FAST 25: Activate Healthcare

Keywords 2016 Fast 25 / Fast 25

Revenue Growth FY 2014 to 2016: 83%


Principals Debra Geihsler and Peter Dunn help companies reduce their health care costs by providing on-and near-site primary care clinics. (IBJ photo/Eric Learned)

Earned growth: Activate Healthcare principal and co-founder Peter Dunn said his company has earned the right to grow its business, which provides on- and near-site primary care medical clinics for employers to serve their employees and families. He offers some numbers: Activate has more than 40 clinics now averaging more than 90 percent employee participation. For every dollar companies spend with Activate, they average getting back more than $1.50 in savings. The savings result “primarily because we provide proactive primary-care support,” Dunn said. “We catch higher-risk conditions early and manage them effectively, which avoids costs downstream.”

Examples: Dunn said one client, a county government with 600 employees, has reduced its health care costs $3 million in five years. For every dollar spent on Activate, that organization has saved $2.50. Another client, a union that contracted with Activate, has saved almost $8 million and gotten back more than $2 for every dollar invested. “It’s a positive experience for the patients and for our business partners and a positive experience for our providers,” said Debra Geihsler, who co-founded Activate with Dunn. “We’ve been able to continue to grow because we’re able to show good return on investment.”

Employees save too: Geihsler said employees also have saved on co-pay costs. Across its clinics, Activate is averaging more than $350 of savings per employee on top of the benefit it provides for employers.

Takes some convincing: Dunn and Geihsler said that although the cost savings speak for themselves, it takes time for businesses and organizations to want to change their culture. “We’re providing a medical home, so it changes a lot in their mind,” she said. “They have to think about how that plays out.” There are also the upfront costs of getting started, which Dunn likens to “making an investment to get a return.” Ultimately, Geihsler said, “our growth is attributable to people understanding the wisdom of primary care and managing the whole patient and whole person. We’re very strong on the primary care side.”

Expanding: This year, Activate opened clinics in Nevada, Illinois and Kentucky, and it’s now in nine states. Dunn said next year the company will be opening some larger clinics that will be noteworthy.•

Check out more of IBJ’s ranking of central Indiana's fastest-growing private companies.

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