Corporate America looks at Quad for alternative health care model

QuadMed LLC, the health care division of Sussex-based Quad/Graphics Inc. that was originally formed to take care of the company’s health care needs, continues to grow by serving other corporate clients. The company is serving more patients each year in commercial primary care, occupational medicine and physical rehabilitation.

QuadMed averages about 10 percent growth per year in commercial clients, and had about 30 percent growth last year in occupational medicine, said John Neuberger, vice president of operations of the company.

The division continues to serve Quad/Graphics’ employees and their families, and the company has been hired by several other firms to supply health care services to their employees or run on-site clinics at their facilities.

“Our first obligation is to the employees of Quad/Graphics,” he said. “When we have additional capacity, we can invite other companies. It’s not unlimited. We’re always sensitive to how fast we can grow.”

QuadMed’s ability to limit health care costs for its parent company while delivering quality care has attracted international attention, Neuberger said. The company averages about two large companies per month that will travel to metro Milwaukee to see its model in action.

“Toyota just came through this facility (West Allis),” Neuberger said. “They’re developing one in San Antonio. We taught them about our model and its effectiveness.”

Corporate America’s growing discontent with the nation’s failing health care system is fueling interest in new models of delivery, Neuberger said.

“People are re-thinking this model out of pain and desperation,” he said. “We do not see this as an expense – it’s an investment in our work force.”

Growth in QuadMed’s commercial primary care business comes both from direct contracts with employers and its membership in WPS Health Insurance’s Patient Choice provider network, Neuberger said.

The company has attracted more commercial clients because of its ability to deliver health care services for lower costs than the Midwestern average price, Neuberger said.

Quad/Graphics’ employee health care costs are more than 30 percent less than the Midwest average, and its work injury rehabilitation costs are about 70 percent lower than the average cost of physical therapy.

Because QuadMed invests heavily in wellness and preventative medicine, its total costs are lower, Neuberger said. Each of QuadMed’s onsite clinics has a fitness center for all members to use. Physicians spend an average of 30 minutes with patients to better understand their health care needs, and screenings and preventative care are stressed.

“The real savings are in the back-end claims costs,” he said. “We invest heavily in primary care, so that we can catch something now and manage it more effectively. Once you get into this model, you can get (costs) under control and manage them more effectively.”

Physicians who work for QuadMed are paid a salary, instead of being paid on a per-patient visit.

“We have a patient-centered model,” Neuberger said. “As an employer, (Quad/ Graphics) was willing to pay for it.”

QuadMed grew its occupational medicine and physical rehabilitation by 30 percent last year, largely through word-of-mouth referrals from businesses that had used the services.

“If we care for them well in worker’s comp, then we’ll end up doing hearing tests for them and their pre-employment screenings,” Neuberger said. “And as others use it, they’ll direct more (business) to us. We’d expect that pace to continue next year as well.”

QuadMed’s occupational medicine practice also provides clients with physicals for executive candidates, a service that has been growing in recent year.

Because QuadMed’s physical rehabilitation and occupational medicine practice grew from Quad/Graphics’ real-world experiences with worksite injuries, rehabilitation and pre-employment screening practices, it’s become known for delivering quality services, said Jennifer Quadracci, health services and wellness manager for QuadMed.

“With worker’s comp, a lot of companies encourage (employees) to use us or they’ll even drive them here to use our clinic,” she said. “We understand the OSHA (Occupational Safety & Health Administration) rules and regulations. And all of our physicians have been on or worked on our floor.”

QuadMed has primary care facilities in three of the Quad/Graphics facilities in metro Milwaukee – West Allis, Sussex and Lomira. The Quad/Graphics facilities in Saratoga Springs, N.Y, and Martinsburg, W.V., also have their own primary care facilities.

Miller Brewing Co. and Briggs & Stratton Corp. have hired QuadMed to create and operate on-site clinics in their Milwaukee facilities. QuadMed also operates a clinic at Briggs & Stratton’s plant in Poplar Bluff, Mo.

QuadMed provides all general care services for clients, including physician visits, pediatrics, OB/GYN, cardiology, endocrinology and more. It also provides assessments and rehabilitation for workplace injuries.

Companies that are not large enough to warrant or afford their own onsite clinics can purchase access to QuadMed’s clinics, Neuberger said. The company averages about 10 percent growth in enrollment per year.

“With small companies, we invite them to use us for commercial (health services) or occupational health,” Neuberger said. “And with large companies, we would like to work with them to develop an onsite center for them based on our model.”

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