4,000 patients in the Seattle area buy their primary care directly from a group of three clinics called Qliance Medical Group, as noted in this Bloomberg Businessweek article. In exchange for monthly fees between $50 and $130—depending on age—Qliance patients can see their doctors as often as they want.
After 10 years of running his own small practice, founder Garrison Bliss opened the first Qliance clinic in Seattle in 2007, which he envisioned as the start of a national network. Now his three clinics have eight doctors and two nurse practitioners. None handles more than 800 patients.
- The model eliminates the cost of collecting money from insurers, which Qliance says can eat up $16 of a $60 payment for an office visit, or more than a quarter of a practice’s revenue.
- Qliance doctors’ income isn’t tied to the number of procedures they do, so they see fewer patients and spend more time with them.
- Patients’ monthly fees cover preventive care, basic tests, advice, treatment for chronic conditions, and simple emergency procedures such as stitches and X-rays.
- Patients still have to pay for prescriptions, specialists, and hospital expenses. Most have insurance to cover at least some of those costs.
- According to the company, Qliance patients make fewer trips to hospitals and specialists because of the more attentive primary care and incur 22 percent less in medical costs annually than average.
- Qliance has raised $13.5 million from the likes of Jeff Bezos and Michael Dell to bring its brand of affordable, high-quality primary care to cities across the country.
Bliss believes the model could help reduce health-care costs nationwide: “We see this as an enormous, almost unlimited marketplace,” he says. Read more…