SOURCE: Access Primary Care

Access Primary Care

January 28, 2010 19:17 ET

Access Primary Care Develops Low-Cost Primary Care Model: Second Location to Open in San Jose, California

Monterey-Based Access Primary Care Focuses on Uninsured and Underinsured Populations, Aims to Expand

MONTEREY, CA--(Marketwire - January 28, 2010) - Having successfully launched in Monterey, California in June 2009, Access Primary Care has announced plans to open a second location in San Jose, California, within the next several weeks.

Pioneered in California by family physician M. Samir Qamar, M.D., and his wife, Hisana Qamar, M.D., the model introduces low-cost access to basic primary care via a membership fee. For $49 a month, patients pay $10 for primary care office visits, and receive substantial discounts for lab studies, imaging, and medications based on arrangements made by or researched by the practice. Because the practice is not an insurance plan, patients are encouraged to obtain high-deductible catastrophe insurance for unexpected major expenses such as hospitalizations and specialty visits. As a courtesy, the company also negotiates lower fees for cash-paying patients whenever being referred to external care. Children and adults are accepted into the practice regardless of prior medical condition.

Founder Dr. M. Samir Qamar claims the market for such a practice in Silicon Valley is huge. "Our growth in Monterey, a relatively small city, has been quite rapid. San Jose is California's third largest city with over 3 million people in the surrounding metro area, many of whom could benefit from our economically-priced model," says Dr. M. Samir Qamar. "We don't just appeal to uninsured individuals. Many who join already have some form of insurance, usually with higher deductibles."

Dr. Qamar says the model also helps companies save health-related costs while maintaining a healthier workforce. "By combining low-cost primary care with lower-priced major medical insurance, companies can save up to 40% or more on health costs. Our affordable primary care model can be extended as an option to all employees to keep the company healthier overall, thus increasing productivity."

Access Primary Care plans to expand its model to primary care physicians throughout California, and possibly other states. The company is already in talks with doctors who would add Access Primary Care services to their current practice. "As physicians we have a responsibility to the uninsured and underinsured," remarks Dr. Hisana Qamar. "If affordable primary care through a quality private practice can be offered as a choice to the community, it is a noble thing."

Primary care models similar to Access Primary Care exist in several other states, although the practice is the first of its kind in the state of California. Collectively, these practices are known as "direct primary care" practices, because of their lack of dependence on health insurance.

In accordance with its ambitious goals, the model has recently been adopted in amendments in the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate versions of the health reform bill currently being proposed in Washington, D.C. Should health reform pass, the Access Primary Care low-cost primary care membership model, combined with major medical insurance, is expected to be offered as a choice to the public through the Insurance Exchange portion of the bill. "Until now, health care reform has been entirely focused on insurance issues, rather than patient care," said Dr. M. Samir Qamar. "I applaud the Senate for including direct primary care in its legislation. With this amendment, direct primary care practices like ours can continue to prioritize high-quality patient care, rather than focusing on insurance billing."

The practice is currently accepting patients in the San Jose and Monterey areas. Interested patients, doctors wishing to join the network, or business owners can call the main office in Monterey, California, 1-888-880-0007, or visit www.AccessPrimaryCare.com.

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