The $5 Doctor

Russell Dohner, a Rushville, Illinois doctor since 1955, is getting some nice press for basically doing charity work.  He charges $5 per visit and has been doing that since the 1970’s.  Here is also what the article said:

The low price isn’t the only thing at Dohner’s office that’s remained constant for decades. The office hasn’t been remodeled, nurses haven’t been replaced and staff members haven’t ditched their old-school method of writing medical records on index cards in favor of more modern technology.

Hmm.  Seems a little weird.  Talk about a time warp.   Is he still using ether?  They also say he has never taken a vacation and works seven days a week.  That just can’t be that healthy.   At $5 a visit, I suspect he would have to do that just to pay staff.  Before you get mad at me, I do give him a lot of credit.  I am not trying to knock him because he must love what he does as he truly has given his whole life to being a family doctor.

What I found really interesting was how the article positioned Dr. Dohner’s “model” as an answer to our healthcare crisis.   Really?  This guy is a modern day Mother Theresa.   But let’s look at the numbers if every family doctor charged the same amount.  The average doctor sees 25 patients a day.  That is a total gross profit of $125 a day or for Dr. Dohner, or $45,625 a year working every single day without a day off.  If you pay rent, pay two staff members, pay taxes, pay utility bills, etc then you would be left with, umm……bankruptcy before your  first six months were done.   Well, I guess that does solve the healthcare crisis, doesn’t it?

Douglas Farrago MD

Douglas Farrago MD is a full-time practicing family doc in Forest, Va. He started Forest Direct Primary Care where he takes no insurance and bills patients a monthly fee. He is board certified in the specialty of Family Practice. He is the inventor of a product called the Knee Saver which is currently in the Baseball Hall of Fame. The Knee Saver and its knock-offs are worn by many major league baseball catchers. He is also the inventor of the CryoHelmet used by athletes for head injuries as well as migraine sufferers. Dr. Farrago is the author of four books, two of which are the top two most popular DPC books. From 2001 – 2011, Dr. Farrago was the editor and creator of the Placebo Journal which ran for 10 full years. Described as the Mad Magazine for doctors, he and the Placebo Journal were featured in the Washington Post, US News and World Report, the AP, and the NY Times. Dr. Farrago is also the editor of the blog Authentic Medicine which was born out of concern about where the direction of healthcare is heading and the belief that the wrong people are in charge. This blog has been going daily for more than 15 years Article about Dr. Farrago in Doximity Email Dr. Farrago – [email protected] 

  2 comments for “The $5 Doctor

  1. Pat
    June 27, 2012 at 11:52 pm

    In many ways, this gentleman is the model for “Authentic Medicine” – for a bygone day. Doubtless he is able to do what he may now because he was not confronted in his formative and prime years with the economic and regulatory burdens of present day. Moreover, if he is treating Medicare patients, according to the law, he is liable for fines and sanctions for undercharging, not to mention not keeping CMS-aproved records.

    And Doug you nailed it – this is the guy, however honorable, that would be used as a bludgeon to force his descendants to work for less and do more. A nice bit of living history, but not a credible goal.

  2. Lisa Gwin
    June 27, 2012 at 10:58 pm

    Even at $5 a visit, there’d be people bitching about the price!

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