The Anna Maria Island Sun Newspaper

Vol. 9 No. 51 - September 16, 2009


Making urgent care affordable

Anna Maria Island Sun News Story

SUN PHOTO/LOUISE BOLGER Teri Folkens, a registered nurse,
manages two medical centers for her husband, Dr. Eric Folkens.

In case you haven’t noticed, the increased cost of quality medical care has been in the news quite a bit lately. With insurance premiums increasing and incomes decreasing, affording basic medical care is becoming more of a challenge to families every day, something that has not gone unnoticed by at least one doctor in Bradenton.

Dr. Eric Folkens established Bradenton Urgent Care Walk-In Medical Center on Manatee Avenue in October 2008, a year after opening the Lakewood Ranch Urgent Care Center on State Road 64 East. Folkens’ mission is to provide available and affordable health care to everyone from infants to seniors, especially during these very unpredictable and expensive times.

A native of Illinois, Folkens, his wife, Teri, Folkens and their two girls, age four and seven, relocated to Bradenton four years ago after he completed his residency in family medicine in Texas. Teri is a registered nurse and actively manages both medical centers.

In addition to the Folkens, Bradenton Urgent Care also has on staff Dr. Jan Gagel who was formerly a registered nurse before obtaining her degree in family medicine. Several physician’s assistants, an LPN medical assistant, a radiology technician and office staff complete the busy team at Bradenton Urgent Care.

The offices are large and bright with four exam rooms, an on-site pharmacy where most prescriptions can be filled for patients for $10, X-ray and EKG equipment. Lab work is available for everything from basic check-ups to flu, strep and more complicated evaluations. Broken bones, flu shots, lacerations, vaccinations or school and work physicals are all available at Bradenton Urgent Care.

In addition, medical records are maintained electronically making it more efficient to provide local and visiting patients with copies. Most private insurance is accepted as well as Medicare, and although Bradenton Urgent Care is a walk-in medical center, same day appointments can be arranged.

Folkens prides himself and his business on not only a quick turn around for critical care patients, but also being the least expensive self-pay clinic in Bradenton. An office visit at Bradenton Urgent is $90, as opposed to a typical office visit in the area of $182, and X-rays start at $40, a savings that could be in the hundreds of dollars. The fees for lab work at Bradenton Urgent are one third less than anywhere else, and patients can combine rates for services affording additional savings.

About 25 percent of Bradenton Urgent Care’s patients use the medical center as their primary medical care provider. Many others who do not currently have private insurance coverage or are subject to high deductibles come to Bradenton Urgent to take advantage of its affordable fees and extensive menu of services. Folkens says his clinics are “an option to save money for people who have no insurance or who are insured with high deductibles.”

The future of medical care in the United States may be a work in progress, but at Bradenton Urgent Care they’re making progress every day. Why pay more? Why wait longer? You won’t do either at Bradenton Urgent Care Walk-In Medical Center.

Anna Maria Island Sun News Story
Stick with dividend payers

Investment Corner

In January, I wrote about investing in dividend paying common stocks as a source of income which could potentially top yields offered on government bonds and certificates of deposit in today’s low interest rate environment.

I believe that the reason to focus the bulk of your stock ownership in dividend paying companies goes beyond the income stream. It increases your chance of a successful total return strategy, which combines the dividend income with appreciation of the share price of the companies over time.

Many studies have been done to separate companies into groups – those that pay dividends and those that do not. Subdivision of the group that pays dividends into categories of those which keep their divided payment steady and those which tend to regularly increase the dividend payment to the shareholders allows further analysis.

When economic times are good and the stock market is cruising along like back in the 1990s, investors tend to focus on companies that have the latest and greatest products or cutting edge services and not pay attention to a boring dividend payment. Of course, times aren’t always good (as we found out in the last couple years) and a review of longer-term history reveals consistent dividend paying companies have historically provided higher returns.

The large mutual fund company, Eaton Vance, recently updated a white-paper report comparing the results of different categories of companies in the S&P 500 Index based on their status as to paying a dividend (or not) and those increasing their dividend versus those that had stagnant or reduced dividends. The facts are compelling. The full report can be viewed or downloaded at our Web site ( in the “Articles” section.

Here are a few high points revealed in the report:

1. Since 1926 the S&P 500 Index provided a 9.6 percent average annual total return. Dividends were 4.3 percent of the total and 5.3 percent was from capital gains.

2. The average yield on CDs and money market instruments since 1926 was 3.7 percent, so dividend income exceeded the yield offered by traditional savings vehicles.

3. More recently, since 1972, non-dividend paying companies as a group provided an average annual total return of .3 percent. Companies paying dividends averaged 8 percent annually during this time period and those which regularly enhance their dividend payment did the best with an 8.9 percent average annual total return over the last 35 years.

Another fact sometimes lost in the data is that, historically, companies which pay and enhance their dividends regularly tend to be less volatile during the inevitable stock market corrections. After the last couple years, investors are re-thinking their appetite for risk and investing in consistent dividend paying companies that may be just the ticket for some peace of mind.

I encourage you to view the full report at our Website, it is an easy read with conclusions I believe are well worth understanding.

Tom Breiter is president of Breiter Capital Management, Inc., an Anna Maria based investment advisor. He can be reached at 778-1900. Some of the investment concepts highlighted in this column may carry the risk of loss of principal, and investors should determine appropriateness for their personal situation before investing.

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