Anchorage Assembly approves employee health clinic

The Anchorage Assembly approved a three year contract with Vera Whole Health to establish a medical clinic for municipality employees and family members enrolled in the Municipality of Anchorage’s health plan.

The estimated cost is $10.85 million for the three year contract, including approximately $1.85 million in startup costs. According to Vera, the reduction in medical costs over three years are anticipated to be in the range of $21 million.

 

Vera will provide

  • Primary and preventative care
  • Formulary and laboratory services
  • Wellness services
  • Management services
  • Workers compensation

The Assembly estimates 5,200 people will use the clinic.

Vera already has a contract with the Anchorage School District and is planning to open a medical clinic in September for the school district’s employees and their dependents. Vera will serve an estimate 4,500 people under the ASD contract and will be paid a flat annual fee of approximately $2.3 million.

Assembly members Amy Demboski and Fred Dyson voted against the measure. Assembly member Demboski expressed she wanted to look at other private sector options for containing health care costs. She also expressed her desire to have employees to pay more for their healthcare and is hesitant to approve spending $10.85 million.

Other assembly members expressed their support of the potential cost savings and of increasing the quality of care for employees. The measure was passed 8-2, with Assembly member Croft absent.

Vera is based out of Seattle and runs clinics in Oregon, Washington, and Arizona. Vera claims it reduces health care costs by 10 to 25 percent, with a 70 percent decrease in urgent and ER claims, 94 percent savings on prescriptions, and 96 percent savings on lab costs.

Correction: An earlier version misstated that the savings from the new clinic are estimated to be around $11 million, not $21 million.