Dr. George Kamajian, D.O. How long have you lived in the Tampa Bay area? 14 years What is your favorite Tampa Bay restaurant? Crabby Bills Where is your favorite place in Tampa Bay to relax? The beach at sunset How important is it for physicians to be involved with their communities and how important is it to you personally? This is where we eat. This is where we live. Our children go to the local schools. We shop at Publix. We buy gas at Sam’s Club. We share in the lives of all the members of our community whether we know it or not. We obtained our education courtesy of a publicly funded educational system. That means everyone around us helped to pay for our transition from college to physician. When we “give back” we are really paying the community interest on a lifelong debt we incurred becoming physicians. Community involvement should be second nature. What makes the Largo Clinic different than the typical medical clinic model? We are a cash practice. We rarely accept insurance. Our mission is to provide quality affordable health care to everyone. The uninsured and underinsured are always welcome. By not accepting insurance we are not locked into any contracts and our fees can be adjusted on an individual basis. By developing partnerships with other health care suppliers, laboratories and X-ray facilities we have negotiated special rates on those services that are frequently the same as those paid by insurance companies. We are a neighborhood practice. What was the deciding factor that got you to open your neighborhood practice which accepts anyone without insurance and in an affordable way? In 2004 I developed osteonecrosis of my knee resulting in replacement surgery. When I lost my knee, I lost my job as an ER physician. During my transition from a hot shot trauma doc to unemployed, I needed routine blood work. I lost my insurance when I lost my job. Quest Labs wanted $300 for a routine panel. I told them I had no insurance. They said, “too bad.” I said, “but I’m a doctor.” They didn’t care. Now I can get that same panel of labs for $25 for anyone who needs them. How is it that your medical office provides the same medical care, diagnostics and treatments at a fraction of the cost compared to traditional health care? We are an à la carte practice. That means patients choose what they want from the menu and pay only for that which they need. Simultaneously, we pride ourselves in being part of the community. I have a freezer full of fish because many times, our patients barter and that is all they can pay. And I don’t have to be greedy with our fees. House calls are a great American past-time. Do you still provide house calls and if so why? I love doing house calls because it puts me in contact with members of the community who have chosen to stay independent for as long as they keep their boots on. My father is one of those folks. He is 94 years old and lives in California. I like to think I’m helping my dad when I see some of these patients. In your opinion, do you believe the business model at which you use to practice medicine and treat your patients today should or could be the standard in health care? Do the math. 6
A past Fellow of the American College of Emergency Physicians, Dr. Kamajian came to Florida after practicing emergency medicine for 30 years in suburban Boston. Husband, father and physician, he is a graduate of the University of Pennsylvania, the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine and the University Hospital (Shands) of Jacksonville’s emergency medicine residency program. A recipient of Kellogg Foundation and U.S.A.I.D. grants, he has lectured internationally in Brazil and Armenia (formerly of the Soviet Union). Dr. Kamajian has published numerous medical articles, short works of fiction and, most recently, two books. I charge as low as $500 a year for unlimited outpatient access. That includes one full panel of labs and one annual EKG. If I can do it, so can anyone else….especially if they are not tainted by administrative middle men who hijack the health care system. If you do the numbers, 25 million uninsured Americans x $500 each = $25 billion annually to cover health care cost from a preemptive outpatient setting. Now, under the Affordable Health Care Act (Obamacare), that number exceeds $1 billion annually. Is there a difference between your membership neighborhood clinic and concierge medicine clinics? Think of us as a reverse concierge clinic. Instead of patients paying $10,000 for unlimited access for outpatient care we charge as low as $500. Knowing yourself: If you could go back in time and provide your younger self advice, what would it be? Invest in Apple.
Doctor’s Life Tampa Bay
Issue 6, 2014