Wausau Pilot & Review

Editor’s note: Business of the Week is a sponsored feature that shares the stories of locally-owned and operated businesses in the Wausau area, highlighting the products and services they offer and the ways they contribute to the metro area’s unique flavor. Learn how to feature your business by emailing christina@wausaupilotandreview.com.

Anovia Health – a primary care provider that opened in February in Weston. Photo courtesy of Anovia Health

This week’s featured Wausau-area business is Anovia Health, a primary care provider with a clear mission: Creating greater access to quality care by driving down costs and inefficiencies in the healthcare marketplace. Independent, unaffiliated primary care, often called or referred to as DPC (direct primary care), is a relatively new concept in Wisconsin but has been growing throughout the U.S. over more than a decade. In direct primary care clinics, primary care doctors and their provider teams are independent from hospital networks. This allows them to focus on the best interests of patients and payers rather than being limited to their hospital’s network of providers and prices, said Ken Strmiska, Vice President and Chief Operating Officer. 

Not to be confused with an insurance company, Anovia is a direct provider offering services to both individuals and businesses. The group takes basic Medicare, but not commercial insurance or Medicaid. In addition to Strmiska the leadership team includes CEO Brian Dominick, Dr. Brian Erdmann, President of Anovia Health Clinics, and Dr. Sabina Singh, Chief Medical Officer.

Anovia Health, which opened in February at 7402 Stone Ridge Dr. in Weston, offers transparent pricing, avoiding surprise bills while driving better patient care and lower costs. 

“Bankrupting people and making our companies less competitive because businesses are devoting more resources each year to healthcare than to innovation is not a winning solution for our local communities,” Strmiska said. Here, Strmiska describes the services the care the organization provides, how they work with area organizations to keep healthcare costs manageable, and what makes the organization unique. 

What makes Wausau a perfect fit for your organization? In other words, why did you choose to open here?

In Wisconsin, and especially in central Wisconsin, we unfortunately have some of the highest costs for healthcare in the nation.  Businesses and individual payers deserve another quality affordable option from the current major preferred provider networks (PPOs) that are available to them.  The founders of Anovia are all Wisconsinites.  We want to see this state remain a great place to live and grow a business.  A significant part of this is having affordable healthcare.

How many providers do you have and what are their specialties? 

Anovia believes in physician led care teams. Currently, we have three primary care physicians, two medical assistants and an RN who serve our patients in the Wausau and Stevens Point markets.  As we grow, we will bring on additional physicians and advanced practice clinicians such as Nurse Practitioners and Physicians Assistants. Because of their advanced training and experience, every person deserves to have a physician involved in their care.

Right now our regular hours are Monday through Friday 8:00 am to 4:00 pm.  Extended hours are at the discretion of the physician. It is not uncommon for one of our physicians to start earlier in the morning or stay later to accommodate the schedule of a patient. But in addition to office hours, our physicians take after hours calls and do tele-video visits. We are available around the clock, 365 days of the year. But one of the promises of independent primary care is easy access to the care team and unlimited visits. Because of the accessibility and the amount of time that we spend with patients, they don’t wait for something to become an emergency that leads to a call at 2 a.m. We see them at one of our clinics or do a tele-video call as soon as possible.

On your website, you say you view healthcare as a partnership. What do you mean by that, and what do you do to ensure that’s what patients come away with?

Good lifetime health starts at the primary care level and this is where Anovia specializes. We can manage 70 to 80% of an individual’s lifetime healthcare issues. Because this is a lifetime relationship, the best health outcomes happen when there is a trusting relationship between the patient and the healthcare provider. We create the environment for this type of relationship with  30 to 60 minute visits, easy access to the physician or care team, and removing as many financial barriers as possible— making care affordable. By having longer appointments and same or next day access to the care team, Anovia providers have time to listen and to create  a bond of trust with the patient. For people in the PPO-network, they get a 15-minute appointment, of which only about only 7 to 10 minutes is with a provider. In this environment, the average provider interrupts hisor her patient every 7 seconds! The reason—they don’t have time to listen and they have two or three other patients who are waiting to be seen.  

But we can’t do it alone. We can create the right environment, but we need patients who own the responsibility for their health. A lot of health comes down to lifestyle, genetics and – frankly – luck. We are not asking people to be perfect, but we need them to get regular and scheduled check-ups, take medications as prescribed, follow treatment protocols as discussed with the provider, and take the initiative to get in to see the care team before some routine issue progresses to the point that it is so severe that it requires emergency treatment.  

What kinds of partnerships do you offer corporate members?

Company sponsored healthcare remains the number one benefit and the biggest reason that people are attracted to or stay with an employer. Over the past several years, this benefit has become increasingly unaffordable for companies to offer. For many organizations, healthcare is the second or third highest cost of doing business. As a strategy to limit costs, companies have been sharing more of the cost burden with employees through higher premiums and copays.  Wisconsin-based companies and their employees are at a breaking point.  

About six months ago we came out with a strategy called our Corporate Healthcare Solution.  For companies that have at least 50 people (employees and dependents) enrolled in their healthcare plan, we offer them a fair monthly membership rate that starts at $21. Companies pay us directly for their primary care and then use insurance to cover catastrophic healthcare needs. Because we are independent and not affiliated with any PPO network, we can also direct patients to other lower cost providers for labs, imaging and other specialty services. Frankly, it is in our appropriate guidance of the company’s employees use of speciality care where the most savings occur.  

When we work with companies, we continually stress to them that they should not put financial barriers up for their employees to receive primary care. Primary care is the least expensive care to deliver and it returns the most in terms of future downstream savings. In the end, our corporate clients and their employees are getting a better healthcare experience at an affordable price.

What makes Anovia Health different?

There are three things that make us different: 

  • We are independent and unaffiliated from the hospital based PPO network, which means we keep people off their escalator that is incentivized to send patients to higher cost specialists and services.
  • We offer fair and transparent pricing —  you will know how much something is going to cost and how we make our money.
  • We provide a better care experience that is being led by physician based teams.  

We are creating a primary care experience that we would like to use and that will not bankrupt the payer— be it a company or individual.  

Connect with Anovia Health

Anovia Health Weston Clinic

7402 Stone Ridge Dr. Suite 3

Weston, WI  

(715) 636-0590

Anovia Health Stevens Point Clinic

2417 Post Rd. Suite D.

Stevens Point, WI

(715) 883-3200

Website:  www.anoviahealth.com