Kentucky Lowers Costs, Enhances Care with H2U

Commonwealth actuary tallies $723,900 in 2014 cost savings

An innovative move to improve access to primary care services for nearly 9,000 Commonwealth of Kentucky employees is paying real dividends. The state has realized significant cost savings and created a more effective system of healthcare.

In 2011, the Commonwealth of Kentucky brought in Nashville-based H2U Wellness Centers LLC, to manage four health centers in Frankfort:  Capitol Annex, Capital Plaza Tower, the Transportation Cabinet and the Cabinet for Health, and Family Services Building.

Access to the health centers (called First Onsite clinics) is available to all Kentucky state employees during normal business hours. An average appointment is often just down the hall from an employee's office. By managing chronic conditions and avoiding hospital admissions, unnecessary emergency department visits and specialist referrals, H2U estimated the commonwealth is saving an additional $400,000 each year. Reduced time away from work and improved productivity produced savings of nearly $200,000.

In 2014, the Kentucky employee health plan's actuary, AON, evaluated the impact of having these clinics and found combined annual savings from more than 15,000 visits totaled $723,900.  That's the difference between the $38.53 per-visit paid for a health center stop, versus an average $85 cost-per-visit for similar services in the Frankfort area.

Patients at the health centers receive care from a board-certified nurse practitioner – a registered nurse with advanced training in diagnosing and treating common illnesses and medical problems. The health centers specialize in treating allergies, ear infections, strep throat, minor infections, rashes, routine wellness and preventive care, and cold and flu. Vaccinations and allergy shots are also provided.

"Clinic staff provide excellent customer service. In fact, 99 percent of employees say they would recommend it to their co-workers," says Department of Employee Insurance Commissioner Joe Cowles. "The positive feedback has helped to increase visits. The clinics now have over 1,300 visits a month – an 18 percent increase in utilization from 2013 to 2014."

"The Commonwealth of Kentucky demonstrated visionary thinking by bringing affordable, high-quality primary care services to the places where workers spend most of their waking hours. That's an employee-focused approach to better health," said Yonnie Chesley, CEO of Health to You (H2U). "The cost savings to the people of Kentucky is a win, but improving access and convenience to needed primary care services is proof of commitment to improve employee lives."

To learn more about the worksite health and primary care services, read the issue brief.

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