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Central Oklahoma Healthcare Provider Launches First-Of-Its-Kind Subscription Plan

Shanna Burge begins a patient’s radiology test at Southern Plains Medical Group in Chickasha.
Brent Fuchs
The Journal Record
Shanna Burge begins a patient’s radiology test at Southern Plains Medical Group in Chickasha. ";

A provider in Chickasha wants to cut out the middle man when it comes to a discount health plan. The Southern Plains Medical Group has a new service where local employers pay a one-time fee per worker, and then a monthly fee.

CEO Len Lacefield says he’s tried for decades to make a subscription-type service to work. But the cost for some medical services is dramatically less than what you might find at a similar clinic in Oklahoma City, The Journal Record’s Sarah Terry-Cobo reports:

A CT scan costs an average of $700 in the Oklahoma City metro, but costs $200 under the subscription plan, according to information Lacefield provided. An MRI costs about $1,100 in the Oklahoma City area, but subscription members pay $300. It is not intended to replace health insurance, he said. Patients can receive documentation to send to their insurance company so service fees can go toward the annual deductible.

Lacefield says now he can offer 17 specialties that cover most of the needs of his patients. With so many specialties, he can control the cost of labor. The guaranteed revenue source of the subscription fees allows him to lower service costs for members.

Because he offers the specialties that cover most patients’ needs, he doesn’t need to transfer to a specialist, he said. That allows him to control labor costs. He has partnerships with Integris, so its staff members are on site in Chickasha once per week to provide cardiology. Southern Plains Medical Group Development Vice President Hal Brock said he’s talking to local manufacturers and professional services companies in town, ranging from five to 125 employees. There are about 425 people whose subscription is in the works but not yet completed. Brock said he aims to sign up about 2,000 people by the end of the first quarter and 10,000 people by the end of the year.

The Health Pass service is available to employers in Grady and Caddo counties, where Southern Plains clinics are located. Lacefield says he’s looking to other rural clinic groups that might be interested in a partnership, so this model could be extended to other areas.

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Brian Hardzinski is from Flower Mound, Texas and a graduate of the University of Oklahoma. He began his career at KGOU as a student intern, joining KGOU full time in 2009 as Operations and Public Service Announcement Director. He began regularly hosting Morning Edition in 2014, and became the station's first Digital News Editor in 2015-16. Brian’s work at KGOU has been honored by Public Radio News Directors Incorporated (PRNDI), the Oklahoma Association of Broadcasters, the Oklahoma Associated Press Broadcasters, and local and regional chapters of the Society of Professional Journalists. Brian enjoys competing in triathlons, distance running, playing tennis, and entertaining his rambunctious Boston Terrier, Bucky.
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