The University of Arkansas, University of Arkansas at Little Rock and University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences won't be part of DF&A's deal with TrestleTree either, because they operate their own benefit plans.
Dickerson, who's also a registered nurse, said she and Arkansas State and Public School Health and Life Insurance Board were sold on giving TrestleTree a shot after studying its model and audited results.
TrestleTree, a self-described "health transformation company," completed a pilot program last summer with J.B.
"In the first nine months of the program, TrestleTree produced an ROI that's equivalent to what the big national disease management firms have been doing," said Bruce Kelley, a senior consultant at Watson Wyatt.
"For every dollar invested in the program, TrestleTree produced a $1.50 return.
TrestleTree also claims that illness-related absenteeism was reduced by two-thirds.
Mark Greenway, Hunt's vice president of human resources, said when the freight carrier looked at the market for disease management companies, no one was as proactive as TrestleTree. He added that Hunt has already seen positive feedback.
"Ted and the TrestleTree group are the first ones to bring to us a solution that really truly tried to change people's behavior," Greenway said.
One asthmatic patient gave an emotional account of how TrestleTree has improved the quality of his life.
It's that kind of market that prompted Diamond State Ventures in March to pony up $1.5 million in venture funding for TrestleTree. Joe Hays is manager of Diamond State, which is a member firm of Arkansas Capital Corp.
Competitors to TrestleTree include publicly traded American Healthways, not to mention nearly every health plan, pharmacy benefit management company and most hospitals.
"But the direction TrestleTree is heading is where people are going to go to reduce expenses."