In 2015, the City of Kirkland had reached a breaking point. Healthcare costs were skyrocketing. Every year it was getting harder and harder to provide their employees with the care they deserved at a cost they could afford.
They had to flatten their cost trend, but they were unwilling to compromise on benefits for their employees. Working with Keith Robertson of Alliant Insurance, they began looking for an innovative benefits plan that would meet those two requirements.
“We had a clear mission when we started this. First, it was to create long-term sustainability and flatten the curve of spending. Second, we had to break free from the view consultants and clients couldn’t see beyond: plan reductions. They reduced costs, but at some point you have to stop burning the furniture to keep warm.” — Keith Roberston, V.P./ Corporate Benefits Consultant at Alliant Insurance Services
Vera’s managed care approach was a clear solution (learn the basics about managed care). It would enable the City of Kirkland to improve employee benefits in the face of escalating medical claims costs. Employees would gain improved access to primary care and health coaching services at on-site clinics, Vera staff would coordinate their referral needs, and providers and staff would create personalized health goals that improve long-term health. And at the end of the day, it offered the City of Kirkland a sustainable cost-savings model.
Kirkland HR staff and the Vera team worked together to create a clinic that meets the community’s specific needs and a communications plan to ensure employees understood the value. Patient engagement numbers prove that their strategy worked.
“I’ve heard other clinic operators brag about 35% engagement, but when we opened, we were at 90%.” — Keith Robertson
A year later, engagement was even higher, and cost metrics were just as positive.
The City of Kirkland’s results validate the Vera model: a patient-centric, managed care approach improves health outcomes and lowers cost. Primary care services, with time-rich appointments and empathetic listening, drove up patient engagement.
In fact, after two years, engagement rates stayed high at 83%. Claims declined because providers and health coaches had the time and resources to dig deeper into health problems and address issues before they became chronic or acute. Likewise, the costs of specialty services, ER visits, and urgent care visits also dropped because patients were healthier overall.