Created: 05/07/2014 5:37 PM
By: Kai Porter, KOB Eyewitness News 4
A new kind of medical clinic just opened in Albuquerque that charges patients a flat monthly rate instead of accepting health insurance.
The clinic’s owners said their patients have shorter wait times, spend more time with their health care provider and never have to make a co-pay. Patients also have 24/7 access to their provider, who will even accompany them on emergency room visits. It’s only been open a few weeks but Functional Family Medicine in northeast Albuquerque already has about 25 patients.
“We don't have to worry about billing and following up with insurance companies and actually having a staff just to do that,” said Rodger Johnson. He’s a registered nurse and owns the practice with his wife Camille. She is a nurse practitioner and can do anything your primary care doctor can do, including diagnosing illnesses and prescribing medication.
By limiting their patient list to 500 per practitioner, the couple says they’re able to provide more personalized attention and same day appointments.
“They won't have any wait times,” said Johnson. “If you're only having to see 5-8 patients a day that's what it gives you.”
It costs $125 a month for an individual and $250 a month for a couple and up to three kids.
But the service should not be used as substitute for regular health insurance.
“For the big things you need to have insurance,” said Johnson. “If something goes wrong with your heart, you need surgery or God forbid you're in a car accident.”
Functional Family Medicine just provides primary care.
But if you can afford it, the extra attention might just be worth it.
“Let's say you're elderly or really sick we have time to make house calls,” said Johnson.
Johnson said fixed-fee medical practices started popping up several years ago and there are currently about 5,000 others nationwide. But as far as he knows, his practice is the only one of its kind in Albuquerque.
For more information about Functional Family Medicine, visit their website at http://functionalfamilymedicine.net/