"Trust us. We did studies." AEG/WP have a special way of showing that direct primary care reduces the costs of downstream care.

Healthcare Innovations in Georgia:Two Recommendations”, the report prepared by the Anderson Economic Group and Wilson Partners (AEG/WP) for the Georgia Public Policy Foundation, makes some valuable contributions to deliberations about direct primary care. The AEG/WP team clearly explained their computations and made clear the assumptions underlying their report.

This facilitates the public discussion that the Georgia Public Policy Foundation sought to foster in publishing the report. I have been examining those assumptions in prior posts and there are more to come. In this post, I begin a multi-post evaluation of AEG/WP’s claims regarding the effectiveness of direct primary care in reducing downstream care costs.

The focal assumption of the AEG/WP report’s calculations is that DPC membership will reduce the claims cost for downstream care by 15%, a number represented as a low end estimate. The sole support offered in the AEG/WP report for this 15% presumption is a statement that, “the factor is based on research and case studies prepared by Wilson Partners”. The report gives no description of the research or case studies that Wilson Partners prepared; no methodology is identified; the subjects of the case studies are not identified; the report presents no research data; and the report has no citations of, or reference to, any public source where any support of any kind for the 15% factor, or any similar factor, can be found.

The AEG/WP report does present more than four hundred data points in six tables that predict that billion dollar savings are possible, if AEG/WP’s key assumptions about direct primary care are correct. The number of data points presented in the 75 page AEG/WP report that address whether direct primary care has any gross or net cost-reduction value is precisely zero.

Of the billion dollar savings AEG/WP predicts, not a penny would be realized unless the question of whether direct primary care significantly reduces the claim costs of downstream care is answered in the affirmative.

That’s the real billion dollar question, to which AEG/WP’s apparent answer is, “Trust us, we did some studies.”


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