AUSTIN, Texas — Austin continues to be one of the top cities people want to visit or even move to.
- 1614 E 6th St., Suite 106
- Health care offered at discounted rate
- Open to uninsured people
But as the cost of living continues to go up, many people who make the city unique — like musicians, artists, and service industry employees — find it harder to make ends meet, let alone stay healthy.
According to GoBankingRates' most recent survey, in order to live comfortably in Austin, you must earn at least $98,000 a year, $94,000 if you rent.
Most local musicians and people who work in the service industry don't make that much. They heavily rely on tips. That means they have to make some tough financial decisions, often putting health care on the back burner. That inspired one local doctor to change things up.
Dr. Garrick Baskerville opened a clinic for people who he says make Austin a colorful place, in every sense of the word. It’s called METSI Care.
"METSI Care stands for Music, Entertainment, Technology and Service Industry Care," Baskerville explained. "The Austin community was worried about losing our creative community to other cities because of the cost. Everything is expensive here."
Revelry Kitchen + Bar’s Amy Jones agreed. She has been working in the service industry for 20 years.
“It's unfortunate that people who work every single day, five days a week, put in their time, pay our taxes and we cannot afford to see a doctor when we need to," she said.
Jones explained that health insurance is difficult to come by as a bartender. The cost kept her from seeing a physician for over a decade.
"I usually just tough it out. I haven't seen a doctor for any sort of health issues for many, many years," she said.
That’s a reality Dr. Baskerville was familiar with, which ultimately gave him that push to take action.
"In my heart and spirit, I want healthcare to be affordable and accessible to every human being in the United States,” Baskerville said. “When you don't have that care, what can happen to you?"
Baskerville is running his new practice under the direct primary care model. His patients only pay $69 a month for unlimited doctor visits and treatments.
"A lot of people are making a lot of money from what we call 'sick care,'” Baskerville explained. “But here at METSI Care we are just trying to get rock bottom prices so we can make sure it's affordable for everyone. And there are discounts available for doctors, like myself, who are independent and we pass those discounts on directly to our patients."
One of whom was Jones.
"I'm just happy that someone is finally thinking about other people who are kinda left out," she said.
"That's what creative people do. Creative-minded people solve problems,” Baskerville said. “As a creative myself, I want to solve problems.”
Baskerville said his father, who was an artist, was a huge inspiration for building a clinic for the creative community. Baskerville’s father died of cancer 22 years ago.
Baskerville said uninsured people who are not artists or service industry workers are still welcome to be treated at the clinic. METSI Care is located at 1614 E 6th St., Suite 106.