Practice Case Study: MyMD Connect Uses Spruce to Succeed with Employer Healthcare Contracts

Meet MyMD Connect: a direct-care medical organization with locations across Texas and an undeniable knack for landing employer healthcare contracts and then succeeding with them.

We’ve talked at length about the huge potential of employer contracts to help independent medical groups grow (check out our ebook and webinar on the topic), and MyMD Connect is one of the best organizations at quickly and effectively putting theory into practice. The group’s founder, Dr. Jeremy Smith, recently gave us some key insights into his team’s success, and we’re excited to share those with you now in this brief, powerful case study on their practice.

Read on to see how MyMD Connect has become an employer contract powerhouse, including the outcome numbers that keep them that way.

Key Takeaways:

  • 18 contracts secured with primarily medium-size employers
  • Contracts save employers $270 per employee per month, on average
  • Highest savings on: ER visits, workers’ comp cases, direct-pay negotiated prices (e.g., medications, imaging, labs, hospital charges)
  • Spruce technology powers the advanced communications and telemedicine that allow MyMD Connect to provide high-quality, high-availability care and show cost savings to employers
  • MyMD Connect team uses Spruce to prevent unnecessary ER visits, promote health-maintaining preventive medicine, and reduce unneeded testing and treatment

Practice Basics

Specialty: Primary care
Locations: 4
Providers: Teams of MDs, NPs, RNs, and medical assistants/office staff at each location
Employer Contracts: 18
Covered Lives: 2,500+ (employer contracts only)

How MyMD Connect Wins Employer Contracts

“We work with several large employers and then many others in the 30- to 150-employee range,” related Dr. Smith. “We don’t contract with them directly, though. Instead, we work with third-party administrators (TPAs), and we design whole plans for these companies, with our direct primary care practices at the center of them to provide most of what the employees need. The TPAs make sure that the plans are compliant with ERISA and other legal requirements, and then those can be a company’s full offering.”

“We track when our service prevents emergency room visits or other expensive outcomes. […] We can tell an employer what they would have paid in a non-capitated plan.”
—Dr. Jeremy Smith

Dr. Smith noted that he has been especially successful with companies that have not yet transitioned away from fully insured health plans, such as those promoted by insurers like BCBS or UnitedHealthcare. “Converting to self-funding typically saves these employers a lot of money, and our TPA connections help them make the switch in the plan design. It’s an obvious fit.”

When pitching prospective employers, Dr. Smith has also identified a list of common cost centers for employers, all of which MyMD Connect seeks to improve upon via a focus on direct-care principles and preventive, primary medicine. Chief among these are ER visits, workers’ compensation cases that lead to rate increases, and overpaying for imaging and laboratory studies.

“We track when our service prevents emergency room visits or other expensive outcomes,” said Dr. Smith. “We have our own internal CPT codes that we use for it, and our TPA records that data on the administrative side. Then, when we’re discussing plan renewals, we can see what we’ve done. We can price it out in a real-world setting, and we can tell an employer what they would have paid in a non-capitated plan, versus the lower amount that they paid with us.”

So how does MyMD Connect provide the type of care that prevents unnecessary ER visits and other negative outcomes?

“We can keep people out of the ER by being available when they need us on Spruce, with the information that they need to know.”
—Dr. Jeremy Smith

“Spruce has been really helpful to manage these groups, both in practice and in the sales process. It’s been a very valuable tool, and it lets us provide a unique level of access to our patients. I’ve got salespeople and brokers in meetings miles and miles away that will actually use their own Spruce apps to get in touch with our care team and demonstrate live to an employer why they should have us on board.”

Operationally, MyMD Connect uses the communications capabilities of Spruce both to improve the efficiency of team coordination on the backend and also to reach patients directly for care-related issues.

“Quickly communicating via texting on Spruce is great,” related Dr. Smith. “The ability to load educational materials into attachments has also been key. We always need to send patients information, like, ‘How do you do back stretches,’ or ‘What is an elimination diet?’ and Spruce has been golden for this. We can keep people out of the ER by being available when they need us on Spruce, with the information that they need to know.”

MyMD Connect saves employers an average of $270 per employee per month in healthcare costs.

MyMD Connect also provides virtual-only services with some of its health plans. Jay Marsolan, a nurse practitioner with the group, is highly active with these offerings, and he makes frequent use of Spruce’s telemedicine capabilities to care for his patients.

“I use Spruce Visits multiple times a day, and they’re absolutely essential for me,” said NP Marsolan, commenting on the unique asynchronous clinical questionnaires that are available to providers on the Spruce platform. “The amount of information that you get back with Spruce Visits is outstanding; they’re a very helpful tool. I use the live-video telemedicine on Spruce sometimes, too, but I’m using Spruce Visits more, for sure.”

Dr. Smith and NP Marsolan noted that their group has used Spruce Visits to address many common primary care complaints, from cough and flu through to back pain and headache. They also use the visits to power their new-patient intake forms, saving time for both providers and patients and ensuring that important information is collected and stored in a consistent, secure way.

“Some of these things, in the virtual world, we can’t do without Spruce,” said Dr. Smith. “Feature for feature, it’s better than other platforms. You guys are a better product, in our mind right now, than anybody else.”

The Quantifiable Results

MyMD Connect’s focus on data collection allows them to quantify their results and compare their financial outcomes with health insurance rates from the typical players (e.g., Blue Cross Blue Shield, UnitedHealthcare, Cigna, Aetna, and Humana; the so-called “BUCAH” insurers).

Dr. Smith shared some of these numbers with us, straight from a presentation that he uses when explaining his group’s success and service offerings to potential new employers. In the past year, across three medium-sized companies (two in construction and one in manufacturing), health plans arranged by MyMD Connect saved the employers an average of $270 per employee per month in healthcare coverage costs.

The outcome numbers also show an absolute savings of ~$600,000 for the employers, despite higher employee enrollment in the MyMD Connect offering. This suggests that MyMD Connect is providing not just cost efficiency but also further-reaching care, a compelling achievement.

MyMD Connect vs. Traditional Insurance (BUCAH) Plans

Traditional Insurance MyMD Connect
Enrolled 237 267
PEPM Cost $825.51 $555.48
Yearly Cost $2,347,760.88 $1,779,746.52
Annual data across 3 medium-size employers
PEPM: Per employee per month

Get Spruce for Your Practice

Spruce helps MyMD Connect land employer contracts and then succeed with them. Book time with our experts today to learn how we can help your practice add the advanced communications and telemedicine capabilities that you need to do the same thing.

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