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KNOXVILLE (WATE) - An East Tennessee business that advertises "it's the answer to the health care crisis" may be too good to be true.
The family practice business faces financial trouble and patients now question the operation.
In early March, Dr. Brian Reischman talked to potential customers and explained the benefits of becoming a member of his new company, Direct Care Family Practice.
The office is in West Knoxville. At least it is right now.
Direct Care's brochure claims it removes the insurance company from the equation of health care. It also says it provides unrestricted access to Direct Care's medical doctor for one monthly fee, that the process is simple and you see your doctor whenever you wish. This is all with no wait, according to the brochure.
"Our primary care office covers anything from broken bones, sutures, sinus medication things like that," Reischman said.
The doctor told us that care is provided at the office and a typical payment schedule makes the plan affordable.
"For $79 a month, you can see your doctor anytime you wish during the month, no co-pay, no deductible to meet because we're not insurance," Dr. Reischman said.
But Ashley Martinez has doubts about Direct Care. As one of its first customers, she signed on for Direct Care's premium service in late January.
A month later, Ashley developed a sinus infection and went to Dr. Reischman's office for treatment.
"He said that he could not legally diagnose me with a sinus infection because he was not able to do that," Ashley said.
"That's the first time you find this out?" I asked. "Yes, so he sent me to a separate doctor's office," Ashley said.
At first she thought it was odd having to go to another office. After all Direct Care's logo shows it's a family practice.
In March, when she pulled up the company's website, there was Brian Reischman's picture. However there was no picture for the medical doctor.
Now, the website shows only a physician's assistant, still no medical doctor.
"You don't see patients yourself?" I asked Reischman. "No, not as a medical doctor or anything medical, but I do for hypnotherapy," he said. When I asked if he's a hypnotist, he agreed that he is.
Direct Care has apparently encountered financial trouble. At general sessions court in Knoxville, 6 News discovered that Reischman is behind in his rent. A warrant shows $10,000 is owed to his landlord.
We've also learned Reischman never paid his bill to a medical lab in West Knoxville.
Reischman couldn't pay his original medical assistant and office manager either. "I was terminated because he couldn't pay me," said his former assistant, Kim.
She's looking for a new job and didn't want her identity revealed. "He's paid me for two weeks," she said.
Kim kept track of her hours since there was no formal accounting.
In the termination letter, Reischman writes that his former manager is due back pay. She says he owes "$1,077.50."
"When will you get that money?" I asked. "I don't think I'll ever see it," she said.
In March, Dr. Reischman said Direct Care offers a full array of family services, but we've learned his office has no X-ray machine and no trained radiologist on staff.
"So far, my experience with Direct Care has been negative and a lot of lies," Ashley Martinez said. She adds that she won't return to Direct Care.
While Ashley's membership included a $300 up front fee, she doesn't expect a refund. "I would suggest people stay away from Direct Care."
6 News had new questions for Brian Reischman. In a letter in March, his attorney suggested a follow up interview. Despite numerous calls and messages it was never granted.
But a letter faxed Thursday from the company's attorney states that Dr. Reischman and Direct Care strive to provide competent and professional medical care to all patients and Direct Care has a plethora of satisfied patients.