If you ask me, UMMC should welcome Insource. I say that becuase I know for a fact
Ummc doesn't have enough staff ,in my opinion,to safely care for patients at times. 1 nurse with 7-10 patients is ethically wrong, and in my opinion, unsafe.
Then again, maybe UMMC is taking cost cutting to the extreme, but regardless, patient safety and care should be the #1 concern of any hospital.
From what I have heard, this shortage of staff has lead to a couple of RN's quitting
I'm sure patient acuity factors in the equation, but post op patients should not share 1 nurse with 8-10 other patients, that is watered down care at best.
Insource and UMMC appear to be classic case of the disruptor vs. the disrupted
Submitted by Howard Owens on August 1, 2013 - 2:58pm
Disruptive Innovation: An innovation through technology or process that takes root in an underserved portion of the market to create new business opportunities.
Incumbent: The market-leading business in an industry.
Unmet Need: When a business planner identifies a hole in the marketplace, where consumers -- either consciously or unconsciously -- have a need that a new product or service can meet.
Job to be Done: Much like an unmet need, the jobs-to-be-done metaphor helps a business planner target a market segment for a new product or service. The job-to-be-done metaphor is based on the idea that customers don't really buy a product or service, they hire the product or service to help with a specific task they want to accomplish.
Clayton Christensen: Harvard Business School professor and creator of the term "disruptive innovation." His groundbreaking works are "Innovator's Dilemma" and "Innovator's Solution." He's also written a book on innovation in health care, "The Innovator's Prescription."
From the perspective of the folks who run Insource Urgent Care in Downtown Batavia, their first-of-its-kind clinic is apparently seen as a competitive threat by the executives at United Memorial Medical Center.
A threat that must be crushed.
If their perception is correct, it highlights the fear disruptive innovators can strike in the hearts of incumbent businesses, especially if that business has enjoyed a monopoly position in the market.
Since UMMC officials are not talking about the tensions between Insource and UMMC, we only have the perspective of Insource's owners, which they're willing to discuss, and is also part of a federal anti-trust suit filed by Insource on June 25.
The suit alleges that UMMC conspired with HealthNow, the region's BlueCross BlueShield franchise, to eradicate the hosptial's pesky new competitor.
UMMC, according to the lawsuit, has even tried to muscle other health care providers in the county in an effort to deny Insource the partners it needs to deliver its services.
HealthNow is the dominant health insurance company in Western New York and UMMC has held a monopoly position for emergency and hospital care in Genesee County since the year 2000 merger of Genesee Memorial and St. Jerome's.
Melissa Marsocci, VP of operations for Insource, who is a native of Batavia and well versed in the literature of disruptive innovation, said she wasn't surprised by the response from UMMC to the arrival of her new company. She wishes it had been different, that cooperation rather than competition would have been the watchword, but that's not the case.
"Being from here and knowing the corporate culture over there, I knew we weren't going to be welcomed with open arms," Marsocci said. "Whenever I go anywhere else (to open a clinic), I don't know that, but here, we're just little bugs to them."
Insource is a company designed around innovation. It's model uses more efficient processes for delivering patient care and employs technology to reduce costs while improving quality.
Insource is also willing and able to deliver what it believes is world-class care while accepting lower profit margins per patient.
The result, according to Marsocci, is faster and easier access to top specialists and lower costs for uninsured patients.
Key points raised in Insource Development Services of Batavia, LLC. vs. HealthNow New York, Inc. and United Memorial Medical Center.
In its lawsuit, Insource claims a typical emergency room visit to UMMC costs at least $1,500. The same service through Insource would cost $150.
"I think people deserve a choice," Marsocci said. "Isn't free enterprise what America is all about? Competition is good. It ups the quality, or should, so why not? Why should United Memorial have a monopoly?"
The typical urgent care model is kind of like a doc-in-the-box. The clinics are usually only opened in high-volume communities -- such as well-populated suburbs or densely populated urban neighborhoods. They treat minor injuries and illnesses and do very little in the way of referrals. They're not the place to go if you're seriously ill.
Insource can provide health care as basic as a physical for a high school athlete, up to arranging a consultation with a heart surgeon.
In other words, from a patient perspective, the company can do everything UMMC does, but without the overhead.
When a business planner with an eye toward disruptive innovation looks at a potential opportunity, the planner will try to identify an unmet need and a job to be done.
The unmet need in Genesee County, according to Marsocci, is the lack of top-tier specialists. It's not that they're not here, but there are fewer of them.
And, many local residents -- like it or not, it's true, notes Marsocci -- also lack faith in specialist referrals through UMMC.
This isn't a problem unique to Genesee County or UMMC. It's common in rural counties across the United States.
For the local patient who needs or wants care with a top-tier specialist, the only option until now has been to drive 30 or 40 minutes to Rochester or Buffalo.
"The care here, unfortunately, and I can say this because I've lived in Genesee County all my life, the care here has been substandard for years," Marsocci said. "I don't mean that disparagingly, but I'm saying, call a spade a spade. When I need care beyond primary care, I travel. I have been in those situations where I used a local specialist and it didn't end positively for me, and I've had those times where I was lucky. But you learn through a couple of experiences and you're not going to do it again, so I go east or west."
The job to be done, then, for Insource, is to connect patients who need specialized service with specialists without making them drive for miles and miles.
Computers, laptops, smartphones, tablets, closed-circuit cameras, LCD screens and the Internet -- all the tools of telemedicine -- means those miles, and the wasted time that goes with them, disappear.
The example Marsocci used was of a patient who came to Insource in early Jully complaining of debilitating back pain.
Initially, the concern was that he had a kidney stone, but a CT scan found a growth on his spine. A surgeon and specialist in spinal problems who will soon be one of Insources subtenants was consulted using telemedicine tools. The doctor confirmed the diagnosis and told Insource to have the patient call him on his mobile phone the next day -- July 4 -- for a follow-up consultation.
Two weeks ago, the patient had surgery to remove the growth.
"If that man had gone to any other urgent care, they would not have wanted to spend any more time on him than they had to," Marsocci said. "If they didn't have access to a CT then they knew they were wasting time on him and not getting paid. They would just want to get him out the door. He would have to go to the emergency room then, which means he's going to spend a lot of money for something we did perfectly well here."
"It's pretty exciting to say he had surgery probably before he even would have seen the spine surgeon had he went anywhere else," Marsocci added.
All of these improvements -- better access to specialists, lower costs -- just make good business sense.
"Why can't the people in this community have the same level of care as the people in Buffalo or the people in Rochester?" Marsocci asked.
The response from local doctors to Insource, even those associated with UMMC, has been uniformly positive, Marsocci said. Insource refers patients to local doctors and to UMMC on a daily basis. The goal is to get the patient the best treatment possible, and that often means local doctors and local specialists are the best resources for local patients.
And local health care providers have found Insource a valuable resource, even referring patients to Insource, she said.
If all this makes so much sense, why aren't established urgent care companies around the nation providing the same service? Why isn't UMMC?
Yesterday, Mark Celmer, president of Insource, spoke with The Batavian's news partner, WBTA, about the lawsuit. Here's what he said.
“I do find it absolutely reprehensible that any member of Genesee County that’s insured by HealthNow can travel 40 miles to Erie County and go to any of 22 urgent care sites and be fully covered for their urgent care visit, but they cannot come to the newest one on Main Street, Batavia. I find that just absolutely reprehensible.”
“I would like HealthNow to say, ‘Genesee County residents: if you want to go to the urgent care center at the Jerome Center, if you want to go the urgent care center in Le Roy, if you want to go to the emergency room at United Memorial, or if you want to go to Insource Urgent Care Center on Main Street, Godspeed, let’s get going.’ ”
As we said, we lack UMMC's perspective on this competitive climate, but we do know about the patterns of disruptive innovation.
In any classic case of disruptor vs. the disrupted, the incumbents either under-value the disruption or feel trapped by their established business model. The incumbent sees no way to extricate itself from its present business model, no matter how threatening the disruptive innovation might be.
Newspapers, for example, have found it difficult to transition to an online news model because higher profits are found in their dead tree editions.
While it costs less to produce digital news, the revenues are also substantially lower -- The New York Times publisher once said it was like converting print dollars into digital dimes -- and profit margins are slender to nonexistent (especially if newspapers want to maintain their current newsroom cost structure). Even as readers flee from printed newspapers, incumbent publishers are loathe to go to an online-only business model.
It's very difficult for an incumbent to give up a profitable line of business in favor of a business model that means lower revenue and less profit, especially when successful models are few and far between.
Sailing ship builders couldn't do it when the steam engines came along; Detroit couldn't do it when Japanese cars hit the market; mainframe computer makers couldn't do it when personal computers were first being sold; and, Kodak couldn't do it when digital cameras became popular (and Kodak INVENTED the digital camera).
"We're trying to make sense of where everything should be -- lowering costs, improving quality, improving satisfaction, improving access," Marsocci said. "That's where we find ourselves as disruptive innovators. Nobody in the urgent care business wants to spend the amount of time that we did putting together a formal telemedicine program or the way we do things with continuity of care, having subtenant specialists in our center.
"They want the low-hanging fruit," she added. "It can be a very lucrative business, so they want to find a place in a heavy-traffic shopping plaza and just put up a center and see how many patients they can see each day and make as much money as they possibly can. Where we're really focused on what we're preaching. Continuity of care."
NOTE: Early yesterday evening, The Batavian sent an e-mail to Colleen Flynn, spokeswoman for UMMC, and outlined the nature of the article we were writing about the lawsuit and invited UMMC to comment on the topics raised in this article. The Batavian received no response to the e-mail.
If you ask me, UMMC should welcome Insource. I say that becuase I know for a fact
Competition and free markets are the Mothers of Invention (and innovation) I hope the courts decide in favor of all the people of our area and not for a specific hospital and it's employees, certainly not for an insurance company. Free markets will help everyone including UMMC, its employees and Health Now.
Choice is good. Competition is healthy, innovations cause efficiency and better products.
Well written & researched piece Howard, I like the new format.
A little innovating yourself eh?
Agreed, a great article. The "Non-Profit" UMMC now has competition. It is long overdue. Maybe they won't be pinching so many pennies in the future, and over charging patients and Insurance Companies. The idea is to lower cost, not soak everybody you can. And we are the winners!!
The complaint by Insource may or may not have merit. But UMMC has a record of trying to limit competition. Just ask Dr. Chess, who owns Advanced Imaging, located in the Mall. UMMC did everything it could to prevent Dr. Chess from expanding his practice.
Seems to me that UMMC, and any other hospital, should welcome a company like Insource to their market, if for nothing else than to relieve the ED from having an influx of non-emergency patients seeking care for minor things such as colds, flu, other illness not requiring emergency care.
But then again, most monopolies feel threatened to their established markets when someone smaller comes along with less cost to the people for the same services the monopoly provides.
One reason, and the biggest reason IMO, is our health care system is all about dollars and cents to the degree of nickel and diming us to death.
Try this sometime: Call a private practice doctor's office and ask them what the office visit charge is. Don't be surprised if they tell you, "It all depends on what the doctor does for you."
A further example of how out of control our health care system is, recently, my mother had a regular visit with her primary care doctor, and afterwards she was presented with the bill for not only her co-pay but an additional $25. When she asked what the added charge was for they told her they are now charging for "extra time with the doctor". They further explained that all time with the doctor is limited to 15 minutes, and if the time goes over that they are now charging the patient $25 in addition to the co-pay.
Someone tell me again how the Affordable Care Act is fixing this?
While there are undoubtedly individuals employed within the health care industry dedicated to patient care, comfort and well-being...
The health care 'industry' (hospitals, clinics, pharmaceutical manufacturers, pharmaceutical retailers, insurance companies, laundry companies, equipment and supply vendors, ambulance services, etc) are concerned with profits.
Anyone over the age of 50 can recall a time when health care boiled down to a patient, a General Practitioner and the local druggist- occasionally the local hospital. Office visits cost a few bucks (if anything), because the doctor made his real money as resident at one of the city hospitals. ...Also impacting the cost of health care: the local GP suffered with his/her own billing.
The American Medical Association AMA, founded in 1847 was initially focused on ethics and practicum. By the 1950s it had become a professional lobby concerned with the politics and economics of Social Security, Medicaid and Medicare. The disembarkation from the country doctor milieu came with the Supreme Court decision in the 1980s lumping doctors in the same professional stew with lawyers. Doctor/Patient would never be the same.
Doctors traded in their medical bags for specialist licenses, office suites and billing agencies. While the family doctors were protecting their interests, the hospitals, labs and clinics were networking with insurance companies. While the insurance companies were building exclusive care-access domains, the pharmaceutical companies and medical equipment manufacturers were making bigger and more expensive products to insert into a new, premium market. While the purveyors were amping up the face of medicine, the cities were closing down hospitals to make room for the big players. Without the residency opportunities, the GP had to raise his/her prices to hire an accountant. In the mean time, the patient couldn't afford the surge in doctor bills and bought insurance. Once every working stiff had health insurance, the insurance companies had to raise the cost of premiums 300% to deal with the windfall. With insurance companies making billions in profits, the other factions in the health care industry wanted a cut. When the pharmaceutical companies saw how much the insurance companies were making, they started bribing the government to finance product R & D. And the money goes on and on...
Hippocrates has been replaced by John Maynard Keynes.
Fantastic post, C.M. and so true.