Company of the Week: Anovia Health
Wausau Driver and Review
Editor’s note: Business of the week is a sponsored feature that shares the stories of locally owned and operated businesses in the Wausau area, highlighting the products and services they offer and how they contribute to the unique flavor of the metro area. Learn how to pitch your business by emailing [email protected]
The featured business in the Wausau area this week is Anovia Health, a primary care provider with a clear mission: to create greater access to quality care by reducing costs and inefficiencies in the healthcare marketplace. Independent and unaffiliated primary care, often referred to or referred to as DPC (direct primary care), is a relatively new concept in Wisconsin, but has been growing in the United States for more than a decade. In direct primary care clinics, primary care physicians and their teams of providers are independent of hospital networks. This allows them to focus on the best interests of patients and payers rather than being limited to their hospital’s provider network and pricing, said Ken Strmiska, vice president and chief operating officer.
Not to be confused with an insurance company, Anovia is a direct provider offering services to individuals and businesses. The group takes basic health insurance, but not commercial insurance or Medicaid. In addition to Strmiska, the leadership team includes CEO Brian Dominick, Dr. Brian Erdmann, President of Anovia Health Clinics, and Dr. Sabina Singh, Chief Medical Officer.
Anovia Health, which opened in February at 7402 Stone Ridge Dr. in Weston, offers transparent pricing, avoiding surprise bills while improving patient care and lowering costs.
“Putting people out of business and making our businesses less competitive because businesses spend more resources each year on healthcare than on innovation is not a win-win solution for our local communities,” Strmiska said. Here, Strmiska describes the services the organization provides, how it works with organizations in the region to keep healthcare costs manageable, and what makes the organization unique.
What makes Wausau the ideal solution for your organization? In other words, why did you choose to open here?
In Wisconsin, and especially in central Wisconsin, we unfortunately have some of the highest healthcare costs in the country. Businesses and individual payers deserve another quality, affordable option from today’s leading Preferred Provider Networks (PPOs) available to them. The founders of Anovia are all residents of Wisconsin. We want this state to remain a great place to live and grow a business. An important part of that is having affordable health care.
How many providers do you have and what are their specialties?
Anovia believes in physician-led care teams. Currently, we have three primary care physicians, two physician assistants and a nurse serving our patients in the Wausau and Stevens Point markets. As we grow, we will recruit other advanced practice physicians and clinicians, such as nurse practitioners and physician assistants. Because of their advanced training and experience, every person deserves to have a physician involved in their care.
At this time, our regular hours are Monday to Friday 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Extended hours are at the physician’s discretion. It is not uncommon for one of our doctors to start earlier in the morning or stay later to accommodate a patient’s schedule. But in addition to office hours, our doctors are taking after-hours calls and doing tele-video visits. We are available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. But one of the promises of independent primary care is easy access to the healthcare team and unlimited visits. Because of the accessibility and time we spend with patients, they don’t wait for something to become an emergency that leads to a 2 a.m. call. We see them in one of our clinics or make a tele-video call as soon as possible.
On your website you say that you see health care as a partnership. What do you mean by that and what are you doing to make sure that’s what patients leave?
Lifelong good health starts at the primary care level and that’s where Anovia specializes. We can manage 70-80% of a person’s health problems in their lifetime. Because this is a lifelong relationship, the best health outcomes occur when there is a trusting relationship between patient and healthcare provider. We create the environment for this type of relationship with 30-60 minute visits, easy access to the doctor or care team, and removing as many financial barriers as possible, making care affordable. By having longer appointments and same-day or next-day access to the care team, Anovia providers have time to listen and build trust with the patient. For people in the PPO network, they get a 15 minute appointment, only about 7-10 minutes with a provider. In this environment, the average provider interrupts their patient every 7 seconds! The reason: they don’t have time to listen and they have two or three other patients waiting to be seen.
But we cannot do it alone. We can create the right environment, but we need patients who take responsibility for their health. Health is largely dependent on lifestyle, genetics and, frankly, luck. We don’t expect people to be perfect, but we do require them to undergo regular, scheduled checkups, take prescribed medications, follow treatment protocols as discussed with the provider, and they take the initiative to go see the care team before some routine problem progresses to the point that it is so serious that it requires emergency treatment.
What types of partnerships do you offer to member companies?
Company-sponsored health care remains the number one benefit and the main reason people are attracted to or stay with an employer. In recent years, this advantage has become increasingly unaffordable for companies. For many organizations, healthcare is the second or third highest cost of doing business. As part of a strategy to contain costs, companies shared more of the cost burden with employees through higher bonuses and copays. Wisconsin businesses and their employees are at breaking point.
About six months ago, we developed a strategy called our Corporate Healthcare Solution. For businesses that have at least 50 people (employees and dependents) enrolled in their healthcare plan, we offer them a fair monthly membership rate that starts at $21. Companies pay us directly for their primary care and then use insurance to cover catastrophic healthcare needs. Because we are independent and not affiliated with a PPO network, we can also refer patients to other providers at lower cost for labs, imaging and other specialized services. Frankly, it is in our proper direction of the use of specialist care by company employees that the most savings occur.
When we work with companies, we continually stress to them that they must not put up financial barriers for their employees to receive primary care. Primary care is the least expensive care to provide and it pays the most in terms of future downstream savings. Ultimately, our corporate customers and their employees get a better healthcare experience at an affordable price.
What makes Anovia Health different?
There are three things that make us different:
- We are independent and not affiliated with the hospital-based PPO network, which means we keep people off their escalator which is incentivized to send patients to more expensive specialists and services.
- We offer fair and transparent pricing – you’ll know how much something is going to cost and how we make our money.
- We provide a better care experience that is led by teams of physicians.
We’re creating a primary care experience that we’d like to use that won’t bankrupt the payer, whether it’s a business or an individual.
Connect with Anovia Health
Anovia Health Clinic Weston
7402 Stone Ridge Drive Suite 3
Anovia Health Stevens Point Clinic
2417 Post Road. Suite D
Stevens Point, Wis.