Crosstown Moves


New in Town

Contracts Awarded


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

at all.

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. 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, 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 "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:

The total bill for each of the procedures offered.

What your insurance would pay and what your part of the

bill would be.

The ability to put the bill on your VISA card or choose

another payment option (see below).

"Rebates" similar to airline miles, which could

be "points" off your out-of-pocket expenses (co-pays and deductibles).

It will be a cold day in the Sahara, you say, when billing is

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

transactions daily.

He had worked at Logic Works, the database software company that spawned

entrepreneurs who founded such companies as TV Objects, Lapjack and He cofounded 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

an opportunity.", 379 Princeton-Hightstown

Road, Building 2, Cranbury 08512. W. Edward Hammersla III, president

and CEO. 609-371-3000; fax, 609-371-3001. Home page:

— Barbara Figge Fox

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Crosstown Moves

Block Drug Company, 2 Charles Court, Dayton 08810.

609-655-1123. Home page:

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.

VLSI Technology, 101 College Road, Anita Letzter,

sales manager. 609-799-5700; fax, 609-799-5720. Home page:

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.

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Global Financial Corp., 4 Cedar Brook Drive North,

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.

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New in Town

Bryant Staffing, 200 Buckelew Avenue, Suite C Jamesburg

Commons, Jamesburg 08831. Desiree Rossiter, branch manager. 732-605-1471;

fax, 732-605-1450.

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.

RMH Teleservices, 1556 North Olden Avenue, Ewing

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.

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Contracts Awarded

Hamilton Township, 2090 Greenwood Avenue, Hamilton

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.

The Liposome Company Inc. (LIPO), 1 Research Way,

Princeton 08540-6619. Charles A. Baker, chairman and CEO. 609-452-7060;

fax, 609-452-1890. Home page:

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.

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Karen Miller, 43, died September 2. She was a graphic

artist with U.S. 1 Newspaper. See page 4.

Corrections or additions?

This page is published by

— the web site for U.S. 1 Newspaper in Princeton, New Jersey.

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