Med-Vision In The News

12/01/14 District Administration Magazine: Schools Clearing Health Care Hurdles

Magazine Article
District Administration Magazine
By Alison DeNisco

Schools Clearing Health Care Hurdles
View this article at District Administration Magazine.

Our client Pasco County Schools is featured in the December 2014 Issue of District Administration Magazine. Here's an excerpt from the 11/14/2014 Online Post:

Pasco County Schools in Florida, a district of 10,000 employees, has been self-insured with Blue Cross Blue Shield since 2009. The district was fully insured for many years, but insurance carriers were increasing rates between 9 and 12 percent, says Kevin Shibley, executive director for administration at the District School Board of Pasco County. Administrators determined that they could save those extra costs if they took on the risk of self-insuring, he says. "We have a long history of being stable, so we made the decision to go self-insured," Shibley adds.

Since then, the district has not had an annual increase to its insurance plan exceeding 5 percent, Shibley says. It also worked with Crowne Consulting Group to open on-site employee health care centers, and saved $14 million over three years as a result.

Contact Med-Vision to learn about the full range of healthcare strategies and data anaylytics solutions implemented for Pasco County Schools. Visit District Administration to read the full article:

08/24/14 Tampa Tribune/ School District Clinics Thrive

Newspaper Article
Tampa Tribune / TBO
By Ronnie Blair

-School District Clinics Thrive
View this article at

LAND O'LAKES — Employee health clinics that the Pasco County school district began opening more than three years ago have been so successful — saving the district about $14 million in health-care spending — that more clinics could be in the offing, district officials say.

"I think this is one of the most significant decisions this board has made in terms of employee well-being and containing costs," board member Joanne Hurley said at a recent board workshop.

Four clinics, operated under a contract with Tennessee-based CareHere, now provide school district employees with access to physicians and prescription medicine. The district opened the first clinic in January 2011 at district headquarters in Land O' Lakes as part of an effort to curb the rising costs of providing health coverage...

Visit to read this full article discussing the wellness successes of our client.

08/12/14 Tampa Bay Times: Pasco School Board Saves $9.2 Million

Newspaper Article
Tampa Bay Times
By Lisa Buie

Pasco School Board considers expanding employee health clinics
View this article at Tampa Bay Times.

LAND O'LAKES — Four school-based clinics have saved the Pasco County School District so much in health care costs since they opened in 2011 that officials want to expand the program.

"We think there's some pent-up demand," said Kevin Shibley the district's executive director for administration.

School Board members learned Tuesday at a workshop that the four clinics, in Land O'Lakes, Dade City, New Port Richey and Hudson, have saved the district $9.2 million over the past three years. Annual claims filed with the district's insurance carrier, Florida Blue, also have decreased from 186,000 before the clinics opened to 137,649 this past year. Employees have also saved a total of $2.7 million on health care.

Administrators propose opening a new clinic in Wesley Chapel to accommodate the growth in that area and expanding the one in Land O'Lakes. They also want to explore a partnership with the Pasco County Sheriff's Office that would allow the two groups to participate and split the costs.

"I've been on the board for six years, and I think this is one of the most significant decisions the board has made," board member Joanne Hurley said of the clinics. "It's a feather in our cap."

Board member Cynthia Armstrong called the clinics "a win-win" for administrators and staff.

Visit Tampa Bay Times to read this full article discussing the wellness successes of our client.

05/02/14 Employee Benefits News: 5 Ways Worksite Clinics Facilitate Savings

Employee Benefits News (EBN)

5 ways worksite clinics facilitate savings
By Daniel K. Ross, Med-Vision President
View this article at EBN's website.

There's a glimmer of good news for employer-sponsored healthcare programs. Near-site and on-site clinics offering primary care, often referred to as "employee health centers," are bringing overall plan-cost reductions along with measurable member-health improvements.

Plan managers closely studying plan performance are realizing two basic tenets of healthcare risk management: 1.) existing disease is always better when identified at the earliest possible time, and 2.) the greatest ROI comes from preventing negative health events before they happen. In response, on-site health centers are including primary care, occupational services, pharmacy, disease management, x-rays, and wellness services along with the employee benefits of zero copays, free screenings, free generic prescriptions, and increased physician face-time. Consider these unique ways on-site health centers are improving the risk-management process...

Visit EBN's Website to read this full article by Med-Vision's President, Dan Ross....

02/14/14 Employee Benefits News: Pitfalls of Defined Contribution Health Strategies

Employee Benefits News (EBN)

5 Pitfalls of Defined Contribution Health Strategies
By Daniel K. Ross, Med-Vision President
View this article at EBN's website.

The last decade has been challenging for professionals tasked with managing employer-sponsored-healthcare plans. In addition to incomplete data, plan managers have suffered through unrelenting health care inflation, the failure of industry-delivered disease management programs, and the unfulfilled promises from consumer-driven, high-deductible health plans. Add to that the stress and uncertainty surrounding the passage and implementation of the Affordable Care Act.

Today's plan sponsors are being lured with the process of effectively dumping plan sponsorship to a strategy known as "defined-contribution plans," delivered through private exchanges. Placing all responsibility for health care on employees and their dependents is being sold as a compelling advantage for corporations and entities.

There's no crystal ball to tell us if the contribution strategy can solve the critical issues of high health care costs, but a good prediction may be based on an understanding of proven failures in health care planning.

1. Ignoring chronic disease

Chronic disease consumes the highest percentage of health care dollars. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states over 75% of our national health care expenditures are used to treat chronic disease... Visit EBN's Website to read this full article by Med-Vision's President, Dan Ross...

09/12/13 Tampa Bay Business Journal: Med-Vision Client Wins Healthiest Employers Award

Newspaper Article
Tampa Bay Business Journal

Healthiest Employers 2013: Pasco School Board (Winner, 1,500+ employees category)
By Salem Solomon
View this article at Tampa Bay Business Journal's website.

If the teachers and administrative staff of Pasco County have an extra spring in their steps these days, it may be because they're feeling healthy. And that health can be traced back to a decision in 2011 by the District School Board of Pasco County to create a new employee wellness program.

"One of our priorities is to create a culture of wellness throughout our district that both decreases the risk of disease and enhances the quality of life of our employees," wrote Superintendent Kurt Browning in a letter.

The other part of the equation, of course, is money. The district is self-insured and before 2011 was spending too much money to treat chronic illnesses that could be managed by relatively simple lifestyle changes... Visit the Tampa Bay Business Journal for a full list of finalists. Read a press release about Med-Vision's involvement at Pasco Schools.

07/12/13 Corporate Wellness Magazine: Effects of PPACA on Homeowners' Property Taxes

Magazine Article
Corporate Wellness Magazine

Effects of PPACA on Homeowners' Property Taxes
By Connie Gee, Vice President of Med-Vision
View this article at Corporate Wellness Magazine's website.

Some of the 22 taxes imbedded in the Patient Protection Affordable Care Act (PPACA), more commonly referred to now as "Obamacare," are starting to be imposed. Most people have already figured out how these taxes will increase the costs of health insurance coverage. The question is, how will these taxes affect other taxes paid by working individuals, and how will it influence the costs of consumer items?

Public schools, county governments and county sheriff's offices are just some of the public organizations funded by taxpayer property taxes. They are also employers who will start paying PPACA taxes on the health insurance coverage they provide for their employees.

The first tax that is due to the IRS by July 31st of this year is the PCORI Tax that is intended to fund the new Patient Centered Outcomes Research Institute provided by PPACA. The PCORI tax is to fund research on pharmacy and medical treatments, and is based on the number of members in an employer group's health benefit plan. Members include the employees, their spouses and dependent children up to age 26. The tax will cost $1 per member this year, will increase to $2 per member in 2014 and will increase each year thereafter based on medical inflation. This tax is expected to end with the 2019 payments.

The other tax that publicly funded organizations will pay on their health benefit plan is the Transitional Reinsurance Tax. This tax is to be collected by insurance companies and given to other insurers who will be paying for large medical claims of individuals who may otherwise have not had insurance coverage because of their high-risk conditions. This tax will cost $5.25 per member per month and is expected to be collected for three years, 2014 through 2016.

How it Breaks Down

Using the rates for the PCORI Tax at $2 per member and the Transitional Tax at $5.25 per-member-per-month, here is how these taxes will affect costs for a public school with 10,000 members. In 2014, the school will pay a $20,000 (10,000 members times $2) PCORI tax and file the required paperwork with the IRS. Every month the school will also pay $52,500 for the Transitional Reinsurance Tax. These two PPACA taxes will cost the public school an additional $650,000 per year. Additional costs could include new staff needed to administer these transactions, and actuarial costs to certify accuracy.

Larger school districts with more members on its benefit plan will pay incrementally much more. A school with 20,000 members will pay $40,000 per year for the PCORI tax and $1,260,000 per year for the Transitional Tax. Their total PPACA tax bill will be $ 1,300,000 per year.

The first question is; where will the public schools get the money for these taxes? Public Schools already have shrinking budgets, and any funding is supposed to go to the children's education. The choice is to raise premiums and cost share paid by employees, which in the example above will cost each member $65 per member. Therefore, an employee who has their spouse and two children on the benefit plan, a total of four members, will pay an additional $260 per year for their health insurance coverage.

The other option is to ask for more money from the taxpayers who pay property taxes. Judging from Hillsborough County tax data, for example, schools are already the biggest cost item on a tax bill (about 43 percent of the tax bill). The other publicly funded organizations that are also employers providing health insurance coverage are the county government, 24 percent of the tax bill, and city government, another 24 percent of the tax bill. The schools' portion of property taxes in Hillsborough County was increased 6.2 percent in 2011 and another 3 percent in 2012. County Government and City Government property tax portions were both increased by 2 percent in 2011 and another 5 percent in 2012. This is just one example.

The homeowners who pay property taxes can expect that taxes will continue to increase. To what extent will the increased costs of public schools, and other public employer groups who are paying the PPACA taxes, impact homeowners? Let's not forget that homeowners in Florida, for example, also pay an 11 percent additional tax on their homeowner's property insurance premiums to fund a Catastrophic Fund and other funds that benefit the public.

What the Future Holds

Increases in property taxes could influence the real estate industry by slowing the demand for home ownership. It will also affect the affordability and therefore the competitiveness of our cities, counties and states. People may opt to move to more affordable locations in this uncertain economic time of when local and state governments are making all the best attempts to thrive. Higher property taxes could only thwart these efforts and slow the recovery process.

It is yet to be determined how the funds will be allocated, but the numbers tell the story of how this may play out for homeowners, cities, counties and states.

Whether you are an employer concerned about healthcare or not, it is important for all taxpayers to understand and be prepared for how reform could take money from their wallets.

About The Author

Connie Gee is a Healthcare Data Analyst and Wellness Strategist. She serves as Vice President of Med-Vision, LLC, which uses data analytics to customize action plans that improve quality of care and decrease healthcare costs. She has helped corporations, healthcare facilities, municipalities, and school districts to reduce risks, reverse trends, and reduce costs. Gee, the former Wellness Leader for Tampa General Hospital has over 20 years of experience working in health promotions, disease management, workforce utilization, wellness programming and leadership seminars. Gee's full profile is available at, which includes wellness speaking topics and a full biography. Self-funded employers interested in healthcare data analytics and wellness services may visit or contact Connie Gee directly at 813-205-1577 or

06/25/13 Employee Benefits News (EBN): Five Tips for Self-Funding Under Obamacare

Magazine Article
Employee Benefits News (EBN)

Five health planning essentials for self-funding under Obamacare
By Daniel K. Ross, President of Med-Vision and Med-View
View this article at EBN's website.

The Affordable Care Act is prompting many employers to consider moving from fully insured plans to self-funding. The mandatory benefit structures and new taxes, added to an excess of 906 pages of mounting regulations, have sounded an alarm for employers to wake up to a changing health care landscape.

On the surface, this newly centralized control of health care makes the concept of self-funding very attractive. Self-funding provides employers the ability to develop a systemic process to managing health risks and the opportunity to control costs surrounding their members.

There are, however, five areas typically overlooked by plan sponsors. Employers who master these areas increase their chances of lowering costs for high-quality health care, while positioning their plan members to lead healthier and more productive lives.

1. Use healthcare data

The majority of plan-design decisions are made with an absence of independent, patient-centric, aggregated health data. What's baffling is that employers use intricate data with respect to every other aspect of business, although many ignore the value of data in health care.

Most manufacturers require data to identify goods and services by cost, location, date, and place in the manufacturing cycle. Yet many decision-makers in self-funded organizations cannot even break their health plan expenses into the simplest components. As a result, they have no knowledge of the precursors of certain high-cost diseases, which means they cannot align their wellness efforts to decrease health risks.

Health care analytics firms specializing in providing HIPAA-compliant data programs can cost as little as $1 per-employee-per-month. The programs provide concise reporting on the majority of financial and clinical aspects of a health plan.

Why go with a third party offering "big-data" solutions? Because we don't let students report on their own grades, and managers shouldn't solely rely on vendors to report on their own performance. Be skeptical of any administrator's claim that they are unable to produce your data due to HIPAA concerns. Sophisticated data-mining programs ensure employers have access to meaningful data that is HIPAA compliant.

Self-funded employers should also have a designated HIPAA-privacy officer, and remember that consultants have legal status to view PHI with properly executed business agreements.

2. Pay for performance

It's imperative to align compensation in a manner in which vendors are paid when your plan succeeds. The entire health care provider universe is centered on a pay-for-performance scale. How many firms pay their sales teams more money for failed sales efforts in place of successfully meeting goals? The answer should be close to zero. In turn, why are many health care vendors actually paid more money when their client spirals off the financial cliff due to increasing inflation? Think about it. If a vendor is paid a flat 10-percentage-points on stop-loss insurance, does it make sense to increase their dollar compensation when a 40% rate increase takes effect?

Plan managers should strive to align with vendors who have the same or similar long-term goals as the employer-plan sponsor. What do you think prevents your vendors from having a sound sleep at night? If the vendor was hired to provide health coaching or wellness, the answer should be that they worry about the health conditions of your members.

3. Comparison shop

Is your plan purchasing health services on a best quality/best price basis? The provider-pricing differences around managed-care-organization networks resemble a "train wreck" more than a uniform structure. Network managers, as evidenced by employer-sponsor behavior, often feel they must have every provider within a network to compete. This creates a negotiation environment with minimal power for some providers and absolute power for others. The result is huge pricing differences. For example, the in-network allowable price for a colonoscopy from hospital "A" is $3,600, and the exact same colonoscopy from surgery center "B" is $750.

Surprisingly, the better quality usually is delivered by the lowest price paid. Why? Because the lower-priced providers usually work in newer facilities, perform modern procedures, endure fewer complications, and are more profitable at lower pricing.

Network managers cannot overtly direct members to the lower priced/higher quality providers, as that action would rile the larger providers. Easy-to-use vendor solutions, however, do exist. Those simplified tools can help members make comparisons concerning cost and quality, while delivering a 10-to-1 return-on-investment.

4. Educate consumers

Many plan managers don't realize that medical centers of excellence exist as in-network providers. If a member needs advanced open-heart surgery, quality providers among the Cleveland Clinic and Mayo Clinic are often available choices.

There is a drastic difference in typical outcomes from centers of excellence compared to some of the close-to-home hospitals. There's a one-third less chance of dying during the procedure, in addition to dramatically reduced chances of hospital-acquired infections and faster rehabilitation. Another plus for the plan sponsor is that it's a reduced cost, sometimes equaling 50% of the cost paid to a community hospital.

Use of these centers of excellence is often low because a health care consumer approach is quite different from the informed-consumer approach, such as when purchasing automobiles or researching vacation destinations. Essentially, durable good purchases are typically voluntary versus the critical need for the purchase of open-heart surgery.

Plan managers need to help members receive the same quality of care that they would want for their own family. They could contract with physicians to serve the role of patient-care coordinators and advocates. Also, access to patient-centric data with which medical decisions can be analyzed for quality is a life-saver, while simultaneously a cost-saver for employers and employees.

5. Understand health risks

A plan manager should understand health risk outside of industry-fed sources. This includes knowing your plan's claims-expense distribution and percentage of members responsible for costs.

Most self-funded groups align with the following scenario for 10,000 covered members spending a total of $43 million over a 12-month period:

-- The top 1% (100 members) account for $10.8 million, which is 25% of the total, averaging $108,000 each.

-- The next 4% (400 members) account for an additional $11.9 million, which is 27% of the total, averaging $30,800 each.

-- The bottom 50% (5,000 members) account for only 4% of the total, averaging just $350 each.

This top-heavy distribution shows that a small number of members (the sickest) spend the most money. With this information, a high-deductible health plan based upon a $2,000 deductible seems foolish. It certainly won't do much for the behavior of members in the top 5%. A high deductible would also deter the bottom 50% (spending a mere $350/year) from identifying and managing diseases in the earliest stages, which could then generate more sick members.

Smart benefits managers will seek advice from independent sources, negotiate directly with providers, study disease prevention, and hold vendor-failure accountable. Those acting outside the industry box can achieve dramatic savings, while sequentially improving employee health.

About the Author: Daniel K. Ross is founder and president of Med-Vision LLC and Med-View LLC. With over 20 years' experience in the employee benefits industry, Ross specializes in health-plan-risk management, health-data analysis, and wellness strategies to help self-funded employers.

05/24/13 America's Web Radio: Healthcare Consumerism / Diseases that Kill Health Plans

Healthcare Consumerism Radio on America's Web Radio Station
Featured Segment: Connie Gee, discussing Diseases that Kill Health Plans

Listen to Connie Gee of Med-Vision by moving your dial to the middle of the bar. Gee's segment is featured in the middle of this one-hour discussion on healthcare consumerism.

Click here to listen (move your dial to the center of the bar)

About the Connie Gee: Connie Gee is VP, Healthcare Data Analyst, and Wellness Strategic Planner for Med-Vision, LLC, which uses data analytics to customize action plans that improve quality of care and decrease healthcare costs. Med-Vision caters to the health planning needs of self-funded employers. Gee has over 20 years of experience working in health promotions, disease management, workforce utilization, and wellness programming. She can be reached at or visit

05/05/13 BayNews9: School district client profiled for how wellness exams save lives

Television - Watch this Video News Clip
Reporter Summer Smith
May 5, 2013
Manatee School District is a client of Med-Vision LLC

School wellness exam caught Manatee teacher's deadly disease in time

BRADENTON -- A Manatee County teacher credits her job for saving her life.

"Without it, there's a good possibility that I wouldn't be sitting here," said Ellen Binder, a reading teacher at King Middle School in Bradenton.

Binder said that after taking a free routine wellness exam the district provides to teachers on the job, she discovered she had a life-threatening disease.

"Over and over again, the doctors told me that this was an unusual occurrence," Binder said. "To be able to detect something like this without symptoms was rare."

Tests revealed Binder had early stages of pancreatic cancer. It's a disease that typically has a poor prognosis.

Advanced registered nurse practitioner Kim Sand, who works in Bradenton, said Binder is extremely lucky.

"That's very rare you find that one early," Sand said.

Most people diagnosed with pancreatic cancer do not discover it until it's advanced and typically do not survive. Binder is now cancer free.

She's sharing her story in hopes of helping others.

She's also urging teachers and staff to take advantage of this program.

Jackie Timms, the school nurse at King, said those who already have are thankful they did.

"It's really identified a lot of medical problems that the staff was not aware they had," Timms said.

It's a success story that reminds everyone about the importance of getting a wellness exam every year.

"The leading causes of mortality in the United States are heart disease, stroke, cancer and diabetes," Sand said. "These diseases can be identified early through screenings and wellness exams."

The exams are offered at each school site. They used to be federally funded by the Retiree Drug Subsidy program. District officials say this program has been discontinued.

As a result, the Manatee County school district now pays for the screenings, which cost approximately $67 dollars each, with funds from the self-insured medical plan.

The screenings are limited to the first 30 employees that sign up at each location. Watch this video news clip, which aired 5/5/2013.

04/27/13 The Dr. A Show: Connie Gee Featured Expert on Nationally Syndicated Radio Show

Radio Show
April 27, 2013

Wellness Strategist Connie Gee Featured Expert on the Nationally Syndicated Dr. A Show

Connie Gee appeared on national radio as Dr. Wilfred Aguila's expert guest discussing ways to increase wellness in the workplace.

Gee's radio interview featured tips on how employers and employees can promote wellness in the workplace. Listen to Gee's full interview discussing wellness programs, incentives, and successes by scrolling the dial to the center of the bar at:[4-18-13].mp3.

Gee is among a distinguished group of experts who have appeared on The Dr. A Show, which airs weekly on stations across the nation and on iHeartRadio. Dr. Wilfred Aguila's guests have included Dr. Oz, Dr. Michael Roizen, Daniel Amen, Richard Simmons, Lisa Nichols, and many more experts in addition to Gee.

03/22/13 America's Web Radio: Healthcare Consumerism & the Power of Health Data Analytics

Radio Show
March 22, 2013

Healthcare Consumerism Radio on America's Web Radio Station
Featured Segment: Connie Gee, discussing The Power of Healthcare Data Analytics

Listen to Connie Gee of Med-Vision by moving your dial to the middle of the bar. Gee's segment is featured in the middle of this one-hour discussion on healthcare consumerism.

Click here to listen (move your dial to the center of the bar)

About the Connie Gee: Connie Gee is VP, Healthcare Data Analyst, and Wellness Strategic Planner for Med-Vision, LLC, which uses data analytics to customize action plans that improve quality of care and decrease healthcare costs. Med-Vision caters to the health planning needs of self-funded employers. Gee has over 20 years of experience working in health promotions, disease management, workforce utilization, and wellness programming. She can be reached at or visit

03/19/13 The Institute of Healthcare Consumerism: Quick Tips for True Wellness

Wellness Article
March 19, 2013

Quick Tips for True Wellness
By Connie Gee

It's March, and many of your New Year's resolutions to improve your wellness are likely fading away. Those trips to the gym may be gradually less frequent, your plate is getting fuller, and perhaps those daily meditation sessions have been set aside for more pressing matters.

The question is: do you want to take the right steps to maintain your overall wellness for the long haul? More than ever before, we hear the word "wellness" said on television, at work, at home, and in conversations, without knowing the true meaning of wellness.

True wellness is more than exercising or eating the right foods in the right portions. True wellness is multidimensional and involves good health, good quality of life, and a feeling of wellbeing. True wellness is also a process of continuous improvement and an awareness of always seeking ways to improve. The success of true wellness is based upon the choices made that are the best options for you.

There are 12 dimensions of wellness, but the most commonly described are the following 10:
1. Physical Wellness: regular physical activity, endurance, strength, flexibility, and good nutrition
2. Emotional Wellness: awareness, acceptance, and management of your feelings
3. Intellectual Wellness: creative, stimulating mental activities; improving skills
4. Social Wellness: positive interactions with others and taking time to play
5. Spiritual Wellness: a deep appreciation of life and natural forces; looking within for purpose
6. Occupational Wellness: contributing your talents and skills to meaningful work
7. Environmental Wellness: respecting nature and everything that lives in nature
8. Financial Wellness: comfort with where your money comes from and where it goes
9. Mental Wellness: enjoyment of life without anxiety and depression
10. Medical Wellness: multiple options for treating and preventing disease

Lifestyle is the most important factor in determining your general health, while true wellness is taking personal responsibility for your wellbeing. Setting healthy lifestyle goals that you can maintain is a choice you make for a more positive existence. This includes recognition of your physical, psychological, social, and spiritual needs, as well as taking a whole person approach in maintaining a positive manner of living. It's a realization that everything you think, feel, and do each day has an impact on your health.

As a final tip, remember that healthy comes in many shapes and sizes. Here is a short video about overall health:

About the Author: Connie Gee is VP, Healthcare Data Analyst, and Wellness Strategic Planner for Med-Vision, LLC, which uses data analytics to customize action plans that improve quality of care and decrease healthcare costs. Med-Vision caters to the health planning needs of self-funded employers. Gee has over 20 years of experience working in health promotions, disease management, workforce utilization, and wellness programming. She can be reached at or visit

03/16/13 Tampa Tribune / "I Lost It" Feature Weight Loss Article

Newspaper Article
Tampa Tribune March 16, 2013

"I Lost It"
An article on health and wellness, featuring an employee of Pasco County School District. The District is a client of Med-Vision and CareHere.

'You need to pat yourself on the back every day'
Weight loss profile: Rita Echols-Mitchell

50, Zephyrhills

HEIGHT: 5-foot-9


CURRENT WEIGHT: 224 pounds

WHY I DID IT: I had wanted to lose weight for quite some time, but I kept procrastinating. After spending some time with my infant grandson, who exhausted me, and after the doctor informed me that I would be a candidate for diabetes if I didn't make some changes, I had to get started. My daughter kept insisting she wanted me to be healthy and be around to watch her get married one day, so that was another good reason.

I want to be able to do more things with my life, to build some memories, be bolder as I get older. When I look at my old photos, I miss what I looked like. I felt if I could control my eating, I could control how I handle the challenges in my life much better.

Click to read this full Profile...

02/08/13 BayNews9: Employee Wellness Center Saves Taxpayer Dollars

Television News
BayNews9 Feb. 8, 2013

Wellness centers save Pasco tax dollars

NEW PORT RICHEY -- Teachers and other employees of Pasco County schools are using three health wellness centers to get healthy and save tax dollars.

The District opened the facilities two years ago to help employees kick bad habits, but saving money is a benefit no one expected.

Elementary school teacher Rita Echols-Mitchell dropped 50 pounds, reduced her blood pressure and almost moved out of the danger zone for diabetes.

Echols-Mitchell and 3,000 school employees can put together a personal plan and monitor the results with the help of a health coach and exercise physiologist.

Teachers and staff lost 3,800 pounds.

"Whoever comes here to the health center, we do not file claims for reimbursement," said the centers' owner Ray Tomlinson.

"The first year the district saved more than $2,000,000 from their health insurance program," he said.

He also says there was a 34 percent drop in diabetes claims in 2012.

Workers' Compensation costs are also down by half, giving the district another $1.5 million in savings.

Learn more about how Crowne Consulting Group/CareHere and Med-Vision are helping school districts in our press release section.

Watch this TV News Report about Pasco's Wellness Successes.

01/26/13 Tampa Bay Times: Pasco School District Clinics Bring Big Health Care Savings

Newspaper Article
Tampa Bay Times
Jan. 26, 2013

Pasco school district clinics bring big health care savings
By Jeffrey S. Solochek, Times Staff Writer

DADE CITY — Lose weight.

Rita Mitchell had heard the words many times before.

But it wasn't until the Cox Elementary School prekindergarten teacher got the advice during a health risk assessment at the Pasco County school district's wellness center that she took the message to heart. Mitchell learned she was at risk for diabetes, and heard loud and clear what ignoring the signs could mean.

"It was enough to get my attention," she said. "This thing, if left unattended, it can kill you. She told me to lose weight. I've been hearing that for years. But it was like, hello."

Flash forward a year, and Mitchell is a new woman.

"I just turned 50, and I lost 50," she said. "I am excited."

Her success mirrors that of many other district employees, and of the health clinic program that the school district introduced two years ago.

The School Board approved spending about $1.5 million a year to operate three school-based clinics, offering free appointments and medications, in addition to preventive wellness programs for employees. The idea was that the district would save money in the long run by reducing insurance claims and related expenses.

Last year, the district saw its claims drop by more than $2 million, with per-employee costs down by nearly 5 percent. Its rates did not increase as much as expected, allowing the board to use savings to reduce the number of furlough days imposed on employees.

Its focus on diabetes care resulted in a 34 percent decrease in related claims, and the district saw a 26 percent increase in diabetes patients actually getting the monitoring tests they need. Its efforts on weight reduction, expected to net about 1,000 pounds among participants, totaled a loss of 3,800 pounds by those employees.

Use of the centers has been so strong, in fact, that the district is considering opening two others, as well as a center focused on occupational health and physical therapy. District benefits director Mary Tillman said they had to add staff to the centers over the summer to meet the growing demand.

With medical costs rising, Tillman said, the only real way to cut expenses is to get people healthy. Making visits convenient and affordable, while focusing on managing chronic illnesses and catching problems before they get out of hand, has allowed the district to make such strides.

"I'm very proud of our wellness centers," said School Board chairwoman Cynthia Armstrong, who sits on the district health and wellness incentives committee. "I really feel like it's been a win-win situation for the district and the employees."

Armstrong said she and her husband both take advantage of the services the clinics offer, and can see firsthand the benefits. Other districts have started looking at Pasco as a model, she added, as they consider establishing their own wellness programs.

Connie Gee, vice president of Med-Vision, credited the district's organized approach to wellness initiatives as a key to its success.

"At Pasco schools we're working very purposefully," Gee said. "Many companies have programs that are really just events."

She said the district chose focus areas such as diabetes and obesity, and set clear goals to attain. It then sent out information about the activities to all employees, letting them know what would be available.

That's how Mitchell first learned of the program.

She was first attracted by the free consultation, then spurred to action by the findings. After that, she kept with the push to tackle her weight by the convenient availability of a dietitian and nutritionist, who referred her to easy-to-use computerized monitoring programs.

Her efforts began slowly, adding healthier foods to her diet and deciding when she didn't need to eat at all. Next came exercise, just 10 minutes at a targeted heart rate, which soon morphed into a walking and then a club of walkers. Suddenly she became conscious that she was being healthier.

"When the weight started dropping, it was like, oh my goodness. I am losing weight and it is not going to kill me," Mitchell said.

People started to notice. She stayed motivated. And the efforts paid off.

She's got more energy, less stress, and best of all, she has a better time interacting with her young students.

"I can bend down and spend time with the children," Mitchell said.

"They all celebrated I could get down on the floor with them and get back up. They've had the answer all along. They don't stop moving."

And now neither does she.

"I am grateful they did this for us," Mitchell said.

The district plans to build on its successes by expanding its wellness goals in 2013, Gee said. They include helping people better deal with depression and anxiety issues, and assisting with reduction in blood pressure, cholesterol and smoking.

Jeffrey S. Solochek can be reached at, (813) 909-4614 or on Twitter @jeffsolochek. For more education news visit the Gradebook at

12/20/12 HealthCare Consumerism Solutions Magazine: Healthcare Superstars Award

Magazine Article / Award
Healthcare Consumerism Solutions Magazine
December 2012

Industry Innovators
Healthcare Consumerism Superstars 2012

HealthCare Consumerism Solutions Magazine, December 2012, features Connie Gee, Vice President of Med-Vision, as a HealthCare Consumerism Superstar. Med-Vision was crowned with the "Industry Innovator" Award by the magazine, which is a publication of the Institute for Healthcare Consumerism.

View this full article, titled "Strategic Change in Health Care" via this link: Congratulations, Connie Gee!

12/01/12 Employee Benefits Adviser: High Risk of HDHP

Magazine Article
Employee Benefits Adviser Magazine (
December 2012

High Risk of HDHP
The healthiest as well as sickest employees deserve management attention

By Daniel K. Ross

The strategy of pushing the first $1,200 or more of high-deductible health plan costs onto members in the form of increased deductibles has the potential to backfire. The plan design seems to have a built-in disincentive for seeking preventive care or managing chronic health conditions when health costs are lowest.

Facing financial pressure in today's economy, plan members must decide if they will pay for a doctor's visit before the deductible is met, hope the health problem resolves on its own, or delay care. This is a "pay more later" gamble for the employer and employee.

A January 2012 study by Harvard researchers in the Journal of General Internal Medicine showed that families with high-deductible health plans tend to delay health care more than those with traditional coverage because of cost. Financially, high-deductible plans can strap families, according to the study. Those most at risk of having to make a choice between other necessities or needed health care are low-income families and those facing chronic health conditions.

Downside of high-deductibles

According to Med-Vision's health care database of large employer groups, 70% of plan members have low annual health care expenditures of only $350. Keeping those employees from "falling off the cliff" into costly health conditions is key to controlling costs. High-deductible plans often are accompanied by contributions from the company into employee accounts to help pay for deductibles and other medical costs with pre-tax dollars. The reality is that when the majority of employees have low medical expenses, companies are essentially pre-paying for medical claims that don't exist.

The risk of creating higher health care costs because of treatment delay is a threat that business leaders need to understand. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than three-fourths of national health care expenditures are from chronic conditions such as diabetes and heart disease.

Innovations for ensuring workers stay healthy in order to control medical costs and be members of a productive workforce are needed. Independent, member-centric databases that provide HIPAA-compliant information give a company's decision-makers unbiased data for practicing health risk and quality management. A Med-Vision analysis of an 8,000-member health plan showed that only 1% of members - 80 employees - were driving extremely high health costs. The sickest 80 workers had an average health cost of $87,000 - a huge difference from 40% of plan members who had average health costs of only $63. The 40% of apparently healthy workers with low medical costs should merit the attention of their employer. Encouraging those workers to stay healthy is a powerful method for controlling health costs. Recent U.S. employer surveys indicate that 70% of companies will be offering high-deductible insurance by 2013. It's also estimated that half of U.S. employees will be in consumer-driven plans within 10 years.

Daniel K. Ross is founder and president of Med-Vision LLC and Med-View LLC. Reach him at (813) 244-4027.

10/25/12 HealthCare Consumerism Solutions Magazine: The ROI for Engaging Employees

Magazine Article
HealthCare Consumerism Solutions
Sep/Oct 2012

The ROI for Engaging Employees
Five steps for a successful wellness program.

By Connie Gee

For employers and employees, poor health costs jobs and diminishes standards of living.

It's getting to the point where we cannot afford to get sick, which is why it's critical to start changing the attitudes and perceptions of the healthcare consumer and the benefit sponsors.

Healthcare costs for employees have increased at a percentage almost three times more than the rate of wages. According to a Kaiser Foundation survey, during the past ten years, premiums have increased 97 percent while wages have grown 33 percent and inflation has grown 38 percent. This means working individuals went backwards in their financial growth as more company revenue went to healthcare costs instead of increased wages.

In 2012, the costs for family coverage exceeds $15,000, with workers paying about $4,300 of this cost. The $10,700 paid by employers prevents this revenue from being used to grow the company and hire more staff.

The numbers tell us it's time for a better approach to employee healthcare, and a proven way to improve care and lower costs is by implementing a strategic plan of action.

1) Enhance healthcare by engaging employees.

The goal of wellness programming is to encourage truly meaningful lifestyle changes that result in stronger workforces. The process for achieving this goal includes a focus on engaging employees to commit to personal responsibility and long term results.

Employers can produce effective plans that establish health awareness initiatives, mechanisms to encourage participation, health education programs, and workplace policies for promoting a healthy environment. But unless individuals find their intrinsic motivation, behavior changes will not be sustainable.

The key is to follow a strategic process to interpret employer-specific data and to create wellness strategies that meet the needs of both the organization and the individuals. One example would be to identify individuals who have high blood pressure but are not compliant with their plan of treatment. A blood pressure program would then include the importance of compliance to prevent heart attacks, strokes, kidney failure, and death.

It's essential to include specific information from the individuals who are not compliant. Discover why they are not compliant – what is their perception of their condition – and how does it make them feel when they are not compliant. This information helps individuals tap into their intrinsic motivators and make long-term commitments. It also helps the organization to be more specific in planning and much more efficient with resources.

2) Deem the plan a comprehensive business strategy.

A written strategic plan serves as a roadmap and validation for a wellness program. A strategic program is not "cookie cutter" in nature with occasional events or random programs. A true employee wellness program is designed to be a long-term behavioral program to build a culture of wellness.

The methods for building the culture includes benchmarks similar to any other business or finance-driven strategy. The strategic plan includes eight to 12 sections, including: statements aligned with the organization's mission statement, commitment statements, defined goals and objectives formed from baseline data, engagement tactics, implementation timelines, systems recognition for processes and procedures, budget and resources, policy support, measures/evaluations of accomplishment, and a clear communications plan.

Remember that the communications plan should use available resources, address the purpose of the communication, the type of audience, and the type of response requested to reach optimum participation and engagement levels.

3) Consult with experts to perform an analysis and define objectives.

Change requires measurement, and the value of numbers cannot be understated. Health data analytics and other metrics should be the foundation of all behavior change activities. This answers the questions of "why" and "what" of programming and measures the achievement of expectations. If these questions cannot be answered, then there is little likelihood of successful engagement and even less likelihood of achieving desired results.

A qualified professional can envision the "big picture" of an effective program. Working with an experienced wellness professional who understands behavior change, communications, and business strategies is an important component to getting a return on your investment.

4) Promote participation through targeted and customized programs.

Programs need to be relevant to issues affecting workers. Most employer groups are diverse populations. What is relevant to one segment is probably not relevant to another segment. The programs and the delivery of programs should therefore be as diverse as the populations, taking into consideration the various cultures, values, and perceptions.

Communication materials should be created based on demographic data and delivered with consideration for the way individuals are accustomed to receiving communications. Other considerations should include worksite factors that influence employee health such as existing policies, practices, and benefits.

At the heart of an effective employee wellness program is the wellness committee. This team should be as diverse as the population. Essentially, it is an "action plan" committee charged with the achievement of the specific goals and objectives. The roles within the committee are usually divided into individuals who are action oriented, people oriented, and problem solvers. This collection of talent and creativity is essential to overcoming obstacles.

Utilized effectively, the wellness committee can be the key to effectively engaging employees and perpetuating the program's progress, ultimately, resulting in creating a culture of wellness.

5) Install a tracking mechanism and evaluate results and successes.

Remember that change requires measurement. On-going evaluation is essential to answer what is working to engage employees – what is not working – and what needs to improve as evidenced by data. Positive outcomes will impact continued support of the program, and negative outcomes will determine what the next steps are for improvements.

On-going assessments to provide better outcomes must be applied to each component of the program, and each component should be monitored. The application of process improvement includes planning, organizing, and managing resources, tools, and time.

By implementing these five steps, evaluating results, and fine-tuning to enhance engagement, employers are on track to lowering healthcare costs and improving quality of care for employees.

----- About the Author:
Connie Gee is Vice President, Healthcare Data Analyst, and Wellness Strategic Planner for Med-Vision, LLC, which uses data analytics to customize action plans that improve quality of care and decrease healthcare costs. Med-Vision caters to the health planning needs of self-funded employers. Gee has over 20 years of experience working in health promotions, disease management, workforce utilization, and wellness programming. She can be reached at

10/01/12 District Administration Magazine: District Health Solutions Pay Off

Magazine Article
District Administration Magazine
October 2012

District Health Solutions Pay Off

By Avi Asher-Schapiro

The national debate over health care reform rages on, but some school districts are taking matters into their own hands and looking to employer-driven health care solutions to drive down costs and improve coverage. So far, the results are encouraging.

With health care costs ballooning nationwide, Florida's Pasco County School District has bucked the trend and cut health care costs for its 8,000 employees by 5 percent across-the-board over the last year. The district even managed to keep its prescription drug plan costs steady, even while costs of drug plans nationwide jumped by over 9 percent in the past year. Click here to read this full article with quotes from Med-Vision's VP, Connie Gee, and Pasco's district representatives.

09/06/12 Healthcare Reform Magazine: Savvy Healthcare Consumerism

Magazine Article
Healthcare Reform Magazine
September 2012

How to Be a Savvy Healthcare Consumer

Regina Novak, Senior Health Educator for Med-Vision

Americans are spending more on healthcare as cost of care and premiums increase, yet they're often receiving a decrease in coverage. Most Americans are also feeling the out-of-pocket costs, due to deductibles and copayments increasing over time.

An astonishing statistic according to the Milliman Medical Index shows annual medical costs for a family of four will soar over $20,000 in 2012. Now, more than ever, is the time to become a well-informed and "fiscally savvy" healthcare consumer -- it will save you money, your employer money, and will help you optimize medical and insurance services.

Investing in Self-Care

Self-care is an essential part of attaining and maintaining good health. Self-care encompasses physical, mental, and spiritual well-being. Examples of physical self-care include good nutrition, going to the doctor when you are ill, disease management, exercise, and stress management.

Beyond managing stressful situations, overall mental and emotional self-care is essential. This includes learning to say no, setting limits for yourself, laughing, establishing good relationships, finding a creative outlet, and relaxation techniques. Some relaxation techniques cross into spiritual self-care, which can include prayer, meditation, volunteering, or attending religious services.

Taking care of your needs is not selfish; becoming a strong, resourceful, and resilient person allows you to continue helping and serving others. It is not selfish to put your needs first. Rather, it is self-preserving and empowering to invest in your total health and well-being. Neglecting your own needs puts you at risk for unhappiness and resentment towards others.

Making Wise Lifestyle Choices

Being proactive with your health by making wise lifestyle choices can save you money by avoiding high cost, long-term care associated with serious chronic conditions and diseases.

Quitting smoking should be top of any priority list. Smokers spend more on medical and dental costs and usually pay higher premiums on health, life, and disability insurance. Similar to smoking, obesity can wreak havoc on your health. Obese individuals spend two to three times more on healthcare because of illnesses caused by carrying too much weight.

One of the wisest choices anyone can make is to commit to an active lifestyle. Physical activity will help you achieve a healthy weight and strengthen all body systems. Exercise does not have to cost you much; strap on a pair of good running or walking shoes and go for a walk. Parks and community centers usually have a track available for walkers or runners to use.

In taking care of yourself, it's also important to understand your personal health so that you can take appropriate action when necessary. Develop a good relationship with your healthcare providers and communicate with them. Understanding your health needs allows you to stay on track with recommended screenings and tests designed to catch potential problems earlier rather than later in an effort to avoid costly care.

Navigating Your Medical Plan

There are a number of ways to gain control of your medical costs through better navigation of your medical plans. For example, a sure fire way to save is by understanding if something is really an emergency. Going to the ER with non-emergencies will waste a lot of time and money for you and the hospital. If a doctor visit is not feasible or appropriate for your condition, check out a walk-in clinic or urgent care center.

In a non-emergency, do you absolutely need to see a doctor? You may not feel well, but it does not mean that you need to see a physician. If you are unsure, call your provider and describe signs and symptoms, he or she can help determine if you need to come in or if you can do some self-care steps to help you feel better. Medical self-care books, websites, and 24-hour nurse lines are also great resources.

If you've sought care, remember that keeping track of healthcare expenditures could save you on your taxes. Depending on how much you spend, you may be eligible for tax breaks based on medical expenses. If you have a business on the side, there could be some tax benefits to having your own health insurance. Check with your CPA to guide you; you may be able to deduct part of your insurance premium.

Yes, it's essential for you to understand those sometimes-complicated insurance terms. If you receive health insurance through your employer, use open enrollment time to check out your plan options and determine the best plan for your needs. Educate yourself on the coverage each plan offers. Look at what services they cover before you seek care and stay in-network to pay the lowest amount of coinsurance. Also, remember to check every medical bill – billing mistakes do occur.

Additionally, don't forget to take part in free or low cost screenings. Most plans cover 100 percent of preventive services, including routine lab work, Pap tests, and mammograms. You pay your premiums to receive coverage, and screening tests like these can save you and your healthcare benefit plan a lot of money down the road. Catastrophic events can leave you in a tough financial place if you are uninsured.

Talk to a benefits manager to help you determine the best plan to fit your budget. Some health insurance plans are compatible with health savings accounts, health reimbursement accounts, flex spending accounts, or medical savings accounts. These accounts can help pay for out-of-pocket expenses. Each is set up differently, so check with your benefits manager to understand how each account works.

Understanding Your Prescription Coverage

In addition to medical care, a savvy healthcare consumer has a good understanding of prescriptions and costs. Avoid self-medicating unless you check with a trusted provider or pharmacist. While many vitamins and over-the-counter products are safe and effective, some of them can interact negatively with certain health conditions and medications.

Finally, save on medication costs through generics or store brands. Several local retailers offer very low cost generic drugs through a special discount program or purchase of a prescription savings pass. Over-the-counter store brands are pharmacologically equivalent and cost less than the name brand. Talk to your provider about prescribing medications that are part of generic drug discount programs. You can also ask your physician for samples to try before deciding on a particular medication. Following these simple tips will not only help you and your employer save money, but wise healthcare consumerism can also help you stay healthy while enhancing your quality of life.

About the Author:
As Senior Health Educator for Med-Vision, Regina Novak provides health promotion and customized wellness programs for clients including school districts, corporations, and health facilities. She earned a Bachelor's in Exercise Science and a Masters' of Public Health with a concentration in Health Education. E-mail

09/01/12 HealthLeaders-InterStudy Report: Florida Summer Health Plan Analysis

Summer 2012

Florida Summer Health Plan Analysis

By Mark Cherry

Florida Summer Health Plan Analysis
Analyst: Mark Cherry

Report Summary: The major health plans in Florida are in enrollment mode, aggressively courting desirable groups of 50 or more with plan designs that include narrow networks, $10,000 deductibles, or some combination of the two. These efforts are designed to gain a critical mass of membership ahead of potentially tough negotiations with increasingly consolidated provider segments. Larger health systems and physician groups are working to form accountable care organizations, which have greater leverage against health plans and could compete with insurers in a health insurance exchange or when the state expands its mandatory managed Medicaid program. The preponderance of high-deductible plans and other financial factors have encouraged employers to become more active in healthcare delivery for employers, starting with on-site clinics but potentially leading to direct negotiation with providers, which would leave health plans with a reduced role. Visit HealthLeaders-InterStudy for the full report featuring information and analysis provided by industry experts including Dan Ross, President of Med-Vision.

08/13/12 Bay News 9: Clients recognized as Florida Healthy School District

Bay News 9
Aug. 13, 2012

Clients recognized as 'Florida Healthy School District'

Florida Healthy School District
View photos and details about these awards.

Article Summary: Nineteen Florida school districts, including two of Med-Vision's clients have been recognized as "Florida Healthy School Districts." The Florida Coordinated Health Partnership and Florida Action for Healthy Kids designated Pasco a "silver districts" and Manatee as a "bronze district." The title honors Pasco and Manatee for its health services, counseling, psychological and social services and health promotions for staff.

Additionally, Med-Vision's clients Pasco Schools and Manatee Schools were finalists in the Tampa Bay Business Journal's Healthiest Employers Awards.

08/01/12 NAHU Magazine: Healthcare By the Numbers

Magazine Article
NAHU Magazine (National Association of Healthcare Underwriters)
August 2012

Healthcare By the Numbers

By Dan Ross, President of Med-Vision

Could medical costs for a family of four that has a standard healthcare plan really reach $20,728 in 2012? Undoubtedly in some cases, but it's hard to believe that every four-person family in America will spend the cost of a small car on healthcare this year.

The astounding statistic is according to the Milliman Medical Index, which was reported nationally. Not only is the 2012 figure worthy of some shocked attention, but it also is 7 percent above the same average in 2011.

Now if benefit professionals want their healthcare plans to risk failure, they'll accept this cost average without question. If they want their plans to have a better probability of success, however, they need to look at it in a different way. How do "industry averages" apply to their member population?

Weights and measures
The standard for measuring average costs can grossly overstate the "real" cost per member. Employees with minimal health claims and those with high claim amounts are given equal weight when crunching the numbers. This is a good way to create an exploded average cost and cause benefit professionals to lose sleep.

A danger is "management paralysis" when facing the possibility of a healthcare plan averaging $20,728 for every family of four. Huge average claim values have a tendency to block intelligent plan management and actions.

Here is a better way to compute average claim costs: Don't include the "outliers" in computations. The outliers are the ones in a very small percentage of members with the highest claim amounts. A healthcare database analysis can show how average cost per member can't be evaluated when all members are considered equal. According to benefits consulting firm Med-Vision's analysis, the data shows a huge spectrum exists in the amount of claims being submitted by employees.

• Just 1 percent of members will account for 30 percent of all plan expenses. These are the employees with chronic health problems that have advanced to where costly medical care is needed.

• Next are the 4 to 5 percent of employees who are responsible for an additional 25 to 30 percent of claims.

• The remainder – more than 75 percent – spend a mere pittance of under $500.

Understanding these discrepancies is significant. It changes conventional wisdom about how to make decisions about healthcare plans and might even help benefit professionals to stop tossing and turning at night.

Putting numbers to work
Most plans are based on the "average per member per year plan cost." They are reinsured for member claims according to a specific deductible amount and receive reimbursements for claims over this deductible.

Why let a consultant define "average" when that average might be grossly overinflated simply because of the way it is calculated? What benefit professionals need to be looking for is the "central tendency" of claims data. This is different from equally weighting the claims of all members.

Despite uncertainty about how health reform will eventually play out, data analytics is vital in saving health costs and effectively managing plans. An example can be seen in a recent survey by Virgin HealthMiles. According to the survey, more companies are implementing prevention-based health benefits but are having trouble getting employees on board. The plans rely on employees changing risky health behaviors such as smoking, not exercising, and being overweight.

Companies reported that information is lacking for making actionable decisions about strategies to create effective plans. Only 36 percent said they get the information they need to make actionable decisions. The number that reported being "very satisfied" with their provider's ability to affect employee behavior was only 16 percent.

Cost-Containing Solutions
Accurate data analysis can help employers create strategies that make a real difference for their workforce and healthcare plans. Keeping healthy employees from becoming unhealthy is one of the most important strategies for controlling healthcare costs. To accomplish this, companies need actionable strategies based on sound data.

Many self-funded organizations have found that on-site health clinics encourage easy access to medical care and prevent treatment delay. For some employees, visiting a doctor's office seems cumbersome or is gauged as too expensive. Through an on-site clinic, employees see a doctor easily, which optimally will stop them from ignoring a health problem until it gets worse and more costly to treat.

HIPPA-compliant health data analytics also can help companies specifically identify employees in the 1 percent of workers who are driving the highest claims. Helping these employees manage there health conditions, such as through having a nurse monitor whether they are seeing their doctors at recommended intervals and filling prescriptions, can provide a better chance they won't need costly hospital visits.

The bottom line is this: It's possible to dramatically manage risk in ways that increase the quality of healthcare and also lower cost. It's all in how we look at the numbers.

View this full article at Healthcare Reform Magazine.

About the Author:
Daniel K. Ross is Founder and President of Med-Vision, LLC and Med-View LLC. With more than 20 years' experience in the employee benefits industry, Ross specializes in health plan risk management, analysis, and wellness strategies to help self-funded employers achieve optimal employee health and productivity. Reach him through or 813-244-4027.

07/19/12 Medical News, Inc.: When Wellness Make Cents

Magazine Article
Medical News, Inc. (Tampa Bay / Sarasota / Manatee Issues)
July 2012

When Wellness Makes Cents

By Connie Gee, VP of Med-Vision

Business rationale for employee wellness

There's an undeniable connection between a healthcare worker's health and the direct impact on patient safety and quality of care. It's been well documented that nurses who suffer from sleep deprivation, stress, and depression have a higher probability of making a mistake.

Take this story, for example. A nurse of 27 years with a good working record and loved by her patients as much as she loved her profession, one day, made a mistake that ended the life of one of her infant patients. She was investigated, fired, and began working in construction while searching for another job in nursing. The hospital made a settlement; the nurse ended her life.

Sadly, studies show 35 percent of medical-surgical nurses are diagnosed with clinical depression. Additionally, 60 percent of RNs experienced musculoskeletal pain, which can also cause depression. From a financial perspective, individuals with depression have 70 percent higher healthcare costs, while individuals with stress have 46 percent higher healthcare costs according to the CDC.

The causes of depression for healthcare workers are usually linked to high stress and sleep deprivation caused by long continuous hours and shift work. These conditions jeopardize the healthcare professional's health and work performance along with the health and safety of patients.

Why is this important? Because the financial success of any business is rooted in customer satisfaction, and employee health can impact the patient experience. If a patient is cared for by an attentive staff, the patient experience is enhanced. This builds loyalty and the hospital can almost guarantee that the patient or family member will return if and when there is a need.

Although beyond influencing how patients decide which hospitals they visit, metrics like patient satisfaction scores will soon be used in adjusting rates for Medicare and Medicaid reimbursements, penalizing hospitals with low patient satisfaction. In sum, a compromised workforce can create an expensive liability for hospitals – negatively impacting their bottom line and tarnishing their public image.

A Strategic Approach to Wellness

It's crucial for facilities to support nurses and staff with their health problems, but most do not know how to deal with it. The connectivity of the hospital image and the employee wellness program can be achieved through a written strategic plan that serves as a roadmap and justification for the program.

A strategic program is not "cookie cutter" in nature with occasional events or health fairs. A true employee wellness program is designed to be a long-term behavioral program to build a culture of wellness. The methodology for building the culture includes benchmarks similar to any other business or finance-driven strategy.

The strategic plan includes eight to 12 sections, including statements aligned with the hospital's mission and vision statement. This answers the question of why you are implementing the program and a clear direction to take in helping the organization. The plan should contain quantifiable metrics based on data analytic reporting. The assessment of what needs to be accomplished helps to define what programs are necessary. This narrows the scope of where resources are to be allocated, making the program efficient. The same quantifiable metrics would also become part of the goals and objectives section of the strategic plan.

Put simply, change requires measurement. On-going evaluation is essential to answer what is working – what is not working – and what needs to improve. Positive outcomes will impact continued support of the program while negative outcomes will determine what the next steps are for improvements.

Other sections of the strategic plan should include commitment statements, engagement tactics, implementation timelines, systems recognition for processes and procedures, budget and resources, policy support, and a clear communications plan.

Hospital Employee Wellness Process Improvement

Hospital employee wellness processes are the steps to accomplishing goals and objectives. On-going assessments to provide better outcomes must be applied to each component of the program, and each component should be monitored. The application of process improvement includes planning, organizing, and managing resources, tools, and time.

The first vital aspect of process improvement is the commitment of the wellness committee, which is a team that becomes an "action plan" committee for accomplishing the plan. The roles within the committee are usually divided into individuals who are action oriented, people oriented, and problem solvers. This collection of talent and creativity is essential to overcoming obstacles. Utilized effectively, the wellness committee is the foundation of success.

Using health data analytics and metrics to make smart improvements will also enhance the impact of your program. Change requires measurement, and the value of numbers cannot be understated. Think about how dependent the hospital is on monitoring numbers for positive patient outcomes. This same value can be applied to hospital employee wellness programs.

Participation in a specific program, such as blood pressure screenings, is an example of one metric used to determine a program's success. However, do you know how many employees have been diagnosed with hypertension or a risk for heart attacks and strokes? Is a particular department showing a higher prevalence than others? Do you know how many and what type of claims have been generated because of this condition? Are screenings making an impact on the high-risk individuals or just finding new or undiagnosed employees?

It's vital to answer these questions and to outline steps for reaching and engaging individuals to make long-term healthy behavior changes. Successful implementation of a program leads to better management or reversal of targeted conditions, thus, lowering employee healthcare costs. An effective employee wellness program results in a positive impact on employees and patients, while improving the overall health and sustainability of the entire organization.

About Connie Gee: Connie Gee is Vice President, Healthcare Data Analyst, and Wellness Strategic Planner for Med-Vision, LLC, which uses data analytics to customize action plans that improve quality of care and decrease healthcare costs. Gee has an MBA and is the former Wellness Leader for Tampa General Hospital. She has over 20 years of experience working in health promotions, disease management, workforce utilization, and wellness programming. She can be reached at or visit

06/29/12 WTSP-CBS 10 News: Med-Vision President Discusses Healthcare Reform

Television News Segment
WTSP-CBS 10 News
Friday, June 29, 2012

Click to watch this news segment now

Dan Ross, President of Med-Vision, Discusses Healthcare Reform

TAMPA — Watch this news segment to learn some of the pros and cons of healthcare reform following the Supreme Court's decision on the Affordable Care Act. Ginger Gadsden of 10 News sits down with Dan Ross, President of Med-Vision, to discuss his expert insights for the viewing audience.

05/16/12 WFLA-NBC News Channel 8: Pasco School District Promotes Healthy Employees

Television News Segment
WFLA-NBC News Channel 8
Wednesday, May 16, 2012

View this news story

Pasco County School District Promotes Healthy Employees

TAMPA — Pasco County schools have three clinics in hopes of encouraging teachers and employees to stay healthy, saving the district money in healthcare cost. Watch this news segment to learn about the revolutionary idea taking hold in the Pasco County school district -- it's a program that encourages teachers and employees to stay healthy.

02/24/12 Tampa Bay Business Journal:Employer-friendly, high-deductible plans may contain pifalls

News Article
Tampa Bay Business Journal
Friday, February 24, 2012

View this news story

Employer-friendly, high-deductible plans may contain key pitfalls
Shift in workers' health coverage sparks debate over cost, quality
By Margie Manning

TAMPA — As a growing number of businesses try to cope with rising benefits cost by offering consumer-driven health insurance to workers, some health analytics experts are raising questions about the high-deductible plans that accompany them.

The plans can present hidden short-term and long-term costs that companies need to consider, said Dan Ross, president of Med-Vision LLC, a Tampa company that provides health plan risk management and wellness strategies to employers.

When a high-deductible plan is part of a consumer-driven health offering...

View this full news story at Tampa Bay Business Journal's site.

Contact Med-Vision for more information.

10/01/11 District Administration: Wellness Programs Reduce Employee Health Costs

Magazine Article
District Administration
Issue: October 2011

View this news story

Wellness Program Reduces Employee Healthcare Costs
The School District of Manatee County (Fla.) has implemented a new wellness program.
By Marion Herbert

Nationally, health-care costs are rising roughly 10 percent each year. Costs at the School District of Manatee County (Fla.), however, are rising at a mere 1 percent since the district implemented an employee wellness program, dubbed HealthVantage, three years ago. Since the wellness program took root, the district has saved nearly 14 percent on health-care costs compared to other districts and $1.3 million for medical and prescription services during the first half of 2010 compared to 2009.

In 2008, prior to the program's implementation, data showed approximately 5 percent of the district's 5,200 employees were accounting for nearly 51 percent of the district's overall health-care costs. HealthVantage includes on-site health clinics, seminars and fitness centers to tackle chronic, co-morbid and preventative care for these employees and others. The program isn't funded through the district's operating dollars, but rather through federal funding from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Service and their Retiree Drug Subsidy Program, as well as donations from the district's insurance provider, Blue Cross Blue Shield. Manatee schools have received nearly $1 million in funding for Health- Vantage over the last three years. "Lower health-care costs is the residual effect and something that happens naturally when people are healthier," says Kristi Dickerson, Manatee's health and wellness coordinator.

Each year, employees in the district's 60 buildings receive on-site screenings for body mass index, blood pressure, blood chemistry and cell counts. They also receive a follow-up health-risk assessment. Health instructors provide after-school classes, including yoga, spinning and ballroom dancing. A full-service gym is also available at one site for all employees and their spouses. Two weight management programs were launched as part of the district's nutrition education program. Wellness seminars are also filmed for employees and the community at large to view.

Manatee partnered with the Tampa-based consulting group, MedVision, to help monitor data analytics, implement the HealthVantage program, and assess the program's overall effectiveness on reducing health-care costs.

"We've seen people get off certain medications just from increased physical exercise," Dickerson says. "The employees really feel that the administration is investing in them." To learn more about the School District of Manatee County's wellness program, visit

09/07/11 WFLA-NBC News Channel 8: Ways to Save: Moffitt Cancer Center Saves Millions

Television News
Aired Sept. 7, 2011

View this news story

Ways to Save: Moffitt Cancer Center Saves Millions of Dollars
By Gayle Guyardo, WFLA-NBC News Channel 8

With help from Med-Vision, Moffitt Cancer Center was able to save $11 million in employee healthcare expenses. Watch this 2-minute news report to learn about which health planning strategies helped this organization save money.

05/01/11 Florida Trend: Healthcare Innovation - Cost Savers

Magazine Article
Published May 1, 2011

View/Print Article

Healthcare Innovation/The Business Side: Cost Savers
By Amy Keller

With the help from Med-Vision, a 6-year-old Tampa-based medical consulting company that uses data analytics to create wellness and disease management programs, Sarasota County government was able to pass on a 3% decrease in health insurance premiums this year. One key aspect of Med-Vision's work with the county was honing in on costs drivers. To manage the costs of cancer care, Med-Vision partners with Biologics, a North Carolina-based cancer management service provider that relies on "evidence-based guidelines" and "integrated clinical oncology professionals" to achieve lower costs for payers and higher rates of patient satisfaction.

02/22/11 The Seattle Times: Solving the health-care challenge

Newspaper Column
The Seattle Times
Published Feb. 22, 2011

Read this full article.

Solve health-care challenge by reducing costs, not shifting more costs to workers
By Cynthia M. Cole, Med-Vision VP of Operations in Western US.

There is much discussion today regarding the high cost of health-care benefits. All of the proposed solutions involve some sort of cost-shifting to the recipients of these benefits. Companies and governments (and, ultimately, taxpayers) are tired of paying this high cost.

Yet shifting the cost does nothing to rein in the overall cost of these benefits. The best solution is one where the cost is decreased without sacrificing quality or access.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 75 percent of health-care costs come from chronic disease. Furthermore, independent audits conducted by health-care data analytics companies reveal similar findings. For example, Med-Vision's database of employer-sponsored plans shows that just 5 percent of members (the sickest) account for 60 to 70 percent of all employer health expenses. Also, take note that 50 percent of members account for virtually zero expenses.

Continuing to "solve" the high cost of medical benefits by cost-shifting to employees will only deter budget-minded members from seeking care during the earliest, least expensive stages of chronic-disease development. The conversation should be about dialing back the cost of the benefits and providing a multifaceted approach to reclaiming and reinvesting the wasted dollars spent month after month. The cost-shifting solution is about maintaining the norm, which is to contain health-plan inflation at the national trend of about 10 percent a year.

The genuine solution begins by looking at the expense-distribution concept. In this example, an employer covering 12,000 members has an expense distribution showing that 70 percent of members spend an average of only $328 per year, or a mere 8.4 percent of the total annual plan expense. Put simply, at an average health-plan expense of $328 per year, 70 percent of members don't even have plan expenses equal to the plan's total administrative service fees. In contrast, members in the top 5 percent category spent a whopping 59 percent of the total annual claims.

If plan claims are increasing 10 percent annually, which segment is impacting the plan the greatest? By basic math, it must be the top 5 percent, as this category pushes the greatest percentage of plan cost. The truth is that the clinical conditions of a few members have great financial impact on the whole.

What has been the standard reaction to increasing health-care cost trends? It has been to increase deductibles, copays and member contributions.

Referring to the expense-distribution concept forces us to ask which segment is impacted the greatest by a deductible or copay increase? Is it: (A) the member battling cancer with annual claims approaching $200,000, or (B) the member battling to control diabetes, struggling to support a family in today's economic climate, and spending $300 annually of employer-funded benefits after meeting the deductible on health and prescription drug claims? The correct answer is "B."

It is time for our state to gain control over health-care costs. Although to solve a problem, policymakers must understand the cause of the problem. Washington must first have access to independent plan data.

Further, our state must undertake solutions to prevent the members who are not incurring large costs from "falling off the cliff" into serious states of chronic disease. Initially, an easy and universal solution lies in expanding access to low- or no-cost primary care community health centers. Wise employers are following this course with employer-sponsored and on-site clinics to provide easier access to affordable health care for employees.

With the right approach for reducing risks, it could be relatively easy to reduce health-care expenses by 10 percent given the current state of health-care fragmentation and dysfunction.

Let's open up this discussion to include improving health care while simultaneously decreasing costs.

Cynthia M. Cole is vice president of operations in the Western United States for Med-Vision LLC.

02/06/11 The Wall Street Journal: Wellness Programs Get Creative

Newspaper Article
The Wall Street Journal
Published Feb. 6, 2011

Read this full article.

Wellness Programs Get Creative
By Kristen Gerencher

...A focus on wellness has helped Florida's Sarasota County government notch a 3% drop in the cost of health-care premiums this year, says Angela Gustafson, a registered nurse and the county's wellness-development adviser.

Sarasota County, which employs 3,200 people, offers 33 onsite group exercise classes, over staggered lunch hours and before and after work, Ms. Gustafson says. Nearly a third of the classes, including spinning, yoga and Zumba, are taught by qualified worker volunteers.

Workers also can take advantage of four free sessions a year with a personal trainer. That benefit has boosted utilization of the county's five fitness centers, Ms. Gustafson says, but gym-averse employees can tap trainers to start a fitness regimen as simple as walking. Those who complete their four free sessions also get $25. Workers can earn up to a total of $100 a year by participating in various wellness activities.

Helping workers to better cope with stress is a priority as well. The county has seen lower medical and prescription-drug spending among 911 operators since launching a stress-management program called Heart Math in 2009, she says.

And after seeing good results from a program in which employees with medical conditions worked with a dietician, the county is changing its health coverage to allow workers to see the dietician for free even if they don't have a specific diagnosis, Ms. Gustafson says.

Read this full article.

01/01/11 Florida Trend: Southwest Fla. Business Players

Magazine News Brief
Florida Tend
Published January 2011 Issue

Read this news brief at

Southwest Fla. and Tampa Bay Business Players
Cynthia M. Cole, a former engineer with Boeing, has joined Med-Vision, a Tampa-based health plan and risk management strategy firm, as vice president of operations for the western United States.

11/10/10 Gulf Coast Business Review: Med-Vision Adds Operations VP

Magazine Article
Gulf Coast Business Review
Published November 10, 2010

Read this full article.

Med-Vision Adds Operations VP
Cynthia Cole brings a 32-year career with The Boeing Co. to Tampa-based Med-Vision LLC as she signs on with the firm as vice president of operations for the Western United States.

While with Boeing, Cole served as an active member with the Society of Professional Engineering Employees in Aerospace, a labor union representing engineers, technical workers, and other employees in the industry. During that time, Cole says she "gained first-hand knowledge about how detrimental it is to employees' motivation and productivity when compensation and benefits are postured as a hindrance to profitability."

That experience should serve her well in her time with Med-Vision, which assists self-funded employers with their health plan and risk management strategies.

Med-Vision's clients provide health care benefits to more than 75,000 plan members. The firm has been in business since 2005.

11/08/10 American Medical News: US Plans to Create Massive Medical Database

Journal Article
American Medical News
Published November 8, 2010


Read this full article at the American Medical Association site.

US Plans to Create a Massive Medical Database
By Emily Berry, staff writer

The Office of Personnel Management, which manages benefits for federal employees, intends to create a giant database of medical claims information about those employees and enrollees in two programs created by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act...

...According to the Federal Register notice, the Office of Personnel Management wants to use the proposed database to "actively manage the programs to ensure the best value for both enrollees and taxpayers." The OPM listed reasons it might share the data, including for law enforcement, court proceedings and congressional hearings. The OPM could do a lot with the data, including calculating the costs of various health conditions and conducting predictive modeling -- examining claims to find patterns to help predict and prevent serious and costly illnesses, said Jeffrey Gasser, a health data analytics expert and executive vice president of Deerwalk, a data management firm in Lexington, Mass.

"The Holy Grail of predictive modeling is to find people who don't cost a lot of money today, but might cost a lot tomorrow," he said.

Large- and medium-sized employers have been gathering databases the same way for many years, Gasser said.

Above Content Appeared in Nov. 15 Issue of Amercian Medical News.

Read this full article at the American Medical Association site.

11/01/10 Herald-Tribune: School Workers Get Screenings

Newspaper Article
Manatee County
Published November 1, 2010


Read this full article at

School workers get screenings
By Christopher O'Donnell, Reporter
When the school district offered teachers at King Middle School an on-site health checkup, reading teacher Ellen Binder decided to take advantage of it.

Her blood work revealed liver irregularities caused by a obstruction close to her pancreas that could have turned cancerous. The 61-year-old ended up having surgery at Johns Hopkins.

"What if it had not been found?" Binder said. "That's where I feel I was so lucky. I found out so early."

The checkups offered to district staff are part of a wellness program that school officials expect will reduce a $8.4 million deficit in its health insurance fund. They credit the program along with cuts in benefits for reducing medical and prescription costs by $2.2 million compared to the previous year. That bucks a national trend of 10 percent yearly increases, according to a survey by The Segal Company, a New York actuarial and consulting firm.

"If you catch a disease early on and go though treatment, you can avert much higher medical costs," said Kristi Dickerson, district wellness coordinator.

District officials were warned by state auditors in 2008 that the fund's deficit must be addressed. At the time, claims for treatment and prescription drugs were outstripping premiums by $3 million per year.

Officials responded by increasing some deductibles and out-of-pocket expenses, introducing some co-pays and encouraging more use of generic drugs.

It also introduced the wellness program to reduce the amount it was paying out on treatment of chronic health conditions.

District staff are offered a free yearly health checkup at their place of work by Manatee County Department of Health staff. They also have free use of a fitness center at the district's Professional Support Center.

The district also contracted exercise instructors and sent them to school sites for after-school activities for staff including yoga, tennis, pilates and dancing.

The program is funded by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services through their Retiree Drug Subsidy Program.

The district's health insurance plan covers almost 5,000 employees, 4,500 dependents and about 900 retirees.

Sarasota County School District does not run its own insurance fund. Employees there are offered periodic screening for cholesterol and high blood pressure, said spokesman Scott Ferguson.

Read this full article at
For more client quotes regarding Med-Vision's role,
see Med-Vision Press Release dated 10/27/2010.

10/31/10 Boomer Nation Radio: Leadership Tips for a Greater Workforce

Radio Appearance
Boomer Nation Radio Show
WGUL 860AM Tampa, Fla.
October 31, 2010

Listen to Connie Gee on Boomer Nation

Leadership Tips for a Greater Workforce
October 31, 2010 (Tampa, Fla.) –Med-Vision's vice president and wellness strategist, Connie Gee, was a featured expert on Boomer Nation! radio show on Oct. 31. Gee's segment featured tips on how true leaders can produce positive change in the workplace. Her extensive knowledge is based on a "systems thinking" approach to health and productivity management, which results in proven returns on investments. Empowering employees to create and maintain a balanced lifestyle will equal better health, improved job performance, increased energy levels, and a drive to succeed. Also, communicating long term vision to all stakeholders can create greater workforce productivity and increased morale. Gee, the former wellness leader for Tampa General Hospital, has over 20 years experience working in health promotions, disease management, workforce utilization, wellness programming, and leadership seminars. She appears regularly on Boomer Nation!, offering advice on how to reduce healthcare costs.

08/22/10 Boomer Nation Radio: Regain Control of Your Healthcare Costs

Radio Appearance
Boomer Nation Radio Show
WGUL 860AM Tampa, Fla.
August 22, 2010

Listen to Connie Gee on Boomer Nation

Connie Gee Talks Strategies for Regaining Control of Health Costs
Boomer Nation! radio show featured Med-Vision's vice president and wellness strategist, Connie Gee, as a special guest on Sunday, August 22, 2010. The weekly show airs on Sunday evenings from 5 to 6 p.m. on WGUL 860AM Tampa, Fla., and is also broadcasted live over the internet at: The show's running theme is to provide advice, information, and inspiration for individuals of the baby boomer generation, helping them to live life to the fullest.

Gee provided expert advice for how individuals can regain control of their healthcare costs. Tips included how to improve and maintain wellness as well as how to remain indisposible at work. Gee, the former wellness leader for Tampa General Hospital, has over 20 years experience working in health promotions, disease management, workforce utilization, wellness programming, and leadership seminars.
Listen to Connie Gee on Boomer Nation

08/01/10 Healthcare Reform Magazine: Lower Healthcare Costs Begin With You

Feature Article
Healthcare Reform Magazine
August 2010, Issue 4
By Connie Gee

Published at

Lower Healthecare Costs Begin With YOU
Strategies for individuals and employers to regain control of healthcare costs
The nation is quickly learning that healthcare reform will not be the answer for lower healthcare costs. As the new legislation unfolds, it is likely that the costs will increase for healthcare along with everything supporting that industry.

Basic economics dictate that if demand for healthcare increases faster than supply of qualified healthcare providers, costs will increase. Premiums will also increase for individuals and employers as more individuals are added to the receiving side of healthcare without paying into the system. According to data released by the National Center for Health Statistics in early 2010, nearly 32 million Americans had been uninsured for more than a year as of the 2008 National Health Interview Survey. As of this writing, the question remains: how many of these uninsured citizens will actually pay into the system to afford the increased demand?

Perhaps the biggest reason healthcare reform will not lower costs is that the legislation fails to address the necessity of self-responsibility and accountability. There are few incentives provided to inspire individuals to take care of themselves and their health in the first place. It appears that individuals can continue to do what they want to and count on someone else fixing their problems for them, if the individual allows them to do so.

A counter action, however, would make sense. Lower costs by lowering demand through improved health. This is where the power of the individual can prevail and one person can make a big difference. True health improvements begin with the individuals, those of whom have the power to lower healthcare costs by taking care of themselves first.

Supply and Demand: Sickness Raises the Costs
Put simply, lifestyle choices determine if a person maintains or regains good health. For example, it is up to the individual to consistently monitor and manage high blood pressure so it won't have a negative effect personally or financially. Uncontrolled blood pressure can result in the need for dialysis treatments. Does any individual want to spend three days a week, six hours a day, sitting for medicinal purposes? No. Adding to this burden, the cost for dialysis currently stands at $30,000 to $50,000 per month, per person.

Controlling high blood pressure, and other chronic illnesses such as diabetes, can prevent the inconvenience and the expense of renal failure. For those carelessly thinking they don't have to worry about the expense because the employer or insurance is paying for it – think again. Healthcare costs impact the cost of premiums. The higher the costs, the more premiums increase. As premiums increase, cost sharing increases. The individual ends up paying more for premiums because of this. One step further, as more money is allocated to premiums, the less there is in the budget for other items such as raises, bonuses, educational benefits, and retirement funds. Jobs are, consequently, also in jeopardy because of lack of resources. An entity (including the government) has only so much in revenue, and as one expense item drains the budget, other expense items must be sacrificed.

Purchasing Power: Individuals Control Costs
Employees who are smart healthcare consumers can help save money for themselves, for their employers, and, ultimately, for the nation. Those who are healthcare literate know that generic drug options reduce costs. They have the sense to use a 24/7 nurse-line instead of an emergency room for their suddenly sick child. They also understand the importance of examining medical bills for accuracy just as they would bills at a restaurant or auto shop.

In addition to being cost savvy, healthcare consumers have the power to reduce costs through the act of improving their health. There are simple actions an individual could take to regain control of healthcare costs through wellness:

--Look at where you are now and ask yourself if this is your very best. What would make life better for you? What would better look like to you? What can you do to make it better?
--Write down your vision of a better life for yourself. For example, better health strategies can involve some sort of physical activity, better nutrition, enough sleep, and staying connected in the present moment versus worrying about moments that may not come.
--Take an inventory of your personal and professional life. Can this be better and how? Soul searching questions about your lifestyle could determine what you can do to preserve or maintain your health.
--Define very specifically what all the components of your life mean to you and why they are important to you. Do you want to be around a long time? Do you need to be around to take care of family members? What are your reasons for living longer than diseases will allow you?
--Once you know what you want and why, seek partnerships and ask others to help you along your journey. Determine what support you need and want. Decide if you are honestly willing to ask for it. You must clearly express your needs to solicit the type of help you need from those you have identified to help you.
--In addition to family and friends, consult your physician for guidance. Statistics show that physicians have an average of six minutes per patient; therefore, you should go in prepared with your research and a list of specific questions. Consider the doctor your partner in good health.
--Once you are on the right track, make it a commitment. Annual screenings are a must, but also be sure to monitor and keep records for yourself throughout the year. You know "you" better than anyone.

Marginal Cost: Employers Evoke Change
Healthcare continues with the employer. The employer has the influence to empower employees to achieve better health. Employers can provide opportunities at work to help their employees make better choices. As a result, the employer will reap the benefits of having healthier, more productive employees. Loyalty and morale will also simultaneously improve.

By investing in an organization's greatest asset (employees), employers will save money short term and long term because healthy employees can do more, can be faster, can be engaged in their work, can think clearly, and can be energetic and enthused individuals. This is the company image every employer wants customers to see.

Starting from the top, employers can take responsibility in taking care of employees through wellness programming, strategic benefits planning, and making healthcare education a part of the company culture. The opportunities are endless with what employers can do to enhance a team's efforts. While it's the individuals' ultimate responsibility, the employer can be a supporting partner to decrease the demand and to help lower costs at the individual level.

07/25/10 Boomer Nation Radio: Featured Guest - Connie Gee of Med-Vision

Radio Appearance
Boomer Nation Radio Show
WGUL 860AM Tampa, Fla.
July 25, 2010

Listen to Connie Gee on Boomer Nation

Connie Gee of Med-Vision Featured Guest on Boomer Nation
Boomer Nation! radio show featured vice president and wellness strategist, Connie Gee, as a special guest on Sunday, July 25, 2010. The weekly show airs on Sunday evenings from 5 to 6 p.m. on WGUL 860AM Tampa, Fla., and is also broadcasted live over the internet at: The show’s running theme is to provide advice, information, and inspiration for individuals of the baby boomer generation, helping them to live life to the fullest.

Gee provided expert advice for employers regarding employee wellness, emphasizing the financial and productivity benefits. Gee, the former wellness leader for Tampa General Hospital, has over 20 years experience working in health promotions, disease management, workforce utilization, wellness programming, and leadership seminars.
Listen to Connie Gee on Boomer Nation

05/01/10 The Self-Insurer: Predictive Modeling, Incentives are Keys

Journal Article
The Self-Insurer
The World's Leading Alternative Risk Transfer Journal Since 1984
Volume 27 - May 2010
View this issue at

Predictive Modeling, Incentives are Keys to Effective Wellness Programs
By Kathleen Sullivan, Executive Vice President of Business Development
First Service Administrators, Inc. (FSAI)

... In evaluating the root causes of its clients' escalating healthcare costs, Med-Vision found that most lacked awareness of what was driving both costs and care outcomes. Convinced that state-of-the-art healthcare data-gathering and analysis capabilities would empower it to deliver the solutions employer groups needed, Med-Vision opted to deploy the D2Explorer from Verisk Health Inc....
Download a PDF article clipping

05/01/10 Florida Trend Magazine: Healthcare Innovations--Getting A Handle On Costs

Magazine Article
Florida Trend, May 2010
By Amy Keller, Florida Trend

Healthcare Innovations: Ahead of the Curve

View this article online at

After 20 years in the employee benefits industry, including 17 years at Cigna, Dan Ross is using his expertise to help private companies and other large employers find ways to trim their healthcare expenses.

Consider, he says, prescription drug coverage. Most employers assume that retail pharmacies cost significantly more than mail-order pharmacies, but thanks to hidden fees and other costs imposed by pharmacy benefit managers (PBMs), the mail-order prescriptions often cost employers significantly more for generic drugs than they’d pay using a community pharmacy. “There’s no reason you should let an insurance company handle your prescription drug benefit because they mark up the drugs like you wouldn’t believe. You can figure an extra $10 to $15 per employee, per month,” says Ross, CEO and founder of MedVision, a Tampa-based consulting company that helps self-insured companies get more bang for their healthcare dollar.

Dan Ross, CEO of MedVision, helps self-insured companies save on healthcare expenses. Ross recommends that clients farm out some options like prescription drug benefits to providers other than insurance companies. Ross also gets his clients to focus on preventive healthcare and managing chronic disease, which he notes is the No. 1 driver of healthcare costs. MedVision has also partnered with companies like North Carolina-based Biologics, which provides strategies to elevate cancer care while lowering cancer costs — a key considering that cancer can absorb 15% to 25% of an employer’s annual healthcare budget.

In the year since Manatee County schools hired MedVision, ER visits are down 70%, breast cancer claims and expenses are down 20%, back pain claims are down 20% and preventive office visits are up 66%. Other clients include the Archdiocese of Miami, Sarasota County government and Moffitt Cancer Center.
--Amy Keller, Florida Trend, May 2010

04/30/10 Thompson Publishing: Reform Grants to Fund Wellness Programs

Industry Article
Thompson Publishing
Reducing Healthcare Costs for Employers - Newsletter
Employee Benefits Series, Volume I, 2010
Excerpt: April 30, 2010 Issue No. 8
View this full newsletter at

Employers Prepare for Reform Grants to Fund Wellness Programs
... To qualify, Section 10408 of the PPACA requires that a program must include: health awareness initiatives; efforts to maximize employee participation; initiatives to change unhealthy behaviors and lifestyle choices; and efforts to create a “supportive environment.” Applying will be arduous and will require soul-searching, says Connie Gee, an employer wellness adviser and vice president of MedVision in Tampa, Fla.

Although the grant forms and application instructions are not yet available, employers should expect these to be similar to standard government grant forms. They’ll require a written business plan in which the company’s wellness program is organized and described with steps that will be taken to get it started, Gee says. Applications will be taken beginning this summer, and the funding will be available from 2011 to 2015, provided there is enough money and the program isn’t flooded with applications like last summer’s car rebate program. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) will decide who meets criteria and who will receive the grant money...

Download a PDF article clipping

Contact Connie Gee for more information about Reform Grants or schedule her to speak at your next event on this subject: 813-205-1577 or email

03/15/10 Thompson Publishing: Battling Employee Chronic Health Conditions

Industry Article
Thompson Publishing
Reducing Healthcare Costs for Employers - Newsletter
Employee Benefits Series, Volume I, 2010
Excerpt: March 15, 2010 Issue No. 5
View this full newsletter at

Battling Employee Chronic Health Conditions Early
Is Key to Reducing Health Care Costs

... Chronic diseases account for more than 75 percent of the nation’s $2 trillion medical care costs, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta.

Unless employers put more effort into their workforce’s preventive health care, they’ll fail to slow rapidly increasing health care costs, experts say.

What employers often do not realize is that their rising health care costs are not the result of physicians and providers raising their fees, but the result of a slim proportion of sick people becoming sicker and costing more, says Dan Ross, president of health care quality and risk management consulting firm Med-Vision LLC of Tampa, Fla.

“We should be spending our health care dollars to prevent people from [suffering acute health breakdowns], not rushing in when they [suffer them] and arguing about the discount,” Ross says. “But that’s the way the system is.”...

Download a PDF article clipping.

03/01/10 Bay Area Business Magazine: Dropping Employee Health Coverage? Think again.

Magazine Editorial
BABM (Bay Area Business Magazine) Mar/April 2010
By Connie Gee, Vice President of Med-Vision

Dropping Employee Health Coverage? Think again.
View this article online at

Many CFOs and other decision makers are contemplating the idea of eliminating employee healthcare benefits as a viable cost containment option. The first top-level thought is that you can hardly blame them. Considering healthcare is an escalating cost, dropping plans would represent an annual savings of several million for most companies.

Granted, it is tempting to think that these savings from not paying premiums or self-funded administrative fees, insurance industry fees and Human Resource administration costs could be potentially reallocated to revenue-driven business investments. Although if you do lean towards this choice, are you aware of the consequences?

Consider these corporate soul-searching questions:
1. What will be your return on investment from your greatest asset?
If you fail to invest in employees, it may cost you in terms of innovation, ultimately hurting the long-term value of your brand. Employees may see plan cancellations as “corporate greed” or label it short-term thinking for the sake of shareholder value. Yes, shareholder value is in the forefront, but decision makers cannot underestimate the bottom line impact of motivated employees who build customer loyalty.
2. How will you make up the lost value of the benefit?
If you consider subsidizing employees to buy their own insurance, will you subsidize to the same value of what you have taken away, or will you reduce it by the amount you may have to pay to the government for lack of coverage? If you subsidize to the same value, you have just increased your costs, including additional payroll tax liability for the employee and for the company. You also give up any tax deduction benefit for providing healthcare benefits.
3. Would a subsidy be enough to cover a public option?
If so, for how long? History shows that government programs start out at a low cost the first year but quickly double within a year or two as administrative costs increase. You may also discover that there are more budget items than had been planned or admitted.
4. How will your company’s Workers’ Compensation costs be impacted?
As wages and medical costs go up, so do Workers’ Compensation rates, which have been known to jump almost 200% in a year. The financial implications of an increase in injuries, a rise in legal fees and higher premiums could be detrimental. Even worse, disloyal employees could look to Workers’ Compensation as an opportunity to acquire early retirement through a cash settlement or as a way to be paid two-thirds their regular pay – while on leave. Most employees could also be eligible for additional government entitlement programs and payments. In response, you could increase investments in prevention methods such as workstation and equipment assessments, staff training, education, and monitoring of safety procedures.
5. What effect will this have on unemployment compensation?
Employee morale and productivity of certain workers feeling “shortchanged” is inevitable. After all, the company just reduced its compensation package. Employees may suddenly not be motivated to give the 150 percent they have been asked to give in recent years; in turn, you may be faced with a decision to reduce the workforce and grant undeserving claimants unemployment benefits.
6. Will not having a healthcare benefit impact recruitment?
If your turnover rate increases, you will need to compete to replace outstanding talent. Benefit packages have always greatly influenced a candidate’s decision to accept or decline an employment offer. If your benefit plan has been effectively communicated to potential and existing employees, it most certainly has helped promote a positive image and a distinct competitive advantage in recruiting. Without the healthcare benefit, your competition could have a differential advantage, which would leave you strapped to find an alternative offering, thus, again increasing costs elsewhere.

IMPROVING benefits opposed to reducing…
While mulling over the above questions, think about the quality of your benefit plan. It’s vital for management to monitor efficiencies and accountability of all parties concerned. Whether through training or professional planners, an enhanced understanding of healthcare planning can result in bottom line savings. Employees who are smart healthcare consumers can help you save money. They know about generic drug options and have the sense to use a 24/7 nurse-line instead of an emergency room for their suddenly sick child. They also understand the importance of examining medical bills for accuracy just as they would bills at a restaurant or auto shop.

CONTROLLING your healthcare costs...
When a CFO makes the strategic business decision to play an active role in assessments to manage healthcare costs, the benefits will pay off. There are qualified, medical consulting experts who can help every step of the way, whether in setting up a self-funded program or in improving quality of care through wellness initiatives and risk management. Consistent and reliable assessment of your plan is vital in containing costs. Early identification of solutions to reduce risks and reverse trends can result in cutting healthcare costs, which proves to be a more affordable option than the consequences of dropping benefits altogether.

02/28/10 Thompson Publishing: Reducing Healthcare Costs for Employers

Industry Article
Thompson Publishing
Reducing Healthcare Costs for Employers - Newsletter
Employee Benefits Series, Volume I, 2010
Excerpt: February 28, 2010 Issue No. 4
View this full newsletter at

Employers May Be Able to Save Thousands
By Evaluating Drug-management Charges

... The quickest way to save money is to identify high mark-ups on generic drugs. Forrest Branscomb [of Manatee School District] hired a consultant who analyzed the district’s drug spending and showed him how the PBM was charging the district far more for some generic drugs than what an employee would pay out of pocket at a discount retailer like Wal-Mart, Costco’s, Kmart, Target, or even some grocery store chains.

For example, the PBM [Pharmacy Benefit Manager] charges included a $180 charge for 90 days of a generic statin drug. The employee paid a $20 copay for the drug when it was filled, says Dan Ross, president of Med-Vision LLC of Tampa. Ross worked with Branscomb on identifying some of the easier ways to save health care costs.

“That same drug costs $10 at Wal-Mart for a 90-day supply,” Ross says. “It’s incredible!” In such cases, employers should attempt to renegotiate with the PBM. To do so, Manatee hired an attorney who understood the complex language and terms of PBM contracts, Branscomb says. “You have to rely on experts because there are a lot of dollars out there that you can save,” he adds. ...

Download a PDF article clipping.

02/01/10 CFO Magazine: Healthcare Reform...What Will Companies Do?

Magazine Article
CFO Magazine: In print February 1, 2010
By Alix Stuart, Senior Editor

What Will Companies Do?
As health-care reform starts and stops, CFOs face difficult decisions about where to invest now.
View this full article at

... Pretzel maker Snyder's of Hanover has kept its health costs flat for five years, thanks in part to efforts to steer employees toward annual physicals, health fairs, and Internet-based second opinions. Even if the company ultimately decides to drop coverage, "it would still be worthwhile to have a wellness program because of the productivity savings," says Penny Opalka, manager of benefits and compensation.

Related On-Line Article January 13, 2010
By Alix Stuart, Senior Editor

Do Wellness Programs Make Cents?
Employers investing in ways to contain health-care costs, but few know what they're getting back.
View this full article at

... Snyder's of Hanover, for example, managed to keep health costs per employee month flat for five years between 2003 and 2008, in part due to sophisticated data analyses and efforts to steer employees toward annual physicals and top experts in any given field. Last year, however, several health-screening fairs at the Pennsylvania-based pretzel-maker's various manufacturing facilities turned up employees with serious illnesses, saving at least one employee's life, according to Penny Opalka, manager of benefits and compensation.

12/14/09 St. Petersburg Times: Corporate Checkup Can Yield Healthcare Savings

News Article
The St. Petersburg Times: In print Dec. 14, 2009
By Irene Maher, Times Staff Writer

Corporate checkup can yield healthcare savings
View this article online at
TAMPA — If any employer would know how to manage its own workers' health care expenses, you might think it would be a hospital.

But at a time when costs are soaring so high that many employers are cutting or even eliminating coverage, even health experts need help.

That's the case at Moffitt Cancer Center, which three years ago hired Tampa consulting firm MedVision to look at how its 3,100 employees were using their health benefits.

Today, the most visible result of that analysis is a new clinic where workers can get basic care. MedVision discovered that many employees were putting off going to the doctor because they didn't want to take so much time away from work. As a result, simple ailments sometimes became costlier problems.

The clinic "is here, it's free, it's accessible. The easier we can make it for employees to access primary care, the better," says Michele Talka, director of compensation benefits at Moffitt.

Talka said that and other changes recommended by MedVision have controlled costs enough that Moffitt could limit employee premium increases this year. That despite the fact that it has hired some older workers with pricier health issues.

Last week, MedVision invited local employers to the Tampa Club downtown to hear about its services, and 43 people sat in rapt attention.

Among them were Margaret McGarrity of the Sarasota County Sheriff's Office, which is considering breaking away from the county health plan and putting its 976 employees in a self-insured group.

"We're just in the exploration phase, but we're looking at all our options," McGarrity said.

Little wonder. At a time when politicians are struggling with health reform and clearly nervous about Medicare cuts, employers are having to find their own ways to contain costs. And their workers can testify that for all the political uproar, managed care already is a fact of life.

The cost of employer-sponsored health care is up 5 percent this year, according to the Kaiser Family Foundation. Workers paid an average of just over $3,500 for family coverage this year, while employers contributed more than $9,800 per worker. At this rate, the cost to employers will rise to more than $28,000 per worker in a decade, according to the Business Roundtable.

Enter the health care consultant industry, which promises savings — or at least better controlled increases — by analyzing spending patterns.

At the Tampa Club presentation, Biologics, which specializes in the cost of cancer care, said it saved one client $19,000 when it discovered a patient was billed for a higher dose of medication than she actually received. In another case, switching a colon cancer patient from a brand-name drug to a similar generic drug netted a savings of more than $15,000.

MedVision works exclusively with self-funded employer groups such as Moffitt, Manatee County schools and Sarasota County government. MedVision president Dan Ross, who started the company in 2005, has more than 20 years in the employee health industry, 17 of them spent at Cigna.

The single biggest way to control costs, he said, is spending more on wellness.

"Our goal is to prevent people from getting sick and to keep people from getting worse," he said.

In Florida, he said, the biggest costs MedVision sees surround cancer care.

"In (employee) groups where a lot of women are over age 40, breast cancer is costly," he said. "We look at what percentage of women are getting mammograms and we can almost always improve those numbers" of women getting regular screenings to catch tumors early.

Research shows that many patients with chronic illnesses such as diabetes, high blood pressure and arthritis often don't take their medication as prescribed. They may stop it if they start to feel better or the side effects become intolerable. That can lead to serious, even life-threatening complications.

So MedVision might recommend bringing in nurses to coach those patients on the need to stick with their treatment. In other cases, data analysis might reveal high use of expensive brand-name drugs for which there are generic substitutes.

Moffitt, for instance, no longer pays for pricey acid reflux reliever Nexium, only covering the generic version. Other than insisting on generics, Moffitt has not eliminated treatments from its coverage, she said.

Talka notes that using MedVision's services enables Moffitt to make these changes while preserving patient confidentiality.

"We don't care who has diabetes. We just want to know how many cases we have," she said.

"If someone hasn't filled their blood pressure prescription in six months," Talka said, "then disease management nurses will reach out to them to discuss what's going on."

But reaching out is all they can do. Employee participation is strictly voluntary, she said.

"We can't make people get medical care."
View this article online at the St. Petersburg Times' site
Published December 14th 2009.

--> Return to news and research categories.

20/20 Healthcare Vision

Like us on Facebook
Follow us on LinkedIn
Med-Vision Watch us on Youtube

Ready to reduce costs?

seattletimesRead a Seattle Times piece regarding how to solve the healthcare challenge by reducing costs, not shifting more costs to workers.

med-vision-on nbc
-Facility Saves $11 Million

-District Saves Millions.


Med-Vision's President,
Dan Ross, Discusses
Healthcare Reform.

See What Our Clients Are Saying

"Med-Vision has provided a unique service niche in the data warehousing and analysis arena..."

read more testimonials