Doctor cuts out middle man to cut healthcare costs - CBS46 News

Doctor cuts out middle man to cut healthcare costs

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ATLANTA (CBS ATLANTA) -

Kim Lewis is a single mother of two teens who works two part-time jobs just to make ends meet.

For Lewis, who lives with high cholesterol and high blood pressure, the high cost of medical insurance alone is an expense she can barely afford.

"It's awful," Lewis said. "It's very tough in this economy."

But Dr. Ravin Talati is giving Lewis a break.

Talati doesn't take medical insurance.

Instead, he charges his patients a flat fee of $35 a month, a practice known as direct-pay medicine.

"We've gone back to the way it used to be, a doctor and patient relationship with no middle man," Talati said.

Chest x-rays cost $30 and basic blood work costs $10.

"It's way cheaper for me," Lewis said.

Talati said he grew concerned after hearing about too many patients neglecting their own health because a doctor's visit cost too much.

"I've had patients who haven't seen a doctor in eight to 10 years, diabetics, hypertensives because they can't afford it," Talati said. "I wanted to do something different."

Talati has reduced his own overhead. That means less time filling out paperwork for insurance providers and more time with patients.

"I can spend 45 minutes with the patient. We can talk about their lifestyle. We can talk about their nutrition because I have the time to do that," Talati said.

Getting rid of the middle man means no more insurance companies making medical decisions.

"Nobody telling us how we need to do, when we need to do it, what we need to do," Talati said.

For Lewis, that adds to better medical care.

"This has just been a lifesaver," said.

Talati says not many other physicians are practicing direct pay medicine but he says others are beginning to call him to find out how he does it.

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