Let the Health Care Revolution Begin

By Paul Gahlinger

Paul Gahlinger is an adjunct professor at the University of Utah Medical School and medical director of the Davis County jail system but he is not what you’d call a typical M.D. Raised in Canada, he taught epidemiology and biostatistics before deciding, in his mid-30s, to enter medical school. He has traveled to over 120 countries. He consults for NASA. He has published five medical- or aviation-related books. Now he aims to revolutionize the healthcare industry with a high-quality, efficient, cash-based healthcare clinical service.

Next month the first of his MediCruiser clinic and house call services will open. Located in a stripmall on a street full of big box superstores, MediCruiser will be a  paperless clinic offering urgent care and a variety of specialized services.

He remembers the subtle pressure exerted on the doctors to hustle patients along when he worked at an occupational health clinic. This inspired him to devise a system that returns power to the patient -the amount you spend and what you have done is determined by you, not by some health insurance clerk.

MediCruiser will charge by time rather than procedure. In other words, you can have as much time as you want with the doctor-whether for advice or procedures or any other service of your choice, at $4/minute including lab tests.

Unlike conventional medical services, he says, there is no nickel-and-dime charging for every extra service, no higher costs for specialists, no extra fees for basic medications or wound dressings, just a single charge that will usually be less than a ski lift ticket.

Eventually MediCruiser will also operate a fleet of Chrysler PT Cruisers and Toyota Land Cruisers that will come to your home, hotel or workplace for roughly the same cost. Gahlinger believes MediCruiser will revolutionize American medical care.

“Nationwide, the average doctor visit is six minutes,” he says. “And insurance companies pay only for one complaint per visit. You can’t say, ‘hey, doc, would you look at this mole?’ when you’re in for headaches.” With his model of medical care, that’s not the case.

“I was once in a private practice with another doctor where we had three fulltime billing people, dealing with 26 different insurance companies, all with various requirements. This is considered normal,” says Gahlinger. His clinic will not take insurance, but will provide data that you can submit yourself for reimbursement.

Gahlinger, who has citizenship in the U.S., Canada and Switzerland, points out that the CEO of United Health got $800 million in one recent year. “Plus shareholders expect a profit. Add 30% for nonmedical costs-marketing and so on- and you can see why insurance is so costly.” With Canadian healthcare, there is still a third party involved-the government. But the government does not have to make a profit on your body. As a result, healthcare is accessible and affordable to everyone.

“Our medical system is dysfunctional,” concludes Gahlinger. “With competition between patient and physician, care gets lost. Good quality care takes more than six minutes.” And good quality care is what he aims to offer.                 – GBdJ

Medicruiser Clinic opening in February at 1850 South 300 West, just south of CostCo.


This article was originally published on January 1, 2008.