The Big Three Save The Healthcare System?

Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway and JPMorgan Chase are going to create an independent health care system.  This sounds good and they have a lot of power, which will be needed to fight off the insurance companies.  I am all in on this if it lets the free market work.  This NY Times article gives some of their predictions on how it may happen but who the hell knows?  The last point in the article is key, however.  It talks about Direct Primary Care:

Doctor as Independent Advocate

“You can imagine them using a different sort of model, where everyone gets a concierge to help them with their health care, to have a primary care doctor be an independent advocate that helps patients navigate the system, not as an agent of the hospital where they have to feed the beast. And then if you need lab tests, an M.R.I., an elective service in the hospital, you would have a health savings account and a marketplace with transparent pricing. And then, if something really bad happens — you get leukemia, you get hit by a bus — the high-deductible insurance kicks in. That’s the way the market is moving anyway, so I bet this is where these companies are likely going.”

— Dr. Rushika Fernandopulle, chief executive, Iora Health, Boston

My fear about Iora, though, is that they are a big company hiring doctors to work for them.  They are another middleman and not a true DPC where the physician owns his or her practice.  Is there a difference?  Yup.  What was that parable about giving a man a fish versus teaching him how to fish?

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Douglas Farrago MD

Douglas Farrago MD is a full-time practicing family doc in Forest, Va. He started Forest Direct Primary Care where he takes no insurance and bills patients a monthly fee. He is board certified in the specialty of Family Practice. He is the inventor of a product called the Knee Saver which is currently in the Baseball Hall of Fame. The Knee Saver and its knock-offs are worn by many major league baseball catchers. He is also the inventor of the CryoHelmet used by athletes for head injuries as well as migraine sufferers. Dr. Farrago is the author of four books, two of which are the top two most popular DPC books. From 2001 – 2011, Dr. Farrago was the editor and creator of the Placebo Journal which ran for 10 full years. Described as the Mad Magazine for doctors, he and the Placebo Journal were featured in the Washington Post, US News and World Report, the AP, and the NY Times. Dr. Farrago is also the editor of the blog Authentic Medicine which was born out of concern about where the direction of healthcare is heading and the belief that the wrong people are in charge. This blog has been going daily for more than 15 years Article about Dr. Farrago in Doximity Email Dr. Farrago – [email protected] 

  5 comments for “The Big Three Save The Healthcare System?

  1. Kurt
    February 7, 2018 at 3:34 pm

    Not a “blankety-blank” thing is going to change in this country if people aren’t held accountable for their lousy health behaviors. Since primary care docs and hospitals are being dinged for this, no one should go into primary care medicine. DPC? Perhaps if the right geographical area is chosen.
    If the people don’t want to give up their beer and cigarettes, how does one expect to get paid?

    Nice work if one can get it.

  2. Chris
    February 5, 2018 at 10:26 am

    I think this is a big non-news story. All sorts of companies self-insure; I think this is going to amount to nothing more than that. Maybe they will hire Primary docs (or more likely NPs) to do primary care at their larger physical locations to keep people at work.

    I always love it when eggheads say they are going to take the profit motive out of healthcare and everything will be fine and dandy like people practice medicine just for the fun of it.

  3. Hawgguy
    February 4, 2018 at 12:17 pm

    The optimist in me thinks they can’t make it any worse, we’re at rock bottom. The realist in me thinks this may be a false floor and we can fall even lower.

  4. John Parkin M.D.
    February 4, 2018 at 11:15 am

    Maybe they should start by creating a workable EHR from scratch ?

  5. John Chamberlain
    February 4, 2018 at 10:16 am

    Spot on, Doug.

    Amazon just recently hired Martin Levine, MD who ran the Iora clinics in Seattle.

    Good indicator the troika is looking at DPC. As Iora has recently moved into the Medicare space, not sure they are committed to true DPC.

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