South Community's Priority Care Offers Surprising Results
Watkins, Robert, THE JOURNAL RECORD
A month into its new industrial health care offering, South Community Hospital's Priority Care plan counts about 1,700 employees as potential beneficiaries.
And for the Oklahoma City area employers who signed up - at no cost to them - some surprising results are beginning to emerge.
"The significant advantages to employers are twofold," declares South Community's Jennifer Huntress, the director of corporate communications and public relations.
"It has meant an enormous reduction in paperwork, whether treatment is given in the emergency room or in private offices; we collect all the paperwork.
"Employers are not used to being notified by people giving the treatment, and they get one statement for everything - one bottom line charge."
Perhaps equally important, there is a clear dollar-saving side to it - a 7 percent discount on all hospital charges. While the discount is not extended to cover the physician's charges, it still adds up to a substantial saving for every enrollee.
Employers are told precisely when the ill or injured employee can return to work, a rather simple callback service that generates additional savings by sharply reducing the number of lost days.
"We're getting positive feedback on this," says Huntress.
Employers pay for Priority Care on the basis of utilization. The objective, as Jennifer Huntress defines it, is to "make the system more efficient."
Cactus Restaurant (the south side facility) was the first to enroll in the plan. McCartney's food stores, Star Manufacturing, Southwest Technical College, and Grider's, a discount food center, are among the employers now participating.
Dr. Andrew C. John is the medical director, and Denis D'Amico is business manager.
According to D'Amico, Priority Care emerged from a study by a special task force. The plan gives employers a comprehensive health and medical care program; among the services are pre-employment physical examinations, health fitness testing, and a system for treating on-the-job injuries. …