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TX docs experiment with care, payment models



At Village Health Partners, a comprehensive medical practice in this Dallas suburb, patients receive a year's worth of wellness exams in a single visit, get their e-mails answered 24 hours a day, seven days a week, and have their mammogram or MRI results logged into their electronic medical record by the time they pull out of the parking lot. Kelsey-Seybold in Houston is like the Galleria of health clinics: It has storefronts for every imaginable specialty, online, same-day, no-referral-necessary appointment scheduling, an on-site pharmacy, even complimentary valet parking. As the United States grapples with spiraling health care costs and a system that rewards doctors and hospitals for how sick their patients get, not how healthy they become, Texas health care providers are increasingly experimenting with new payment and care delivery models, joining forces to emphasize efficiency and outcomes. These new models present a culture shift for the state's physicians, who haven't been as quick to shed a kind of "lone ranger" status as some doctors elsewhere in the nation. But it has provided an intriguing benefit for patients, drawn to the convenience and comfort of a system financially motivated to keep them as well as possible.
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