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Cash for Doctors Revisited

An idea whose time has come?

Apr 4, 2011, Vol. 16, No. 28 • By TONY MECIA
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More significantly, Forrest says a major national company—which he declines to name for now—is encouraging him to open doctors’ offices all over. The idea there is that the company could save money by directing its workers to one of Forrest’s clinics. The company would still offer traditional insurance, but because premiums are linked in part to utilization, premiums would stay low since workers would start by heading to a practice that didn’t accept insurance.

Perhaps most surprising in the last year, though, is that insurance companies—“typically our enemy”—are taking an interest in Forrest’s work. They were intrigued after Access Healthcare was named one of 33 “Cardiovascular Centers of Excellence” by the Consortium for Southeastern Hypertension Control.

“They said, ‘Huh, you have better outcomes than most doctors have,’ ” Forrest says. “We said, ‘Yeah, that’s because our focus is on patients, not insurance.’ ”

Forrest says insurers are trying to figure out ways to work with his model, without imposing the usual burdens of filing, coding, and billing.

“There are so many people who are really becoming interested in this,” he says.

Tony Mecia is a freelance business writer in Charlotte, N.C.

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