Is Direct Contracting the Real Deal?

Direct Contracting is an approach taken by some large employers with heavy geographic concentration of their workforce. Direct Contracting aims to "cut out" the middleman - the insurer or administrator - by dealing directly with large healthcare systems. The Washington Post and the Wall Street Journal got all excited this week about the announcement of GM's direct contracting deal with a large Detroit hospital system. See the The Potential of Direct Contracting and WSJ Story on GM Direct Contract with Henry Ford Hospital. But these stories don't really ask any hard questions. So, how is this really any different than ERISA self-funding utilizing a third party administrator and a customized provider network that's been common for decades with limited results? And why didn't the authors study the case studies of the failed Boeing - Providence Health System direct contract, or delve into the real results of Intel's touted direct contracting? See this useful Review of Direct Contracting Projects. Less useful but relevant context is the Intel White Paper on Their Direct Contracting Experiment. - Sanders DiPiero

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