Dr. Bryan Fine, a local pediatrician, has been a physician for more than 15 years. In addition to practicing medicine, he has also been interested and engaged in health policy as part of his practice. In his opinion, it is becoming increasingly clear that his patients don’t fully understand their health benefits, which can have significant financial ramifications. He has also discovered that many physicians don’t understand their patients’ health benefits, which can lead to major expenses that could have been avoided.
“This is something I’ve been teaching my residents, medical students and colleagues for a long time,” says Dr. Fine. “I’ve given talks on it. I’ve written books articles about it. So I just decided to package it up better to be able to provide it to the masses.”
He started Percentric, a health benefits consulting firm that allows him to translate his bedside experience into opportunities for human resource managers to better engage and support employees while optimizing expenses. The company also strives to work with a company’s employees to access and fully understand their health benefits.
Getting both sides of the equation to understand what he’s trying to do and how it can help everyone has been Dr. Fine’s biggest challenge. However, he believes he is making good progress and as soon as all the light bulbs go on, he’ll be gaining some excellent traction with the growth of his business.
“In think an ongoing obstacle that I continue to work to overcome is the divide—the distance between healthcare and connecting that to how much that healthcare will actually cost somebody,” he says. “There are so many different variables and players, and there are so many different ways to point the finger at somebody else about who is responsible for something. That’s part of what I’m trying to do, to navigate that for the patients’ benefit and for the employers’ benefit.”
Part of the struggle is that the idea he is presenting is a rather new concept and one that can be difficult to understand. Fortunately, his background as a physician has been beneficial, not only from being able to make contact with other doctors and healthcare providers but also from a perspective of expertise.
“This is a pretty unusual theory for most people,” Fine says. “There are some doctors who are savvy about it but not many, not enough. But I haven’t found a previous model where a physician goes out and enters the world where health insurance brokers have typically tip-toed, and I’ve tried to bring that inside knowledge into the boardroom and make a point to emphasize it. Brokers may say that they provide some of the services that I’m presenting, but I bring something to the table others don’t, which is the practice of medicine. So I could, in fact, supplement what brokers do if they wanted to add value. I could work with brokers and offer these services to their clients, which provides a degree of employee support that goes well above and beyond what they currently offer.”
Knowing that running a business is a constantly evolving process, Fine is comfortable remaining small for now and building over time. “I’m happy staying small. I can grow while still being small for quite some time. I don’t have all the answers yet, but we’ve had some really good successes,” he says. “We’ve saved businesses money, and we’ve saved a lot of individual people a significant amount of money just by encouraging them to be educated, ask questions and advocate for themselves.”