Michigan Medicaid pilot offers better care for less money

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Senator Patrick Colbeck

Senator Patrick Colbeck

Lansing, Mich. — State Sen. Patrick Colbeck offered testimony on his proposed Direct Primary Care Services (DPCS) Medicaid pilot program in the Senate Appropriations Subcommittee for Health and Human Services hearing on Tuesday.

The pilot program was incorporated into the current version of the Senate Health and Human Services Subcommittee budget, which members unanimously passed out of committee after the testimony period.

“The costs savings for the state from the DPCS program would be tremendous,” said Colbeck, R-Canton. “DPCS care models have resulted in health care cost savings of 20 percent or more. If these results are realized for the entire Michigan Medicaid population, taxpayers would save $3.4 billion annually.”

The DPCS pilot program allows patients from all demographics equal access to the healthcare market.

“Medicaid patients have traditionally received less frequent and lower-quality care due to Medicaid payments to doctors being a fraction of the cost of providing that care,” Colbeck said. “Through the pilot program, Medicaid patients will no longer wear a ‘Scarlet M.’ They will receive the same care as everyone else that sees a DPCS physician.”

Medicaid represents the single largest item in the Michigan budget at $17.5 billion. More than 2.4 million of Michigan’s 10 million residents are enrolled in Medicaid. The proposed DPCS Medicaid pilot would encourage 2,400 Medicaid enrollees to sign up to have their primary care services provided by a DPCS provider under contract with a Managed Care Organization.

All other services such as hospitalization or other catastrophic care needs would continue to be provided by the Managed Care Organization.

“Furthermore, if Michigan were to expand the current footprint of DPCS physician practices as a result of this pilot, Avik Roy, a Senior Fellow at the Manhattan Institute, believes that Michigan would be ‘ground zero in a free market revolution in health care.’”

The success of the pilot program will be based on the reduction in the number and severity of non-primary care claims (i.e., patients are healthier). The goal of the pilot is to reduce the cost of care by 50 percent, although a reduction of 35 percent would result in cost savings, and any reduction below 100 percent of the current claims rate would mean that enrollees are healthier.

Colbeck was joined in his testimony before the Senate Appropriations subcommittee by Dr. John Blanchard of Premier Private Physicians and Dr. Chad Savage of YourChoice Direct Care, who shared the benefits of DPCS and their own personal experiences as DPCS physicians in Michigan.

Also on Tuesday, the House Appropriations Subcommittee for Health and Human Services unanimously passed its draft budget, which included the DPCS Medicaid pilot. The budgets will undergo further consideration in each chamber’s full Appropriations Committee.

For more information on Colbeck’s work in this field, visit his DPCS Medicaid Pilot webpage at www.SenatorPatrickColbeck.com.

“It is my hope that you will join me in the pursuit of a rare opportunity in government to improve the quality of services and reduce costs at the same time by supporting the proposed DPCS Medicaid pilot,” Colbeck said.

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