N.J. primary-care pilot program aims to let doctors spend more time with patients

Taken from Philly.com, December 20, 2016

Riverside Township resident Ronald Russell has been paying $130 a month — on top of the health insurance he has as a retired police officer — to cover primary care for his family of five.

It’s worth it, he said of the care his family receives from Steven Horvitz in Moorestown.

“It’s almost like a concierge. You pay a monthly fee for a family, and you have access to the doctor 24/7. There are no co-pays when you go to see him. He gives you his cellphone, his email address. The office is always available,” Russell said.

Now, under a pilot program for people covered by public-sector health plans in New Jersey, Russell no longer has to pay the monthly fee.

Horvitz, the Russells’ family doctor, has signed up with R-Health, an Elkins Park company that has a contract to provide what is called direct primary care to beneficiaries of the New Jersey State Health Benefits Program and School Employees’ Health Benefits Program.

Under the three-year pilot, which started last month when R-Health’s contract took effect, as many as 60,000 teachers, police, firefighters, and other state and local government employees will be allowed into the program. It’s a free add-on to their current plans and is designed to give doctors more time to spend with patients, with the goal of reducing long-term spending on health care.

In addition to Horvitz, R-Health currently has doctors signed up for the program in Haddonfield and Washington Crossing. A fourth doctor, near Trenton, is scheduled to start early next year.

“We get paid a fixed amount to deliver an expanded range of primary care,” said Mason Reiner, R-Health’s chief executive.

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