The concept is simple but fresh: Patients pay a flat $80 monthly fee for “all-you-can-eat” access to services a primary care physician would traditionally provide. The man behind it is Dr. Zubin Damania, part entertainer, part health-care revolutionary.
Damania, 40, was brought to Las Vegas from the Bay Area in 2012 by Tony Hsieh, and he opened the 7,000-square-foot Turntable Health Clinic on December 17. “I saw Downtown Vegas and I thought, Vegas has a pioneer kind of spirit, and a sense of opportunity in trying new things that nowhere else has.”
And Turntable is something new. The clinic stresses prevention. “Our country currently funds primary care at 5 percent of our total health-care spending, which is crazy because the other 95 percent is a failure of prevention and primary care,” Damania says. “So what we propose right now is to double down—take 10 percent of our health care dollars and spend them on prevention—and then watch the entire pie shrink. Instead of doing things to you, we’re incentivized to do things for you.”
To make the experience more fun than your typical doctor’s visit, Damania has staffed the Bridger Avenue facility with health coaches. “Doctors, we’re so damaged in our training,” he says. “We speak Latin-ish; we’re kind of nerdy; we’re a little tough to get along with. Health coaches aren’t.” And Damania practices what he preaches: In 2010 he created his “ZDoggMD” character for YouTube, which satirizes the woes of the medical industry. Attacking the health care crisis in America with humor? You’ve got our attention.