Here’s the rest of my interview with Keith Newton, Concentra CEO. Part 1 is here.
MCM – How has the market reacted to the launch of telemedicine?
Newton – Early adopters are coming on board; like other new services in work comp, everyone wants it then there’s a bit of a lag after initial launch [as the more cautious wait to see what happens]. Most of big players – TPAs and insurers – are [looking at or considering] coming on board. It is much easier to adopt [internet-based medical “visits”] if it is as familiar as possible to all users. Adoption will be faster if there’s less disruption to the normal medical process.
MCM – How will Concentra charge for this service?
Newton – There will be no change to reimbursement, it is based on normal fees for office visits. Payers will see savings in efficiency and time savings for employer. [There may be] Other savings from lower ancillary costs from lower utilization.
MCM – Talk about licensure and regulatory compliance. There’s a lot of movement towards telemedicine in many states, and it seems a lot of confusion about what is allowed, what entity regulates TM, fees, etc.
Newton – There have been some licensure and certification challenges, we have 5 coordinators doing intake for 4 full-time MDs dedicated to this to begin; 2 in CA, 1 in MD, 1 in NV. One example is we have a Maryland physician driving to one of our Washington DC centers to do their Telemedicine work from there…[we’ve done] lots of regulatory compliance work.
State regulations aren’t keeping up with changes in telemedicine. We evaluated this on a state by state basis, every legislative branch has something going on with telemedicine.
MCM – Is this partially a defensive strategy to protect Concentra’s occ medicine business?
Newton – We’ve got to protect our turf a little bit…there could be some cannibalization of own practice, but ultimately we know 1 of 8 workers will access a Concentra practice for injury care – and telemedicine will enable us to add more of those visits without bricks and mortars expansion and the expense of that.
Our goal by the end of the year is 320+ centers and 100 dedicated worksites.
What does this mean for you?
I expect telemedicine is going to be the next big thing – and unlike a lot of the other fads we’ve seen in comp, it will have a major disruptive effect.