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They are giving A-list treatment to average folks for affordable prices.
It is an idea on the verge of expanding around the country, and ground zero for direct primary care is right here in Las Vegas.
It was once only for the rich and elite. In the early 2000s, concierges medicine, as it is often called, became popular, but only if you had a lot of money.
Dr Samir Qamar was actually the doctor at the elite Pebble Beach Golf Resort. He charged his patients as much as $30,000 a month.
Now, he wants to offer you healthcare for just a fraction of that: $70 a month.
“We opened the company because in 2008 we saw a tremendous amount of people losing their jobs and they lost their benefits as a result,” Dr. Qamar with Medlion Direct Primary Care said.
Dr. Qamar says a major flaw in the health care system is insurance rates dictating how treatment is given, especially for primary care like checkups and prescription medication.
“It was failing because the current system was designed on a fee-for-service, a fee-per-visit system, which incentivizes doctors to see as many patients as possible and do as many procedures as possible,” Dr. Qamar said.
Now, he says the incentive is in the patient’s favor. Juan Guerra came to the Medlion office for a headache. He is charged $10 for any doctor visits.
“Turns out it was just some muscle tension I had from working out,” Guerra said.
Guerra says he would not have gone to another doctor for something like a headache.
The difference between this direct primary care office and concierges medicine is that doctors at this office won’t make house calls. However, it is a lot cheaper, and it is actually part of the Affordable Care Act.
The law suggests using insurance to cover catastrophic medical issues and using direct primary care for smaller medical problems.
Patients like Guerra don’t need to worry about paying with his black credit card. He can use a $10 bill and be treated.
Right now, Medlion has three offices in the Las Vegas valley and about 3,000 patients.
They hope to expand to 30,000 patients a year from now.