Real San Antonian: Southside doctor uses his art to help pay for the uninsured

Dr. Ray Altamirano getting national attention for his non-traditional methods at Casa Salud Family Medicine

SAN ANTONIO – Born and raised on the southside of San Antonio, Dr. Ray Altamirano is giving back to his community in an unconventional way at his Casa Salud Family Medicine Clinic.

“We noticed that many patients without insurance are left in an abyss,” Dr. Altamirano said.

After leaving family medicine and taking a position as a physician at a freestanding emergency room his heart still wasn’t quite complete.

“I knew I wanted to do more and it’s not about what i’m doing, it’s also about where,” Dr. Altamirano said.

So, along with his full-time job, Dr. Altamirano runs the Casa Salud Family Medicine Clinic, located at 7127 Somerset Rd. A majority of patients are without insurance, so the clinic offers a flat rate fee of $100--this covers the visit and some lab work.

It wasn’t long after the clinic opened, people started noticing another talent from Dr. Altamirano--his artwork.

“People started asking if they could purchase them and first I was hesitant,” he said.

Move forward to today, he sells his paintings as a way to help pay for patient visits. The art is also gaining attention from others in the community who are sponsoring visits.

“Desi Martinez donated 20 patient visits,” Dr. Altamirano said.

The non-traditional methods have caught the attention of producers at “The Kelly Clarkson Show” and “The Doctors.”

Dr. Altamirano is continuing to sell his art and he has a facebook page, Amar Es Vivir, for his artwork. He also encourages any sponsors interested in helping, to reach out to Casa Salud Family Medicine.