Self-insured resorts help Tennessee-based health exam company choose high-growth Las Vegas as first expansion market.
Nevada is not well. Our population ranks as consistently unhealthy in cancer rates, hypertension, preventable hospitalizations, complication rates, immunizable diseases and heart disease, among others. The state also shows up poorly on such health indicators as access to health insurance, public health expenditures and primary care physician shortages. On a scale of 1 to 50, with 50 being not-at-all-healthy, Nevada has an overall health ranking of 46, according to Health Risk Management, Inc. In a nutshell, the state’s residents drink too much, smoke too much, eat poorly and ignore healthcare. But don’t despair. LIFESIGNS Physical Examination Center has come to Las Vegas to help.
LIFESIGNS offers complete physical examinations unlike any you likely ever got from your regular physician. Starting with the fact that your examination begins promptly at your scheduled appointment time, you know you’re in for something new. When you walk into a luxuriously decorated office (there’s even carpeting in most of the exam rooms) and are given a plush, comfy robe rather than one of those peek-a-boo paper jobs, you can start to breathe easier. “We test, we check, we evaluate, but most of all, we pamper,” the company brochure says. And in about two to three hours, LIFESIGNS will give you the most thorough and professional examination of your life.
“Our mission is three-fold,” says Burton Bracken, account executive for LIFESIGNS. “First, we want to provide preventive healthcare services to Las Vegas and surrounding areas. Second is to provide healthcare in an atmosphere acceptable to executives or people who want to be treated like executives. Third is to provide service while people are here.” Indeed, in a short time frame, LIFESIGNS can provide the following diagnostic services: a complete physical exam, automated auditory (including ear exam and hearing test), body composition test, EKG stress test, cardiopulmonary stress test, chest x-ray series, EKG, health analysis (computer generated health analysis and risk assessment with lifestyle counseling), laboratory blood analysis, optometric exam, prostate cancer screening, pulmonary function test, colon cancer screening, bone density measurements for osteoporosis, PAP smears and mammograms. When you’re done, you get your results. immediately with an extensive one-on-one physician consultation that includes fitness counseling, nutritional advice and lifestyle recommendations. And you receive a LIFECARD – a wallet-sized card containing your medical history, as well as written results of laboratory and physical examinations within a week.
LIFESIGNS saves lives through thorough exams that offer early detection of life-threatening medical problems that might otherwise be overlooked. But employers are also offered financial benefits through helping to contain healthcare costs for their employees. Companies such as Federal Express and Time Warner make LIFESIGNS an integral part of their benefits package because a healthier workforce means a healthier bottom line. This kind of inclusive examination means companies can prevent the unexpected death or extended illness of an employee. In a job market like that in Las Vegas, where companies are scrambling to hold onto key personnel, access to quality healthcare can be as important as job training.
While Bracken is quick to point out that services the company provides can be obtained elsewhere in Las Vegas, he does not shy away from the uniqueness of offering all services in one place, in one short period, and in luxurious environs. “How we conduct ourselves and the way we do things is a little bit revolutionary,” he says.
A little background: According to Walker Upshaw, vice president of marketing, the company began in Memphis, Tenn. in 1992. It opened a facility in Nashville in 1998 and Las Vegas just this past September. They plan on eight to 12 new facilities by the end of 2000 – unprecedented growth for such a specialized program. One of the reasons the company has been so successful is its market strategy of targeting self-insured companies, including resort-casinos, first. ‘They tend to promote preventive wellness more than fully-insured companies,” says Bracken. “Even though preventive wellness is important to fully-insured companies, it may not be a priority.”
So why can’t you just go to your regular doctor for a physical? You can. But keep in mind that your regular physician does not know how long each exam is going to take; emergencies happen. And while you’re in the waiting room in your plastic chair, the guy next to you is coughing, some kid is nursing a bloody bandage, and the nurses remain behind glass partitions. If you do get a thorough exam, you will likely have to wait days or weeks for some results. You probably won’t get a comfy robe; and you’ll likely spend more time than you want in your paper peek-aboo waiting and waiting and waiting in a linoleum and chrome cubicle. At LIFESIGNS, they only do physical exams. No one is there because he or she is sick. No one is coming in for an emergency.
One of the contributing factors to illness is incovenience. People don’t like to go to the dodo£. especially when they don’t feel sick. And they sure don’t like to have to go to three, four or five specialists just to find out whether they are heaJthy. “We really see ourselves as increasing people’s access to these types of services,” says Upshaw, “because we take all these different services and package them into one convenient, comfortable facility and remove a lot of barriers.” And did I mention the robes?