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Medical clinic offers subscription plan

Valley Immediate Care has launched a low-cost subscription health care service for individuals, families and employers.

Valley Immediate Care CEO Brent Kell said that, with insurance companies announcing double-digit premium increases, his firm is in position to provide non-catastrophic care for less than what it would bill patients with other types of insurance. The subscription plan is called My Urgent Care 365.

"When you think about how many dollars are spent for medical infrastructure, there's a huge amount that doesn't go toward patient care," Kell said.

Valley Immediate Care opened in 1999 and has grown to five offices with 130 employees in three counties. The most recent satellite location is in Brookings.

An individual subscription costs $40 monthly, good for three visits annually with a $25 urgent care fee. Half-price discounts are applied to a variety of accident-related treatments, as well as some diagnostic tests. A family subscription for up to five people is $65 monthly, good for five visits over the year, plus flu shots and sports physicals. The joining fee is $20 and follow-up visits within five days don't count toward the annual cap.

Kell noted that with typical office visits billing out at $260, the subscription route makes sense for people who expect to have two or more doctor visits. Details are spelled out at myurgentcare365.com.

Valley Immediate Care's focus is on the more common ailments, and Kell encourages people to also have a high-deductible catastrophic plan for major illness or injuries.

"If something happens, you're not going to use everything you own to pay medical bills," Kell said. "We'll be addressing the episodic cold, flu, fracture and laceration."

For employers struggling to find suitable plans, My Urgent Care 365 is an alternative for about $30 monthly per worker.

"They could add some wellness and catastrophic plans to go with our sick or injury urgent care benefits," Kell said. "It could even work for part-time employees as an added benefit."

For companies with fewer than 10 employees, Valley Immediate Care asks for a company credit card for billing to avoid invoicing, said Kell, a former operations direction at Southern Oregon Orthopedics.

With the federal government requiring health care coverage, more practices are exploring subscription models, including groups in Texas and New York. Even locally, Valley Immediate Care is not the first to offer the plan: Siskiyou Vital Medicine in Medford adopted a subscription business plan in 2015.

"Every time I look," Kell said. "Another urgent care group is moving that way."

Reach reporter Greg Stiles at 541-776-4463 or business@mailtribune.com. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/GregMTBusiness, on Facebook at www.facebook.com/greg.stiles.31.