Corrections or additions?
You fly to Los Angeles for a business meeting, and
for three weeks afterward you wrangle with the airline, the FAA, and
your employer about what the flight should cost — how much you
should pay for meals, fuel, aircraft maintenance, crew salaries, and
hangar rental. Or the flight attendant informs you that because you
bought your ticket at "this agency" instead of "that agency,"
you may not board the plane.
Does this sound ridiculous? Of course, but it is pretty much the healthcare
model. If you are not in an HMO and your doctor suggests an operation,
you have no idea what it will really cost. You get bills from the
surgeon, the anesthesiologist, the radiology department, the radiologist,
and the hospital. Some of the cost is picked up by insurance, but
some is not. You don’t know how much you must pay until weeks or months
later. And if you have an HMO, you may not qualify for the operation
Bookkeeping costs eat up an enormous percentage of the healthcare
dollar in the United States, but a company based on Princeton-Hightstown
Road has been working quietly for two years to change the paradigm.
Onehealthbank.com aims to efficiently and cost-effectively process
medical claims and payment information using the Internet. It plans
to do alpha tests this fall, beta tests next year, and may float an
initial public offering in the midst of the beta tests.
Using the power of the Visa payment system, onehealthbank.com will
consolidate all the information from the three parties involved —
the healthcare provider (the doctor and the hospital), the insurance
company (the payer), and the consumer (the patient). "We connect
the doctors, patients, and the payers," says W. Edward Hammersla,
CEO of onehealthbank.com. "Two of these participants are present
at the point of care — one is absent. Our system uses the Internet
to make the payer present at the point of care."
Think of it. Your doctor says you need an operation and enters some
information into the computer — where the operation will take
place and your choice — if any — of the procedures. You swipe
your VISA card and then you gain the following:
bill would be.
another payment option (see below).
be "points" off your out-of-pocket expenses (co-pays and deductibles).
that easy. But Hammersla has been working on a "stealth" basis
with a variety of payers and providers. "It is very much a collaborative
effort. We will consolidate the transactions and synchronize the payments
with the legacy databases of the payers," says Hammersla.
"In a simple way, all we are doing is outsourcing the payers’
payment system to Visa," he says. "It is as if we have said
to the payer, `Look, you may be really good at healthcare, but you
are not so great at making payments so why not turn over your payment
system to VISA and go back to improving healthcare.’"
Hammersla and Dean Boyer, the founders, have each had 22 years in
software development. Hammersla was an only child, and his father
was a research scientist at Bell Labs; the family lived around the
world. After going to boarding school in St. Louis, he studied business
administration and Palestinian archaeology at Illinois-based Principia
College, Class of 1976. He worked for IBM, NEC, and such software
companies as International Customer Solutions, KnowledgeWare, Sterling
Software, and Informix Software. His clients have included the federal
government, Starbucks Coffee, Dell Computer, NYNEX, Lillian Vernon,
Lenox, Sassoon, and Arena Sportswear.
An alumnus of Elizabethtown College, Class of 1979, Dean Boyer had
a career as a minor league baseball player. He is nationally known
for his work in collecting, correlating, and analyzing enormous volumes
of data. His clients have included the Federal Reserve Bank, American
Airlines, and the Bank of New York, where he improved the flexibility
and responsiveness of businesses that process more than 4 million
He had worked at Logic Works, the database software company that spawned
entrepreneurs who founded such companies as TV Objects, Lapjack and
Paytrust.com. He cofounded onehealthbank.com in 1996 and as chief
knowledge officer has filed patents on payment system software that
can access pricing modules.
"Our software has the capability to know both the patient and
payer responsibility and have that at the point of care," says
Hammersla. "That is what happens for airlines when the customer
is accessing pricing modules."
Some of the payment options are to use the Visa as a
credit card, as a debit card, or as merely a statement card. With
this scenario, the card would pay for the insurance company’s portion
and the consumer would get a combined statement, with all the charges
on it — hospital, doctor, anesthesiologist, and so on — so
the consumer would have to pay only one bill.
A fourth option is to use the card as a repository for a "flexible
spending account" provided by the employer. These plans allow
a consumer to estimate annual out-of-pocket expense for health care
and pay for it with pre-tax dollars. "Many times employees don’t
want these accounts because if they don’t use the dollars they lose
them — and because they are a hassle. Now it will be more convenient.
You will get a monthly statement and you will see how much is left
over — and use your monthly statements to do annual planning for
the next year."
Boyer and Hammersla predict that their service will be the next "killer
ap" for the health world, where the market is immense. VISA is
processing $10 billion in healthcare transactions annually, but this
represents just 1 percent of all the healthcare dollars. If you figure
that VISA has a 12 percent share in other categories worldwide, VISA
could reasonably hope to process 12 times the current total of healthcare
bills or $120 billion.
"We started working with VISA because it pioneered in the health
care space in 1990, but our system is an open system," says Hammersla.
Just as airlines co-brand with various credit cards, his VISA card
could be co-branded by any of the insurance companies, for instance
Aetna/Citibank or Cigna/Chase. "All of the cards could be used
in conjunction with our settlement system."
Security is an issue, but because credit cards are regulated by banks,
guidelines will be strict. "We are beyond the highest level of
commercial security," says Hammersla. For this reason they located
the firm in an unpretentious building across the street from the former
RCA/GE aerospace center. Rumor has it that the FBI manned a counter
intelligence outpost there when satellites were being made, and so
this building is wired to the gills. "In the Internet world, good
wiring counts for more than a sleek headquarters," says Hammersla.
"No matter how long you believe it will take," says Hammersla,
"we know the healthcare industry will eventually be able
to do point of service settlement. Every other industry in America
does so. It will be on the Internet, and a plastic payment card (probably
Visa or MasterCard) will be the consumer’s favorite method of choice
for making payments."
Growing quickly is one challenge. "The strategy is to grow it
through partnership and clients. We don’t envision hiring sales people
and knocking on people’s doors. Instead, we would co-brand with various
larger healthcare insurance payers. They will roll it out as their
"We are doing something innovative, and the hurdles will be unpredictable,
but we have been in the space since 1995, and we have yet to see anybody
attack this exactly the way we are. Others may do something similar
but we have differentiators that are exciting. It is a challenge and
Road, Building 2, Cranbury 08512. W. Edward Hammersla III, president
and CEO. 609-371-3000; fax, 609-371-3001. Home page: http://www.ohb.com.
— Barbara Figge Fox
609-655-1123. Home page: http://www.blockdrug.com.
The dental products manufacturer is selling its 133,000-foot building
at 2 Charles Court and will move 150 workers to another site in Dayton,
131 Docks Corner Road. The Garibaldi Group is marketing the property.
sales manager. 609-799-5700; fax, 609-799-5720. Home page: http://www.vlsi.com.
The sales and engineering office for VLSI is in temporary space now
but plans a move to 4,700 feet at 2 Research Way. The San Jose, California,
firm designs integrated circuits and has been sold to Philips.
Cranbury 08512. 609-860-1919; fax, 609-860-0404.
The telephone listed for this business is now recorded, in directory
assistance records, as being located at 202 West State Street in Trenton.
But the telephone is disconnected. The firm was founded in 1995 to
fund equipment leases.
Commons, Jamesburg 08831. Desiree Rossiter, branch manager. 732-605-1471;
The employment agency will open this office on October 4 but will
keep its office in Piscataway as well. It provides office and light
industrial workers, temporary, permanent, and temp to perm.
08638. Kevin Washington, general manager. 609-392-0511; fax, 609-392-3124.
The Bryn Mawr-based telemarketing firm expanded from 14,000 to 27,340
square feet at this building owned by Levin Properties. Karen Anderson
and Charles Segal of Stephen M. Segal represented the landlord.
The firm does inbound and outbound calls for Fortune 500 firms in
such areas as insurance, credit card acquisitions, and credit card
balance transfers. Its grand opening is scheduled for November.
The state of the art work stations include smoking and nonsmoking
break rooms, and a predictive dialing system, with a processor that
senses when a live person is on the line and sends only those calls
to the telemarketers.
08650. 609-890-3500; fax, 609-890-3537.
Both Plainsboro and Hamilton townships will be able to process passport
applications in late September. Princeton Borough and Lawrence Township
also provide this service.
Princeton 08540-6619. Charles A. Baker, chairman and CEO. 609-452-7060;
fax, 609-452-1890. Home page: http://www.lipo.com.
ABELCET has received marketing approval for a 50 milligram injection
vial, particularly for pediatric patients. The company develops advanced
liposomal drugs for the treatment of cancer and infectious diseases.
ABELCET is a lipid-based formula of Amphotericin, which treats severe
fungal infections, including a type of meningitis, that destroy immune
systems that have been compromised — often as a result of chemotherapy
for cancer, treatment for bone marrow, or solid organ transplantation.
But the standard Amphotericin B has the potential to cause kidney
toxicity, whereas ABELCET does not. ABELCET has been approved for
use in 23 countries.
artist with U.S. 1 Newspaper. See page 4.
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This page is published by PrincetonInfo.com
— the web site for U.S. 1 Newspaper in Princeton, New Jersey.