Sunday, August 24, 2003

Diabetic Olympian starts medical ID company



By Laura Baverman
The Cincinnati Enquirer

In between training for the 2004 Olympics and promoting diabetes awareness around the country, two-time Olympian and swimming gold medallist Gary Hall Jr. has found time for a new venture.

The Cincinnati native is a founding partner of Alert Access, a company that manufactures ID cards providing its members' medical history to hospitals and HMOs with just a swipe.

The card reduces time spent filling out paperwork for a doctor's visit and lessens the chance receiving wrong or inefficient care.

"If they have this card in their wallet that says, 'I have diabetes, I take insulin,' they'll be able to treat them right away," Hall said. "Sometimes, it's something a glass of orange juice could correct."

Since the company's launch in November 2002, about 2,000 people have become members. Benefits include ID-card services and the ability to update medical records at any time. The company also offers a 50 percent discount off generic prescriptions at 47,000 pharmacies.

The Miami-based company hopes the new product will help prevent frivolous claims and medical malpractice that confront HMOs and insurance companies, Hall said.

"It's imperative to get a patient in front of a doctor with as much information as possible," he said.

"This provides the doctor with a comprehensive medical profile. It's a huge reduction of liability for the doctors and the HMOs."

Hall was diagnosed with diabetes following the 1996 Olympics, where he won four medals. Doctors told him he would never compete again.

Four years later, he surpassed all expectations by winning another four medals in the 2000 Olympics. He's working on making the total 12 in 2004 and beating the record for most medals won, which is 11.

E-mail lbaverman@enquirer.com.




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