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New Clinic Expands Services

Initially the clinic was only open to employers and their employees. However, after a successful first month of operating the clinic is expanding its offerings to the general public.

February 2, 2018

Arkansas City, KS - A new concept in health and wellness for Cowley County is open for business and already expanding its offerings. Cowley HealthWoRX is a direct primary care clinic located on the medical center campus at 6403 Patterson Parkway in Ark City.

Initially the clinic was only open to employers and their employees. However, after a successful first month of operating the clinic is expanding its offerings to the general public.

“Things are going smoothly. We have been seeing patients for health risk assessments as well as urgent care visits, and now we are ready to start seeing families and individuals that might be interested in our service,” said Cherie Bahm, APRN provider for Cowley HealthwoRX.

Cowley HealthwoRX’s sister clinic in Garden City is largely employer driven, meaning that it is designed to be offered as a benefit to a company’s employees with no out of pocket deductibles or office visit copays for individuals that are covered through the program. While employer plans will be the cornerstone of the Ark City office, staff believes there is a clear need for the personal plans as well.

“The situation in Cowley County is that access to primary care is sometimes difficult. This is especially true during the seasonal times of flu, when people just can’t get into any provider. That is our competitive edge, that we will see almost all patients within 24-hours of you notifying us that you need to be seen. Hopefully that opens up another avenue where people consider buying a membership to Cowley HealthwoRX so that they can have access within 24-hours,” said Virgil Watson, SCKMC’s Chief Executive Officer.

The Cowley HealthwoRX  business strategy is based on the belief that because there are no copays or deductibles for the members, it is more likely that patients will not only receive treatment earlier but also take advantage of preventative services such as annual physicals, personal health improvement plans, and chronic condition management for such issues as diabetes, obesity, or tobacco addiction.

“I think this is a wonderful and incredible opportunity for both the hospital and the community. I’ve learned a lot about the patients I am working with. A 30-minute visit gives us adequate time to have a basic overview of where they are at with their life right now. I’m very fortunate and excited to be part of this changing culture of healthcare,” Bahm said.

The majority of Bahm’s patient’s to date have health insurance but don’t use it because of high copays and deductibles. This creates a snowball effect problem for employers providing the health insurance. With a lack of ongoing healthcare, the patients’ health becomes increasingly worse eventually reaching a point where treatment is more difficult and at a higher cost. The higher healthcare costs are then reflected in increased premiums by the insurance companies.

Carmine Di Palo is Chairman and CEO of Revere Healthcare Solutions Inc., the firm which has partnered with SCKMC to create Cowley HalthwoRX. He has seen firsthand how direct primary care can reverse the “insurance snowball” when used by employees and their families.

‘As the employee population becomes healthier, insurance claims go down and the combination allows employers more leverage when negotiating their insurance premiums, potentially saving hundreds of thousands of dollars over time,” Di Palo said.

Employers interested in learning more about the Direct Primary Clinic should contact Virgil Watson at South Central Kansas Medical Center by calling (620) 442-2500. Individuals interested in personal or family memberships should call Cowley HealthwoRX at (620) 441- 5711.

 Pictured: The Cowley HealthWoRX team: (from left)Diane Ray, RD; Shari Spencer; and Cherie Bahm, APRN