Health and Wellness Marketplace for Cash Paying Patients Print E-mail
Written by Jeffrey Herschler   
Wednesday, 12 October 2016 13:40

Q & A with Alain Fernandez, ValueDOC
Editor's Note:
ValueDOC is a free health and wellness marketplace for cash-paying patients. Founder Alain Fernandez launched the website earlier this year with a couple of hundred doctors and dentists featured. ValueDOC won the Miami Herald Business Plan Challenge’s FIU Track in May. I had a chance to catch up with Alain earlier this week. Below is a transcript of our chat.

JH        In an earlier conversation you said ValueDOC is filling a void in the current healthcare marketplace. You also talked about delivering transparency and efficiency. Can you explain what you meant by that?

AF           Unfortunately, in today’s healthcare environment the self-pay patient, whether they carry no insurance or a high-deductible plan, is not able to go to one place and shop for the most basic medical or dental service, like you would if you were booking a hotel or vacation.  At, self-pay patients can book online appointments with local, pre-screened doctors and dentists and access substantial discounts by simply using their debit or credit card. Doctors on our platform offer the most common medical, dental and wellness services, such as dental cleanings, mammogram, doctor visits, acupuncture, skin care, vision, labs, etc., in exchange for pre-payment. Patients are able to sort by price, distance, or online reviews. The entire process is both efficient and completely transparent.
JH        Reporter Nancy Dahlberg, in the May Miami Herald feature, referred to ValueDOC's aim to make booking a doctor as easy as ordering an Uber. What did she mean by that?

AF           I believe she was referring to how simple the process is, and how, like Uber, we are using technology and good design to completely change the patient experience.
JH        So what’s in it for the physician or dentist? Why would he/she want to join your network?

AF           It’s absolutely FREE for a doctor or dentist to join our platform. They simply need to create a professional profile, which can take less than ten minutes to complete online. The doctors and dentists in return get exposure to our cash marketplace, and getting paid for the visit within two business days of booking — maybe even before the service is rendered — is very appealing when many can wait months to get paid from insurances. Some doctors have lull times where they can accept pre-paying cash payments. Others may be building their practice so exposure to this marketplace can save them time and money on marketing. Like the Uber model, ValueDOC keeps a small portion per booking.
JH        I imagine a lot of healthy under 30 people, without access to employer coverage, would take the catastrophic plan on the exchange, fund a health savings account and sign up for ValueDOC. In fact, healthy Americans of any age (under 65), facing double digit rate increases, might be tempted to opt out of the exchange, pay the penalty and join ValueDoc. So it’s conceivable health insurers would lose business to ValueDOC. Do traditional payers view you as a threat?

AF           I don’t think so. Traditional payers have a place in the market. For the most part, health insurance is there to cover patients when their health turns for the worse.  ValueDOC is an affordable solution for a patient’s most basic medical and dental needs. I see ValueDOC as a supplemental offering patients can use for their everyday care, but can turn to their catastrophic plan if they need to go to the hospital.

JH        Trump would repeal and replace Obamacare. Meanwhile, Clinton would expand it, possibly by adding a public option. Regardless of your personal politics, it seems a Trump presidency would be better for the ValueDOC business plan. Have you given any thought to the upcoming elections and the possible impact on ValueDOC?

AF           Being involved in the healthcare sector for close to 25 years, I’m always thinking about healthcare. I don’t think that either candidate will change the fact that in the last decade patients’ out-of-pocket costs have more than doubled, and the number one reason patients don’t go to the doctor is cost. The trend of shifting cost towards the patient will continue with either president. Both candidates have noticed this trend and each have their own proposal on how to deal with it. Clinton wants a new tax credit to offset deductibles, while Trump wants to expand health savings accounts. What they both agree on is that patient consumerism and transparency is here to stay, and this is where ValueDOC is positioned to help doctors and patients alike.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 12 October 2016 13:51
FL Avoids Direct Hit from Hurricane Matthew; Can't Steer Clear of Human and Economic Costs Print E-mail
Written by Jeffrey Herschler   
Monday, 10 October 2016 18:24

Starting Thursday afternoon (10/6/16), the storm moved up the Atlantic Coast as a very dangerous Category 3 hurricane, bringing torrential rain, powerful winds, a storm surge and flooding. After Florida and Georgia avoided a direct hit, the storm touched down in South Carolina in the late morning on Saturday (10/8/16) as a Category 1 hurricane with maximum sustained winds of 75 mph, according to the National Hurricane Center.
Florida hospitals prepared to get hit by the monster storm Matthew, with many facilities altering their normal operations, and a number of facilities closing and evacuating patients.

Providers scrambled to address the needs of their most vulnerable patients. For example, Dr. Maina Gatonye, Chief Medical Officer for Chen Senior Medical Centers in South Florida, worked the phones for several days, calling patients with conditions like diabetes and kidney failure. In the run up to the storm, staff identified the most at risk 400 to 600 patients.

The U.S. death toll was nineteen. Six people lost their lives in Florida due to the storm. In some cases emergency responders were unable to immediately dispatch services due to the severity of the storm.

The economic cost of the storm is estimated to be between $25 and $70 billion.

It's a good news, bad news scenario with regard to the Zika virus. On the one hand powerful storms tend to blow away the local mosquito population. Meanwhile, debris and destruction from the storm can create new mosquito breeding sites, pooled with water from all the rain. People then go outside during the recovery period, providing ample opportunity for mosquitoes to feed.

The hurricane baby thing is real. OB-GYNs should note that there is evidence that starting about nine months after a hurricane, you can expect a baby boom.

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Last Updated on Monday, 10 October 2016 18:39
Sponsor Showcase Print E-mail
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Friday, 07 October 2016 00:00
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Last Updated on Friday, 07 October 2016 14:19

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