Qliance Raises $4M To Expand New Primary Care Model, Circumvent Health Insurers

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need, but focuses on the basics, like vaccinations, checkups, routine women’s health exams, and minor fractures. It provides basic X-rays, EKGs, or stitches on-site. It’s open every day, and allows 24-hour cell phone and e-mail access to physicians. In the case of something catastrophic, like a bad car accident, patients are still encouraged to get a low-premium (“catastrophic”) health insurance plan.

Qliance is careful not to use the term “concierge” care, which is associated with medical services that cater to wealthy people, who put doctors on monthly retainers to get more convenient care. The target customers for Qliance are self-employed individuals and small businesses struggling to meet their health insurance premiums, Wu said in December. He contends that employers who switch to Qliance in addition to catastrophic health insurance plans can save 15 to 35 percent of their total health care costs, which ought to help them maintain a healthy workforce while cutting costs.

The company is planning to use the new capital to expand to a second office in Kent, WA, next month, and a third office by the end of this year that may or may not be in Washington, Wu said. It is in discussions with several large groups to extend its model to other parts of the country.

One big wildcard in the business is how it might be affected by healthcare reform. Wu has been spending a lot of time meeting with members of Congress to make sure their plans don’t get in the way of “direct practice” models like Qliance.

“We are up against a very insurance-centric world, even when insurance doesn’t make sense for 90 percent of what people need to see their doctor for,” Wu says. “By mandating all-inclusive insurance for everyone, legislators will put the kind of cost-effective, high access, high quality care that direct practices provide out of the reach of those who cannot afford to pay.”

If the legislation allows for the direct practice model to take off, Wu predicts the sky is the limit for the business. About 250 million people in the U.S. need good primary care services, and the market gets big in a hurry if a lot of them are paying $50-a-month subscription fees. “We believe the potential for this model is enormous,” Wu said in December.

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