The Anchorage Assembly chambers at the Z. J. Loussac Public Library in Anchorage. (Staff photo)In an effort to curb skyrocketing healthcare costs, Anchorage is testing a new clinic specifically for city employees.
On Tuesday, the Anchorage Assembly approved a three-year contract with a company called Vera Whole Health to start in 2018. The move means access to primary and preventative care at a clinic for employees and family members enrolled in the Municipality’s health plan. It’s a program similar to one already in place for Anchorage School District employees. Supporters in the mayor’s administration and on the Assembly say easy access to routine and preventative care will reduce costly ER visits and medical interventions later on.
The cost of the contract is $10,851,402. That’s slightly less than the amount projected to be saved over the three years of the contract $11,280,000, according to documents submitted by the administration. More substantial savings wouldn’t begin showing up in the city’s finances for several years.
Two conservative Assembly members representing Chugiak/Eagle River, Amy Demboski and Fred Dyson, were the only votes against the measure. Demboski spoke during Assembly comments about her belief the proposal expands government and that alternatives in the private sector haven’t been sufficiently researched.