Our Story

Where and why we began …

Innovare started 50 years ago as a dream, that the son of a hard-working high school dropout could become a doctor.

After graduating medical school, Dr. Willey opened a small two-physician medical practice, South County Internal Medicine. Even then, the practice of medicine focused on cost, while his passions for the fundamentals of accurate diagnosis, exceptional chronic illness management, and effective wellness promotion were less valued.

Managed care arrived in the 1990s, hurting small medical practices, so SCIM merged with other groups to become Beacon Health Care, and then the 80-physician group Esse Health. Medical care continued to attend less to Patients and more to payers.

With the help of brilliant financial minds and innovative medical technology partners, Dr. Willey started inventing ways to reduce cost and focus on Patients again. His team built financial and data systems to understand Patient health and the structure of medical cost. They created the prescription writer they use to this day, a decade ahead of the industry, which developed into the electronic medical record they still use, now in its fourth phase.

To give doctors and their Patients control over health care decisions without the middleman, they led the creation of a successful Medicare Advantage health plan, Essence Healthcare, designed with zero premium so every Medicare Patient on fixed income could save thousands of dollars a year and afford recommended care. This saved millions of dollars in Patient medical expenses in his group alone.

They initiated a virtuous cycle of high quality health care at lower cost:

  • By shifting attention and time to the long term health of their Patients, they lowered health care costs, as it costs much less to be healthy than to be sick. They were able to slow down, to be prudent and precise, and to develop strong Patient relationships. Patients loved it.
  • They found as they lowered costs and maintained health, they increased access to Patients who couldn’t afford recommended care. With increased access, Patient health improved, further lowering costs.

Innovare Today

To continue innovating this novel approach, Dr. Willey formed Innovare Health Advocates in 2004, selecting a team of collaborative, innovative clinicians, including highly educated and experienced nurse practitioners, and Care Teams to focus on leading Patients with their families to become and remain healthy and energetic for life through personalized, innovative care.

Medicare actuaries confirm year-to-year that the cost of Innovare’s very high quality care was substantially lower than average, with better than average health outcomes.

He and his clinical team continue to find great professional satisfaction following the Hippocratic Oath which inspires Innovare’s approach to practicing medicine, excerpted below:

  • I will apply, for the benefit of the sick, all measures required, avoiding those twin traps of overtreatment and therapeutic nihilism …
  • I will remember that there is art to medicine as well as science, and that warmth, sympathy, and understanding may outweigh the surgeon’s knife or the chemist’s drug …
  • I will remember that I do not treat a fever chart, a cancerous growth, but a sick human being, whose illness may affect the person’s family and economic stability. My responsibility includes these related problems, if I am to care adequately for the sick …
  • I will prevent disease whenever I can, for prevention is preferable to cure.

We are committed to our Purpose, our Vital Signs (our standards and values), and our Clinical Tenets.

We are here for you, our Patients, to bring you health care the way it ought to be.



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