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THE BUFFALO NEWS

Wolfson’s new venture gets bank processing

Area firm will speed up doctor, hospital claims

"By Jonathan D. Epstein
News Business Reporter

A Buffalo entrepreneur known for starting an then selling two successful ATM networks has signed a deal with a large Ohio bank to process transactions at doctor’s offices and hospitals as part of his latest venture.

Health Transaction Network, a start-up system designed to automate and speed up the medical insurance claims process, will use Cincinnati-based Fifth Third Processing Solutions to handle basic credit and debit card transactions, said President and CEO Joseph Wolfson.

The agreement is a critical part of getting the planned electronic payment network off the ground, Wolfson said. That’s because only banks can participate in and process payments through the credit and debit card networks owned by Visa and MasterCard Worldwide.

Wolfson said he is now raising $1.5 million to $2 million in extra capital from “qualified private investors” and finalizing details of an initial program to be launched with a local insurer and hospital.

“We’re really pulling it together,” said Wolfson, who estimates he has spent about $1.5 million of his own money so far.

Wolfson is developing Health Transaction Network, or HTN, to streamline the nation’s paper-driven, bureaucratic health insurance system.

Wolfson, who started the Metroteller and Cartel ATM networks, sold Cartel to Fifth Third Bancorp in 2000.

“The fact that Fifth Third would share the confidence and commitment in this to be my partner is really fulfilling,” he said.

“I’m excited. It’s coming together. But I don’t want to pretend I have all my I’s dotted and T’s crossed,” he said.