In 2010 Michael Jones, MPAS-C and James Moren, MD had a vision of creating a place that was totally devoted to helping headache sufferers get well. It became a great success, serving the most complex headache patients from throughout the Pacific Northwest, Alaska and beyond. We had overwhelming schedules every day and worked hard to meet the needs of those patients. In 2013 our clinic received the highest satisfaction rate ever reported by patients for a headache clinic, anywhere in the world.
In this post-Affordable Care Act (ACA, or “Obamacare”) world, insurance companies have put tremendous pressure on medical practices by cutting payments and requiring labor-intensive and convoluted paper work to get those payments. This is in response to their fears of loosing money under the ACA. This behavior has hit small practices the hardest. Headache clinics have been seen, by insurance companies, as the “lowest hanging fruit on the tree” because they don’t understand the world of severe headache sufferers and that headache disorders cause more disability than all other neurological diseases combined.
From the beginning of the existence the Pacific Rim Headache Center, it was difficult to survive financially and many services that we wanted to have; psychological services, complimentary and alternative medicine, and an infusion center, were not possible because insurance companies said they would not pay for those services.
With the hopes of increasing our efficiency, improving our billing practices and complying with the ACA regulations for medical practices (called the HITECH bill), Pacific Rim Headache Center entered an agreement with a company to use a particular software to run our business and patient medical records. Instead of increasing productivity, helping us to survive, it did the opposite. The software company would not let us out of the contract before it was too late to save us.
In early 2015 our collections continued to decline, despite increasing our patient loads. By September 2015 we had to lay off two full time office staff and J. Michael Jones (owner) stopped taking salary. This reflected our dedication to trying our best to make the Pacific Rim Headache Center solvent. However, this was not enough. We were working at an unsustainable level and the income to the practice no longer even enough even to pay our basic liabilities.
On December 31, 2015, Pacific Rim Headache Center, with great sadness, had to cease to exist due to insolvency. J. Michael Jones took a position with Cascade Neurologic Clinic to restore his headache practice there, which he had before creating Pacific Rim Headache Center. Dr. Moren is not working at this time but hopes to return to Headache Medicine in the future and we will keep you informed when that happens. However, recognizing insurance companies strong bias against paying for good headache care, most large health care systems do not want headache programs. We should all fight against this injustice towards headache sufferers.