A new health-care clinic has opened in Spokane Valley that will target uninsured and underinsured consumers who are willing to pay an annual membership fee in return for getting discounted services for primary and urgent care.
The clinic, a new company named Freedom Health Group Corp., of Spokane Valley, charges about $700 a year for individual memberships, which give members access to the clinic's nurse practitioners, who are able to write prescriptions, diagnose and treat illnesses, and provide preventive, primary, and urgent health-care services, says owner Rick Hansen.
Members pay discounted rates for those services, Hansen says. For instance, he says, members pay $100 for an annual physical, with lab work, something Hansen says would cost about $300 normally without insurance. The clinic's Web site lists other fees, including $25 for a 15-minute office call and $50 for a wrist X-ray.
Hansen says Freedom Health Group will target people who are uninsured but can afford to pay something for their health care, and those who have insurance, but must pay a high annual deductible for care. It also will target small businesses that can't afford to provide traditional insurance for their employees, but want to provide some form of care, he says.
People with health insurance will be welcome as members of Freedom Health Group, but the clinic will not bill their insurers for claims.
Freedom Health Group doesn't have doctors, and instead contracts with between two to five nurse practitioners to provide care, Hansen says. He says the clinic typically will have two nurse practitioners available to see patients during business hours. The clinic also will have six employees, including medical assistants, other nurses, and administrative staff, Hansen says.
If a doctor or specialist is needed, the clinic helps refer patients to them, he says.
The clinic occupies about 4,000 square feet of leased space at 924 S. Pines. It has six exam rooms and two procedure rooms.
Hansen contends the health-care industry hasn't been following operational and management trends, like other industries, to run more efficiently.
"I want to look at it from a business standpoint," Hansen says. "Why does it cost so much?"
Hansen says he wants to change health care, making it less expensive, and delivering primary and urgent care more cost effectively. He says he also wants to bring more customer service to health care, such as calling patients after visits to check on their recovery, and also support them "through this maze of a health-care industry."
As well, he says, "I wanted a place people could call their own clinic."
Hansen previously owned a high-tech contract manufacturer in Spokane Valley, called Visiontec Inc., which closed in 2004. He also owned and operated a Spokane consulting firm for about 12 years called The Qualifier Corp., which helped companies develop quality-assurance and strategy-planning programs, he says.
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