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First Electronic Healthcare Network in the U.S. Begins Operations in Buffalo, NY
Date:2/16/2009

they become bigger ones which many times can become a prescription for disaster."

Even consumers with insurance can benefit, Wolfson said, noting that some plans require a consumer to pay a high deductible before major coverage kicks in. Also, not all plans include dental, vision or drug coverage.

The launch of the new system marks the culmination of a five-year odyssey for Wolfson, an ATM industry veteran known for previously launching the MetroTeller and Cartel card networks before shifting gears in 2003. That's when he saw a chance to modernize the health insurance business, which has remained a time-consuming and paper-driven business.

His plans for Health Transaction Network initially called for automating insurance verifications, referrals, and claims processing using "smart cards" with microchips to identify patients at a provider's office, confirm their eligibility for coverage, and begin seeking reimbursement from insurers. But the idea didn't catch on.

The new idea, unveiled in October 2007, bypasses the insurers, and proved attractive to area hospitals, especially in outlying areas. That's because they get paid right away, by cash, check, or credit or debit card. There's no billing or paperwork, and no claims processing, eliminating the delay and administrative costs that typically account for 20 to 30 percent of the cost of a medical transaction.

"This is all cash, on the spot," Wolfson said. "There's no paper. They get paid right away."

Additionally, the providers benefit from increased business, seeing patients that might not normally even come in for treatment. And it could lessen the burden on emergency rooms, as people getting wellness or basic sick care don't need to go to the ER for such treatment.

"Primary and preventative care is the key to reducing healthcare costs," said Joseph A. Ruffolo, CEO of Niagara Falls Memorial
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SOURCE HealthTransaction Network
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