Cities see strength in numbers in negotiating for better health care costs

Cities see strength in numbers in negotiating for better health care costs

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Fed up with soaring costs, Dallas and 30 other North Texas municipalities are asking hospitals to submit bids indexed to federally controlled Medicare prices to cover the cost of care for city employees.

Molly Carroll, Dallas’ human resources director, said the city and its employees are spending $129 million on health care costs that are inflating at roughly 10 percent a year. Dallas wants “price concessions as well as some stability,” she said.

“This isn’t their business model,” Carroll said of the area’s hospitals. “Their model is, ‘Just give us your money and don’t worry about what it costs.’ We’re hoping they are interested in at least having a conversation with us about options.”

Gary Brock, president of the North Texas operations of Baylor Scott & White, said Baylor welcomed dialog but would not accept the municipalities’ request for bids.

He characterized Medicare-linked prices as one among several “short-term proposals that do not support the goals of population health initiatives proven to lower an employer’s cost for care while improving the quality of care for its employees and dependents.”

Other hospitals in the area have not yet responded to the coalition’s proposal.

The 31 municipal governments joined in the North Texas Coalition represent roughly 40,000 employees. The number doubles to about 80,000 when insured family members are included.

Read More via Dallas Morning News