Local doctor offers ‘pay what you can’ medical care for uninsured for one day


FARMINGTON — A local family physician has offered Farmington area residents without medical insurance a one-day opportunity to see a medical doctor for whatever they can afford.

As of Monday, no one had taken her up on the offer.

Dr. Jean Antonucci is willing to see uninsured patients on Thursday, March 25, on a negotiated “pay what you can” basis as part of a recent national Cover the Uninsured Week, she said.

After a physician friend in California told her about his participation, she decided to copy the idea for her own practice, she said.

“This is my contribution to help provide some medical assistance to our neighbors who don’t have health insurance and at the same time raise awareness of the plight of the uninsured in America,” she said.

The uninsured encompass more than just the unemployed or poor, with 80 percent of uninsured people living in families where the head of the household works and 70 percent had household incomes of $25,000 or more, she said in a release.

“The recession has made things worse, as more people have lost their jobs and health benefits,” she said.

Prospective patients, who can see the doctor for any reason, need to make an appointment, she said.

Although the cost of any needed lab tests, X-rays or medications is not included, “there are lots of ways to make things happen,” 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, she said.

The present trend of specialist treatment distracts from the “old country doctor” or family physician who takes the time with patients to talk and think and ultimately keeps patients out of the emergency room and hospital, she said.

“Every single patient is seen the day they call,” she said of her Farmington practice, where patients are given plenty of access to her.

Unlike many primary care physicians employed by hospitals, Antonucci runs her own office at Mt. Blue Circle, diagonally across from the hospital in a building where child care is offered, she said.

She keeps her own expenses down by using a small office and no staff, answering the phone herself and working to keep patients out of the hospital, she said.

Although many Mainers are either covered by Medicare or Medicaid, Antonucci expects there are still many uninsured who would like to see a doctor for a particular problem or a physical exam.

To accept her offer and schedule an appointment, call her office at 778-3313.

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