Medcor: Philip Seeger, President & CEO

by HCE Exchange on August 19, 2010

In 1984, three paramedics decided to take what they had learned in their emergency services work and start a business. “The concept for the formation of Medcor came from the recognition that so many of the 911 calls that we responded to were not only not emergencies, but they really didn’t even need our intervention in terms of providing hospital-level care. Rather, these were injured or ill people who didn’t know what to do and were seeking guidance,” says Philip Seeger, co-founder and current CEO and President of Medcor.

They saw this happening on a frequent enough basis, particularly in the workplace, that they begin to recognize just how much a company could save, for instance, by maintaining qualified medical personnel on site to provide basic care, assess injuries, and provide guidance to employees for medical follow-up and self care.

“In the United States, we have a fee-for-service medical system and our workers’ compensation system is based on that, so when an injured or ill employee is sent to a hospital for care, to a freestanding medical clinic, or to a doctors office, a claim is created,” says Seeger. “What we realized is that if healthcare can be provided in the workplace in such a way that there is not a fee-for-service claim, it would be more efficient and far less costly to the employer.”

Employers with Medcor medical offices on site see as much as a 70–80% reduction in claims cost because the company is either able to treat them on location and send them back to work, or guide them to appropriate specialty care off-site when needed.

“It is essentially a pure clinical intervention—the right treatment and direction to a patient at the time of injury in such a fashion that no further care or administrative claims costs are necessary,” says Seeger.

Fixed Fee Health Services

Medcor has no financial ties to outside medical establishments and does not take payment from insurance companies. Instead, they operate on a fixed fee basis, paid by the client, whom they view as a strategic partner. Medcor works in all types of industry, from construction and warehouse operations to retail and entertainment venues. Clients range from the local, with only a handful of employees, to Fortune 500 firms with upwards of thousands of employees on campus at a given time. In some situations, Medcor takes care of the client’s customers, as well as their employees.

“Because we don’t make more money by doing more, providing unnecessary tests or medical evaluations, our clinicians are free to provide their patients with the best medical care that they can. There are no financial or other incentives for them to do anything else,” says Seeger.

Triage by Telephone

Medcor has also pioneered a telephone triage service that now operates in more than 60,000 locations in all fifty states. This is one more way of expanding access to medical information, and therefore reducing emergency room utilization and excess insurance claims when the situation really doesn’t warrant professional medical care.

“Here’s an example most people can relate to from their own families,” Seeger explains.  “You love your children. You panic when something happens to them, and you are tempted to rush to the hospital ‘just in case’ they are seriously hurt.  If your neighbor was a physician or a nurse or a paramedic, and happened to be there—came running over and looked at the injury and told you everything was going to be okay—you feel enormous relief, and an unnecessary trip to the ER is avoided.  Our triage service does the same thing for businesses.”

Information technology is primarily developed in-house. The company focuses on initiatives and evidence-based algorithms that utilize its technology. They focus on how their clinicians can access information and share it with their patients so that the best decisions are being made. “It’s fabulous what technology has allowed us to do and how we can make information rapidly accessible to our clinicians,” says Seeger. “It’s very exciting, both on site and telephonically. We’re going to continue to push that envelope.”

Economic Impact on Business

The upside, of course, is that Medcor is offering a service that directly impacts employers and helps them keep the cost of employee health and safety down. As clients in some areas of service downsize, however, due to tough economic times, the shrinkage factor impacts Medcor, as well. Because Medcor onsite services can be found from mining camps to national parks, from heavy industry construction sites to entertainment venues, the diversification of services helps maintain a good balance.

Employee turnover is low at Medcor, and Seeger says the company strives to maintain a very family oriented culture.

The Game Changer in Healthcare

Medcor stands out as one of the few providers in healthcare that is free from economic conflicts of interest. “We’re very transparent,” says Seeger. “We have worked extremely hard to not allow ourselves to align with any entity or provider that will taint our objectivity. We are proud of the fact that we can make sure that medicine comes first, that we can provide the very best patient outcomes and we can worry just about our patients, knowing that will drive a reduction in costs and claims more effectively than anything.”

“We’re not affiliated with any outside medical organizations or providers where we are making additional fees. We are not affiliated with the insurance industry. We don’t get paid to manage claims and we don’t get paid to create claims. We don’t get paid to do additional x-rays or tests. We are free of all conflicts,” says Seeger. “I think that will remain at the heart and soul of our success. It will remain the most important driver to our strategic thinking and decisions.”

“I really believe that the technology and the clinical programs that we are developing will be instrumental in changing the way healthcare is viewed in this country.”

-by Tracy Million Simmons

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