In 2005, members of Tomorrow’s Bread Today (TBT), a non-profit tax-exempt organization in Houston, Texas, formed a non-profit association called Senior Patient Association.
The purpose of the association was to provide members with access to affordable basic healthcare services. Through Senior Patient Association (that does business as Patient/Physician Cooperatives) TBT has been able to make healthcare economical and gain the support of many highly qualified physicians, nurses, and alternative care providers.
Patient/Physician Cooperatives (PPC) gives the local medical cooperative proper governance and helps it recruit individual patient and physician members. PPC contracts with physicians in Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs) and Independent Practice Associations (IPAs). These groups each have hundreds of physicians as members in primary care practices and in specialty practices.
In a pilot study (before the first local cooperative began), PPC treated 4,000 patients and surveyed them about their abilities to pay monthly for primary healthcare services.
Based on the survey, PPC found that patients said they could pay between $30 and $50 per month for primary health care services. The participating physicians in the ACOs and IPAs found that level of monthly pay was adequate to care for an individual patient, provided they would pay the fee each month for a year. These fees covered the cost of the physician, his or her staff and overhead, and are a direct payment agreement between the physician and the patient. The difference in the retainer amounts of $30-$50 is the level of services provided by the different clinics.
As a result of this pilot study, the amount for members to enter into the patient and physician agreement is currently set at $109 for the most popular plan to underwrite the member’s primary healthcare along with the additional benefits and services. This direct agreement between patient and physician essentially removes the extra expenses associated with traditional insurance , resulting in a system that is affordable and fair.
In 2017, PPC established CooperativePlus to provide member services exclusively in Texas.