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[MM Curator Summary]: This is a bigger deal than you may be thinking.
Zocdoc, a healthcare marketplace, is adding Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs) to its platform. Patients are now able to find and book appointments with FQHCs working with Zocdoc on the company’s website or app, and can filter based on factors like specialty and location.
To improve healthcare accessibility for patients on Medicare and Medicaid, healthcare marketplace Zocdoc announced last week that it is adding Federally Qualified Health Centers (FQHCs) to its marketplace.
FQHCs are health clinics that focus on underserved communities and provide services on a sliding pay scale based on the patient’s ability to pay.
New York City-based Zocdoc allows patients to find and book in-network providers for in person or virtual services via its website or app. Patients are now able to book appointments with FQHCs working with Zocdoc, and can filter based on factors like specialty and location.
The company chose to add FQHCs to its marketplace so it can provide extra support for patients on Medicare and Medicaid, said Dr. Oliver Kharraz, CEO and founder of Zocdoc.
“Zocdoc’s mission is to give power to the patient, which importantly includes all patients — not just the well-to-do or commercially insured. Introducing FQHCs is right in line with that mission, as it will make it easier for federally funded beneficiaries, and other underserved patients, to seamlessly find and book care,” he said in an email. “With access to affordable, quality care at risk for so many Americans given the expiration of the [public health emergency] and its impact on Medicaid enrollments, this was a natural time for us to focus on this effort.”
Zocdoc is already working with several FQHCs in New York, Texas and Michigan through a pilot program that began in December 2022. One of these FQHCs is Spring Branch Community Health Center (SBCHC), which serves patients in the Spring Branch and West Houston communities in Texas.
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“We know that access to care is one of the biggest barriers facing patients, and we decided to join Zocdoc to make our providers even more accessible to residents throughout our community,” said Michael Bsaibes, chief operating officer of SBCHC, in a news release. “Zocdoc has helped us alleviate call center volumes and is expanding our access points to more patients as we look to bring on even more providers to serve our community.”
Zocdoc is working to add more FQHCs to its marketplace by offering its services at a 50% discount. The company charges providers a fee for each new patient booking made through the platform. For FQHCs, this fee would range from about $20 to $55 depending on the specialty.
Although FQHCs are new to Zocdoc’s marketplace, the company has long been serving federally funded beneficiaries, Kharraz said. In 2022, about 15% of bookings made on the platform were from federally funded patients.
By working with FQHCs, Zocdoc ultimately aims to increase access to care, Kharraz said.
“Our goal is to bring more FQHCs on to Zocdoc’s marketplace to further accelerate access to high quality, affordable care for the patients and communities that need it most,” he stated.
Photo: Nataliia Nesterenko, Getty Images