Dr. Danielle Mitchell, founder of Chattanooga Sports Institute and Center for Health, whose own journey from morbid obesity to IronMan triathlete, believes our health focus must shift from “sickcare” to “fitcare.” Dr. Mitchell has created a three-tiered payment model that will enable her patients to pay less for their care, and at the same time, have access to more of her time—all designed to achieve better health outcomes.
“Right now, most doctors are being scheduled for as many as 30 to 40 patients per day, and only spending less than five minutes per patient,” she said.
“One patient told me their doctor spent two minutes and fourteen seconds with them. They may have up to 2,000 patients in their practice, all of whom are vying for time with that physician.”
This leads, she explained, to missed diagnoses and a system that promotes treating symptoms as opposed to attaining maximum wellness for each patient. On top of that, she noted, “One out of every two doctors are burned out and considering leaving medicine as a result of this pressure. It’s a crisis within a crisis.”
Dr. Mitchell has launched a three-tiered payment system.First is a “membership option,” in which patients pay $50 per month for a year, which entitles the m to four 30-minute office visits and access to reduced-cost ancillary services, such as X-rays, labs and urgent care services.
The second is a pay-as-you-go plan, costing $60 for a 15-minute block of time, and including less-reduced costs for services. “This is ideal for the patient who only sees a doctor once or twice a year,” says Dr. Mitchell.
In both of these options, the patient will keep medical insurance, as mandated by the ACA, but switch to a plan covering primarily catastrophic events. “Your deductible will likely go up,” says Dr. Mitchell, “but you will likely save a lot of money on your monthly premiums and what you pay out pocket that goes towards your deductible.”
Her third option is for patients to keep their current plans, and if she still accepts their insurance they will be able to access 15-minute appointments.
Dr. Mitchell is firmly convinced that this system will not only save patients money (in some cases, a large amount of money), but will lead to better access and to better quality care.
Her focus has always been on holistic, prevention-based care. She cites the example of a current patient who came to her for a second opinion. “This woman had been prescribed three medications and was very unhappy at the prospect of being on medication for the rest of her life. Her doctor came in the room, told her she was going to get diabetes, handed her three prescriptions, and left. Then she came to me. I got her on a program of healthy activity and nutrition, and within four weeks, she had lost 17 pounds, her blood work looked excellent, and she is not on any medicine. Most importantly, she now believes in her ability to live a healthy lifestyle.”
Dr. Mitchell points out, as have many others, that Americans pay more for poorer quality healthcare outcomes than any other industrialized nation—and she is determined to help change that, one patient at a time.
For more information contact Dr. Danielle Mitchell at the Chattanooga Sports Institute and Center for Health, located at 4206 N. Access Road, Chattanooga 37415, by calling (423) 875-1005.