Free Market Medical Association meets in Oklahoma City
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Published: 26-Sep-2014

OKLAHOMA CITY – The Free Market Medical Association unfolds Friday, September 26 and Saturday, September 27 in Oklahoma City. 

Organizers say the conference is intended to provide “insightful best practice recommendations and a call to action to keep expanding access and use of free market medicine.”

The theme for the gathering is “Thinkers, Doers, and Users: Forecasts, ideas, and how to create a free market health care practice -- How to practice free market medicine and how use free market care to save money and get better results."

Advocacy of free market health care is the longtime passion of Dr. Keith Smith, co-founder of the Surgery Center of Oklahoma. The center began to post fixed prices for common medical procedures years ago, and has provoked widespread admiration within the medical profession for efficiency, reasonable cost and frequent support for those who are less fortunate.

At the Surgery Center, Dr. Keith Smith and Dr. Steve Lantier have established an operational structure and market-oriented billing as explicit alternatives to the third-party payer systems that now dominate U.S. health care. 

They post online an up-front price for medical procedures in diverse areas of practice, including orthopedics, ear/nose/throat, general surgery, urology, ophthalmology, foot and ankle, and reconstructive plastics. In all, a total of 112 procedures are listed.

The Surgery Center has garnered national acclaim and prime time news coverage for not only affordability – prices are one-sixth or less of the cost at larger hospitals in the region but for user-friendliness. Bills are typically one-page long, compared with 3-4 pages at most hospitals.

This year, the center has been highlighted in local news reports for an historic “provider services agreement” with the Oklahoma County government. The accord saved taxpayers nearly $600,000 in its first five months of operation.

Dr. Smith is a board-certified anesthesiologist, and is medical director and managing partner sat the Surgery Center. In addition to Smith, Jay Kempton – also an Oklahoman – will address his work over the past two decades with state employees determined to make health benefits for workers more affordable and efficient.

Other speakers include entrepreneur Charie Sauer, a founder of Entrepreneurs for Growth, Dr. Josh Umbehr Atlas, who will talk about his medical practice in which he has been “able to shrug off the burdens and restrictions of government and insurance regulation so that I may focus solely on my patients and their needs.” 

Among his projects if personal support for the Down Syndrome Society of Wichita, Kansas. Dr. Cori Cook is another presenter, focusing on specialized advisory and legal services for administrators, providers, employers, attorneys, associations and carriers.

Ralph Weber is one of the country’s best known health care policy consultants, pressing for better access, transparency and value in delivery of health care. Also participating in the conference is Lee S. Gross, a co-founder of Ephiphany Health.

The conference includes other speakers, as well, and a focus on direct pay, heachcare leadership, the fre market boom, “green lights and red lights,” the rationale for price transparency, and changes in the ways Americans are buying health care.

Information about the association is available at the website.

You may contact Pat McGuigan: patrick@capitolbeatok.com

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