by Eric Galatas
Employers in expensive mountain communities now have another option for keeping workers well at competitive prices.
Mountain Family Health Centers Health Solutions (WWW.mountainfamily.org) allows workers to access primary medical, dental and behavioral health care with no co-pays and no deductibles, whenever they need it, for a monthly fee of $135 per worker.
Garry Schalla, development director of Mountain Family Health Centers in Colorado, says the program gives employers and agencies a chance to think outside the box in the current marketplace.
“To find solutions that fit the needs of those workers up and down our valley who are really the economic driver for tourism and for hospitality and for all the other services,” he states.
Schalla says the program is not meant to be a substitute for major medical coverage, but it can reduce the costs of preventive care, which can lead to fewer sick days, improved productivity and employee engagement and retention.
Mountain Health is one of a number of federally qualified health centers across the nation piloting membership programs in an effort to get more uninsured workers access to care.
A key to offering affordable care is reducing costs. Schalla says Mountain Health’s multiple locations along the I-70 corridor and the Roaring Fork Valley have worked hard over the past decade to become leaner and fitter.
He notes assigning each patient a team creates efficiencies. Providers don’t have to reinvent the wheel; they know their patient’s history.
“That helps to bring down the cost,” he stresses. “And that whole team-based care is wrapped around with a dental team and a behavioral health team.
“So by doing a team-based care, you’re really getting much better value, and you’re getting knowledge of that patient.”
Schalla says the program provides an affordable primary care option for seasonal or part-time employees who may not be eligible for employer-based health benefits.
Employers can also extend coverage to employee dependents. Coverage for a worker, a spouse and a child costs less than $300 a month.
Public News Service – CO
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