Bartlesville Doctor Ditches Insurance In Favor Of Memberships
BARTLESVILLE, Oklahoma - A Bartlesville doctor is making big changes to his clinic next year. He's offering memberships to patients to help lower costs of providing care and services.
Wendell Rovenstine is a patient at the GAP Medical Clinic in Bartlesville. He's 78 years old and wants to take care of his health.
In 2017, Rovenstine will be paying a monthly membership to Dr. Thomas Britt; in return, he gets same-day appointments, longer visits with the doctor and cheaper medicine.
"I really think, like, for $65 a month, this is something that I have my own provider. A doctor that cares for the community," Rovenstine said.
Britt will now offer a membership model because he said the health care industry is making it impossible to keep the doors open.
Britt: "I work three part-time jobs to fund the clinic.”
Britt: “I work three part time jobs to keep the clinic afloat.”
Tony: “Explain? How?”
Britt: “I don't make enough money here to earn an income from insurance."
To cover costs under the health care insurance model, Britt said he only gets seven minutes per patient. With the membership plan, he can spend up to half an hour with them and focus on providing a higher level of care.
Britt said, "My colleagues who had private practices are all gone. They've either closed their practice and went to work at the hospital, they've retired early or they've closed their practice and moved to other states to teach and do things. I'm kind of the last one around."
Britt said he isn't encouraging people to drop health insurance but to use his membership and buy a cheaper high-deductible plan for big emergencies.
"This is the future of medicine,” he said. “It cannot sustain the path that it's on."
Britt's patients are willing to give the plan a try.
Tony: "What was health care like 78 years ago?"
Rovenstine: "It was just like this. Just like this."
The membership program kicks in starting January 1st.