WASHINGTON — With rising healthcare costs and an increasingly confusing healthcare market, one grocer has taken employee healthcare into its own hands to help address cost opportunities and put health and wellness at the center.

“We’re not satisfied with how healthcare is running in America,” said Martin Otto, COO of the Texas-based grocer, H-E-B. “Poor access, poor education and overspending on healthcare are all contribution to the poor state we’re in.”

To help reduce costs, Otto said H-E-B wanted to create an ecosystem where there was real payer involvement with less a reduced administrative waste, he said Monday speaking at the World Healthcare Congress.

Bloomberg

“As a company, we decided to lean in on healthcare where a lot of employers at the time were starting to lean out as private exchanges started to circulate” added Brook Brownlow, H-E-B’s VP of benefits and compensation.

The grocer has a culture of trust, where I can get in the middle of healthcare and employees trust we’re making decisions for the right reasons, she said.

H-E-B has created two large primary care homes, labeled Magenta Health. We’re now up to nearly 7,000 patients who are in a committed relationship with their primary care physician, she said.

“We tried to create a system where we turn the payment system upside down and providers can focus on patients,” she said. “Our goal is to wrap our arms around patients when they’re in need. When you’re in a crisis and don’t know where to turn, we want to make sure people have what they need.”

Magenta Health nurses will go into the hospital with H-E-B employees to help, some of the processes can be scary and it is reassuring to have people knowledgeable to an employees’ on hand.

And the engagement numbers H-E-B has solidified the success of its healthcare programs.

· Magenta Health Center satisfaction score 88-90%
· Benefit plan satisfaction is 85% favorable, 11% neutral and 4% unfavorable
· Benefit plan understandings is 88% favorable, 8% neutral and 4% unfavorable

“Health and wellness is a full contact sport,” she stressed. “It isn’t something you can sprinkle fairy dust on and expect everyone to get better.”

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