With a growing business hub and 1,100 employees, the City of Everett is one of the largest municipalities in the Puget Sound region. The rising cost of health benefits was straining the city budget, a trend common across the country. City leaders knew they needed a smart strategy to control costs, remain competitive, and serve employees and their families.
Working with their benefit broker, they began to explore value-based healthcare options.
Finding the right partner
The City of Everett leaders chose Vera Whole Health’s advanced primary care (APC) model over other contenders because of its proven ability to improve employee health outcomes, boost engagement, and reduce total cost of care. Vera’s strong community focus also indicated that a Vera care center would be well-prepared to meet the needs of the city’s employee population.
Vera provided support in getting the City of Everett’s unionized workforce aligned with the decision, in a process that required additional time and extensive communication. Over time, a groundwork of trust was established and gained traction as employees and their families began to understand that the APC model would ultimately benefit them.
"I will say that, throughout that whole process, Vera was just this constant source of support and communication."— Marcy Hammer, Human Resources Manager, City of Everett
Finding an appropriate location for the clinic also proved to be more challenging than anticipated, as suitable options were limited. Ultimately, a location was identified at 4931 Evergreen Way, setting the stage for the first Vera care center in Snohomish County to open.
An excellent solution for City of Everett employees
“We looked for innovative ways to improve the overall health of our team and slow the increasing cost of healthcare,” said City of Everett Mayor Cassie Franklin. “That is why we’re very pleased to begin offering a Vera Whole Health care center for our staff and their dependents.”
The new near-site care center opened on January 1, 2020. Employees and eligible dependents could, with no co-pays per visit, receive the majority of their care from a skilled and clinically integrated care team.
Engagement was initially high, then, as was the case in many municipalities, it began to dip as the COVID-19 pandemic swept through the country. Vera offered steady support to employees and their families throughout the pandemic and, as time passed, engagement gained momentum.
The City of Everett offers an incentive program to encourage employees to complete regular, annual whole health exams. These exams include biometric screenings, 30- to 60-minute provider visits, a health summary discussion, and clinically integrated health coaching. Employees who utilize the clinic for these preventive visits typically continue to engage even further. Approval within the community is high, with the Vera care center boasting a 4.76/5 satisfaction rating.
A Whole Health Council was also established in collaboration with the City of Everett employees consisting of representatives from local labor groups. Trained Vera staff facilitate the council, giving employees an avenue to get involved and provide feedback.
“It’s a really great solution and it’s a great plan the way we designed it.” — Marcy Hammer, Human Resources Manager, City of Everett
In 2020, its first year of operation, the Vera care center results included:
40% employees engaged
2,523 appointments provided
4.76/5 patient satisfaction rating
12% reduction in generic Rx costs
25% increase in preventive visits
488 COVID-19 vaccines administered
What it means for you
Vera’s APC model helps municipalities grow. It allows you to provide your employees with high-quality, cost-effective care, supporting them in meaningful ways as they serve their communities.