ACH Is Here and It’s Easier Than Ever To Accept Payments

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There’s a new way to accept payments through Atlas, and it’s going to make things even better for you and your patients. We’re excited to announce the launch of Atlas.md’s ACH acceptance.

Here’s the scoop. By now you know that you can accept credit and debit payments. And that’s been great. But ACH is a way for you to accept payments directly from your customers’ bank accounts. If you remember, back in November, we lowered your transaction payments from 2.5% to 2.1%, but this new addition makes it even cheaper to accept payments from your patients.

The cool thing about ACH (besides the convenience) is that the charge per transaction is only going to be 25¢, which is less than the current 2.1% + 30¢ per transaction for credit/debit card payments. While it does take about 7 days for your patients’ funds to go through, this can add a bit more flexibility to your payment acceptance options.

Accept Multiple Types of Payment

ACH acceptance is a win-win: it lets your patients send money directly from their bank, so they have less to worry about, and it allows your clinic to accept payments without paying high transaction fees. And it’s a win-win that includes no learning curve.

To accept ACH payments, just follow some simple instructions:

  • Go to the patient billing page, and then add a new bank account.
  • Enter your patient’s name, account number, and routing number.
  • You’ll receive a confirmation message that the bank account has been added and needs to be verified.
  • The customer will get an email with details about the process and a link that they can use to complete the verification.

That’s it! Go ahead and get set up with ACH today or read some more specifics about how ACH works here.

THE HILL: The Pinch of the Primary Care Bottleneck

“According to a 2013 study by the Commonwealth Fund, 26 percent of 2,000 Americans surveyed said they waited six days or more for a doctor’s appointment when they were sick or needed care.”

If that snippet isn’t enough to convince you DPC is the way to go (you know, the whole same day scheduling, home visit thing), then maybe nothing will.

But in a world where a traditional primary care physician has 2,000 patient charts on her desk and must spend 17.4 hours per day to provide them with adequate care, the truth is that the fluidity of DPC is better for everyone. In a nutshell, physicians are doing what they love (caring for patients and as a result loving their jobs) and patients are getting what they deserve (quality healthcare in an available, comfortable format).

Plus, did you know DPC integrates with the ACA

“…the ACA allows DPC practices to offer coverage in the health insurance exchanges when combined with a wraparound catastrophic insurance policy provided by a qualified health plan (QHP). The QHP is used for hospitalization, specialty care and other more costly services. To date, there are no DPC practices operating in the federally facilitated exchanges, but the first DPC offering paired with a QHP will be available in the Washington state exchange in January 2015.”

Bottleneck, busted.

Ponytail Cap, Atlas MD Present at This Week’s 1 Million Cups

Thanks to Brian McTavish for covering Atlas MD at 1 Million Cups.

“Healthcare’s broken, and we’re here to fix it,” Umbehr said. Instead of taking insurance, Atlas MD charges patients a monthly membership fee—$10 for children and $50 to $100 for adults based on their age. Patients in return get unlimited visits, no co-pays, a variety of free procedures and wholesale pricing on prescriptions and lab work with discounts of up to 95 percent. In addition, Atlas MD works with employers to provide less expensive health care coverage for their employees.

Complete post first appeared on IThinkBigger.com.

It’s The Chicken Or The Egg Again. Will Direct Care Expand Proportionately To Demand For Preventative Care?

The president’s signature legislation aims to provide every American with affordable health insurance options, but there’s been an increase in doctors becoming direct pay or cash-only practices recently.

“There’s no doubt that one of the driving forces behind direct-pay practices is frustration and anger with health care among physicians,” says Michael Smith, medical director and chief medical editor at WebMD. “More and more doctors feel they are ready to quit the system and start practicing off the grid.”

But what about patient demand for preventative care? Something that fee-for-service medicine DOES NOT ENCOURAGE — and that Direct Care thrives on.

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Huff Post Asks The Tough Question: Is Concierge Medicine Really Worth It?

MARCH 26, 2014 – Growing up, Erin Havel’s family saw one family physician. That doctor gave her mom medical care when she was pregnant, delivered her when she was born, gave school shots, wrote prescriptions for any virus that came up, and helped her grandparents with geriatric care. This was well-rounded family care at its a finest.

However, things changed when her doctor retired. Patients were transferred to a new doctor, with his eyes on the dollar sign.

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Do You Have A Chip On Your Shoulder About Cash-Only Medicine? Let Me Get You An MRI.

Originally posted on Kevinmd.com

In 2010, I started practicing Direct Care in Wichita, KS. I steadily built a full roster of subscribers who pay between $10 and $100 per month to see me whenever they need to, for as long as they need to, however they want to (at their home, in my office, or via the Internet), all with zero copay.

Recently, a patient of mine developed ongoing shoulder pain. He’s middle-aged, insured, in good health overall, and as expected, refused to get an MRI.

As a direct care practitioner, I act as my patients’ family doctor — routine checkups, consultation, etc. — and as their personal urgent care physician – lacerations, broken bones, earaches, and stomach flus — I can handle all of this at no extra cost.

I write and fill their prescriptions, some as low as pennies per pill. Patients do pay for their labs and panels, but our wholesale rates come out lower than the copay of most insurance plans.

I even have someone who helps them find super affordable wrap-around insurance plans in case of major trauma.

Just last week this same patient called me up first thing in the morning: He was in severe pain.

“Dr. Josh, I’m ready for that MRI.”

So I immediately made the call to a local lab technician, because I wasn’t fifteen minutes behind my third appointment scheduled for the first hour of my day like most doctors working within the traditional fee-for-service model.

Because of the relationship I’ve built with the lab, my patient owed only $400 for the MRI, instead of the out-of-pocket cost of $1,500 that’s billed standard.

Within 45 minutes, my ailing patient was leaving the lab. Within a few hours, I was reviewing the results [Josh, please tell me the results here > … ].

But critics are probably shaking their head, wondering why this man would want Direct Care when he’s currently insured.

Well, the thing about insurance is that in almost all cases, patients need to meet their deductible in order for insurance to cover things like MRIs. An Obamacare silver plan comes with a $3,000 deductible — twice the amount due! If they went to the same lab and used their insurance, they would owe $1,100 more out-of-pocket.

And they would still owe that monthly insurance premium that’s really only there in case of major trauma.

And they would risk having to go to an overpriced ER if they had any trouble late at night or on the weekend.

It’s worth remembering that insurance is a business and they sell their benefits like every other company. Major Medical will typically offer “free preventative care” in effect saying, “as long as you see an overworked doctor of our choosing, you pay nothing.”

Except you do pay. You pay by waiting 18 days to get an appointment. You pay when doctors talk to you for 7 minutes and have to look down at your chart to remember your name. You pay when these doctors refer you to the same lab for the same MRI and you’re indebted $1,500 because you haven’t met your deductible yet.

That’s why it baffles me when people have knee-jerk reactions to paying cash for medical services.

“Oh, cash-only medicine, that’s only for the rich,” said an associate of mine while we were in L.A years ago. She went on to manage Patient Experience for the prestigious USC Medical Center, a place even the insured might only dream of receiving care.

Then there are critics who say things like, “You doctors seeing fewer patients will reduce access to primary care.”

Or our favorite gripe, “You’re going to create two-tiered healthcare.”

As a Direct Care practitioner I take offense to these attacks because they lack perspective. Do critics of an affordable option that delivers real value want healthcare without any tiers? And what would this tier look like? Millions losing existing coverage, rising premiums for small businesses, cheap Obamacare plans sneaking in absurd drug costs…

To me, this sounds like a universal healthcare system that equally fails all people of all socioeconomic backgrounds.

Why would someone criticize me when I tell people, I’m happy doing what I’m doing, I’m happy to consult other doctors in doing similar work, and I’m happy to motivate students to choose family medicine instead of a specialty?

Critics see affordable cash-only doctors as the root of our doctor shortage. I see us as a viable long-term solution. When students begin to perceive the financial and emotional benefits of practicing family medicine – two things I can personally vouch for their attainability – then this doctor shortage might actually be addressed.

And when critics want to examine the chip on their shoulder, I’ll be glad to negotiate for them.

STREAM: Concierge Medicine vs. Direct Care

We found this podcast from KPCC in Southern California and thought it was worth sharing with you. But not for the usual reasons. This episode takes a critical look at concierge medicine, asking, “Is concierge medicine pushing the nation’s doctor shortage over the brink? As the practice gets more affordable, is this a way for the uninsured to still get care? Is direct a la carte pricing a better way to bill patients for medical care?”

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Happy Doctors Go With The Flow (And Cut The Red Tape)

Happy Doctors Go With The Flow (And Cut The Red Tape)

Dr. Brian McDonough, Medical Editor of CBS Philadelphia, made a sad recommendation when he said, “Next time you see your doctor you might want to ask if he or she is happy.” Ouch. According to a study last year, 42% of docs admit they are ‘dissatisfied’ or ‘very dissatisfied’ in their medical practices, and 59% say they are unlikely to encourage a young person to go into medicine (talk about exacerbating the doctor shortage). Compare that with only 16% of physicians reporting a generally favorable outlook about their career future. Read more

More Cash Only News Coverage

8 News NOW

So CBS News in Las Vegas aired a segment about MedLion a few weeks ago. You’ve probably heard us mention Dr Samir Qamar’s operation. He was originally a high-end concierge medical doctor, offering private, 24/7 service for the elite Pebble Beach Golf Resort. He charged his patients as much as $30,000 a month.

No worries, he is charging much less now. 70 bucks a month and a $10 copay. His model doesn’t include the house calls we do, and it is a little more expensive than what we’re offering here. That said, it takes all kinds to bring direct care and cash-only medicine to life. Every time a news segment’s telling our side of the healthcare story, we’ll call it a win. Part of us might want to argue with MedLion, “Oh, you’re charging too much.” But that’s petty. In fact, that type of pettiness would be great. Seriously, that dialogue will only happen when direct care goes mainstream. American healthcare would look a lot different then. We’d welcome a new set of problems to overcome, new battles to win. At least we’d have made it past today’s impasse, where insurance dictates patient care, and not the other way around.

Posted by: AtlasMD

December 8, 2013

1 Comment

The Prism Vision Of Direct Care

We came across a contributed post on Dr. James Diamond’s blog (Diamond is founder/CEO of Diamond Luxury Healthcare, a concierge medical network). The post is called “Is Concierge Medicine The Correct Choice For You?” and was submitted by contributor Paul Hsieh, MD. You’re well aware that our branch of concierge medicine, direct care, is carving out a niche where families, individuals, and businesses can get quality care for the most affordable rate possible. Although our society is made of many types of cars, some are more expensive than others, though. So it makes sense that our movement would see cost stratification.

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