Help Save Small Clinics


This is important and urgent. Read on to find out why.

Over the past 10 years health insurance premiums have gone up every single year. And during that time deductibles and copays and other costs have gone up and up as well. Total medical costs have more than doubled for many households.

So how much of these increases do you think have been passed on to the clinicians providing the healthcare services you receive? The answer, at least for many small independent clinics, is NONE. Zero.

As a result many small practices have closed and many more are in the process of closing.

And the crisis is even more acute for integrative and complementary medicine providers who are paid much less than MDs even when providing the same services.

Many insurance companies actually pay us less per visit than they did 10 years ago. And even the best insurance companies do not pay us any more per visit than they did 10 years ago. This is true for naturopathic physician visits, acupuncture visits, massage therapy visits and for all of the other services we provide. For all of our clinicians the situation is the same: what we are paid per visit by insurance companies is either the same or less than it was 10 years ago.

Please pause for a moment and let this sink in.

Over the last 10 years your total medical costs have likely doubled, and that money has certainly gone somewhere, but NONE of it has gone to increase what doctors and other clinicians in small independent clinics like Heart of Wellness are being paid.

Over this same 10 year period the costs of doing business have increased substantially, year after year. As a result many clinics like ours have had to close their doors. And many others have been bought out by hospitals and hospital groups that can afford to negotiate with insurance companies in ways that smaller clinics cannot.

Think about all the small businesses you have seen closing down over the past few years. Now imagine if the remaining small businesses had not been able to raise their prices for 10 years, despite expenses going up every year. Would they still be open? That is exactly the situation that small independent clinics like ours are in. After 10+ years of this small independent clinics are at a breaking point.

In order to stem this tide of small clinic closures a bipartisan bill was recently introduced into the WA State legislature. It would require insurance companies to provide annual “cost of living” increases to what they pay independent clinics for covered services. It would be a small change but for many independent clinics it could make the difference between closing and being able to stay open.

This bill is known as House Bill 1655 and Senate Bill 6161. Here is the introduction to the bill:

“(1) The legislature finds that: (a) The costs to operate and maintain a health care practice by health care providers continue to rise and often may exceed consumer price inflation; (b) Significant vertical and horizontal consolidation in health plan markets has given health carriers ever greater bargaining power over individual health care providers and small clinics who have little or no opportunity to meaningfully negotiate compensation to cover overhead costs; (c) Despite increasing costs, many health care professions have experienced no increase in the contracted rates for the health care services provided to carrier enrollees for several years; and (d) According to a 2020 American medical association survey, nearly 40 percent of patient care physicians were employed directly by a hospital or a practice owned at least partially by a hospital or health system, an increase from just 23.5 percent in 2012. (2) Therefore, the legislature intends to encourage competition and health care market diversity by requiring health carriers to annually adjust the compensation offered to health care providers not employed by hospitals or affiliates of hospitals in an amount that reflects inflationary cost increases, thereby deterring the further consolidation in health care delivery markets arising from the abandonment of private practices to employment by hospital systems. “


We urge you to use the following links to comment on House Bill1655 and Senate Bill 6161:


You can also call your state senators and representatives and ask them to support House Bill 1655 and Senate Bill 6161.

Your voice could make the difference in keeping small independent clinics alive.

You can find out who your legislators are here:

If enough concerned citizens speak up we might see real change.