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Walk-ins, cash discount set East Franklin surgeon apart

| Wednesday, Jan. 15, 2014, 10:18 a.m.
Louis B. Ruediger | Leader Times
Dr. Peter Sotos in his East Franklin exam room. Dr. Sotos recently started offering walk-in service and cash discounts at his practice in the Medical Arts Building. Monday, January 13, 2014.

An East Franklin doctor doesn't want high deductibles, co-pays, or a lack of insurance to stand between patients and good health.

Dr. Peter Sotos, 62, an orthopedic surgeon, has been offering walk-in service for patients at his office at the Medical Arts Building, near ACMH Hospital, since mid-December. With training in general surgery and family-health practice, he treats minor illnesses and injuries, ranging from colds and flu to broken bones and muscle pain.

“Some patients are losing their insurance or don't have any at all, while some patients' deductibles or premiums are getting very, very high,” Dr. Sotos said. “Patients in any of those categories now have the ability to be seen at this practice, with no appointment needed, at an affordable rate.”

The Sotos family, which includes Peter's wife and office manager, Kristina, and daughter, Cassandra, developed the walk-in service as a result of talking about changes in health care and trends at the hospital.

“In our community, and almost across the board, we've seen doctors' offices and hospitals slowing down in terms of numbers,” Kristina said. “We believe people are not seeking care because they are afraid of the cost, and it's an absolute travesty if they don't seek care when they need it.”

About 12 percent of Pennsylvanians do not have health insurance, which is lower than the national average of 15 percent, according to Census Bureau statistics. Cassandra said her father's practice has always treated patients, regardless of whether they had insurance.

“Health care has become such a to-do, and with people struggling, we want people to know we will accommodate them,” Cassandra said. “People have been coming in, especially for our cash discount.”

Peter hopes more patients will be able to use the service, instead of going without care for fear of high expenses. He offers a discount for those who pay cash.

“We are assuming, with time, more and more insurance premiums will increase ... and people may rather be seen where they can pay with cash instead of having to report to their insurance,” he said. “With insurance, it might cost more money to get a minor problem taken care of if they have a huge deductible.”

The doctor said he has spent his entire 32-year career at ACMH Hospital and sees the cash discount and walk-in services as a way to give back to his community.

“We don't want people in this community to worry about what day of the week it is, or paying an exorbitant amount of money,” he said. “We just want them to get care if they need it.”

Brad Pedersen is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-543-1303, ext. 1337, or bpedersen@tribweb.com.

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