You go to the doctor, you pay in cash, you go home.
You never receive a bill or hand someone an insurance card.
That’s the way Paul McGraw, general manager at The Doctor’s Office, thinks health care should be.
The Doctor’s Office in Janesville uses a cash-only, no-insurance-accepted model, a style of health care that is nearly extinct, McGraw said.
The Doctor’s Office opened in July in the former First Choice Clinic on the city’s south side. It’s the third location in Wisconsin, the other two being in Brookfield and Darien.
The clinic does not accept insurance. Cash, debit or credit payment is required the day of service, McGraw said.
The model appeals to people who don’t have insurance or are sick of navigating health care systems that are complicated and stressful, McGraw said.
Some patients have insurance but can never meet their high deductibles in one year, so they save money by going to the cash clinic for basic preventive services, McGraw said.
A lot of people avoid preventative care or fail to get treatment for existing conditions because they cannot afford health care or do not want to deal with the hoops attached with health care, McGraw said.
Giving people another option will make for a healthier community, McGraw said.
By not accepting insurance, the clinic saves on overhead and administrative costs, McGraw said.
Services are based on what providers the clinic can bring on board. Janesville’s location offers primarily preventative care, urgent care, lab work and massage therapy. Some medications are dispensed on site.
McGraw is hoping to bring in other providers to offer a wider scope of services.
Anyone needing advanced care gets referred by a physician at the clinic, McGraw said.
The clinic hires providers as independent contractors and does not provide much oversight or regulation to how they care for patients.
The only requirements Medicraft Corporation— the company overseeing The Doctor’s Office— asks of providers is they have a state license to practice and professional malpractice insurance, McGraw said.
McGraw believes health care decisions should be made between a patient and a physician, not by “guys in suits” walking around a major hospital or health system, he said.
Cash-only clinics give freedom back to patients, McGraw said.
Health care has been a topic hotly debated by political leaders and 2020 presidential candidates.
McGraw said a cash-only model can play a role in debates on health care because it provides another option for consumers.
“I think the country is prime for a way to get patients in control of their health care,” McGraw said.
Prices for services range from $5 to $150. Appointments can be scheduled in advance or patients can walk in.