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University of Iowa News Release

Oct. 5, 2005

Family Physician To Speak On Practicing Without Insurance Oct. 11

Mark Macumber, M.D., a family practice physician in Chicago, saves a lot on malpractice insurance -- he doesn't have any.

He also saves on paperwork, because he doesn't accept insurance payments for his patients. What he saves he gives back to patients, who pay modest, out-of-pocket fees for his medical services.

Macumber founded his practice, Patients First, two years ago in Chicago and since then has opened a second clinic in nearby Berwyn, Ill. He will visit the University of Iowa Roy J. and Lucille A. Carver College of Medicine Tuesday, Oct. 11, to share his experience and his vision of health care that is affordable and available to all.

Sponsored by the UI chapter of the American Medical Student Association (AMSA), Macumber's visit will include a noontime student presentation and an evening community reception and keynote address. The reception will take place in the Medical Education and Biomedical Research Facility (MERF) atrium at 5:30 p.m., followed at 6 p.m. by Macumber's keynote address in 1110A MERF. The evening events are free and open to the public.

"I first heard Dr. Macumber speak at the National AMSA Convention this past spring and am delighted he is coming here to visit with students and the larger community," said Lauren Hughes, a second-year medical student and co-president of the UI's AMSA chapter.

"For me, he is a physician leader who not only has recognized the national health crisis in terms of rising malpractice costs and the ever-increasing numbers of the uninsured, but he is willing to think outside the box, take risks and effect change. One person can indeed raise our collective consciousness about these health issues that affect every single citizen," Hughes added.

More than 45 million Americans do not have regular access to medical care. Frustrated by this, as well as the cost of malpractice coverage and other insurance issues, Macumber established his fee-for-service practice model. With Patients First, Macumber aims to recreate the medical tradition of a physician who is affordable and available.

Patients First charges $40 for a routine physical exam; $15 for a follow-up visit; $25 for gynecological exams and school sports physicals; and $15 for vaccinations. Macumber makes home visits to patients who cannot come to the clinic. The practice offers a variety of lab services and procedures, even optometric exams. Because patients pay for their own care, their medical records are completely confidential.

Macumber has been featured on CNN and in the Wall Street Journal, as well as in Chicago media. He also has posted two Web sites about Patients First and about his response to the crisis in malpractice insurance: and

AMSA is an independent national organization representing the concerns and interests of 40,000 medical and pre-medical students, interns and resident physicians. It advocates policies to address inequalities in the health care system, the needs of the medically underserved and related issues in medical education.

University of Iowa Health Care describes the partnership between the UI Roy J. and Lucille A. Carver College of Medicine and UI Hospitals and Clinics and the patient care, medical education and research programs and services they provide. Visit UI Health Care online at

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa Health Science Relations, 5139 Westlawn, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-1178

MEDIA CONTACT: David Pedersen, (319) 335-8032,; Writer: Derek Maurer