Doctors Bartering Healthcare in a Struggling Economy

1127 Doctors Bartering Healthcare in a Struggling Economy Photo

Dr. Brent Wakefield and Dr. Brian Lewis

Back in the day, you got what you needed by exchanging tobacco for deerskin, spices for silks or cows for horses. And who can forget Esau trading his firstborn rights for a bowl of lentils, learning the hard way that even in the bible bartering means no backsies?

When Dr. Brent Wakefield and Dr. Brian Lewis opened their family practice in Jenks, Oklahoma, they turned to this centuries-old way of doing business. Bartering kept them solvent during the lean years and created options for patients strapped for cash.

Rather than bartering directly with their patients, they joined a barter exchange. These are companies which set up an equivalent cash value for goods and services, and have members who list what they could contribute to a trade. But swapping cattle and spitting tobacco no longer means you’ve sealed the deal. The Internal Revenue Service has strict rules and regulations that need to be followed and expects scrupulous documentation of all the transactions.

The doctors traded medical services for office supplies, plumbing work and even dinners in restaurants which they’ve given to employees as bonuses. Keeping track of how much they bring in and how much they’re able to use is essential for making the system work.

One of the biggest advantages when becoming a member of a bartering exchange is how it increases the visibility of doctors to all the people in their network. Patients who have limited insurance or no insurance at all are given the opportunity to see doctors normally unavailable to them.

Drs Wakefield and Lewis are among a growing group of physicians who have discovered a creative option which has the potential of transforming healthcare from an unaffordable luxury to a necessity within reach.

LEARN MORE ABOUT DR. BRENT WAKEFIELD AND DR. BRIAN LEWIS.

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