Urgent Care Costs

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My friend told me about a recent medical experience. She had a persistent sore throat. She called her doctor’s office and was told she was too sick to be seen in the office (?). They recommended being seen at urgent care.

Since she has no insurance, she asked the urgent care center for an estimated cash price. She was told $450. Wow! But she was sick and needed to be seen. She told them she had already checked for “the virus” with a home test three times. All were negative.

She said the doctor saw her for only a few minutes. She had a nasal swab for viruses (negative), as well as a negative strep test. When she left the urgent care center, she was told she would get a bill for the labs. She was shocked when the bill arrived — $1900 !! Finally with some bargaining she paid “only” $900. So that quick trip to Urgent Care cost her over $1300!!

What would she have paid at my office, Pine Creek Family Medicine? We’re the area’s first DPC (Direct Primary Care) practice, where patients pay a monthly membership in exchange for unlimited office visits and communication. She would be paying the monthly membership. But the strep test would have been free. I would have believed her home test for “the virus” and not tested for any further viruses. And if I sent in a strep culture for confirmation, it would have cost $3.18. Yes, that’s all.

Medicine the way it should be.