The Pivotal Podcast

Transitioning into Health Tech: Innovating in the Healthcare Industry with Unique Medical Solutions with Frank Wells

July 25, 2023 Ben Season 1 Episode 5
The Pivotal Podcast
Transitioning into Health Tech: Innovating in the Healthcare Industry with Unique Medical Solutions with Frank Wells
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

In this episode of The Pivotal Podcast, Frank Wells shares his journey of transitioning from a business background to the healthcare industry, and how he's using his innovative thinking to bring new solutions to the healthcare market.

Frank discusses the challenges and opportunities of working in healthcare, and how his business acumen has helped him to succeed in this complex industry. He also shares his advice for healthcare professionals who are looking to transition into health tech.

This episode is packed with insights and inspiration for anyone who is interested in learning more about the intersection of healthcare and technology.

Here are some of the key takeaways from the episode:

  • The healthcare industry is ripe for innovation, and there are many opportunities for healthcare professionals to use their skills to make a difference.
  • Health tech is a rapidly growing field, and there is a high demand for qualified professionals.
  • Healthcare professionals who are able to think outside the box and bring new solutions to the market will be well-positioned for success.

If you're interested in learning more about how to transition into health tech, then this episode is for you. Listen now!


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 Welcome to the Pivotal Podcast where we unlock the future of healthcare technology and explore the journeys of those making waves in the industry. Join us as we explore the innovative minds, game-changing companies and inspiring journeys that are shaping the future of healthcare. Whether you're a tech enthusiast, a healthcare professional, or someone looking to make a career pivot, this is the podcast for you.

I'm Ben Marley, your guide through this adventure that will inspire and empower you to forge your own path in this ever evolving field. In this episode, we have the privilege of speaking with Frank Wells, the visionary founder behind Holy City Med, the medical consulting group, and renew Medical IV Spa, and Urgent Care.

Join us as we delve into Frank's remarkable journey in the healthcare industry as unique approach to providing medical benefits to employers and the innovative solutions he's bringing to the field. Frank, thank you so much for joining me today. I'm super excited to have this conversation. Thanks, Ben.

Man, whoever you just introduced sound like an amazing guy. I know, right? I know. I'll do my best. No, I'm seriously excited to talk to talk to you today and yeah, just to hear more about everything you're doing in healthcare. So let's just jump, jump right in. Could you share with us your journey of transitioning from your.

Business background. And actually you could even go all the way back to like education. Cause I know you don't have like the traditional like medical background. Right. But from that background to the healthcare industry and really what inspired you to get involved in this and to then get into opening urgent care facilities?

Oh wow. Wow. That's a, a big question. I'll try to. Make it short so you can ask more questions. But man, my parents had businesses growing up, so my two brothers and myself, you know, I got exposed to all that where your parents owned the business and sometimes they made money, sometimes they didn't.

But we always had food on the table, so amen to that. So college moved to New York City. Worked in the financial district as a bond trader and then decided that I wanted to know more if I really loved business. I wanna know more about business and how not to mess that up when I had an opportunity to run one or two or more.

And so I went to grad school, got my MBA at Chapel Hill in North Carolina. Man, when I moved from New York City to Chapel Hill, I thought I'd gone to heaven. It was so amazing. I was able to talk to people and say hello and be you know, use my southern hospitality that I grew up with in Charleston, South Carolina.

Again. In Chapel Hill. Hill and then went to Atlanta after that two years of grad school and did consulting really turnaround consulting. They called it business reorganization at Coopers and Liran. Right. This is before Pricewaterhouse Coopers joined. It was the big eight back then. Gotcha. In the nineties.

And and did that for a while. Worked in different industries even. I worked for the Olympics for over a year. Wow. With over 2000 staff and volunteers working in, in a division that I helped run. It basically created city. On the campus of Georgia Tech and, you know, operated it for 33 days, had the Olympics, and then shut it down.

Wow. So really cool experience. And, and then I did more turnaround consulting work with trouble companies and growth stories until really getting involved in the healthcare space fulltime in early 2007. So it brings us to the industry that I've been in since then. Okay. Okay. So you mentioned before when we were talking a little bit that you were doing turnaround consulting for 14 different industries.

Is that right? Right, yes. Okay. And that healthcare was part of that, that was something you were involved in? Yeah, there was a little tiny little consulting thing. It was with a veterinarian clinic, so it was really unlike what I was doing what I'm doing now in my experience in the last, since early oh seven.

But but yeah, a little bit of healthcare space. I like to say in the 14 industries I worked in, including the vet business that was not insurance based getting into this space that was been mostly dominated by insurance for years now, for decades now was the only industry I experienced where you did some work for a customer.

As the clinic and the provider of that service, and then sent that off to a third party over here somewhere that then determined how much you were to get paid and how were you, you were to bill for that and then told you to go bill the person you provided the services to a certain amount. And I thought, oh my goodness, nobody else does this.

Who's this third party? What are they doing? And so fascinating and, and a blessing to be able to come into an industry and say, I have all this experience from other industries. Why does this make sense? You know, the, the old adage of, well, we, this is the way we've always done it. It's nice to have that fresh new perspective on other industries and how they work.

So that was fascinating to see the, the difference of the control and the eventual abuse and over control of you know, those third parties. We talked about before, almost like if you were to go buy a car and said, yes, I love the car, I'll take it. How much is it? They said, well, Go ahead and drive it home.

In about a month or so, we're gonna send you a bill for how much you owe. Well, how much will that be? We have no idea. Goodbye. Yeah. Okay. I'll take it. It's fine. I have to have a car, right? I gotta have this. It's like, yeah. Medically necessary. That's crazy. Right? So it totally makes sense that you'd be coming into a field with fresh eyes, right.

And be able to see things from a different perspective. But did you encounter any challenges coming into the healthcare field without a medical background? No I didn't because the, the ER doc that owned the clinic that I joined and then we grew it to multiple clinics here in Charleston, South Carolina.

Had a super good handle on all of the medical stuff the efficiency of care, the quality of care and all the service lines that we needed in order to provide people with urgent primary care, walk-in care. Had all that. And he, he was delighted. He said, look, I've got all this, you do all the people, hr, the marketing, the operations you know, all that other kind of stuff that was not in his gifting that was in mind.

Yeah. No, that totally makes sense. So how do you feel your business background has influenced your approach to healthcare, entrepreneurship and the services that you provide? Y you know again, being raised by parents who own businesses, multiple businesses, even at the same time, we had a pigweed grocery store, my parents and a dairy Queen at the same time.

So mom didn't kill dad, right? There's no, there's no murder in the family. But it was crazy. But, you know, learning all that and then learning that really ultimately your goal is to find a need and serve the need. And do that in a way that's super efficient and takes care of the people, providing the services, your employees in order to take care of the customers who are gonna benefit from your services, and then to, to price it in such a way where there's value to the consumer and there's also value to the employees and the business itself.

I mean, that's, that's just business, right? That's finding a need and filling a need, right? So I think that perspective, if you just had a passion for. An industry say, you know, you just always wanna be a doctor. You may not have that perspective, that same perspective. You just have a passion for a certain industry and type services.

You might not have that perspective, but I, I did both from a upbringing in the family and a training and education side as well. So just, you know, super. Trained me to do this. And then I spent 12 years with the ER doctor as his C e o, coo, C F o, hr you know, e everything. Managing that, those operations of those clinics and, and.

You know, if you will. I, I was getting paid to get a PhD and sure. You know, running really high quality, really efficient medical clinics and so what a tremendous blessing that was. I didn't get a degree, but I got multiple degrees at that time. Sure. Worth of experience. That's amazing. So, so that was for, you said 12 years.

And since then, you've launched a couple of different ventures now, right? All still in the, the medical field here. So tell me about those. Yeah. You've got Holy City Med renew IV Spa. Right. And then you mentioned a bit about the medical consulting group. So walk me through sort of how this all began and what you've been doing since.

Sure. So in early 16, early 2016 launched out and started Renew Medical IV Spa with a little bit of urgent care as well cuz people come in with upper respiratory UTIs, things that are. Pretty easy and simple to diagnose and treat and getting IV fluids with vitamins and minerals and sometimes medicines as well helps in that space, upper respiratory and in inflammatory disease and such.

So I started that totally self-pay after going through a time at the prior clinics where I was the CEO for 12 years, where there was just. Abuse of power. Mm. In the hands of the insurance companies. One insurance company in particular, you probably give tons of examples, but they reached into our account and took out a little over a million dollars.

Okay. Nothing big. Yeah. Just reached in and said, and, and we said, what, what happened? What, what's going on? And in the contracts you signed with the insurance companies, you allow them they allow you to treat their patients. Per their fee schedule that they set, submit those claims to them, and then you allow them with the contract to pay you directly, you know, direct E F T, into your account.

Well, that same contract allows them to reach in there and take money out for just about any reason. So this company, this insurance company, took out over a million dollars and said, what's going on? They said, well, you know, fraud. Oh, what's the fraud? We don't know. So they were quote, looking for fraud.

We're just paying you guys too much money. You know, you're, we're high volume, high volume clinic. We were seeing over a hundred patients per day per clinic, no appointments. Everybody's walk in whenever they want to, and the average wait time was seven minutes. And this was for IP related treatment. No, no, that was, sorry.

That was back in the medical world. Okay. So urgent care and primary care was same day walk-in, so, okay. I'm sorry. My point was to how, how do you get to self-pay away from insurance? Sure. So in the insurance world, they were just incredibly abusive, would take money out and look for things. And in this case it was there were some duplicate payments on billing well, They're the ones that made the duplicate payment.

We only submitted the claim one time, but they paid us multiple times and we didn't know that. So their, their reason to come take over a million dollars out of our account ended up being, you know, 20, $30,000 that they overpaid us. But again, it took Oh, a year and a half or so to clear the whole thing up.

Wow. And you then you have to pay attorneys and you have to do all this kinda stuff. So it's just, it's just terrible. And that was the whole reason that the doctor of that owned those clinics said to me, sell 'em. Wow. Sell 'em. He goes, I'm, I'm done with insurance based medicine. Sell them. Obviously that made a huge impression on me.

I, I sold those clinics a few years later cuz it takes a few years to sell things at the right price. Sure for the right buyer and to get ultimate value out of those clinics. During that time, I opened up Renew IV SPA and Urgent Care as a self-pay clinic to test out the self-pay space and have my own experience doing that.

Sure. So that's why we opened that in 2016 while I was going about trying to sell or selling the clinics for in the prior model for, for the ER doc that owned them. Gotcha. So and then three and a half years ago in late 2019, early 20, opened up Holy City Med to actually implement what we had done before in the prior clinics with a totally self-pay model.

And interestingly enough that really the, it wasn't just a financial model, if you will, or pricing model. To do direct pay and not accept or file any insurance claims, cuz that was our biggest cost that we did in the prior clinics was having to do all this contract and credentialing and you know, spilling in claims and then sending out statements, and then collecting on money and then getting audited.

Wow. All that was the biggest expense we had. So we wanted to be self-paid, but really the real model that we chose to. Duplicate was the fact that all of our employees for over a decade at the old clinics had free medical care, free urgent care, free primary care, if you cut yourself, if you needed an x-ray, or labs or shots, or tests, all that stuff for free, for not only the employees, but all of their family members that lived under the same roof with them.

And really what we duplicated was that saying, well, that was such a blessing. Our employees loved it so much. I mean, our retention for employees was close to a hundred percent. Wow. They never wanted to leave us. So we took that model of taking care of just our employees into Holy City Med to say we want every other.

Local business to have the same opportunity to, to do that free care for their employees and the people that live with them under the same roof. Get all this care for free so those employers can retain their staff, take care of their staff, keep 'em healthy, keep 'em working. The less time they have to take off for sick days or p t o, the more money they have to take care of their family.

The more productive they are for the business owner. And so it's kind of a win-win for everybody to have that open access. Almost like you had a clinic on your site. Mm-hmm. But it was somebody else's clinic that we built at Holy City Med that you can go to anytime you want. That's amazing. And it makes a lot of sense, right?

I mean, because most of the things people have like medical needs for are. Things that could be handled by primary care, urgent care. Right? It's not like the specialty stuff. So a couple questions come to mind with that. So in this model does it cost the employers or the employees something similar to what like, traditional insurance premiums would cost them?

And then also what happens if they need like a major surgery or something? Sure. Yeah. The cost drops way less. It's, I mean, it's as much as 90% off of the traditional insurance plan. Wow. And, and really the insurance plan worked really well a decade or so ago. When you went into the doctor and you paid your $20 copay.

And you never saw another bill. That was because that third party was paying the rest of the bill, or most of it, over 90% of the remaining portion owed to the doctor was getting paid by your third party, your insurance company. Okay? And then in the last decade, the Affordable Care Act came in and, and sort of regulatory, in a regulatory way, said to all the insurance companies, you have to cover everybody.

There's no more underwriting. You have to take all these sick people that have prior existing conditions without charging anything differently. So, you know, their premiums went crazy higher. And at the same time, they said, well, in order for us to make money, we're not gonna pay the rest of the bill to the doctor's office.

We're gonna let the patient pay it. We're gonna tell the doctor. To send a statement for this amount of money to the patient. Now the patient owes it instead of getting that money from the insurance company. So most people's memory of being insured is positive. Mm-hmm. Sure. There's this emotional attachment to your insurance card.

Oh, no. Look, I have insurance. Oh, they, you know, my kids were born through this insurance and I paid $500 for my kids to be born and all this kind of stuff. People have this great emotional attachment to a real memory that happened. But in the last 10 years, it's really opened up a gap for us to fill, you know, as a business provider looking for a service that needs to be filled to say, wow, these employees can't afford the bill.

They're getting a month or two later from their doctor visit, they pay their copay, and then they get a bill for a hundred, $200 or more. It causes them to stop going to the doctor. Which is, like you said, the E, we do all the stuff that's easy and early. If you catch it early, they're gonna be great, right?

They're not gonna have to go to the hospital, they're not gonna, you know, fork out thousands of dollars to meet their deductible. So, We're gonna catch it early and they're gonna be, they're gonna be fine. You know, we, we get 'em on the right meds. And chronic care management for diabetics and hypertensives and all these people we do all that for them without any copay, without any deductible worry.

They just walk in, get the care, and go back to work. Wow. So now you did ask me, also said, now what happens when they need something catastrophic? Right. So, That's when you use a high deductible health plan. You can go to the exchange and maybe get a taxpayer funded or a taxpayer partially funded plan for lots of folks at different levels of pay and income and to get or to get a medical sharing plan.

Like some of the Christian health shares, there are also some companies that are don't require a faith statement and that you can find that. Or $200 a month for your catastrophic coverage. If you go to the hospital, you end up paying the first $1,500 for your hospital visit and you're done after that, and the medical sharing plan pays the rest.

That's about $200 a month. You can pay more than that and get a high deductible health plan, you know, four or five, $600 a month. Then you gotta add your family. And it gets, it gets cost prohibitive for a lot of people, especially just regular working people that are trying to take care of their family and put food on the table and, and buy, you know, soccer lessons and shoes and dance shoes and lessons for their kids and take a vacation once a year.

Yeah. For those people that out of pocket insurance cost is sometimes too high for them. Yeah, no, that, that, it's so interesting. It makes a lot of sense and it's one of those things I feel like that when you hear it, you're like, oh, why weren't we doing it like this? Right? But it's, when you think about it, at first you're like, I'm gonna innovate in the urgent and primary care space.

And it's like, what do you mean? Like you're gonna be using robots? Like how are you gonna, how are you gonna innovate in that space? Right? Like it seems pretty straightforward, like what's happening is working as far as care goes. For the most part. Right. But when you talk about, oh no, it's the way we approach, like the, the payment side of things like that totally changes.

So, right. Yeah. That's phenomenal. That's great. So. Hmm. Let me tell you one other thing too. Yeah, I think so. I would tell you, having the ability to walk in without an appointment and get same day medical care is incredible. I mean, it blows the door off. Most other things, we have people that move into town.

Oh, I'm, I know. I've gotta see a primary care physician. I, I, they said I can come in in four months or six months. I'm like, are you kidding me? Wow. We're same day for that, for, you know, all your labs and stuff. We, we have about twice the staff. Of most other clinics similar to us. Plus we're open evening and weekend hours till 8:00 PM during the week and, and Saturday hours as well.

So you know, most primary care doctor's offices your Monday through Friday, nine to five. Yeah. Well, if you work Monday through Friday, nine to five, when are you gonna go? Yeah. So we try to make it super convenient and, you know, not only just the same day walk-in but also the hours that were open and, and the.

Breadth of services that we provide. And the other thing we did late last year is we added. Same day walk in for behavioral health needs. Wow. Lots of people having stress and anxiety and, and depression and PTs d and, and folks, you know a d D and A D H D and they're on these monthly maintenance meds and they're having to go to the doctor every month and pay $150 or more just to check in and get a prescription refilled.

And we thought, so we, we had a doctor come train all of our staff for about eight months last year. And so by the end of the year, all of our team all of our providers could do same day walk-in for behavioral health. And it's been a huge blessing to the companies that we serve, as, you know, stress, anxiety.

Yeah. They can even come on and do a video visit. They don't have to come into our clinic. Yep. To use the care through the membership. They can just do a video visit as well. So that, that's the membership plan. We also have a walk-in non-member plan that just has a very affordable walk-in visit for less than a hundred dollars.

You can get seen, you know, by a doctor. You can get prescription refills and do other things. Where the members pay nothing for that. They just walk in the door and they can get. Labs and x-rays and EKG and check their heart out and get an A1C for their diabetes and CBC and mono and strep and flu and tests and shots.

So they get a whole bunch of stuff that's included. No out-of-pocket cost because they pay one, you know, less than a hundred dollars a month. Subscription model right there, a member and the non-members can pay as they go if they wanna do it that way. A lot of p people introduce themselves to us.

Through the walk-in and then they quickly become members. If they're on any type of maintenance, you know, monthly, daily prescription that they take, they realize the benefit of coming in, being able to see the doctor if they don't feel quite right. They can see'em any, anytime. They can just do a video visit.

We even have drive-through testing that for our members is totally free for flu and strep. And it's, it's really cool cuz you don't want to get outta your car if you have. If you have strep or the flu, you really just wanna stay in your pajamas, drive through, do a test, and call in the prescription for them on their way home.

Yeah. Yeah. That's phenomenal. That's incredible. I was actually thinking, I was like, I was wondering about the behavioral health component because I know that I've heard. At one of the local major hospitals, if you need to get in to see a psychiatrist, there can be like a six month wait or longer, like a nine month wait even.

So to get same day care for something like that is incredible. That's amazing. Yeah. Wow. Yeah, so pretty cool. And then, yeah, we just added that for medically managed weight management too, that everybody's sort of in the semaglutide space. So. Found some sources that can get it for much less.

So we'll be saving people money on the semaglutide. That's been a hot sort of trend for the last year or so, but people have been paying a pretty high price for those injectables. So we're excited to help people in a, in a different way. We're always looking for ways to sort of add to and save people money on it.

Even with a lab company that we use if people do a lab that's not included in our membership. When we send it out to the lab company, we've already paid for the lab at our price. Instead of having the patient get a bill from the lab, that's usually four or five, six times higher. Yeah, we pay for it directly and then charge the patient the, basically the cost of that lab and instead of them getting billed directly by some inflated price.

So we're always looking for ways to saving money, make it super efficient and affordable. And, and we know if we take care of people early on. That they'll less likely to end up in a high cost, you know, hospital type situation. Yeah, yeah. Preventive care, right? I mean, it's, if you could, if you can prevent something, it's gonna be way more economical than it is if things go off the rails in the future.

Right. And then you have to treat something. Yeah. And that's phenomenal. Yeah. So. I was just thinking about so many things like this just, it's, it makes a lot of sense and it seems so valuable, right? It totally makes sense with the example of the insurance company and, and the former urgent cares coming in and taking that million dollars, like for, I didn't know things like that happened.

That's, Just a scale that's even beyond my comprehension as a consumer of healthcare. Right. As a patient. But literally anytime I go to the doctor and they're like, do you wanna save your card on file for future payments? That kind of thing is the exact reason I'm like, Nope, I don't wanna do that. Not with the insurance.

I mean, I do it with the insurance company, I guess, cuz they do an auto, like a monthly premium that's auto autopay. But I'm, I'm, I was kind of concerned like, oh, if something like that comes up and they're like, The, the time I told you about earlier where I had a hernia surgery and a year later my insurance company came back and said, Hey, you know, that surgery you had that we said was in network, we've now decided they're out of network and you suddenly owe $48,000.

I don't want them just trying to debit my account for that. Right? So wow. Yeah, it's, it's, it's kind of crazy with insurance. So tell me more about Renew IV Medical Spa, cuz I, I hadn't heard of this concept before. So anybody who's listening maybe isn't familiar with like an IV spa, what does that entail?

Sure, sure. We, we were kind of early in the Charleston market, other cities around the country had IV clinics sort of popularized with athletes mostly. So you'll find that you know, majority of the NFL players get an IV before they play you know, a televised game, a big game not always before practice, but before a game.

So they'll get an IV that is sort of pre hydrate, if you will. So that they have maximum performance, you know, and then the, you know, the cyclists and stuff, they worry about doping during the Olympics and people putting things in their IV that they're not supposed to have. But a large part of the benefit of an IV is simply the fluids.

A liter of fluids, er doctors have told us are, are like drinking two or more gallons of water. Wow. Well, you can't really drink two gallons of water. It's not good for you. You delete your enzymes and all kind of stuff. And it's, it's, it's over hydrating. But getting one bag of fluids, it goes into your veins.

Right. It doesn't go through your GI tract and the vitamins and minerals that are put in that bag. And antioxidants those good minerals are getting fully absorbed into the cells of your body, which is where your body survives and competes, and your immune system works and, and you know, off illness and disease and gives you energy.

So so we just wanted to do that. What athletes have been, have been doing for a long, long time and offer that. Normal people like you and I, you know, we get on a plane and we get dehydrated or we go to someplace with altitude cuz in Charleston we're at sea level pretty much. And we go somewhere with altitude and we're, you know, I can't breathe.

You need more oxygen in your blood and, and so getting pre hydrated really helps. So we do weddings and, you know which is kind of fun to pre hydrate them before the wedding cuz they're sitting with a glass of champagne for hours, toasting. The bride and grim instead of drinking water and, and hydrating and eating.

And then some, you know, there's a little bit of craziness in the bachelor bachelorette parties. Sure. Those are people trying to recover in different ways. But we'll, we even do travel to them. We'll go to their you know, their Airbnb somewhere, especially in Charleston being a destination city for events like that.

And we'll, we'll hydrate the, the Bachelor, bachelorette folks that are in town for that. And and then just a lot of people that are taking time off with their families. You know, mom and dad are tired. They've been working. Now they're with the kids in a different city and they just need energy.

So we have energy boosts, we have immune boost hangover boost we have weight loss boost, B12 shots, all kind of stuff just to help you sort of feel fully hydrated. You know, just drinking a lot of caffeine, we'll dehydrate the body. Mm. It's not just alcohol that dehydrates. And so We're, it's, that clinic is mostly a wellness clinic.

It's generally people who are in general healthy they just need a little boost. They've just not been drinking enough water, not taking the time. They have a lot of meetings and well, I don't wanna have to get up and have to go to the restroom during my meetings, you know, and my conference that I'm in.

So I'm just not gonna drink water the next three days. Oh gosh. So we, you know, we, we love hydrating those folks and we do get some athletes that you'll see on some of the highlight films that, that come in to renew. And obviously I wouldn't tell you their names, but they're hilarious.

They're, they're used to getting IVs all the time and and they come in and they, they get 'em really quickly. Most people takes about 45 minutes to get an iv. And a recliner watching, you know, the latest Netflix on our flat screen TVs in the clinic. These athletes walk in at like 25 minutes later, they're walking out the door.

They're pros at getting IVs. That's funny. They're, they're, so it, you talk about professional athletes doing this, and it actually reminds me of a podcast I was just listening to over the weekend where Andrew Huberman was interviewing Tim Ferriss. And he was asking him about how he makes decisions and how he can kind of like peek around the corner and see into the future.

Right. And Tim was saying one of the ways he thinks about things is that he looks at what kinds of services are wealthy people getting right now that are not common with the general public or professional athletes and like people at like top levels of whatever, whatever their niche is. Right. And he looks at that and then says, okay, that's gonna be an opportunity five years from now to bring this same kind of thing.

To the general public. Right. So just what you're saying here with like professional athletes, they do it and it's like, oh, well now anybody could benefit from that. Let's bring that to the masses. Yeah, that's great. And it's a really value added service. The fact that we don't take insurance means our prices are half.

Wow. Of the competition or less? So it, it, it really cuts out a significant portion of the cost and with most people in the last decade having to pay out of pocket for most things. Cuz 19 out of 20 people who have insurance never hit their deductible. Wow. So for these you know, these services that are sort of on their own, they can choose to, you know, have those services or not.

They're, they're really paying the whole bill for that. And if they file it through their insurance company, the pricing mechanism is two and a half to four times higher. And you know, then you get a bill for some amount less than that because they've negotiated it for less. Yeah. You know, it's kinda like going the jewelry store that has an 800% markup and they're half off.

Mm-hmm. Well, that's still 400% markup on, on things like jewelry. That's pretty, pretty traditional. So being able to give that a value added service and not have to deal with the insurance hurdles and the cost of that, allows us to charge way less for the consumer. They get a great service and and they're off and on their own, they would've paid for it for more money than that anyway.

So it kind of helps us help them, if that makes sense. Totally. So you mentioned before about being able to have remote appointments for certain types of things, right. Being remote with such a great model here and so, such an affordable model. Is that limited to people who have been in person in the clinics before or is that literally open to anybody that's got.

An internet connection. Yeah, it, it is open. So in the licensing of medical providers in the state of South Carolina we see patients that are either coming through South Carolina, they could be a tourist with some sort of address, even if it's a hotel. Mm. Or people that live in South Carolina have a residence in South Carolina and they might be in Idaho.

They might be skiing in Colorado. They might be up in Chicago, New York, Miami on vacation, and they can call us and do a video visit. Just by having a South Carolina address because our providers. Are licensed in the state of South Carolina, we can treat those patients. But anybody can call and do a video visit.

If you're a member, it's totally free and included in your membership. If you're not a member, it's $37 to do a video visit with a doctor, you know, to get your meds. And you know, even if you've never met us before, If it's a controlled med, there's a few other hoops we have to look at to make sure you're not getting controlled meds from multiple sources in the same month.

If it's not a controlled med and, and you just have a terrible infection and you're at a conference in Chicago, but you live in South Carolina, you can do a video visit with us. We'll make sure that you didn't run out of your. Blood pressure medicine or your diabetic medicine that you might need while you're traveling, that you just forgot to pack it.

Cause you know, crazy, crazy schedules that most people have nowadays, they forget. Yeah, yeah. Absolutely. Wow. This would've been super helpful Last summer when my wife and I took the kids to Disney and I got sick. She got sick, all three kids got sick and we were like, Is this covid, because covid was still really happening.

You know, we're like, okay, we have to go find a clinic here somewhere near the resort and try to do this. And just having a conversation with a, a familiar doctor, like our primary care physician, like a video chat right, would've been amazing to say, okay, this is what you need to go do. Actually that would've been really, really helpful.

Yeah. So that's cool. I'll tell you. So telemedicine, you know the, the u utilization of telemedicine went way up during covid. Many places they weren't going into medical clinics and avoiding some preventive care, unfortunately. But but telemed, it's helpful, but it's just audio. So as soon as we started doing this, we added video medical visits with technology that's already downloaded on every phone in America, every phone in the world.

You can use that technology already on your phone to connect with us video. In our clinic tell us. It's so much easier if you're looking at someone, of course you can open your mouth up and say, ah, and they can see, you know, if the lighting's well in the back of the throat, they can make a diagnosis way better than just hearing you on the phone.

Sure. And so we think it's super important to be able to see the patient. If not here in the clinic, certainly by video, it's way better than just having an audio telemed type visit. Sure, of course. Now, with that kind of service available, do you guys have any providers who work fully, remotely, or even like a hybrid kind of work environment?

We don't, because we love the fact that people can, you know, in a membership model, you wanna be able to see those patients. On occasion you want to be able to make sure that their kidney and liver functions well, and the thyroid functions well. And so the systems of their body working well. And oftentimes that means, you know, doing some labs on them, having them here in the clinic, but then when they're away, we've already known them in most cases.

Even though we do a fair amount of video visits, and it might be a first time, only time we've seen that patient the better way is that we already know the patient. We already have some records we know, and it's like, oh, it's just a refill on this medicine that you forgot, piece of cake. We'll do that for you.

What else do you need? That's it. Thanks a lot. Have a great day. It's super efficient for the patient. I mean, it's convenient. They're wherever they want to be, as long as they have a South Carolina address. And it's also efficient for our providers and they love it because why have somebody suffer? When they're traveling for work or, or for family needs and have them suffer until they get home a week later.

But we don't want that. Our whole reason for being here is to catch stuff early and often and, and avoid the high cost of, you know, those other services and surgery in the hospital all the time. As much as we can do that, that that's really how we benefit both the pocketbooks of the individual patients.

And take care of the employer groups because we know that when employees aren't doing well and they go to that high cost need in the hospital or somewhere else they're not working. They're. They're not at work. Yeah, absolutely. So they're not being productive, they're not earning income, they're not helping to generate revenue for the business owner.

So, you know, most of what we do is help small businesses keep growing, especially in an economy where you don't always know where the next growth is coming for your business. Yeah, absolutely. And keeping their employees, one of the most important things is not just only to hire, but to keep your employees and offer 'em a benefit That's still quite unique, even in Charleston, even though we have.

Thousands of members and and hundreds of companies that are enrolled in our membership plan. That's a tiny percentage of the whole market of, you know, 840,000 people that live in the Charleston Tri-County market. We sell a pretty small percentage so they can make a difference and attract and retain people in a kind of a unique way, as opposed to, yeah, we have this traditional insurance.

It costs a lot, and by the way, you're only gonna use it once a year. And if you do it, if you use it any other time, you're gonna be paying for it out of pocket. Awesome. Well, that's not good, right? Yeah. Yeah. Great. Yeah. So when you're talking about helping companies grow in uncertain economies and everything, I know we just have a couple more minutes here, but when you, when you envision the future of healthcare, how do you see Holy City Med and its affiliated ventures really contributing to that vision?

Or what do you hope to see in the future of healthcare? I, I think removing the hurdles to getting care for the employees you know, the employer, the people that are making high incomes they pretty much can get care anywhere they want. And they're not they're not held back by the out-of-pocket cost of going to a doctor.

They may even have a concierge type model, which, which we're, we've been called a concierge model multiple times. We just don't require you to have insurance that you use our concierge system, and we charge way less. All of our plans are less than a hundred dollars, even less than $3 a day. You know, per person to have coverage and un unlimited medical visits.

But just envision it, being able to remove those hurdles for your employees and the normal working people that have to think about the cost of that or doing that or going to a specialist. Those are the ones that we, you know, they're the engine for our economy. I mean, those are the employees of small business that still make up, even with Covid, still make up.

Over 60% of the workforce are people that work for small local companies. So if we can help them, you know, I mean, it sounds silly, but we can make an economic impact and try to help lots and lots of people and their family members. I mean, we charge even less for the dependents. For us, a dependent can be a live-in a roommate or friend that lives in the same, under the same roof with you.

They get the same membership plan for $10 less per month than you're paying because we know. One thing is to keep 'em healthy at work, but it's also important to keep 'em healthy at home. Many illnesses, like your family experienced in Orlando last summer is you experienced the same illness from people that are close to you.

Yeah. That happens in families and the workplace, so we try to cover both. It's just to make a bigger impact on people and have zero hurdle. It's like if you had a clinic on site at a large company like Boeing. You just walk across the street and go get care. Mm-hmm. Cause it's right there and it's open.

Well, we want to be that for small, local companies, even though they have to get in their car and they may have to drive a few miles to see us when they show up, they're not gonna wait minutes, if any at all. They're gonna get seen, they're gonna get great care, and they're gonna be able to go out the door and we're open evening and weekend hours so they don't have to squeeze it into their.

Monday through Friday, nine to five when they're trying to work and earn a living for themselves and their families. So making an impact in small business and look, come full circle. My parents were small business owners. Sure. So this is really about the upbringing and what I was taught early in my life is, you know, taking care of.

People like my parents that worked hard and took care of their family and that's, that's what we wanna do. Yeah. That's phenomenal. I don't know, I can't think of anybody that would say, nah, it's not worth pursuing. Don't do that. Yeah. And if they do, I don't need to have a conversation with that person.

Right. Well, Frank, I really, really appreciate you taking the time to be with me today and to have this conversation. If anybody's curious to keep up with you and everything you've got going on or Holy City what's the best way for them to, to find you either on social media or on your website or, or what is it?

Yeah, sure. Probably a couple ways. So Holy City Med. Com. And LinkedIn, you know, Frank Wells Charleston, South Carolina with Holy City Med. Renew ivy is the Ivy Clinic. And you know, either one of those ways you could probably Google Frank Wells and Charleston and find me as well.

There may or may not be a little bit of purple in there. Yep. We we named it Holy City and so we wanted to choose a royal color. And so that's why we chose the purple to match the name Holy City. Sure. Makes a lot of sense. Well, Frank, thanks again for being here today. I really appreciate it. I'm sure everybody listening got a ton out of it.

I know I did. Yeah, and I really enjoyed it. It was a real pleasure. Hey, I gotta give you one more hack. You ready? Yeah. Last thing. So before you pull out your insurance card, buying any medical services, ask for the self pay rate. If you pull out the insurance card, they're now obligated that they can only give you the fee schedule related to the insurance company.

Huh? So they cannot give you the self pay rate. So what you do is before you pull out that card, say, Hey, what's the self pay rate on a CT or mri, or some sort of really expensive service. Oftentimes you can get get it for less. Last summer I got a CT for $210. I asked for the self pay rate and that was all I paid.

I never saw another bill or anything else for a CT on my knee. And so that's just a little hack. Just as soon as you show 'em your insurance card, you've now invoked the contract they signed with the insurance company and your options almost go away at that point, so, wow, that's amazing. That's usually helpful.

I appreciate that. Now, quick question on that. If, if you ask for that self-pay rate, can you then say, okay, well, what about if we go through insurance or do you have to leave insurance out of it completely? Well you might want to hang up the phone and make a second phone call, Uhhuh. The reason is, is as soon as they're ob contractually obligated, as soon as they know you have insurance at all, they are now obligated to only use the rates for the insurance company.

Otherwise, insurance company can come back in. Grab money out of their account. Yep. And say, well we overpaid you for the last 2000 cts that you did at $700 a piece. We're not gonna take $500 times 2000 cts out of your account cuz we overpaid you. Yeah. Yeah. That wouldn't be good for anybody. That's brutal.

Yep. Makes sense. Yeah. So yeah, so you want to ask that ahead of time and then you know, decide which one. Works better for you. Sure. If you meet your deductible every year, you're one of the, you're the one out of 20 people that for whatever reason, prescription meds or whatever you do hits your deductible you know, you sort of can always show your insurance card at that point, even though the cost of your premiums keep keep rising.

Sure. Makes a lot of sense. Well, Frank, thanks for that. That was unexpected and super helpful, so I appreciate it. My pleasure. I hope you enjoyed today's dive into the field of healthcare technology, and we leave you with this thought. The fusion of healthcare and technology holds endless opportunities, so stay inspired, stay connected, and meet us here next time on the Pivotal Podcast.

Frank's Unconventional Journey into the Urgent Care Industry
Frank's Cross-industry Perspective on Healthcare Entrepreneurship and Innovation
Transitioning to Self-Pay Healthcare: Challenging Insurance Dominance and Improving Patient Care
Revolutionizing Healthcare: Same-Day Appointments, Extended Hours, and Comprehensive Services for All
Discovering the Benefits of IV Therapy: From Athletes to Everyday Health and Wellness
Embracing Telemedicine: The Impact of Remote Healthcare Services on Patient Convenience and Care
The Intersection of Patient Care and Business Efficiency: Understanding Hybrid Healthcare Models
Redefining Healthcare Accessibility: How Holy City Med Sees the Future of Employee Care
The Insurance Card Hack: Navigating Medical Costs Through Self-Pay vs. Insurance Rates