NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) - A Nacogdoches physician is introducing East Texans to concierge medicine.
The direct service care is becoming doctors' answer to avoiding insurance companies and providing the care they want for their patients. Getting started is somewhat like joining a club.
Dr. Jeremy Smith's blue jeans and boots provide no clue he's a family physician. The white coat is gone. So are all the other distractions.
'The government man, the insurance man, all the people that as a patient you bring into that office," said Dr. Jeremy Smith, a concierge physician "You don't see them sitting there in that third chair, but they're there."
Smith abandoned all that. His concierge practice called My MD Select never bills insurance.
"It works pretty simply," Smith said. "It's a membership practice."
Smith no longer juggles the 4,200 patients he had in his previous practice. Now he's providing VIP service for no more than 500 members.
"Annually, it's $1500," Smith said. "Some people pay monthly, and it's $135 a month to do that."
In addition, the fees are $20 a visit. You can see the doctor as many times as you want and receive discounted prices for tests and exams.
There are many factors to consider when deciding whether or not concierge medicine is right for you. They include, but aren't limited to, what is your out-of-pocket expense right now, how often you go to the doctor, and what kind of service you expect when you do go to the doctor.
Patient Octavio Romero likes a more accessible doctor, thorough office visits and less wait time.
"It's having a private doctor in your house," Romero said.
Patients are advised to keep some hospitalization insurance, but according to Smith, they can still come out ahead.
"You can buy the basic catastrophic insurance or hospitalization insurance you save so much per month that you can pay for this practice and pocket the difference," Smith said.
Smith said educating future patients is his biggest barrier. That's changing as concierge medicine practices are growing at rate of about 25 percent a year.
On February 3 Smith will present a concierge medicine presentation to help people learn about the health care. You can register through the Nacogdoches Chamber of Commerce or my md select office in Nacogdoches.