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Gianforte signs bill in Billings boosting direct patient care clinics

gianforte at flex family health.jpg
Posted at 5:07 PM, Apr 21, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-22 18:12:59-04

Gov. Greg Gianforte was in Billings Wednesday to sign a new bill into law and draw attention to an alternative way to ensure Montanans are insured.

Gianforte signed Senate Bill 101 at Flex Family Health, a medical clinic at 3307 Grand Ave.

There are currently eight of these direct patient care clinics across the state.

Although these clinics have been operating for a couple of years in Montana, Gianforte said Senate Bill 101 now makes it state law that patients can enter into agreements with doctors and pay them directly for health care services.

Patients usually pay a monthly fee to these clinics and can receive primary care 24-7.

Patients do have to pay for extra services, but those services are often offered at a reduced cost.

The concept cuts out the middleman (the insurance company), and Gianforte said it offers another option to receive affordable healthcare, with a goal of better health care.

"They don't limit the duration of patient visits. You come in, you talk with your provider until you get resolution, and there's no limit on how many visits you can do,” said the governor. “You're paying a subscription, and it's basically like a buffet for all the medical care that you want."

There are currently about 700 subscribers at Flex Family Health. Owner and nurse practitioner Cole Whitmoyer said appointments usually run from 30 minutes to two hours.

Whitmoyer told the governor these practices can handle 80 to 90 percent of all the medical needs people have, but he does suggest that people pair this with insurance for catastrophic care.