A single-post critique of AEG/WP’s recommendation on direct primary care.

May 2020: An important study by actuaries at Milliman now suggest that 15% downstream care cost reductions are credible, affect our previous take on the AEG/WP report. Here’s a chronological list of posts relating to AEG/WP’s “Healthcare Innovations”.

A few brags from a few DPC companies is not a sound basis for public policy decisions.

Leave aside the specific critiques of the last twenty or so posts. The support for direct primary care in the report Healthcare Innovations in Georgia: Two Recommendations ultimately turns on the source material from which the report authors drew the key assumption that direct primary care reduces downstream care cost by 15%. That material comprisesContinue reading “A few brags from a few DPC companies is not a sound basis for public policy decisions.”

Total claims cost caution: when DPC is implemented primary care claims vanish. AEG/WP’s 15% estimate is not conservative in the least.

When the direct primary advocates toss out figures about overall claims cost reductions, it’s important to carefully separate overall cost, downstream care claims costs, and overall claims costs. For example, the authors of the AEG/WP pitch for DPC in Georgia, have assumed a 15% reduction in downstream care costs and claimed that it “represents theContinue reading “Total claims cost caution: when DPC is implemented primary care claims vanish. AEG/WP’s 15% estimate is not conservative in the least.”

A possible 11% reduction in overall care cost, adjusted for risk, is suggested by Union County’s 2018 report.

NEVERMIND! In Union County adoption of a DPC option cost the county money. So say actual actuaries. I’ll leave this post essentially intact, for the record (of my folly!) Here’s some data that shows plausible overall cost reduction from direct primary care even after adjusting selection bias. It comes from the Paladina-operated clinic in UnionContinue reading “A possible 11% reduction in overall care cost, adjusted for risk, is suggested by Union County’s 2018 report.”

To learn how much direct primary care can do, try it first in the ACA-compliant, full-benefit individual market.

If Georgia must mandate the availability of direct primary care, here’s how. For some future open enrollment period, the individual market will offer paired plans that differ only by how primary care is paid for and how it is received. Bigco, for example, offers Bigco Silver FFS and Bigco Silver Direct ; MajorCo probably offersContinue reading “To learn how much direct primary care can do, try it first in the ACA-compliant, full-benefit individual market.”

Three bad ways to bet the health of Georgia citizens on direct primary care.

Every published claim that direct primary care makes a significant dent in necessary health care spending is dubious at best. See, for example, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here and here. When the data from the Union County clinic — a Georgia Public Policy Foundation favorite — is age-adjusted, it indicatesContinue reading “Three bad ways to bet the health of Georgia citizens on direct primary care.”

AEG/WP’s chosen actuary did not validate the assumption that direct primary care reduces downstream care costs.

AEG/WP report declares that “[Nyhart, an independent] actuary determined that “(1) the modeling assumptions are reasonable for this type of analysis and (2) the illustrative projections and savings are reasonable outcomes based on the modeling assumptions and data inputs selected.” This statement sounds like powerful support for report’s key assumption that direct primary care bringsContinue reading “AEG/WP’s chosen actuary did not validate the assumption that direct primary care reduces downstream care costs.”

Bupkes. Nextera reported a claims cost reduction of $72 PMPM; subtracting a $70 fee, and AEG/WP’s billion dollar promises fall nearly 95%.

Asked for sources supporting their assumption of 15% downstream care claims cost reduction, the authors of Healthcare Innovations in Georgia — Anderson Economic Group and Wilson Partners (AEG/WP) — point to Nextera’s contract with DigitalGlobe, as reported in Nextera’s self-published study here. And here’s the exact table from that study showing claims cost reductions forContinue reading “Bupkes. Nextera reported a claims cost reduction of $72 PMPM; subtracting a $70 fee, and AEG/WP’s billion dollar promises fall nearly 95%.”

Nextera’s marketing presentation establishes huge selection bias, while revealing modest evidence that Nextera cuts cost for some of its patients. But the data set is tiny, old, and contaminated by results for fee for service patients!

UPDATE 5/31/2019. This needs a correction, but I want to leave it intact below for the record. I have in the title above and the text below that the Nextera data is contaminated by FFS patient data. This is not correct. To preserve HSA tax advantages, many of the Nextera patients did not want toContinue reading “Nextera’s marketing presentation establishes huge selection bias, while revealing modest evidence that Nextera cuts cost for some of its patients. But the data set is tiny, old, and contaminated by results for fee for service patients!”

The two largest and most current AEG/WP examples of downstream cost reduction failed to adequately address selection bias.

Although the AEG/WP report does not support its key claim with data or citation, the report’s authors responded to my request for information by indicating their sources. One of them was an e-zine article about the CHI clinic. The other two were promotional brochures, denominated case studies used, by the DPC companies Paladina and Nextera,Continue reading “The two largest and most current AEG/WP examples of downstream cost reduction failed to adequately address selection bias.”