ConsumerWatch: SF Medical Group Offers Same-Day Appointments

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(AP)

(AP)

SAN FRANCISCO (CBS 5) — Getting a last minute doctor’s appointment can be a challenge. A new medical group allows patients to book a same day appointment, but it comes with an annual fee.

When Ian Casey had an eye infection he said he turned to One Medical Group where it took less than an hour to register as a new patient and see a doctor. According to founder and physician Tom Lee, One Medical Group is a primary care practice that offers longer visits, email access to physicians and same day appointments.

“I started One Medical Group because as a physician it was clear that a lot of the practices weren’t delivering what patients wanted,” he said.

Lee adds the average doctor is overburdened with paperwork that is related to insurance claims.

By creating a model where his group manages the office for the physicians, Lee said doctors are able to assist patients more efficiently. Lee has also implemented online tools and an iPhone app where patients can make appointments, renew their prescriptions and self diagnose.

Members pay $150 to $200 a year and most insurance carriers including Medicare are accepted.

But according to Professor Ramon Castellblanch, this type of health service may not be for everyone. “This is what some people are calling wealthier care,” he said. “If you’ve got the money you can have access to care these ways but it leaves a lot of people out,” he said.

Castellblanch adds this type of health care is a result of physicians being paid less by insurance companies.

“It’s unfortunate the industry is having to direct its attention to these higher income groups,” he said.

(Copyright 2011 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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