A new independent clinic in Jamestown aims to help patients avoid using high deductible insurance and eliminate long waits for appointments, according to management.

Medallus Medical opened in March as an urgent care, primary care and occupational medicine clinic at 723 1st Ave. S.

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The clinic can treat 90 percent of medical needs and reduce costly out-of-pocket expenses with an independent medical model that bypasses the fee-for-service method that overcharges and over prescribes procedures, said Rachot Vacharothone, M.D., president and CEO of Medallus Medical. If people are not going to the doctor for fear of insurance coverage or medical costs then the health care system is not working, he said.

"It patients are avoiding care they become sicker," Vacharothone said. "When they do come in they are very sick."

The Utah-based Medallus Medical came here as a result of a near-site medical clinic agreement with Jamestown Public School District. The clinic is also open to the public seven days a week.

Individuals and families can benefit from the clinic by choosing a high deductible insurance plan and applying some of the savings from the lower premiums to a monthly Medallus membership of $50 per person, $90 per couple or $120 per family, Vacharothone said. The fixed rate and a $10 per-visit fee include all care provided along with tests, equipment and supplies, he said.

"This is not a health insurance plan," Vacharothone said. "It is lower cost concierge medicine with or without insurance."

A nonmember can either bill to insurance or pay a $150 fixed rate per visit, he said.

Area independent physicians, a nurse practitioner and physician assistant oversee a staff of around 10 people, he said. The 3,000-square-foot Medallus clinic has seven examination rooms, three trauma areas, a cardiac area, an in-house digital X-ray room and lab for in-house testing to keep costs down.

When necessary the Medallus staff will refer to Jamestown Regional Medical Center, Vacharothone said. As a nonprofit community hospital, JRMC does not exist to drive up costs, he said.

"We have the same mindset and we want to use them instead (of the conglomerate hospitals)," he said.

The decline of the independent clinic and family practitioner led to several Medallus clinics in Utah and Nevada, where health systems had little competition and drove up costs, Vacharothone said. In North Dakota the issue is long appointment waits and in-system referrals to clinics in other cities, he said.

Vacharothone outlines what he called the breakdown of an unsustainable private health care system that is headed for collapse in his book, "The Demise of our Healthcare: We can prevent it." He said the root cause is an underregulated dynamic between health care providers and insurance companies, where profit motives exist to manipulate earnings.

For more information, call 368-4380 or visit www.JamestownUrgentCare.com.