14 Dec Ranger Health Assisting Companies Struggling With Uncontrollable Healthcare Costs
(SAN ANTONIO) – Startup company Ranger Health has launched in San Antonio and is helping employers save money on rising healthcare costs by negotiating better rates with healthcare facilities using the collective buying power of its member companies.
Founded in 2015 by former Tenet Healthcare and Baptist Health System executive Michael C. Zucker, FACHE, Ranger Health introduces local market forces to create a more rational marketplace for employers and their employees.
“Healthcare is very one-sided and favors large conglomerates such as regional hospital systems, insurance companies and pharmaceutical companies, which have tremendous market pricing power,” Zucker said. “Even the largest employers have little ability to negotiate more favorable terms. By bringing many employers together onto a common platform, we can amass a considerable buying force.”
Ranger Health’s model is simple and does not disrupt employers’ existing health benefit plans, networks, or how claims are filed.
To address sky high prices, Ranger Health has pre-negotiated arrangements with healthcare facilities for common hospital admissions and certain outpatient procedures, securing pricing advantages and returning financial savings to member companies’ bottom lines.
“Employers are frustrated by outrageous premium increases and irrational prices in our broken healthcare system,” Zucker said. “Ranger Health is at the forefront of a revolution that is empowering the employer. We are creating a new model that works within existing health plan networks and creates stronger alignment between providers and employers.”
To date, Ranger Health is working with more than 50 regional employers, which include more than 20,000 lives. For employers large and small, coming together on a platform that doesn’t require disruption of each company’s own benefit plan enables them to buy healthcare at scale. The simplicity of the model and its ability to create a local market buying force is what has been lacking in healthcare to push back on one-sided markets.
In addition to pre-neogiating hospital rates, Ranger Health has created a network of top physicians who are already participating providers within the major health plan networks. Ranger Health has vetted the select physicians in its network using sophisticated data analytics that Ranger Health developed to assess physician quality and clinical outcomes. By identifying the highest performing physicians, Ranger Health has essentially identified the “Ryder Cup” team within a broader panel of providers. When members need a physician, Ranger Health offers options within its network and schedules appointments on their behalf, typically within 48 hours.
“I’m proud to be one of Ranger Health’s select physicians,” said David Fox, MD, a San Antonio orthopedic surgeon. “The way in which Ranger Health is measuring physician outcomes is the way we should be evaluated. It is extremely difficult for consumers, and frankly, even physicians to know who is a good physician.”
Through its proprietary data analytics, Ranger Health provides employers and their workforce access to something they’ve never had before — meaningful information about physician quality and how to select who can best meet their healthcare needs.
“You can’t just google a doctor and find outcomes measures that tell you how good a doctor reall is in their particular specialty,” Zucker said. “We are shifting the balance of information in favor of the employers and consumers who deserve better outcomes, better service and reasonable prices.”
Ranger Health has recently expanded its services to give smaller, fully-insured employers access to some of the same features offered to larger, self-insured employers. Having both types of companies on the Ranger Health platform creates greater scale, which benefits all clients.
“We’ve been extremely pleased with the value that Ranger Health has afforded us,” said Mike Yantis, CEO of Yantis Construction. “We’ve not been able to get a handle on constantly rising healthcare costs. We like the business model because it does not change our existing benefit plan, and our employees appreciate Ranger Health identifying and providing easy access to great doctors that are already in our health plan. The concierge level of service with Ranger Health is nothing like I’ve seen before in healthcare.”
Prior to starting Ranger Health, Zucker served as Chief Strategy Officer of Tenet Healthcare’s South Texas region, where he led a successful national demonstration project with Medicare and Baptist Health System and developed the concept of “bundled payments” for cardiac and orthopedic services that resulted in $2 million in annual savings and significant quality improvements. Those early efforts to bundle prices (package price physician and hospital fees) has transformed how certain healthcare services are reimbursed. Today, CMMS (Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services) only reimburses for total joint replacement surgery on a bundled payment basis and is exploring implementing this across many more procedures, including cardiology and oncology.
“That hugely successful bundled payment experience was what led me to think if we can do this with Medicare, then certainly there’s a way to do it in the private sector to help employers rein in their healthcare spending,” said Zucker. “By embracing the power of consumers, technology, clinical data, aggregated purchasing power, and aligning the incentives of providers to employers, we have created a more efficient model.”
Zucker’s vision is what led Cameron Powell, a San Antonio doctor and entrepreneur, to invest in the company and become an advisor to Ranger Health. Powell, along with Trey Moore and Gene Powell, all advise Ranger Health and are co-founders of Air Strip Technologies — the global leader of one of the most innovative mobile platforms developed to allow clinicians access to patient information anytime and anywhere.
“Ranger Health brings heavy-hitting expertise and innovative technology to bear on this problem of spiraling healthcare costs,” Powell said. “Healthcare is an unfair marketplace and the team at Ranger Health is passionate about changing the system to make it work for companies and consumers. They understand healthcare dynamics are always local and have created the right model to catalyze local market forces.”