As we move into the new year, and a new decade, we are reflecting on our most powerful stories in 2019.
One thing all of these stories have in common: they remind us of the value of primary care. As we continue the healthcare revolution, these stories will continue to resonate throughout the coming year and the new decade. Let’s take a look at our four favorites.
Like many organizations, the City of Kirkland struggled with managing healthcare cost inflation and supporting the health of their employees. In 2015, they embarked on a revolutionary approach to healthcare when they launched an onsite Vera clinic for their employees.
Integrating Vera’s onsite clinic model into their benefit strategy provided employees unlimited access to care, including primary care and health coaching, at little to no cost. Because they got the care they needed, when they needed it, the use of costly urgent care and emergency room services declined.
Reliable access to quality care allowed employees to gain control of chronic conditions while better managed care reduced waste in their referral system. Moving to a high deductible plan helped the city save and drove higher employee engagement.
The outcomes were positive: 83% sustained employee engagement after two years, a 23% increase in primary care, and a 25% reduction in healthcare costs. All of this added up to a gross savings of $1.6 million. By taking healthcare expenses into their own hands, they were able to give their employees great care at a reasonable price.
In the Spokane area, it’s not unusual for patients to wait as long as six months to see a primary care doctor.
To address the dire shortage of primary care providers in the area, Vera is collaborating with Premera Blue Cross to bring the Vera advanced primary care model to the Spokane area. The new primary care centers will add much-needed access and improved quality of care to members.
Vera’s partnership with Premera garnered significant attention for opening up more avenues to primary and preventive care. Insurers like Premera Blue Cross are entering the business of care delivery at rising rates.
Many patients know that they need to make behavior changes, such as losing weight, incorporating exercise, and changing their diets. It’s easy for a provider to tell a patient that they need to do these things. However, the patient needs support, guidance, and a sympathetic ear to help them understand how they got to this point. And, they need the guidance and empathy of someone — a health coach — to help them create a plan that they can stick to.
Patients find that once they’ve changed their behavior, the positive outcomes impact a range of areas in their lives. Losing weight may also mean diminished pain, better sleep, and increased satisfaction with their lives.
This eBook, Sick Care Is Doomed to Failure, explains why behavior change works. Longer appointments with time for empathetic listening works. It’s healthcare as it should be: effective, available, and impactful.
This excerpt from our white paper: 7 Lies We’ve Told Ourselves That Prevent Us From Fixing Healthcare, shuts down the theory that access to care results in overuse of care services.
Our data shows that there is a demonstrable reduction in overall costs when a member comes to a Vera clinic just one time. In fact, our analysis of a client with 4,066 employees revealed that the total medical costs of those who used the clinic were $1,488 less per member per year than those who didn’t utilize the clinic. And, the more time they spent with providers, the more costs dropped. Costs do go up at first, as more people utilize primary care over specialty and ER services.
The Vera advanced primary care model delivers more care up front to members, rather than waiting until they are ill. This model of greater access to care and time-rich appointments drives savings through the entire system and leads to healthier patients. Aligned incentives propel optimized utilization, improved health, and lower healthcare costs.
Case in point: the City of Kirkland proves that adopting the onsite primary care model allows for more utilization of healthcare, and drives savings through the entire system. The City’s gross savings totaled $1.6 million in the first year alone.
The new year is a great time to commit to making healthy choices. Making smart food choices is a sure way that we can all make a positive impact on our health. Even small changes, one day at a time, can add up.
At Vera, we believe in empowering people to take ownership of their health in order to lead healthier, happier lives. Each day offers the chance to make positive changes in this direction.