The clinic will close at noon on April 18th for Good Friday. Happy Easter everyone!
Many of you have experienced issues leaving us a message or getting through on our phone system recently. Please know that we are working diligently to solve the problem. In the meantime, please use the Patient Portal as a reliable way to communicate with us. Thank you and we apologize for any inconvenience.
Our blood draw services are back! We are happy to have this convenience again. Please call the day before if you need to come in for bloodwork.
At first glance you will see the initial result-which is simply the doctor’s shorthand version of your results. Simply click onto/into the lab name and it will pop open with more detailed results and a message from your doctor about the particular test. We often give instructions here, so please check each lab, even if they say “Normal” on the initial result bar. If your result states “See scanned” then this is a document that could not be relayed through the portal and it’s telling your doctor to see the official result in a different part of your chart. You can click into/onto this as well to see further details or instructions, but at this time we can’t send the document, like an EKG, through the portal. If you have any questions, please call the office to discuss your results and we will be happy to explain them.
We welcome Live Oak Assisted Living to our neighborhood! Check out their link for information on the facility opening soon.
Dr. Jeremy McWilliams’ practice is unchanged and he is seeing patients as usual, and accepting new patients. We wish Dr. Melinda Jezierski good luck on her new endeavor in California, as she will be leaving next month. For more information on Dr. Chilek’s new practice model, please see this video and call the office to speak with Crystal. We’ll have informative short meetings in the office that you can attend as well.
Good news! Dr. McWilliams is continuing to take Medicare patients!
What is a membership practice?
A membership practice means I will accept a smaller number of patients so that I can focus more attention and care on you. Over the past 7 years, I have had the same patient numbers. However, with healthcare changes, the cost to provide care and the time it takes has increased. In order to keep up with the costs to keep the practice open, I would need to see more patients each day in smaller time slots. That’s not how I want to practice medicine- rushing through, getting behind, and still having piles of paperwork at the end of the day.
I don’t feel I have enough time and focus as I did in the past. I want to get back to how it was a few years ago. I want to be able to communicate and coordinate your care more effectively, whether that be when you are in the hospital, or at specialists offices, or on the road traveling. Same day and next day appointments will be available, as well as access to Amanda and I via our cellphones. We will also be utilizing email, texting, and video conferencing for visits, if patients prefer.
Will this cost more?
Possibly, but not necessarily. At first I know it seems like a lot. But, for some, in the end it will cost less overall. There are many times that issues can be handled on the portal, or over the phone, which ends up reducing copays and out of pocket costs, but the current healthcare system does not allow for that to easily happen. I am trying to make that happen through my partnership with Medley and access to their technology. I highly encourage talking to my staff at Medley about these details. I truly feel most people will realize the benefit of higher levels of service with overall savings and less out of pocket costs.
Dr. Chilek already does these things that membership practices do – why do we have to pay for them now?
I started the annual fee three years ago in order to help with the cost of technology and to try not to have to see more and more patients to cover expenses. However, it’s just not possible anymore. The costs of running a small practice are rising, and insurance reimbursement is going down. 51% of family practice offices had to take out a loan last year to help with expenses. It was no different for me, or my partners here. My partners chose to increase their annual fee and see more patients in a day, in shorter time slots. My personal choice was to either do the same, stop being a doctor in a small clinic, or give patients the chance to pay for extra services, more focus, and better care coordination. I chose to practice medicine the way I want to on my terms – not the insurance company or healthcare industry’s terms.
I remember the same initial reactions with the original fee three years ago – confusion, anger, disappointment. But, patients realized the benefits over time. I have tried to keep my schedule on time and respect your time as well. I have tried to provide thorough care without the hurry. I have tried to respond to questions and refills the same day, and allow patients to schedule the same day or next day for appointments. Those are the conveniences that get sacrificed in healthcare today. But, they don’t have to be…
When will this start?
April will be the first month of the new membership practice. I will continue seeing patients as usual until then. After April, I will allow 30 minute and 1 hour time slots in general, with larger blocks available if needed.
I only come to the doctor once or twice a year, why should I do this?
Most patients only come when they are sick or have a problem. Patients in their 30’s and 40’s don’t realize that those are the key decades to start preventing diseases that set in and cause problems in their 50’s and 60’s. There is a lot to be done when you are younger in order to be healthy and feeling great when you are older. Also, some diseases have no age limits. For instance, cancer is one of the toughest battles and it can start young.
Also, many people don’t come to the doctor because it is expensive, the wait is usually long, you have to take time out of work, and the issue may not seem like a big deal. That’s not how healthcare should be- I want to make it easier to get your questions answered and make you feel welcome to engage in your health. No question is a stupid question. And you should be able to ask your doctor anything at anytime and get a response in a timely manner.
Are Dr. Jezierski and Dr. McWilliams doing this?
No, they have decided to raise their smaller annual fee and continue seeing more patients in smaller time slots. They are still my partners, and we will continue to support each other fully. Technology affords the ability for me to communicate with my patients wherever I am, for the most part, but if I am unavailable and a patient needs to be examined, they will see my patients in the office if needed.
Are you taking insurance plans?
Yes, I will continue to bill your insurance plan for the services provided and will accept almost any insurance plan you have. Please discuss this with my Medley staff members on the phone for a better explanation of how you end up saving on your insurance out of pocket costs. 1-936-463-5621
Are you taking medicare?
YES! Even if the proposed 30% cut for March goes through, I will continue seeing Medicare patients in my membership practice.
What if I don’t have insurance and pay cash for my healthcare?
My new office visit rate is a low $25 per ½ hour visit, with further discounts possible. Vaccines, procedures, and lab costs will be passed on to the patient near “cost” without a large mark-up. This will hopefully encourage patients to have their issues addressed, however minor they may seem.
Can I switch to Dr. J or Dr. McWilliams and how do I change doctors?
Dr. Jezierski is no longer taking new patients. If you would like to change to Dr. McWilliams, please let my office know at 936-582-0220 and they will process the request as his practice is almost full as well. Check your insurance plan for other primary care providers available in your network. I am happy to make recommendations for you as well, and will be sending a list of possible providers to you in the near future. We will make your records available on disk at no charge or will send them to the provider of your choice.