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ZoomCare Prepares to Become Major Player

Announcements are forthcoming about the latest self-insurer to sign up with ZoomCare, while expansion is underway in Portland, with plans to move into California and beyond.
March 3, 2015

ZoomCare’s on the move and preparing to take on the big guys – Providence, Kaiser, Moda and the like.

Yesterday’s announcement about its 28-site neighborhood health campus in Portland, is just the first hint of new developments.

In the next few weeks, Dr. Dave Sanders expects to release the name of the second self-insured employer that’s joined its ranks. And, in April, watch for the release of its proposed insurance rates so ZoomCare can prepare to enter the individual and group market next fall through the health insurance exchange.

Last November, Sanders inked his first contract last November with a self-insured employer – DSU Trucks with has 400 employees – and is convinced he can lower their healthcare costs by as much as 40 percent.

Sanders also intends to submit bid proposals next time the Oregon Educators Benefit Board – the school teachers and administrators – and the Public Employees Benefit Board – the state’s employees -- open the process.

As ZoomCare expands, it’s focused on bringing on new providers – nurse practitioners and physician assistants – who believe in its collaborative model of delivering healthcare in novel ways and share its values.

“Nurse practitioners and physician assistants can provide just as good care,” Sanders told reporters. ”The current model is driven by specialists and that has to end.” ZoomCare hires full-time practitioners who are rewarded, Sanders said, to “improve health.”

With clinics in Portland and Seattle, Sanders isn’t satisfied with just having a presence in the Pacific Northwest. He has his eyes on San Francisco and Los Angeles, but wouldn’t comment about whether his search team is scouting land for new clinics. And, he’d love to see ZoomCare’s name emblazoned across the nation.

Capital infusion by Endeavour Capital last summer definitely helped, becoming ZoomCare’s first outside investor. Sanders hasn’t disclosed how much money landed on the table, but, typically, Endeavour's equity investments run between $25 million and $100 million.

At the legislative level, the telemedicine bill advocated by Len Bergstein, who lobbies on behalf of ZoomCare, is headed for passage, along with a similar bill in Olympia. In Oregon, the only insurer raising objections was Regence BlueCross BlueShield, but its efforts turned futile.

Sanders has a perfect record when it comes to convincing legislators – in years past they’ve passed bills giving greater autonomy to physician assistants and nurse practitioners and given his clinics the ability to dispense pharmaceutical medications.

When asked by The Lund Report if he had other legislative ideas in mind, Sanders deferred, saying this was not time to share such details, because this was the day he was celebrating the opening of his neighborhood health campus – including nine new clinics that will open shortly in Portland.

ZoomCare also faces competition from Legacy Health which has announced a joint venture partnership with GoHealth Urgent Care, a national company, to launch a chain of urgent care centers in the Portland market.

But Sanders doesn’t seem concerned. “It’s in some companies DNA to be competitive,” he said, adding that he’s spent “zero time” thinking about his new competitor.

At yesterday’s press conference, Steve McCallion, ZoomCare’s creative director, also told reporters. “Our on-demand neighborhood clinics changed the doctors’ visit forever. Now we’re giving people radical access and control of their preventive and advanced care. With our new on-demand neighborhood health campus, ZoomCare is changing the industry and creating new care and economic models for healthcare.”

Diane can be reached at [email protected].