BY JESSICA RIDGWAY
September's Launch article features Orchid Health, BuddyUp and Inter-Europe Consulting.
BY JESSICA RIDGWAY
Insurance not accepted
Company: Orchid Health
Founders: Oliver Alexander & Orion Falvey
As the troubled Cover Oregon health insurance exchange continues to grab headlines, two University of Oregon graduates have quietly developed an offbeat alternative — one that eschews health insurance altogether.
Oliver Alexander and Orion Falvey opened the first Orchid Health clinic in Oakridge, an hour’s drive from the nearest health care facility. For a flat-rate monthly fee, patients get unlimited access to their doctors.
“We describe it as a membership model, but you’re not buying a membership; you’re buying long-term health care,” says Alexander, 22. “You can see us as many times as you want, talk to your doctors on the phone, email them pictures of a rash. You get care in more efficient ways.”
Orchid Health accepts Medicaid and Medicare Part B but not health insurance. The latter increases overhead, Alexander says.
Recruiting a lead care provider was the startup’s biggest challenge. Applicants were leery of working for a direct primary care clinic, according to Alexander. But the benefits of the new model outweighed such concerns. “By not working with an insurance-based clinic,” Alexander says, “providers get to go back to doing what they love to do: providing high-quality care for their patients.”
Orchid Health doctors see a maximum of 18 patients daily and spend a minimum of 20 minutes with each patient.
Alexander and his partner plan to replicate the model in other small towns. But their current focus is getting patients to prioritize prevention-based primary care. “We’re trying to improve people’s health and save them money.”
So far the pair has raised roughly $250,000 through grants, crowd-funding and private investment. The city of Oakridge contributed $11,000.
“Our patients can literally take a picture [of their ailment], go online, upload a picture of their rash and send it to their doctor,” says Alexander. “The doctor has convenient access at the clinic, so they can sit down, review [the photos], and e-prescribe the topical cream so the patient can pick up what’s needed.”