Primary Health of Connecticut offers medical care without insurance getting in the way

Dr. Nicole Maksymiw opened Primary Health of Connecticut at 324 Elm St., Suite 203A, in Monroe this year.

MONROE, CT — A corporate health care model can put barriers between patients and their doctors, from going through call centers to express a concern, often hearing back from the doctor’s assistant, and having to make an appointment just to ask a question, to insurance companies dictating the treatments you can receive.

A smaller Monroe medical practice slashes through the red tape by taking insurance companies and call centers out of the equation, while giving patients more direct access to their doctor.

Frustrated by the corporate model of care, Dr. Nicole Maksymiw opened Primary Health of Connecticut at 324 Elm St., Suite 203A, in Monroe this year.

“You go into medicine for a reason,” she said during an interview at her office Wednesday. “You want to help people and make a difference. Now, I can practice medicine the way I feel it should be practiced.”

Dr. Maksymiw said the corporate model of care is more profit than patient driven, dictating how many patients a primary care physician must have and how many will be seen per day. Because of this, most physicians are completely booked, making it nearly impossible for a patient to get an opening without having to schedule an appointment for a later date, she said.

As a result, Dr. Maksymiw said patients who cannot see their primary care physician the same day often opt to go to an urgent care to see a doctor who does not know their medical history.

By contrast, Dr. Maksymiw said her patients can call or text her with questions and concerns, which can sometimes be answered without the need for an appointment.

She offers flat monthly fees, which are age based and range from $105 to $145.

“If you see me 10 times a month, you don’t pay more than that,” Dr. Maksymiw said of the flat fee. “And I can get heavily discounted lab results. I don’t do insurance at all. It’s just me.”

However, because Primary Health of Connecticut is out-of-network, its patients’ medical payments do not count toward the deductibles of their health insurance plans.

Dr. Maksymiw said some deductibles — the amount patients have to pay out of pocket before their insurance coverage kicks in — can be as high as $10,000 a year, so if her patients spend less than their deductible, they can save money in the long run, “especially when factoring in the price of labs.”

Aside from the cost, Dr. Maksymiw said her patients receive more personalized care.

“In a usual practice, most primary care doctors have to have between 2,000 and 3,000 patients,” she said, adding a smaller practice allows her to spend more time with each patient.

Dr. Maksymiw recently signed her 17th patient and said her goal is between 400 and 600 patients.

“Here, I can focus on patient care and their individual needs,” Dr. Maksymiw said, adding she has spent a half hour to 45 minutes with a patient before. “I was with a patient and she said, ‘oh, am I taking up your time?’ I said, ‘no, that’s why I’m doing my practice this way.’ I can form relationships with people. It’s why I chose primary care. You have patients for life. The more I know someone, the more comfort they have opening up to me on more sensitive topics.”

Building relationships

Dr. Maksymiw, who grew up in Ansonia, said she was always interested in health care. She majored in biology at Lafayette College in Easton, Penn., then earned a Master’s degree in public health from Boston University.

“Then I decided, rather than focusing on health care on a community and global scale, I would concentrate on individual patients, building relationships,” she said.

Dr. Maksymiw earned a Doctor of Osteopathic Medicine from Lake Erie College of Osteopathic Medicine, and did her residency at the University of Connecticut. She previously worked at a health center in Waterbury for six years, then with a larger organization before deciding to open her own practice.

She and her husband, Chris, who is a teacher in Shelton, have three children ages five, seven and nine.

Enrolling as a new patient

Those interested in becoming patients at Primary Health of Connecticut can visit its website to fill out an enrollment form, before coming into Dr. Maksymiw’s office for a meet and greet. Though payments are monthly, she said patients can opt out of their contracts at any time.

She is a primary care physician for patients age 18 and older, who also provides women’s health care.

“A lot of women see me, because I’m a woman,” she said, “but I have men too and accept men.” Dr. Maksymiw said most of her current patients are in their 30s, 40s and 50s.

Primary Health of Connecticut’s office hours are from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.

For information about the practice, visit its website, Facebook and Instagram pages, send an email to [email protected] or call 203-212-9959.

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