As Main Street Family Medicine approaches its third year of providing primary care for a flat monthly fee, Dr. Steve Baker said his practice “continues to grow.”
In an October 2018 interview with The Columbian, Baker said his new practice had roughly 40 patients. His goal then was to eventually reach 700 patients and add a second doctor.
Those goals have manifested this year, as Main Street Family Medicine has more than 800 patients, and has added a second family doctor, Dr. David Paik.
The practice has also opened a new office on Northeast 88th Street in Vancouver, which will become its sole office on June 1 when the business leaves its original location on Main Street in downtown Vancouver.
Main Street Family Medicine’s success shows how many people desire alternative forms of health care, as health care costs rise and patients spend less time with their doctors, Baker said.
Main Street Family Medicine patients pay a flat monthly fee for their care, and don’t get charged for individual visits or phone calls with their doctor. It’s similar to a gym membership.
In 2018, Baker referred to the business model as an Uber or Airbnb for health care. The business’s slogan is “Modern medicine, the old-fashioned way.”
Baker said his practice operates like practices did 100 years ago, where patients knew their providers very well, and doctors even made house calls if necessary.
“People really like the access,” Baker said. “We can usually get people in the same day or next day. We have longer visits with our patients.”
Paik, who started working for Main Street in December, said the transition has been a breath of fresh air after working in more traditional health care models.
Paik can see patients for an hour or longer now if he needs or wants to. At more traditional practices, Paik said you would generally get 15 to 20 minutes.
“I have so much more time for patients,” Paik said. “In a traditional style of practice where you try to see as many patients as possible, I always got the sense that I wasn’t providing the best care that I could. It’s completely different now. It feels like you’re working for patients rather than working for insurance companies.”
The general pricing tier is based on the patient’s age: ages 0-18 years old cost $15 per month with enrolled parent or $30 per month without; ages 19-24 with enrolled parent $30 per month; ages 19-44 $70 per month; ages 45-64 $85 per month; and ages 65 and older $100 per month.
There are discounts for families of four and larger. Many businesses get medical care for their employees there.
Main Street Family Medicine also offers heavily discounted lab work and medications, another surprise to Paik after he joined the practice.
Main Street Family Medicine has its own dispensary, and Paik recalls filling a 90-day pill prescription for a patient. He was told it would be $2, and thought that meant $2 per pill.
“But it was for the entire prescription,” Paik said, mentioning that each pill cost only a few cents. “That was really surprising to me. It made me realize how affordable health care can be.”