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.

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 Union County, North Carolina, the principal subject of two prior posts. The county employees choose either a high-deductible HSA under which primary care is received on a fee for serviceContinue 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.”

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 basic premise of AEG/WP’s advocacy for direct primary care is succinctly stated in “Healthcare Innovations in Georgia: Two Recommendations” at page 24. “Establishing a relationship with a doctor for a fixed monthly fee can induce and empower many patients to see their primary care physician regularly, which results in decreased healthcare expenses and reducedContinue 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.”

Why did Wilson Partners' research into DPC cost-reduction bypass uniquely available and pointedly relevant data?

As noted in a prior post, the report by the Anderson Economic Group and Wilson Partners supported the assumption that direct primary care reduces downstream care cost by 15% with nothing more than a cryptic reference to “research and case studies prepared by Wilson Partners”, presented with neither data nor citation. Initially, I thought thisContinue reading “Why did Wilson Partners' research into DPC cost-reduction bypass uniquely available and pointedly relevant data?”

Selection bias infected the best documented argument that direct primary care reduced downstream costs.

A unique and powerful opportunity for quantitatively informed assessment of such claims has come from a DPC clinic serving employees of Union County. There, health plan members are able to choose between receiving primary care in a DPC clinic or through physicians under traditional model of insurance and fee for service. Mark Watson is theContinue reading “Selection bias infected the best documented argument that direct primary care reduced downstream costs.”