A different approach to health care: BlueFire Med seeks to serve community through unique business model

(Courtesy Photo by BlueFire Med)

A people-oriented community deserves people-oriented healthcare, and BlueFire Med in Manhattan aims to provide that.

BlueFire Med operates using a direct primary care model, in which it eskews the typical insurance-payment model and adopts a more patient-centered approach toward working with its patients. This actually saves money for most patients, while offering a better quality of service.

“What that means is that instead of us selling or taking insurance, we have the patients pay a set monthly fee based on their age, and that covers all of their appointments and anything that they might have done at our office as a primary care needs,” Dr. Mikki Minocha, family physician at the practice, said. “That gives them access to very discounted wholesale medication, also a laboratory that’s a fraction of the typical price.”

Together with Dr. Andrew Pope, the pair of physicians have a passion for cultivating meaningful relationships with patients and families in the community.

“We had both looked at doing this for several years, as we saw this kind of practice take hold across the country, especially in the Midwest,” Minocha said. “Both of us decided that this was a great alternative for patients who weren’t really getting their needs met in the traditional setting. It is certainly a huge cost savings for our patients but it’s also a lot smaller practice so our patients have a lot better access to the doctors, to the nurse.

“It’s also a lot better access for making appointments, since they’re usually same-day or next-day appointments,” Minocha continued. “Instead of having 2,000 to 3,000 patients as you might have in a typical production, we only have about 600 each, so it’s a lot smaller by design.”

The practice is especially helpful and beneficial for community members lacking adequate health care options, Minocha said.

“I think it fills a really nice niche in our community as far as people who don’t have health care,” Minocha said. “To them, our business is a great asset to them because they get some sort of health care and we can fill some of their needs if they don’t have health insurance.”

Although students at K-State have access to Lafene, Minocha said BlueFire Med offers a more personal and intensive health care option. BlueFire Med offers pricing rates as low as $30 a month with a valid student ID.

“As far as for students, we provide access they might not get with their typical health services,” Minocha said. “There’s that same-day appointments with doctors that they can get to know, or even compared to the health center, it’s often difficult to get the same doctor more than once. We’re a really good resource especially for students with chronic or mental health care needs.”

Both physicians, as well as staff nurse Jennifer Conrad, are available to patients at all hours of the day, and patients can expect prompt replies to all manners of communication, including texts, emails, social media and phone calls.

At the end of the day, Minocha said what has been important for her and Pope is the ability to offer extensive face-to-face time and personalized care at BlueFire Med.

“We really decided that this was going to be a great benefit for us to have this kind of practice so we can spend more time with the patients,” Minocha said. “There’s a lot less rush, a lot less paperwork and a whole lot more time that we can spend with patients.”

BlueFire Med is located at 2314 Anderson Ave. and can be reached at 785-539-9218. Additional information is also available online at bluefiremed.com.

I'm Rafael Garcia, and I'm a 2019 K-State graduate in journalism and former editor-in-chief of the K-State Collegian. I believe that much of the world's problems come from a lack of understanding of other people, but by telling other people's stories and finding the good in the world, I think we can increase our understanding and appreciation of each other. Questions, comments, concerns, news tips? Email the Collegian team at news@kstatecollegian.com.