January 9, 2017
Dear Patients and Friends:
Freyja’s vision has always been to provide exceptional and personalized care to our patients and families through all of their health issues. In order to provide this kind of care, we have deliberately remained independent of the large health care conglomerates, which we feel are making medicine impersonal.
We are still striving to make this vision a reality. However, the rapidly increasing staff and overhead costs of running a small private medical clinic in the expensive SF bay area has, unfortunately, made it more and more difficult. Because we are a small practice, our reimbursements from insurance companies have barely increased - by less than 10% - over the past ten years. We realize that this is hard to believe, given the skyrocketing health insurance premiums that we have all experienced, but this is true. Only large corporations can negotiate with insurance companies for increases, and those corporations often collect more than double the reimbursements of physicians in private practice. At the same time, the costs of operating a private practice have more than doubled over the same time period.
This economic reality is the reason we have recently seen so many of our colleagues either close their private practices to join large medical groups, or stop accepting insurance plans entirely and charge large yearly fees while limiting the number of patients in their practices. We have been approached as well to join these trends, but we are determined to remain independent so that we can continue to provide our style of high-quality personalized care without interference and restrictions. We want to be able to address the entirety of our patients’ health needs and to keep our dedicated, experienced and professional staff that is vital for us to continue practicing this way. However, to keep our staff, we have needed to continuously raise their salaries in order to match what the larger medical groups are offering. It has now come to the point where we are realizing that the only way we can continue to cover our ballooning medical staff and overhead costs is to start requesting an annual administrative fee.
To that end, we have decided to continue taking insurance for the payment of medical services. However, starting on March 13, 2017, there will be a yearly administrative fee of $150 per patient for receiving care at Freyja. This fee will be assessed at the first office visit after the aforementioned date and will apply for services at Freyja over the next 12 months. This fee will allow us to continue to offer high-quality personalized clinical care, as well as promptly address issues like pre-authorizations, referrals, prescription refills, disability forms and other administrative questions.
For our established patients, the fee will be reduced to $100 for the first year. For patients who are currently pregnant, the fee will be waived for the remainder of the pregnancy. After the delivery and postpartum care is completed, the fee will be charged at the next annual checkup or other office visit. For Pediatric care, one fee of $150 will be charged per family, and there will no longer be charges for after hours phone calls or forms. We understand that not everyone will be comfortable with this fee. If you choose to leave our medical practice, we will gladly continue to provide medical care without the administrative fee over the next two months to give you time to find another medical provider.
We appreciate your understanding and help during this transition. We truly value the relationships that we have with our patients and thank you for giving us the opportunity to turn every day into a meaningful day. We look forward to continuing to improve our level of care and responsiveness in the new year.
Please do not hesitate to contact me directly with any questions or concerns.
Valerie Lund - Office Manager