Letters: Readers comment on Medical Economics stories

May 10, 2011

Letters discuss working outside the box, modeling the behaviors you promote to patients, and pay-for-performance initiatives.

A feel-good moment

I can relate very well to the article by Richard E. Waltman, MD ("Lucky to be me," April 10 issue). It made me feel good after a long day of work today.

ERIC FELBER, DO
Bethesda, Maryland

Congratulations on another practice profile that is "outside the box" ("Bucking convention," [by Morgan Lewis, senior editor], March 10 issue).

After 30 years of practicing emergency medicine, I opened a walk-in clinic based on many of the same ideals as Dr. Wollschlaeger-quality, affordable healthcare for all. I opted out of Medicare, accept no insurance, and turn no one away.

For those who have insurance, we provide a "super bill" with appropriate codes for patients to submit on their own.

For patients without insurance, we have negotiated with local and national healthcare providers to give patients access to their services at discounted rates frequently equal to or less than those given to patients with insurance.

The truth is, most labs, including LabCorp and Quest Diagnostics, will perform complete blood count, comprehensive metabolic panel, urinalysis, and thyroid-stimulating hormone tests for less than $30 for almost any medical practice, anywhere, anytime.

MRIs and CT scans can be done for $200 for our cash-paying patients in facilities that routinely charge $2,000 for the same procedure.

Some of our patients opt to become a "member," which means we provide unlimited medical visits, with ECG and full labs, for one $500 annual fee.

The possibilities of working outside the system is only limited by your imagination.

GEORGE KAMAJIAN, DO
Indian Shores, Florida

Following your orders

I read the "Practicing what you preach" article (March 10 issue) by Antoinette Cheney, DO, and wanted to thank her for reminding us physicians to follow our own orders.

I am a family physician in a hospital-owned, 16-doctor group. I have participated in endurance sports, along with my wife, since residency almost 10 years ago, participating in more than 25 marathons, and more recently, competing in half-iron-distance triathlons.

My patients know me as the "running doctor" and convincing them to do something for exercise is better accepted when I can share how I make it a priority with my busy schedule.

Thanks again to Dr. Cheney for inspiring more healthcare professionals to model the behaviors we prescribe every day to our patients. Best of luck to her with any upcoming races, and if she knows of any great sports medicine CME courses, please let me know.

BRAD GARSTANG, MD
Liberty, Missouri

Hard work pays off

Kudos to Steve Dudley, DVM, MD, for the article "An open letter to my son who is a pre-med student" (February 25 issue).

It rightly portraits the journey of a physician that involves years of hard work that is rewarded with the satisfaction that comes when we take care of our patients.

KIRAN PADIGALA, MD
Baton Rouge, Louisiana