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SEKS Doctors Argue for Chance to Bid on Crawford County Direct P - KOAM TV 7

SEKS Doctors Argue for Chance to Bid on Crawford County Direct Primary Care Deal

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GIRARD, KANSAS -

     Doctors, hospital CEOs  and others showed up today at the Crawford county commissioners  meeting in Girard asking for a chance to make a bid to provide county employees with primary care.


"Anytime you do anything as a commission, I assume you get multiple bids," said Don Orender. He manages Orender clinic where his wife is a physician.
Orender and Mindi Garner, a Pittsburg doctor, urged the commission to let Pinnacle Care bid to offer direct primary care for county employees.

The county commission was preparing to approve a direct primary care program with Frontenac Dr. William Sullivan, called Deaconess Healthcare, PA, worth two hundred sixty  thousand dollars.
Direct primary care cuts out insurance claims as a membership based practice.

A visibly frustrated commission chairman Carl Wood asked the guests,
"Where has the pinnacle care been? We've been talking about it the past six months."
Commissioners say they needed to save dollars somewhere as health care costs rise. The county is partially self-insured. When very large claims arise, they get help from  Blue Cross Blue Shield coverage. Wood explained,
We knew we had to do something.  Either increase the contributions from employees, because like I said, Blue Cross Blue Shield was gonna go up twenty-two percent.  We could not afford that.
The goal of direct primary care is to reduce urgent care and emergency rooms visits by allowing for more office visits, seven days a week. 
Wood said,
I hear people talk about they have a cold headache and theyll go to the emergency room. They pay fifty bucks. We pay five hundred  before they do anything."
Garner agreed,  
We are all for cost savings especially for the county which is where our patients live.
Pinnacle Care, which represents one hundred fifty-nine  area doctors says it can offer savings like the direct primary care model. And members argued going with just one physicians clinic hurts their patients.
Orender told commissioners, "Some of our patients would be forced to not have the choice to say with us as provider."
Wood argued back that patients they still have a choice, but admitted that direct primary care would be cheaper for the patient eliminating co-pays. That
s what concerns Pinnacle Care members and something they call and enticement putting patients in the middle and making them chose between cost and their more well-acquainted physician.
 

The commissioners  have been working with a paid consultant called IMA to come up with strategies to cut health care costs. This was a solution of that company which they talked to in a conference call after the meeting.
Rick Beins with IMA told commissioners, "I don
t know it could be in the same apples to apples bucket as a true direct primary care arrangement."
Commissioners asked IMA to work with Pinnacle care on its cost saving goals to allow the group to create a bid.
Garner happily reacted,
We just want that chance.

The commission needs to make some kind of a decision on a health care coverage package for employees by January.

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