NORTH SMITHFIELD — Dr. Zaheer Shah is both a physician and a lawyer, but he was never trained to work with one hand tied behind his back.
Unfortunately, when patients refuse a complete physical because they can’t afford the diagnostics, it is like working handcuffed. And it’s an all-too-common occurrence because so many individuals have inadequate health care insurance — if they have any at all.
Patients are turning to urgent care clinics more than ever now because they’re generally cheaper and more convenient than emergency rooms. But Shah says they’re still not cheap enough for many to obtain basic health care, including a physical with blood work and an electrocardiogram, key diagnostic tools that can help doctors catch hidden problems and nip developing health issues in the bud.
Frustrated with the pace of Obamacare — which he doubts will solve the problem, anyway — Shah decided to take matters into his own hands. He’s developed a program to provide patients at his clinics here and in Pawtucket with access to basic health care for about the cost of a cup of coffee a day.
Read more in our print edition.