Medicine For People!

September 2011: Cost-Saving Services




Cost-Saving Services

This fall Monroe Street Medical Clinic is happy to offer you a new service designed to help you save money.  As most of our readers know, we do not accept medical insurance.  We are an independent medical clinic and we stand outside what we consider a marginally functional insurance system.  We were a long time coming to this position, a story we will relate in a future newsletter.  The bottom line is you pay us directly.  When you push a check across the front counter after your visit, every worker in our office (including me) can see where their own paycheck comes from.  We know you're giving us something of value.  It's not just your medical fee but your attention and your trust and an important part in your life.


I'm happy to lead a team dedicated to giving you the most value we can in return.  We continually look at our back-office and front-office procedures. We continually ask ourselves what we can do to give you more of what you need at a lower cost.  This newsletter presents an overview of our cost-saving services, new and ongoing, that you can use. 

Service Fee Freeze

At our annual fee review in January, although our costs had risen, we kept our fees unchanged.  We'll review again this coming year. We want you to be able to afford our services.


Prescriptions & Refills

We recognize that you may have a limited medical care budget, so if possible, we'll give you refills for up to a year for medication for on-going conditions.  This is the maximum time legally allowed.  Once the year is up, we require at a minimum a fifteen minute visit for re-evaluation, monitoring, and legally-mandated and medically necessary record keeping.


New! Prescription Savings Service

We are happy to announce this new service.  We will research prescriptions you're already taking, find the best pricing available, and arrange for you to receive it at that price, saving you money in the long run. Our nurses recently helped a patient save $600 a year on prescriptions!  To take advantage of this new service, click here.


Physical Examinations

Many primary care practices require a complete physical if you want to become a patient.  We don't.  For most adults below the age of 50 and in good health, the complete physical offers little value and adds unnecessary cost. From the age of 20 up to 40 or 50 most people require only occasional care for urgent conditions. Children, of course, are a different matter and do require periodic physical exams and preventive care. Some illnesses run in families and require individual attention, but for most adults, we start regular annual cancer screening at the age of fifty.


We offer competitive rates (just ask us) for

  • Commercial Driver's License Exams
  • Coast Guard Physicals
  • Pre-employment Physicals
  • School Sports
  • College Physicals


House Calls

We offer house calls during and after hours as physician schedule allows.  For more information click here.


Telephone Consultations

A telephone consultation resembles a clinic visit, but happens over the phone and typically takes less time. Telephone consultations can often be accomplished the same day.

Common situations for phone consults are:

  • acute but not life-threatening illness when you cannot get into the office;
  • you are travelling;
  • laboratory follow ups;
  • to refill or adjust medications;
  • to follow-up on an existing problem you saw us for recently. 


For more information click here.


Email Service

We offer free email service in the following circumstances:

1. When you need to know, before you make an appointment, if we can help you with a particular problem.  

2. When you saw the doctor in the office within the last seven days and

  • You need to ask a question you forgot during your last visit.
  • You want to explain something you think that I may have misunderstood during the visit.
  • You did not get all your existing medications refilled. 


We also offer a low-cost paid email service in the following circumstances

  • You are travelling and need medical advice. 
  • You have a brief question, requiring a brief answer, about a medication or supplement.  (Our reply may include a handout.)
  • You have an acute but non-life-threatening illness, think it best to avoid travel because it's snowy, icy, or you are too ill to leave the house, and you believe an email can solve your problem.  (A telephone consultation is often better in this circumstance.)
  • You have a contagious condition, like the flu or a cold, and need medical advice.  (In this case you're often better off with a telephone consultation or house call.)
  • You have found some information on the internet that you want me to give a quick look at and briefly comment on.
  • You need some sort of note, as in an application for something, or permission to be excused from jury duty.   For more than a straightforward note, we'll require more time and will tell you before proceeding.
  • While you can email photographs of skin conditions to us, be prepared for me to tell you I'll need to see the rash in person. (In which case, no fee for the email.)


For more information click here.


Self-Care Services

You are the one who knows your body the best, and there are situations where you may know exactly what you need. We understand this and work to make solutions available to you as efficiently and effectively as possible.  Our self-care services include:

  • Fast-track treatment for strep throat and urinary infections.
  • Self-care kits for situations such as sea-sickness, colds and flus.
  • Our nutritional dispensary, which takes the guesswork out of choosing a quality supplement.


Access to Information

We want to make it easy for you to come see us and to obtain the information you want and need.  New people have different questions than old-timers, so we have redesigned our website to serve both groups. The same wealth of information is still there, easily searchable, but with a cleaner interface for those who don't want to be inundated.  Please check out our redesigned website.


We are planning on rolling out a few more new services in the near future. Stay tuned to see what else we've got in mind to make your access to healthcare simpler and more affordable. As always, we provide a mix of traditional and alternative medicine, spending whatever time it takes to give you the best possible results.  We stay out of the insurance game so that we can provide the very best care we can. Thank you for allowing us to take care of you, and please let us know how we are doing!





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Medicine for People! is published by Douwe Rienstra, MD at Port Townsend, Washington.