Medicare, dual coverage, and opt-out. The cherry on top of the cherry-picking machine for employer-based direct primary care.

In 2016, the share of people between 65 and 74 who were still working was over 25%. Any of them working at employers with more than twenty employees covered by group health plans are required by law to be included in the employer’s plan. They may also enroll in Medicare Part B. Some employer plansContinue reading “Medicare, dual coverage, and opt-out. The cherry on top of the cherry-picking machine for employer-based direct primary care.”

Two new DPC brags failed to show bona fide risk-adjusted savings; together, they make clear that DPC brags rely on cherry-picking.

Two recent DPC brags fit together in a telling way. Nextera Healthcare reported non-risk-adjusted claims data indicating that employees of a Colorado school district who selected Nextera’s DPC option had total costs that were 30% lower than those who selected a traditional insurance option. But that employer’s benefit package confers huge cash advantages (up toContinue reading “Two new DPC brags failed to show bona fide risk-adjusted savings; together, they make clear that DPC brags rely on cherry-picking.”

Nextera’s Next Era in Cherry-Picking Machine Design

Nextera HealthCare has a hot new brag: These results were not risk adjusted. But they desperately need to be. The St Vrain Valley School District had this health benefit structure for its employees during the period studied: The school district’s 10% coinsurance rate for the PPO predates the arrival of the Nextera option. The schoolContinue reading “Nextera’s Next Era in Cherry-Picking Machine Design”

For Qliance, a plausible net savings is 6.8%

There are three main steps to get from a 19.6% savings claim by Qliance to a plausible number: (1) examining the validity of Qliance’s claim that it collected $251 more per employee than the employers were spending for fees for service primary; (2) including the drug costs which Qliance chose to omit from the dataContinue reading “For Qliance, a plausible net savings is 6.8%”

The Nextera/DigitalGlobe study design made any conclusion on the downstream effect of subscription primary care impossible.

The study indiscriminately mixed subscription patients with pay-per-visit patients. Selection bias was self-evident; the study period was brief; and the study cohort tiny. Still, the study suggests that choosing Nextera and its doctors was associated with lower costs; but the study’s core defect prevent the drawing of conclusions about subscription primary care. UPDATED JUNE 2020.Continue reading “The Nextera/DigitalGlobe study design made any conclusion on the downstream effect of subscription primary care impossible.”

DPC and the pandemic: more capable than FFS? Or less?

DPC advocates are talking a lot these days about how a pandemic shows the superiority of direct primary care. Today, I learned this. Along with individualized medicine and the flexibility of fewer patients, however, comes one negative side effect: as Dr. Donohoe puts it, “the biggest roadblock to more people doing Direct Care pediatrics isContinue reading “DPC and the pandemic: more capable than FFS? Or less?”

A moment of clarity about selection bias – at a DPC summit.

At 2019 Summit, Mike Tuggy, MD, FAAFP, presented this: What Have Primary Care Practices Provided to Employers Who Invested in Primary Care? The Results Speak for Themselves–Reports from Across the U.S.2019 DPCSummit62019 Direct Primary Care (DPC) Summit His presentation began with high praise for Qliance and others. He suggested that these models might be usedContinue reading “A moment of clarity about selection bias – at a DPC summit.”

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.”