A Pennsylvania physician sick of dealing with insurance companies is trying a new approach to providing health care.
Dr. Timothy Wong has launched the iHealth Clinic in the Pittsburgh area, where he's now seeing patients for a $35 flat fee, according to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
By not taking insurance, Dr. Wong is able to run a lean and mean clinic, without personnel needed to file claims and handle bookkeeping. That, he says, is how he can offer such affordable care. Right now, he's the clinic's only employee.
Previously, Dr. Wong worked at a hospital, growing weary of dealing with insurers.
“After about four-and-a-half years of dealing with some of the insanity of the system, I was like, ‘You know what? It is not ethical, in my opinion, to be a part of a system that was failing,’” he said in an interview with Pittsburgh radio station WESA. “I felt kind of emotionally drained and physically drained.”
Doctors often spend more time filling out paperwork than they do seeing patients, a 2016 study found.
“Everybody wants slightly different information,” Julie Sakowski, a health care economist at Seton Hall University, told WESA. “They’re requiring different documentation. And they have different policies on what they’re going to cover. Keeping track of that is very work and labor intensive.”
Dr. Wong is still working to get his practice off the ground. Right now, he says he's forgoing a salary and relying on personal savings. As word gets out, he's hoping that changes.