WHAT SOME DOCTORS LEARNED As a Result of COVID-19: When A Doctor Goes “Radio Silent” Patients Wonder Why and Leave the Practice.
By Seth Sjostrom
Scott Jonason, founder and clinician of Lacamas Medical Group in Camas, has built one of the largest independent primary care practices in the northwest. Despite his success, he is concerned about the direction of healthcare.
“In the 10-plus years since I started Lacamas, I have seen too many clinics fail or get absorbed,” he said. “Independent practices provide unique value in offering nimble, personalized care. I wanted to come up with a way to help the independent clinic not only survive, but thrive.”
Assembling a panel of experts that touch nearly every phase of running a medical practice, Jonason created EverMed. A medical management group, EverMed looks to solve a number of problems plaguing primary care medicine today.
“There are three key groups we want to serve,” Jonason explained, “the independent medical practice, small to mid-size employers and individuals.”
Lacamas Medical Group Clinic Manager and EverMed Principal Jan Loomis added, “It’s getting harder and harder for independents to stay independent. Clinicians love what they do. We get to remove the complications of running a medical practice and allow them to focus on what they love – caring for their patients.”
EverMed offers a menu of services for clinics, including an option for handling all business aspects while increasing profitability in most cases. Through efficiencies, greater purchasing power and offering additional patient services, EverMed clinics are more competitive with larger groups.
“We allow clinicians to be clinicians again,” said Jonason. “They can worry about their patients, we can handle everything else.”
Wes Rice, owner of Camas-based Effective Web Solutions, described why his company went this route:
“For a small business, [Affordable Care Act] programs are just too expensive,” he said. “I had a choice: hire more people or buy healthcare. What [EverMed] offers is a reasonable, cost-effective healthcare solution.”
While DPC can be stand-alone, EverMed’s model integrates with traditional insurance as well. And according to Jonason, several large insurers around the country are beginning to agree to this flat fee primary care structure.
“DPC removes the insurer from risk,” said EverMed Medical Director Dr. Dino Ramzi. “No more prior authorizations. We simply treat our patients based on their needs, like we used to.”
Ramzi noted that the more care patients have to seek outside of the primary care clinic, the higher the cost. As primary care clinics begin to do more in-house, only referring those patients who truly require a specialist saves the entire healthcare system valuable dollars.
According to Jonason, EverMed has lofty goals: ease individual and employer healthcare cost concerns, maintain and improve quality of care and be “future compliant” as healthcare continues to evolve.
“We want to be stewards to our community,” he said. “EverMed maintains access to quality care and helps independent clinics to remain independent well into the future.”