Starting next month, Palomino will hand out his cellphone number to patients and answer “Dr. Michael” when they call. Or text.
It’s all part of joining what Palomino calls a concierge family medicine clinic, one that doesn’t accept medical insurance and instead provides its “members” with unlimited access for between $10 and $100 a month.
“There’s no clinic like this in the country,” Palomino said of AtlasMD.
Palomino, 32, grew up in Wichita. He says a great teacher during his freshman year at Northwest High School “really encouraged me to go into medicine and to work hard,” though his parents “tell me I had been talking about becoming a doctor even before I can remember.”
Palomino volunteered at the Red Cross and earned a bachelor’s degree from Wichita State University before graduating from medical school at the University of Kansas in 2007. He did his residency at Wesley Medical Center and now works at Wesleycare Family Medicine Center.
At AtlasMD he’ll work with Josh Umbehr, who started it in 2010, and Doug Nunamaker.
Palomino hopes people don’t focus too much on the “concierge” part of the clinic’s description.
“People automatically assume it’s for the rich and elite. There are clinics out there that are like that. That’s not the situation here.”
About a third of the clinic’s patients have no insurance; the rest just like the clinic’s way of doing business, which includes unhurried office visits, no co-pays and an in-house pharmacy that offers prescriptions at a fraction of the cost of most competitors.
Membership fees rise with age; a typical family of four pays about $120 a month. What Palomino recommends – and what he says he’ll do himself after leaving Wesley’s employment – is to buy major medical insurance against the possibility of catastrophic illness but use the clinic for routine care.
“Our goal is obviously to be much different,” he said.