Unfortunately, many Houston Area insurances are terminating contracts with Houston Methodist, Memorial Hermann, and Kelsey Seybold. The terminations put you, our valued patient, in a precarious position, severing the relationship you have with doctors and nurse practitioners. We understand how hard and unsettling this can be. Be assured, AFC Urgent Care Richmond will continue to be IN-NETWORK with all your insurance companies to be your dependable, AFFORDABLE health care choice for all your Urgent and Primary Care[i] needs.
But we are much more! We focus on outstanding patient-centered service, demonstrated with more than 95 Google five star[ii] perfect ratings in less than eight months! Unlike much of our competition, we don’t hire third-party agencies to filter out unhappy customers. We work hard to make sure every patient is satisfied. We provide superior service in a 5-mile radius in comparison with competitor Urgent and Primary Care Clinics serving the communities of Aliana, Harvest Green, New Territory, Pecan Grove, and many nearby smaller communities[iii]. We assist in locating specialists. So, you can confidently come to us first for all your non-emergency urgent and primary care needs, even on evenings and weekends. For example, if you suffered a non-emergency room broken bone or dislocation, we will immediately diagnose the problem. Depending on the severity, we will fix it or stabilize it. For complicated injuries, we assist in making a later appointment with an orthopedic specialist. So, you are immediately cared for without paying expensive Emergency Room rates and not stressing about not finding a specialist on off-hours.
The distressing announcements started October, and unfortunately, more will likely follow. On October 1, Cigna announced it would terminate its contract with Memorial Herman Hospital in March, potentially dropping 178,000 patients[iv] by March. United Health Care announced it was dropping the Houston Methodist hospital system as of January 1[v]. On October 16, Community Health Choice confirmed it ended its contract with Kelsey Seybold [vi].
Why is this happening? A recent Wall Street Journal article[vii] points to the root of the problem. Hospital and Large clinics charge more money to the insurance company, and patients for services conducted in a Hospital versus the same services (and doctors) charged out-patient. Every time a provider does not refer a patient within their hospital system, the hospital labels the loss of money as “leakage.” These costs are mostly opaque to patients, and because the majority of costs are paid indirectly through employers, the typical market dynamics to lower prices don’t exist. That is why President Trump is proposing market transparency for unacceptably high market costs[viii]. But the large insurance companies and hospital systems are fighting pricing transparency, so this change will not come quickly.
In contrast to expensive hospital referrals, urgent care is purely out-patient. We provide a much more affordable solution to you, your employer, and the insurer. We are affordable because we eliminate the bloated overhead administrative burden common in large hospitals and clinics by being individually owned and managed. With 10 AFC Urgent Care clinics in the Houston area and 244 clinics nation-wide, we have the scale to acquire leading-edge technologies at lower costs. Each owner has the flexibility and ability to cut costs for the benefit of our patients further. We are not beholden to inflated corporate hospital costs. There is no reason for a simple fracture to cost $1750 in a typical hospital Emergency Room. We charge a flat $175, even without insurance, because of advances in digital modern x-ray technology. We remotely send your digital X rays to a radiologist to give you instantaneous results, which allows us to dramatically reduce the cost of getting an X-ray. All in much less time than the standard Emergency Room 4 hour plus wait.
[i] Our Providers and laboratories can handle all primary care needs; however, Insurance companies may limit reimbursement for specific preventative and chronic procedures such as wellness exams and preventative vaccinations. It may be less expensive to go to a primary care clinic for the exceptions. However, for those who do not have insurance, we offer superior affordability.
[iii] Camelia, Bretton Woods, Shiloh Lakes Estates, Old Orchard Homes, Water View Estates, North Waterside Estates, Hidden Lake Estate, Summerfield, Stratfor Park Village, Orchard Lakes Estates, Cheksea Harbor, Bradford Park, Mission Trace, Fieldstone.
[iv] “Cigna to end contract with Memorial Hermann; 178,000 Customers affected”, Paul Takahashi, December 16, 2019. https://www.chron.com/business/article/Cigna-to-end-contract-with-Memorial, -Hermann-14911305.php?fbclid=IwAR0SJvlUcMkMQgdyXi4t0v4H5CcmaKZI-I_boDrkS0fNXkMlevocPKMezVA
[v] “Cigna to end contract with Memorial Hermann; 178,000 Customers affected”, Paul Takahashi, December 16, 2019. https://www.chron.com/business/article/Cigna-to-end-contract-with-Memorial, -Hermann-14911305.php?fbclid=IwAR0SJvlUcMkMQgdyXi4t0v4H5CcmaKZI-I_boDrkS0fNXkMlevocPKMezVA
[vi] “Community Health Choice to end coverage at Kelsey Seybold for 2020”, Jenny Deam, October 16, 2019. https://www.houstonchronicle.com/business/article/Community-Health-Choice-to-end-coverage-at-14539323.php?fbclid=IwAR228pLTqtgbrHtRMGUBNWc8taIvOpq-Xdp8S1z6bX8vMsjBghnQBqdKyT8
[vii] “The Hidden System That Explain How Your Doctor Makes Referrals”. Anna Wilde Mathew and Melanie Eans, December 27, 2018. https://www.wsj.com/articles/the-hidden-system-that-explains-how-your-doctor-makes-referrals-11545926166?fbclid=IwAR2o7P37N2L-hfPEDRMslDf0ZKiexcCJuMlrntdipE6s3tD7gvagnysm8hE
[viii] “Trump Administration Pushes To Make Health Care Pricing More Transparent”, June 24,, 2019 , Tamara Keith, Slena Simmons-Duffin, NPR, https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2019/06/24/735432387/trump-administration-pushes-to-make-health-care-pricing-more-transparent