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St. Joseph Michigan town hall lays out health care changes

ST. JOSEPH, Mich. -

Seniors in St. Joseph, Michigan got answers to questions about the future of their health care.

Hundreds gathered at St Joseph High School for a town hall as the area’s prominent physicians plan to roll out a new payment system.

“This is a new process and no one around here has really had it,” said patient Brenda Wilson.

Wilson was one of hundreds of patients at Family Physicians of Saint Joseph with concerns.

“If they’re wanting to make sure they get the best care, I think they should really consider what’s the best for them,” said Wilson.

Many felt the best care came from Family Physicians of Saint Joseph.

But their doctors at the practice say it’s been difficult addressing patients’ needs adequately under the current health insurance model.

“We’ve been doing a lot of paperwork to meet the insurance demands and a huge percentage of our time is spent documenting on our computer or doing paperwork for the insurance companies,” said Dr. Allison Meadows.

They want get back to working directly with patients without the middle man.

“We really try to work for the patient instead of for the insurance company or medicare,” said Dr. Michael Eggebrecht.

So they’re rolling out a direct primary care payment model in October.

For a monthly fee, patients will be able to visit the office as many times as needed without paying a fee-for-service or co-pay.

But there quite a few seniors in the audience of the town hall wondered if this would be affordable?

“Retirees this would work really well for them, especially if they choose their insurance plan wisely, we certainly have ways we can afford cost saving to them,” said Dr. Leanne Mancini.

The practice plans to host two more town halls.

The next one will take place on May 4th at the Chapel at 7pm.

The final town hall will take place on May 23rd at the Benton Harbor Library at 5pm.

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