Is bigger better in the healthcare industry?

| August 18, 2021

Is bigger better in the healthcare industry?

Explore the answer in a message from our President and CEO,
Raegan Garber Le Douaron

Is bigger better? We say no.

I have often said trying to control health care costs is like playing a game of Whac-A-Mole. You hit one area of spending down only to have another one pop up. Over and over and over again.

Although I grew up around the healthcare industry in a family-owned company, I spent the first half of my professional career in other industries. Even though I have now worked in healthcare for over 15 years, I still consider myself an outsider. On purpose.

There are positives and negatives to having an insider’s view of how health care and health insurance works. On the upside, I know how the game is played, so I can play it when it personally affects me or my loved ones. I know when to say I am a cash pay patient versus using my insurance. I know how to negotiate down a bogus and inflated bill to almost nothing.

On the downside, I see how those who guide and influence the health care decisions employers make do so “off the backs” of their clients who put all their faith, trust and a large chunk of their company revenue into the people who are making an extremely good living while adding little to no value.

These same healthcare influencers are involved, and deeply committed to, maintaining the status quo because it suits them.

These cracks in the system emphasize why I enjoy running my second-generation, family-owned company that implements primary care health centers on the behalf of employers across the United States. We are aligned with employers in every way. We are transparent, accountable, and when we bring down the cost of health care, we all win. Equally satisfying is that when we accomplish the goal of lowering health care spending for our clients, it means we are making an improvement in the lives of our patients. To me, there is nothing better.

After 16 years, WeCare tlc is now the oldest privately-held manager of employer-sponsored health centers in the country. In the past three years, we have seen every firm in our niche market merge into larger companies, largely owned by venture capitalists with most going public. They are run by individuals whose backgrounds are in large payers (i.e. Blue Cross, Anthem, etc.) and/or specialize in gearing up companies for venture capitalists to spin off and sell.

Why should this matter? It’s because they have more resources, offer more locations and hold more media air time. But let’s look below the surface and see what’s there.

A foundational problem this system creates is motivation. Let’s face it, when you are a publicly held company, your priority is producing bottom-line revenue for your shareholders. When you are acquired by a venture capital firm, it’s producing profit so the firm makes a return on their investment. How does it accomplish this? Through its clients. These companies are then replicating the fundamental misalignment that exists in the healthcare industry. The foxes are guarding the hen house.

What does this mean for the primary care services these larger firms are now delivering? As pointed out in a recent NPR article, care is becoming secondary to market growth at the sacrifice of the patients and their care delivery teams. [1]

As the owner and CEO of WeCare tlc, I’d rather grow at a pace that doesn’t sacrifice our standards of care and works to accomplish our mission of changing the way health care is delivered in the United States for the better.

If you’d like to learn more about how we can help your company offer quality primary care for your employees, please contact us today.


1: NPR | One Medical Employees Say Concierge Care Provider Is Putting Profits Over Patients