DENVER, July 28, 2020 /PRNewswire/ — The State of Colorado announced today that it has extended its contract with Denver-based Paladina Health, which provides comprehensive primary care services for State employees and their families. The contract renewal includes the addition of four new clinics along the Front Range scheduled to open by the end of this year. The State has partnered with Paladina Health, one of the country’s largest providers of direct primary care, for the past five years to provide onsite and near-site primary care services for its workforce.
The decision to not only renew the contract, but also expand the service, is in response to the lower healthcare costs and improved employee health outcomes that have resulted from the partnership. In 2019 alone, the State of Colorado saved in excess of $1.4 million on healthcare claims costs, which was equal to a savings of $47 per member per month. Such savings come at a critical time when governments across the country are having to make difficult budget-cutting decisions as a result of the COVID-19 crisis.
“As one of the largest employers in Colorado, our number one priority when considering direct primary care was to serve and benefit as many employees as possible through a sustainable, cost-effective partnership,” said Kara Veitch, Executive Director of the Colorado Department of Personnel & Administration. “We look forward to continuing our work with Paladina Health as we strive to increase access to care, improve the quality of services, and continue to reduce costs for our employees and for the State of Colorado.”
In order to conveniently serve State employees, Paladina Health has committed to build four new clinics by the end of 2020 in Lowry, Greeley, Littleton, and Thornton. These locations were identified through employee surveys as being the preferred areas for new primary care offices. With the addition of these four clinics, there will be a total of 18 Paladina Health clinics in Colorado. Employees not within driving distance of a clinic, or who prefer to receive care from the safety of their home, can access virtual care services via phone or video.
Paladina Health has seen a steady increase in participation over the past five years. In 2019, 7,275 State employees and dependents took advantage of the program, which includes comprehensive primary care services. The State of Colorado saw the greatest healthcare cost savings from employees classified in either the high or very high-risk categories. Moreover, because of the convenience of Paladina Health clinics, participating employees saved approximately 7,166 hours compared to what they would have spent visiting traditional health clinics.
“We are thrilled to renew and expand our relationship with the State of Colorado,” said Chris Miller, CEO of Paladina Health. “As a Denver-based company, we are proud to partner with the State to facilitate a cost-saving solution that has a measurable impact on the life and livelihood of Coloradans. As we look to the months and years ahead, we are committed to delivering solutions aligned with the State’s goals while continuously improving and innovating the healthcare experience for our patients.”
Under the direct primary care model, employers like the State of Colorado pay a fee for their employees and dependents to have nearly unlimited 24/7 access to a healthcare provider. Since the model focuses on preventative care, claims costs are reduced and overall employee health is improved. In the case of the State of Colorado, the most notable gains were seen in the management of high blood sugar. This is critical from a health and cost perspective, as diabetes makes patients vulnerable to an array of other risky and costly health problems.
As statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) demonstrate increased COVID-19 mortality rates for people suffering from chronic health conditions including high blood pressure, high blood sugar levels, and obesity, Paladina Health has focused on proactive outreach and health coaching for high-risk individuals in recent months. During the coronavirus pandemic, State of Colorado employees benefitted from Paladina Health’s virtual care offerings, which limited exposure to the virus.
All Paladina Health clinics now offer virtual care via phone or video, which may be one reason that patient satisfaction scores increased even more in the last few months. These same patient satisfaction surveys revealed that State employees especially valued the convenience of direct primary care, as well as the increased face time they had with a provider who was well versed on their medical history.
The new contract enables integration with the State’s other programs to provide seamless utilization, referral and reporting experiences. Paladina Health does not replace health insurance, but rather is offered as an additional benefit to reduce costs, improve access and quality of care, and minimize visits to urgent care and the hospital.
For more information on Paladina Health’s direct primary care model, visit paladinahealth.com.
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SOURCE Paladina Health