COLLEYVILLE — The clinic under construction in Colleyville has all the trappings of an ordinary doctor's office. But Dr. Kevin Wacasey is planning something revolutionary here.
He’s offering what he says is truly affordable health care.
"It's a cash clinic," Dr. Wacasey said. "That's just like it used to be in the good old days back before managed care took over."
Dr. Wacasey is promising transparent pricing for medical services, prices that don’t gouge insurance policies — or patients.
"We don't have to worry about health insurance; we don't have to worry about pre-authorization," Wacasey explained. "If you want to get your thyroid checked, we can do that; it's 25 bucks."
The cost of health care has been a nagging public policy issue for decades. Despite the Affordable Care Act, a growing number of physicians are bailing out of the cumbersome red tape of accepting coverage.
According to the Texas Medical Association, 19 percent of the state's physicians no longer belong to PPOs, preferred provider organizations.
The Centers for Disease Control says 30 percent of physicians nationally won't accept new Medicaid patients because reimbursement rates are so low.
Those rates aren't expected to get better, and the law doesn't force doctors to accept coverage.
"The Affordable Care Act makes it against the law for us to accept Medicare and Medicaid," said Dr. Robert Wyatt, chief medical officer at Forest Park Medical Center, with offices in Dallas, Frisco and Southlake.
That's working out fine for the doctor-owned-and-operated system, which does accept insurance. Forest Park boasts lush lobbies and patient rooms along with state-of-the-art care.
Instead of that costing more, the services can cost less because the system is bundling procedures — charging one price for a procedure, instead of billing line-for-line for each little cotton ball and aspirin, as insurance companies do.
"And so the patient understands what their out-of-pocket is, what the bill is, and the employer understands what they'll be charged," Wyatt said.
"It's like buying bananas in the grocery store,” Dr. Wacasey said. "This is what you pay for it."
On the Colleyville Medical Clinic website, Dr. Wacasey says he "took an oath to do no harm to my patients. To me, that includes financial harm."
He hopes his clinic does good for patients — and policy.