FARMINGTON — A local family physician will again offer local residents without medical insurance a one-day opportunity to see a medical doctor and pay whatever they can afford.
Last spring, Dr. Jean Antonucci saw uninsured patients on a negotiated “pay what you can” basis as part of a national Cover the Uninsured Week.
The response included many phone calls, and the day was more than filled, she said.
When a couple of nurses asked if she planned to repeat the day and offered to help if she did, Antonucci chose April 21. People of any age can be seen for whatever reason.
Last year, one person wanted a physical, she said.
“Some paid $10-$20 for what would normally be a $200 appointment,” the doctor said. “Most offered $60 to $80. One waitress paid from her tips, all in ones and fives. I gave it back to her.”
Some people who called already had a doctor, but didn’t think they would see them because they had no insurance.
“People feel so ashamed and won’t call. Doctors may well see you,” Antonucci said.
The uninsured encompass more than just the unemployed or poor, with 90 percent of uninsured people in families where the head of the household works, and 70 percent had household incomes of $25,000 or more, she said previously.
“The recession has made things worse, as more people have lost their jobs and health benefits,” she added.
Prospective patients need to make an appointment. Although the cost of any needed lab tests or medications is not included, “there are a lot of ways to make things happen,” she said.
“Medical providers have ways to help. It’s getting them in the door so you can help,” she said.
Part of her position as a primary care physician is to work as an advocate, giving patients advice and information on how to follow up on the visit and secure those services.
Unlike physicians employed by hospitals, Antonucci runs her own office at Mt. Blue Circle, diagonally across from the hospital. She keeps expenses down by using a small office and no staff, answering the phone herself.
More information is available on her website, www.jeanantonucci.com
To accept her offer and schedule an appointment for April 21, people may call her office at 778-3313 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.