KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Ohio Doctor Starts New Clinic With Lower Charges But Doesn’t Accept Insurance

Middletown (Ohio) Journal: "Dr. James Brockman has taken on a new business model with his medical practice to maintain less overhead and avoid hassles with insurance companies and people who won't pay their bills. No insurance is accepted at his Affordable Health Care Center, which opened in April and offers visits starting at $45 and capped at $100 for more complicated cases. … Preventative care is stressed, and costs are disclosed to patients up front to coincide with the issues they would like the doctor to address." The idea for the clinic came after business manager Davida Claxon noticed that patients "were struggling with higher deductibles and co-pays, and others had lost their jobs or chose not to carry insurance to save money. With the shift, she said, patients pay more attention to their health care and are more involved in the decision-making." Brockman also maintains a private practice that accepts insurance (Hilty, 9/8).

The (Columbus, Ind.) Republic: "When you're sick or hurt, you go to the doctor -- but not necessarily your personal doctor. A new study published in the journal Health Affairs shows that only 45 percent of more than 350 million U.S. patient visits for a newly arising health complaint such as a cough, fever or stomach pain take place with a primary-care physician each year. The rest take place at a hospital emergency room (28 percent), medical specialist's office (20 percent) or outpatient clinic (7 percent). ... But other recent research has found that even many insured families either don't have a regular doctor or have difficulty securing a timely appointment if they do. A 2006 study estimated that more than 60 million Americans lack any relationship with a family doctor, a number that's likely swelled during the recession" (Bowman, 9/8).

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