Talk to any healthcare executive, and they will discuss “bending the cost curve.” That means most healthcare providers, insurance networks, and employers are hoping just to slow the increase in healthcare costs, not reduce them.
But for Fort Worth’s 14,000 employees, dependents, and retirees, their healthcare spending is heading toward being $4.8 million under budget for fiscal year 2018, according to the Dallas Morning News.
How are they doing it? The city is offering an option to sign up with Southwestern Health Resources, an accountable care organization where UT Southwestern and Texas Health Resources have partnered to offer coordinated care. Last week, we wrote about a separate partnership between Southwestern Health Resources and Blue Cross Blue Shield in the formation of an accountable care organization that will coordinate services for BCBS’ 130,000 members, though this partnership does not impact the city of Fort Worth arrangement.
The city has opened three clinics exclusively for their employees and focused on primary care to head off more expensive healthcare, and it seems to be working. Emergency room spending dropped 34 percent relative to last year, there are short waits and no co-pays at the clinics, and 59 percent of members chose the ACO option, according to the DMN.
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