The most frequent question I am asked these days by employer groups and individual patients who have learned about our facility and pricing is: ”when are you going to franchise?” Or they ask, “how do I find others in my area of the country that are like-minded?”
The most frequent question from physicians and medical facilities who are embracing our model is this: ”How can I make myself known to the patients and self-funded employers who I want to find me?”
Dr. Lantier and I never have had any desire to franchise, as our goal was not to become huge and nationwide, but rather to show others the wisdom of our free market model so that this method of health care delivery would be adopted on a widespread basis. Enter the Free Market Medical Association (marketmedicine.org), the “Match.com” of healthcare.
Jay Kempton, Charles Sauer and I have formed this organization for several reasons, primary among them to connect seekers and providers of affordable, high-quality health care. Another goal will be to provide assistance and support to those physicians or facilities who lack the resources or knowledge to implement our business model. This consists of access to out-of-the-box-thinking lawyers, web designers and others. Many employers, unsure about how to amend their health plan language, will find in FMMA the ERISA teams to help them create incentive plans for their employees to seek out the free market physicians and providers.
Those who have been advised that online price posting creates potential federal hazards and blowback will be able to showcase their facilities and pricing through FMMA as an intermediary, as these facilities won’t be directly exhibiting their pricing. I currently post prices for facilities other than mine, facilities supportive of and leaders in this transparency movement, but uncomfortable with posting their prices directly. (There are procedures we do not perform here at the Surgery Center of Oklahoma, but many of these types of procedures can be obtained at reasonable pricing here in Oklahoma City and I am thrilled to help those out who are stepping into this arena.)
Employers and organizations will be able to share strategies and ideas with each other about how best to implement and design free market health strategies for their self-funded plans. I have witnessed the power of this first hand during a small gathering Jay Kempton and I arranged here at the Surgery Center of Oklahoma. It was good for all of the self-funded employers to be in one room….and for them to see each other!
In summary, employer groups and third party administrators and individual patients are desperate to find transparently priced healthcare and the ability to quickly identify all who embrace this free market model. Physicians contemplating a medical practice free from the bureaucracy of the big insurance companies and/or the government are reluctant to make this move because they don’t know that those who truly care about cost and quality will find them. Further they don’t know how to make this move. The FMMA plans to match everyone up! Seekers and providers of health care along with seekers and providers of logistical support for those employers and physicians/facilities willing to entertain this bold move. That is our mission.
We have had an incredible response to the launch of our website and the request for members, but I think we are just witnessing the beginning. Our first conference/seminar/gathering will take place on September 26-27, here in Oklahoma City at the beautiful and historic Skirvin Hotel. (The website says Denver, but that has been changed).
Dr. Lantier and I always hoped that we could help others appreciate the benefits of our model, knowing that once we had dispensed with the “it can’t be done” skepticism, the beauty and power of the market would reign, and lower prices and higher quality would result. I am as excited about the FMMA and its potential as anything with which I have ever been involved and hope you will follow its progress and consider joining us as we work to change health care in a dramatic way.
G. Keith Smith, M.D.
For more information about free market healthcare visit: