By: Lorrie Ward | Category: Other | Issue: July 2012
Karolyne Velazquez, Dr. Melita Tate and Cherelle Allen welcome patients to Grassroots Healthcare.
Sometimes to deal with a problem, you have to go right to the root of things. That’s why Dr. Melita Tate expresses this desire for the future of healthcare in America: “I would love a few years from now for the history books to show that patients and doctors joined together and solved the medical problems without the government or insurance companies.”
This vision of Dr. Tate’s didn’t materialize by accident. Over the years, she has witnessed the mountains of red tape involved between doctors, patients, insurance companies and the government. And just as uncoiled tape tangles together into a big, time-consuming mess, so has this situation. “Doctors can’t get to patients anymore,” says Dr. Tate, “because the doctor has to spend so much time on things like insurance codes, which differ from company to company and are changed all the time.” Because of all these complications, Dr. Tate explains that medical costs also go up because doctors have to hire so much extra staff to deal with billing and insurance issues.
That’s why Grassroots Healthcare keeps it simple, with affordable fees which are posted up front and are due at time of service. “We want to keep our healthcare facility free from government and insurance influence,” she says. “This helps us keep prices far lower.”
To illustrate just how much lower, Dr. Tate recalls a situation in which she sent a patient to have lab work done at a place used by other doctors as well. Grassroots charged its usual low fee for the lab work, which took care of all costs involved for both Grassroots and the lab company. Somehow, though, the patient’s insurance company was accidentally billed by the lab for the procedure and a detailed statement was sent to the patient. The matter was rectified quickly, and neither he nor the insurance company had to pay any further costs. However, both Dr. Tate and the patient were amazed by how all the channels that would have been involved with an insurance payment had increased the cost of the lab work dramatically: the price went from $60 to $400. CT scans are another important service that can be obtained at Grassroots, at a cost of $150, a price which Dr. Tate describes as “extremely affordable.”
The services at Grassroots Healthcare include, and extend well beyond, emergency services such as sutures and abscess drainage. Dr. Tate is board certified in both pediatrics and internal medicine, which includes more complicated problems such as diabetes, coronary artery disease and other heart problems, and emphysema. “A lot of people hear the word ‘pediatrics’ and stop there,” says Dr. Tate. “But we treat both grownups and little people.”
On May 7, Grassroots Healthcare celebrated its one year anniversary, and Dr. Tate says response to their type of service has grown recently. “I had a physician friend in Texas who opened this kind of clinic and was very happy with it, so we decided to give it a try,” she says. “I love what I’m doing here. I never look at the clock at the end of the day and think, ‘I have this much time before I get to go home.’ I have great job satisfaction, and I wouldn’t trade it for anything.”
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