Doctokr Family Medicine Pioneers Cash-Only Primary Care Model, Potentially Saving Patients Thousands While Delivering 24/7 Access to Care

March 30, 2009 (PRLEAP.COM) Health News
Vienna, VA. March 30, 2009 Doctokr Family Medicine, a cash-only medical practice based in Northern Virginia, may be at the forefront of today's health care reform, offering patients all of the primary and urgent care they need for as little as $300 per year while still delivering patients direct, round-the-clock access to care. The practice is able to do this since it is not beholden to insurance billing codes.

According to the National Center for Health Statistics, about 75% of Americans need an average of 4 office visits per year to receive the primary care they need. Dr. Alan Dappen, founder of doctokr Family Medicine, a pay-as-you-go practice in Vienna, Virginia, explains that those 4 office visits, each lasting roughly 15 minutes, typically cost a patient $300.

In reality, Americans pay for insurance premiums that total about $300 per month, not including co-pays, which begs the question why people aren't stampeding to find healthcare options that will save them thousands.

Dr. Dappen, during a recent interview with Dr. Val Jones of Better Health, explained, "People have been conditioned to believe that if they pay their insurance premiums, then healthcare is free. In reality, employers take out about $3600 per year for this 'free' care. They don't see the money, and they don't miss it."

High deductible health care plans, paired with a cash-only primary care provider, could be an answer, according to Jones and Better Health. A high deductible health insurance plan, which is one where coverage starts after a deductible of at least $3000 has been met, costs about $110 per year for about three quarters of Americans with estimates from ehealthinsurance.com. This amounts to a savings of about $2280 per year if one changes from a regular deductible to a high deductible plan.

For those concerned of using the $2280 dollars they are saving for out-of-pocket health expenses by making the switch, Dappen says that only 3 of his patients spend more the $2000 per year for his services.

"The bottom line is that at this very moment, 75% of Americans could be saving thousands of dollars per year on their healthcare costs — and have their very own cash-only primary care physician available to them 24-7 by phone, email, home visit, or office visit," Dappen continues, "The cash-only doc can afford to offer these conveniences because they are paid by the hour to do whatever the patient needs done, without forcing the relationship to conform to insurance billing codes. In fact, the physician saves a bundle on coding and billing fees, and can pass that on to the patients."

Doctokr Family Medicine (pronounced doc-talker), founded by Dr. Dappen in 2002, has been at the bleeding edge of the cash-only trend. The practice does not take health insurance, rather bills patients for the time they spend with the medical team to be paid when services are rendered. Doctokr offers patients a 24/7 access to the medical team by phone, email, office visit or a house call for primary and urgent care. The practice sees patients round-the-clock, so can treat over 80% of what ends up in the ER.

About Doctokr: Doctokr Family Medicine offers 24/7 access to primary, urgent and continuous care for all of its patients, and ensures affordable, quality and convenient care including phone and email consultations, same-day office visits and house calls. The practice is a cash-only practice, and offers time-based billing. Dr. Alan Dappen is a board-certified physician, and founded doctokr in 2002, in Vienna, Virginia. Doctokr was one of seven medical practices to be invited to the national "Primary Care Innovators Roundtable" organized by the Harvard Interfaculty Program for Health Systems Improvement, and has appeared on Washington DC's News Channel 8, Good Morning America and American Public Media's The Story. Website: www.doctokr.com

About Better Health: Better Health is a network of popular health bloggers, brought together by Dr. Val Jones, founder and CEO, with its network reaching approximately 10 million unique users per month and growing.

Better Health's mission is to support and promote healthcare professional bloggers, provide insightful and trustworthy health commentary, and help to inform health policy makers about the provider point of view on healthcare reform, science, research, and patient care. Website: www.getbetterhealth.com.