Cincinnati Business Courier: Assurex Health of Mason expects to increase sales of its GeneSight genetic tests as a result of becoming a provider for the Alliance, a cooperative of more than 200 companies in three Midwest states that self-fund employee health benefits.
The Alliance has more than 90,000 lives covered by various health insurance plans, and up to a quarter of those people might benefit from using a GeneSight test to determine the best medication to treat a mental disorder or chronic pain, according to Assurex Health officials.
“Now thousands of patients seeking help for mental illness, pain and other neuropsychiatric disorders in … Wisconsin, Illinois and Iowa may avoid the trial-and-error approach of medication prescribing, which is a troubling reality for many,” said Jeff Bush, vice president for payer markets and reimbursement for Assurex Health.
Doctors order GeneSight tests from Assurex Health, whose lab in Warren County analyzes a patient’s DNA and reports back within 36 hours on what’s likely the best treatment for mental health issues such as depression, anxiety, ADHD, bipolar disorder and schizophrenia.
The sales team for Assurex plans to contact psychiatrists in the Alliance’s provider directory to make them aware of the benefits of the tests. The Alliance contracts with 63 hospitals, 10,365 professional service providers, and more than 3,530 medical, chiropractic, and mental health clinics.
“I see a lot of patients in my practice that can benefit from GeneSight testing,” said Dr.Kenneth Herrmann, a clinical psychiatrist in Madison, Wisc. “Now that Assurex Health is in the Alliance network, I’ll be able to use GeneSight to help get more patients on the right medication faster.”
The list price for a GeneSight test is $3,800, but the Alliance negotiated an in-network reimbursement price with Assurex Health. That amount is confidential under the terms of the agreement, Bush said.
Those covered by the Alliance have membership cards that will ensure their insurance plans are billed for the negotiated price, Bush said.
Gina Drosos, president of Assurex Health, said GeneSight tests have been clinically proven to double a patient’s rate of remission and response while lowering health care costs.
The annual cost of untreated depression is more than $43 billion as a result of absenteeism from work, lost productivity and direct-treatment costs, according to Assurex Health officials.
More than 75,000 patients have had a DNA sample obtained through a swab of the inside of a cheek tested by Assurex since 2008, and reimbursement is provided through a number of private insurance companies and government payers, she said.
“We are confident that many more employers and payers will be adding GeneSight and other personalized medicine coverage options for their members as the benefits are well-proven and significant,” Drosos told me.
Before joining Assurex Health in August, Drosos was group president of global beauty care for Cincinnati-based Procter & Gamble Co. Today’s cover story in the Cincinnati Business Courier Weekly Edition details how she was hired by Assurex Health CEO Jim Burns to help build awareness of the GeneSight brand.
GeneSight was developed by Assurex Health based on patented technology invented by researchers at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center, which has an equity stake in the company. Assurex also has licensed technology from the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn.