Source: Insight Magazine
JUNE 9, 2015 – Don’t you love dealing with health insurance companies? Didn’t think so. At Innova Medical Care, patients pay a fee directly to the doctor. This service is the first of its kind in Orlando.
“It’s based on a membership model called Direct Primary Care,” says Maribel Aviles, M.D., who operates a full-family, medical practice at Innova Medical Care based on this alternative payment model. “What it means is there is no intermediary. Instead of us dealing with insurance companies, the patient pays us.”
Benefits of Direct Primary Care
The average family pays $16,800 annually in health care premiums, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. Utilizing Direct Primary Care allows Innova Medical Care to keep fees low and affordable. It benefits patients who don’t wish to carry insurance, who have high deductibles or who desire more one-on-one time with their doctor. It also benefits patients who have a Health Savings Account because they can utilize their cards to cover the medical fees at Innova Medical Care.
Innova Medical Care, which is located on South Alafaya Trail, sees patients who are 13 years and older. Patients either pay per visit or pay a monthly fee based on age after a one-time registration fee. A family’s maximum monthly fee is $150.
The monthly fee includes any in-house and testing treatments a patient may require such as an EKG, asthma treatments, glucose testing, urine testing, strep testing and tuberculin testing. It offers services such as ultrasound testing, sports physicals and First Line Therapy, a weight-loss plan based on nutrigenomics. Innova Medical Care has two membership plans where one offers annual blood work at a lab and the other does not, which is convenient for patients whose insurance covers blood tests.
“It has given me a way to do what I love,” Aviles, who is board certified in family medicine, says. “Which is seeing patients and not having to be worried about all the paperwork and regulations.”
How Innova Medical Care Was Founded
Before opening Innova Medical Care, Aviles had a private practice for 10 years. She saw many patients who didn’t have insurance or couldn’t afford visits. Aviles then took a sabbatical where she worked for different clinics for the underserved and also did missionary work in La Gonave, Haiti and volunteered at Grace Medical Home.
“I was actually trying to see what my heart wanted to do and how I was going to channel all this knowledge into something patients needed,” Aviles says. “I took this period of time in my life to figure out what kind of a physician I really wanted to ‘give’ to my patients and learned from all of these experiences, shaping me further into the kind of doctor I want to be.”
After, she began to work for a doctor and realized it wasn’t what she wanted to do. She wanted to practice medicine that would benefit patients for a lower-cost. She researched Direct Primary Care by talking with her peers who were already practicing Direct Primary Care and opened Innova Medical Care in 2014.
“I am an educator at heart and I love talking to patients and I love letting them know about their options and what their diagnosis is,” says Aviles, who makes herself available for patients all the time. “At my office, patients wait five minutes and have an hour of one-on-one time instead of the other way around.”
While Innova Medical Care treats patients who have insurance, it does not bill their insurance. Aviles also stresses that Direct Primary Care is not a type of insurance, but an alternative.
Reaching Out Beyond the Office
To expand her efforts of reaching patients in need, Aviles founded The House Portable Medical Care, Inc. While still in the developing stages, the not-for-profit organization would take a mobile health unit into underserved communities to offer patients medical care and education material.
“I’ve always said that it is in giving that we receive,” Aviles says.
Aviles hopes The House Portable Medical Care, Inc. will begin fully working in the community by 2016.
How to learn more about Innova Medical Care
Innova Medical Care uses Direct Primary Care to offer patients affordable health care. Patients without insurance, with high premiums, with HSA cards or who want to spend more time with their doctor benefit greatly at Innova Medical Care. If patients want to learn more about Direct Primary Care and what Innova Medical Care can offer them, they should schedule a consultation with Aviles.
By Ashley White