Some news and notes worth watching:


Cash-only doctors abandon the insurance system

Fed up with declining reimbursements and rising red tape, a small but growing number of doctors are opting out of the insurance system completely, reports CNN. How is it working out for them? Pretty well for Doug Nunamaker, who set up a membership-based practice called Atlas M.D. (yes, in honor of Ayn Rand’s Atlas Shrugged). Patients pay a flat monthly fee (kid’s $10 a month, adults $40-50, seniors $100), and the office has negotiated deals for services such as lab and MRIs. Nunamaker’s patient base went from 2500-400 to 400-600, but he told CNN it’s minus the headaches cause by dealing with insurers and he is comfortable with the salary he’s making.

Right now, the cash-only model hasn’t caught fire, but it’s a trend worth watching in the next year.

It’s believed that only a small number of doctors have switched to a cash-only model. The American Academy of Family Physicians said about 4% of respondents to a 2012 survey reported taking only cash, up from 3% in 2010. A Medscape survey found 6% of physicians in the cash-only business in 2013, up from 4% in 2012.


Retail clinics to double

How big will retail clinics be in healthcare delivery? Real big — double the size in just a couple of years, according to a new report.

The report shows that the growing number of retail health clinics walk-in medical facilities located in pharmacies and retail chains, is expected to drive $800 million in annual cost savings by 2015 and will add capacity for 10.8 million patient visits per year, compared to 5.1 million in 2011. In fact, according to Accenture’s analysis, the number of patient visits at retail clinics is projected to account for 10 percent of non-primary care outpatient visits by the end of 2015.

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