way or shared with the public it can affect a greater number of needy people.

Nothing is worse than looking a little kid's ear that has been infected for days and the ear drum is about to burst because of delayed care due to financial problems. It breaks my heart.
 

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Visit a work/rehab program for the homeless and provide evaluations. (At least these are men who are working themselves out of poverty and not freeloaders)
 

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LOL, thanks i just spilled coffee all over my keyboard:)


Just to give some more info about my practice. We already have a built in discount for self paying patients that do not have insurance. For non-insurance patients my office visits are categorized in three levels of service:

LEVEL I $85= Basic physician visit without any diagnostic tests, labs etc, you get a prescription for your ailment if needed.

LEVEL II $145= A visit which required ONE diagnostic test/lab or image such as getting a single body part x-ray, strep test, urinalysis etc.

LEVEL III $225= Basically a comprehensive visit that will require more than one test, imaging, including fracture care, laceration and wound repair, burn care, etc. Basically you can come in with a broken leg, and a 3" laceration and with everything the maximum is $225. An ER will bill you $4000 for such a visit.


So i am wondering whether i should give a certain discount on the already discounted services for non-insured patient?
Dude, that's pretty f'n cheap. I think you're already doing a service by charging those prices.

It's kind of hard to think of a structured program to "give back" when it's an urgent care facility. Hopefully someone comes up with some good ideas.
 

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Discussion Starter #17
Visit a work/rehab program for the homeless and provide evaluations. (At least these are men who are working themselves out of poverty and not freeloaders)


Although that is a great idea. The problem is that i cant get away from my office. I need to see the patients in my office. I would have to hire a doctor to replace me so i can leave. Even when i go and speak to kids in school in different programs, i literally try not to be gone more than an hour and come right back.
 

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Ad in the paper? I could contact some conservative activists(not loonies) I know in your area whom would love to be involved. They possibly bring the people to you. Probably more than you think you can handle.

What congressional district are your offices in?
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Ad in the paper? I could contact some conservative activists(not loonies) I know in your area whom would love to be involved. They possibly bring the people to you. Probably more than you think you can handle.


I would love to entertain that thought.

I have an office is St. Johns County and another office in Duval County.
 

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Well coming from a small business owner who has not had insurance for about 12 years now I really like the discount idea for people without insurance. Insurance is CRAZY high for the small number of employees I have so that's out of the question.

I think you might want to think about how much actual time you spend with each type of patient and put a dollar figure to it. The reason I say that is it irritates the hell out of me to go to a doc for a cold or cough only to sit there for two hours minimum to be called into a room for another twenty to thirty minutes for the doc to come in ask whats wrong , throw me a script for whatever antibiotic I already figured he was going to give me and then poof hes gone.
I can see a broken bone or a burn is gonna take more time and deserves to be charged accordingly .

Last year I had an MRI on my back and found L1-S1 are herniated 2-3 mm so I was going to a doc who charged me 100 bucks per month to write me a script that took 30 seconds to write and 80 bucks to fill at wal mart. He very easily could have written it for two or three months at a time but then he doesn't get his cut every month. I felt he was taking advantage of me and now I just deal with the pain.
MY two cents. Sorry for being long winded
 
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