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Emerging Washington State Health Care Model Secures $7.5 Million in Venture Capital
Date:7/7/2009

SEATTLE, July 7 /PRNewswire/ -- Qliance Medical Management Inc., which operates insurance-free direct primary care clinics -- also known as "direct medical homes" -- in Washington State, today announced it has closed a $4 million funding round from three institutional venture capital firms, led by Second Avenue Partners with participation by New Atlantic Ventures and Clear Fir Partners, bringing its total capital raised to approximately $7.5 million. The company plans to use the proceeds to add new clinics for its medical practice partner, Qliance Medical Group of Washington PC., operating under the Qliance(R) brand.

"We see the Qliance direct primary care model as an important transformational option to health care reform that is easily scalable for other communities across the U.S.," said Nick Hanauer, managing partner of Second Avenue Partners, based in Seattle. "Their innovative health care model reduces costs dramatically for individuals and businesses while delivering exceptional care and access for patients."

In lieu of insurance and co-pays, Qliance patients pay monthly membership fees covering all direct care, ranging between $39 and $79, depending on their age. In exchange, Qliance patients get unrestricted primary and preventive care for everyday things like vaccinations, checkups, pneumonia, minor fractures, routine women's health exams, and ongoing care for chronic illnesses such as diabetes, hypertension or obesity. Hospital in-patient rounds can also be included for a slightly higher monthly membership fee. Other benefits of Qliance direct primary care include:

  • No limits for pre-existing conditions
  • Unhurried 30- to 60-minute office visits
  • Same- or next-day appointments for urgent care needs
  • Open 7 days per week, with 24 hour cell phone and email access to a physician
  • On-site x-ray, laboratory and "first-fill" prescription drug dispensary

In those rare circumstances when outside specialist care or hospitalization is required, Qliance physicians and nurse practitioners serve as a patient's "medical home," operating as the central coordination point for all other care and services. To cover the costs of any necessary outside care, most Qliance members choose a low-premium insurance plan for unpredictable serious and catastrophic illnesses, such as trauma sustained in a serious car accident or cancer. Qliance direct primary care provides a comprehensive health care coverage solution when bundled with a "wrap-around" insurance plan, and can typically save patients between 40 and 50 percent and employers between 20 and 35 percent on health care costs.

"The Qliance direct primary care model begins to fix what is broken with health care in America," said John Backus, managing partner of New Atlantic Ventures, based in Reston, Virginia. "With direct primary care like Qliance, it is possible to do what many in Congress think is impossible - to extend quality health care to more Americans while actually reducing cost for all."

"Most people don't realize that insurance is simply not needed for 90 percent of the reasons people go to a doctor today. By operating without the hassles of insurance reimbursement overhead, Qliance providers can reduce costs for patients and employers and focus on what we were trained to do - practice medicine and heal," said Dr. Garrison Bliss, co-founder and chief medical officer of Qliance Medical Management and a 30-year internal medicine physician who left insurance behind in 1997 and created the first broadly affordable direct primary care model in the nation. "We're gratified Second Avenue Partners, New Atlantic Ventures and Clear Fir Partners share our vision to transform health care and expand the direct primary care model to more communities."

Qliance currently has one clinic in downtown Seattle and will be opening its second in Kent, Wash. in August. A third is planned around the end of this year. The company is currently in discussions with several large groups to extend its model to other parts of the country.

Qliance Medical Management Inc. was founded in 2006, evolving from Dr. Bliss' private practice, with seed investment from Second Avenue Partners, Clear Fir Partners, and other private investors. In 2007, the Washington State legislature recognized direct primary care as an innovative health care delivery model not to be regulated as insurance, paving the way for all Washingtonians to access and afford quality health care.

For more information about Qliance, visit www.Qliance.com.

About Qliance Medical Management

Qliance Medical Management was founded in 2006 and provides operating and management services to Qliance Medical Group of Washington PC. Qliance direct primary care offers people of all ages and incomes unrestricted access to all types of primary, preventive and chronic illness care for one monthly membership fee, ranging between $39 and $79, depending on age. Qliance does not exclude anyone for pre-existing conditions and offers unhurried same- and next-day appointments 7-days per week. Through Qliance, patients and employers are getting exceptional care and saving between 20 and 50 percent on comprehensive health care costs when bundled with wrap-around insurance. Qliance and its direct primary care model, which was pioneered by co-founder Dr. Garrison Bliss in 1997, is backed by Second Avenue Partners and Clear Fir Partners LP in Seattle and New Atlantic Ventures in Reston, Va. and Cambridge, Mass. For more information, visit www.Qliance.com.

About Second Avenue Partners

Second Avenue Partners is a Seattle-based provider of management, strategy, and capital for early stage companies. Second Avenue Partners' investment approach is to make early-stage investments in promising ventures which exhibit transformative business models in their respective industries. It builds long-term relationships, actively assisting its portfolio companies in becoming market leaders. Second Avenue Partners has funded companies such as aQuantive (acquired by Microsoft), HouseValues (NASDAQ: SOLD, now known as Market Leader); Insitu (acquired by Boeing); Azaleos; Ice Energy, Qliance Medical Management; Fantasy Moguls; Newsvine; Coolspotters; Realself; and Rubicon. For more information, visit www.secondave.com.

About New Atlantic Ventures

New Atlantic Ventures is a leading early-stage venture capital firm targeting investments in technology companies in emerging mass markets. Through its offices in Cambridge, MA and Reston, VA, NAV targets companies in the Eastern United States, while also pursuing select opportunities nationwide. The NAV portfolio includes investments in Pontiflex, Stitcher, GateRocket, Mpowerplayer, TVU Networks, Koofers, Secure Command, FashionPlaytes and Qliance Medical Management. For more information, visit www.navfund.com

About Clear Fir Partners LP

Clear Fir Partners LP is a private, early-stage limited partnership, based in Seattle, with a history of early-stage investments in small and growing companies in emerging markets. Its portfolio includes InfoSpace (NASDAQ: INSP), Audience Science (formerly Revenue Science), Insitu, MInfo, Qliance Medical Management, Pet Holdings, Inc., and Lydian Trust, and Petra Growth Funds I & II.


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SOURCE Qliance Medical Management Inc.
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