COLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — The Medical University of South Carolina is getting the chance to try out a new way of providing health care for its employees, in an experiment that could pave the way for changes for all state employees.
On Tuesday, the Budget and Control Board approved the school’s proposal for a one-year pilot program, which would create a “patient-centered medical home” for the university’s 18,000 employees. Workers and their families would get health care through a more centralized system, with case managers helping ensure they get the most effective, efficient care.
Employees would be able to pick from the university’s primary care doctors, all of whom have been certified to provide that level of care, according to Pat Cawley, the university’s chief executive officer.
Cawley said Tuesday the program would incentivize people to first seek out their primary care providers instead of going to an emergency room — visits that can be time consuming and costly, for all parties involved.
“We’ll try to persuade them to go over to the medical home office,” Cawley told the board.
Those incentives could include lower deductibles. Comptroller General Richard Eckstrom, one of the Budget and Control Board’s five members, said Tuesday that the real deciding factor of the program’s success would be the costs — and savings — borne by employees themselves.