Tuesday, September 27, 2005

An Improved HMO Design?

Rushika Fernandopulle (RF) and Parnav Kothari (PK) recently founded Renainssance Health (RH) in Arlington, MA to attempt a creative approach to primary care. As part of a consulting job, RF had written a book titled Uninsured in America, which noted that although medicine itself had dramatically improved over the last century, delivery of health services and the financial aspects of medicine had not significantly changed (except, of course, for price level) during that time.

When RF and PK started their practice, they emphasized attempting to learn what clients/patients wanted from health care. As a result of this study, RH offers cellphone access to doctors, encouragement to self-monitor their health status and organized wellness plans. The doctors limit the number of patients seen to less than half those seen by a normal practice and charge a monthly fee based on age of the client/patient.
The monthly charge sticks in the craw of Harvard Pilgrim, a major insuror in that area.

It looks like the RH program may be an improvement on the HMO model for those who like HMOs. It will be interesting to know whether this approach spreads outside Massachusetts.


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