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Direct Care Clinic to Open January 1st

South Central Kansas Medical Center is planning to bring a new concept in health and wellness to Cowley County through a new clinic which will open in January. The clinic will be located on the medical center campus and is offered through a partnership with Revere Healthcare Solutions Inc. (RHS). The clinic will be providing direct access to primary care with a strong emphasis on preventative healthcare.

November 10, 2017

South Central Kansas Medical Center is planning to bring a new concept in health and wellness to Cowley County through a new clinic which will open in January. The clinic will be located on the medical center campus and is offered through a partnership with Revere Healthcare Solutions Inc. (RHS). The clinic will be providing direct access to primary care with a strong emphasis on preventative healthcare.

“It’s a concept different from what we are used to. What we are used to now is that you wait until you’re sick to go to the doctor. With this concept we are going to be proactive and start looking at wellness as the central core of our healthcare delivery going forward for our employees,” said Virgil Watson, SCKMC’s CEO.

The clinic is employer driven, meaning that it is designed to be offered as a benefit to a company’s employees with no out of pocket deductibles or office visit copays for individuals that are covered through the program.

“Today the general population has to face at least a $25 copay to receive primary care. That barrier represents a reason to not take care of your condition early on, but wait in hope that the condition will eventually just cure itself. When it doesn’t cure itself, the condition that was a primary care issue becomes a much more expensive form of care for the employee and for the employer. The clinic starts not only intercepting visits that would have gone to the much higher level of acuity and expenses, but also over time allows the population to become healthier and therefore less risky to ensure while allowing (the employer) more control in the healthcare premiums,” said Carmine Di Palo, RHS’s Chairman and CEO.

Di Palo’s business strategy is based on the belief that because there is no out-of-pocket cost to the members, it is more likely that patients will not only receive treatment earlier but also take advantage of preventative services such as annual physicals, personal health improvement plans, and chronic condition management for such issues as diabetes, obesity, or tobacco addiction. As the employee population becomes healthier, insurance claims go down and the combination allows employers more leverage when negotiating their insurance premiums, potentially saving hundreds of thousands of dollars over time.

Kansas Senator Larry Alley is a proponent of the direct primary care model. He attended the hospital’s October Board of Trustees meeting to discuss the benefits of the direct primary care model for both the medical center and for the community.

“There has got to be a better way to deliver healthcare to Kansas. I think this is something that can benefit our hospital here, it can benefit our community. I really believe that if we change the discussion of healthcare from dollars to what’s best for the patient, how can we improve healthcare for that patient, it will be a great thing,” Senator Alley said.

Senator Alley has visited RHS’s clinic in Garden City. Over the past five-years that clinic has grown to provide services to six employer groups, which covers approximately 900 individuals for about 3,200 visits per year.  

“The Garden City City Manager said of their clinic, ‘That is the best benefit we can offer our employees.’ He said, ‘If we try to take that clinic out of our healthcare plans now I would have a revolt on our hands.’ They have 300+ employees out there. He said the very first year they implemented this plan it saved the City of Garden City $300,000. In the last five years they have not had a health insurance premium go up, holding steady since 2012. What has yours here done?” Senator Alley asked.

Employers interested in learning more about the Direct Primary Clinic should contact Virgil Watson at South Central Kansas Medical Center by calling (620) 442-2500.

Pictured: Senator Larry Alley speaks to the SCKMC Board of Trustees about direct primary care with Dr. Perry Lin, Chief of Staff (left), Virgil Watson, CEO, Carol Hearn, Board of Trustees Chair, and Carmine Di Palo, RHS’s Chairman and CEO in attendance.