Making the World a Better Place
Through Managed Health Care
Kiran C. Patel, M.D. is a healer. His medical specialty of cardiology is just one of the ways.
Dr. Patel is a business owner, a job creator, and, in Florida, he has put managed care on the side of the patient and the physician. He is the driving force behind Freedom Health/Optimum HealthCare, Inc., leaders in the HMO industry, serving Medicare and Medicaid patients.
Born in Zambia, educated in medicine in India, Dr. Patel arrived in the United States on Thanksgiving Day in 1976 and started an American success story. After a cardiology fellowship in a Columbia University-affiliated program, he went into practice in Tampa, Florida.
At that time, physicians didn’t like taking care of managed care patients. “The bean counters were trying to tell doctors what to do,” he says.
Building the Business
In 1987 he got involved with a troubled insurance company owned by physicians. Its annualized revenues were about $1 million. Dr. Patel took over and ran the company for several years. “Philosophically, I found that a physician-owned, physician-run company has the core values of patient care as its basis,” he says. “Rupesh Shah and I were able to build that company to more than 1,200 employees, 400,000 members and a billion dollars in revenue annualized.”
Now, at the helm of Freedom Health/Optimum HealthCare, Dr. Patel, Chairman, and Rupesh Shah, CEO, have this company touching a billion dollars in revenue and serving almost 100,000 members. The company employs more than a thousand people. “I have a good team, and some of them have worked with me for 15 or 20 years now,” says Dr. Patel.
“In 2009, we were the seventh-fastest-growing privately held company in America, with a 10,000 percent growth rate,” says Joseph L. Vessio, vice president of sales and marketing. “We made the Inc. 500 list.”
Accessibility and Affordability
Dr. Patel characterizes the company as member-centered, Florida-focused and with excellent physician-to-physician relationships. Open doors and business on a first-name basis are the way of things here, and there are four areas of emphasis: the patient, the provider, the payer and the plan.
Accessibility isn’t only for physicians, though. Vessio says one of the first things he did was to set up concierge centers around the state where people could speak face to face with a licensed representative.
“My number one priority is my patient,” says Dr. Patel. “In general, if you do the right thing for the right reason, the right result will follow.”
5403 North Church Avenue
Tampa, FL 33614