Lost your job but still need a Pap smear?

If you're a patient at Obstetrics and Gynecology Specialists, P.A., of Edina and Burnsville, you may be in luck. The six-physician practice is offering a free preventive visit for current patients who've been laid off and lost their health insurance.

Dr. K. Anthony Shibley said he's seeing about two patients a day who've lost their jobs and are rushing to get an appointment before their insurance runs out.

"We know that staying current with preventive care not only keeps patients healthy, but also cuts down on future health care costs," Shibley said. "None of us at the practice feel it's the right thing to do to just cut them loose."

The practice is offering one free preventive gynecology visit in 2009 with a doctor or nurse practitioner and a Pap smear for those who show proof of lost insurance. Other lab services will be offered at a reduced rate.

The recession has prompted discounts in medical services that are usually paid for out-or-pocket, such as Lasik surgery. But discounts or freebies for procedures typically covered by insurance are unusual. Shibley said he hadn't heard of any other clinic with a similar offer.