Up to 2,000 state employees could opt for unlimited access to preventive and primary health care through a direct patient-provider pilot project created by legislation passed today by the Senate.
"This is a new way to deliver care. It's less expensive, has better outcomes and transforms the doctor patient relationship,” said Jim Kastama, D-Puyallup. “In these practices, doctors are paid to keep you well. Their primary focus is on preventing illnesses."
Instead of paying per medical procedure, direct provider plans pay a provider to keep the patient healthy, installing an incentive for the provider to keep patients from incurring illnesses in the first place.
“These plans result in better outcomes and have been proven to reduce downstream health care costs at much as 50 percent,” Kastama said. ”This approach is better for the state, and it’s better for the employee.”
Under Kastama’s Senate Bill 6589, the existing health care plans for state employees would remain in place but up to 2,000 state employees in Pierce and King counties would be given the option of trying direct provider care for the first year. All we are doing is saying those under the Uniform Plan can choose.
“There is no need for catastrophic policies because that is provided under this plan,” Kastama said. “This is just an option with the complete wrap-around of the Uniform Medical Plan.”
SB 6589 passed on a 41-8 vote and now goes to the House for consideration.