Title: Vice President, Benefits and HR Systems
Company: Dean Foods
Industry: Food Processing
Size: 20,000 employee lives
Regenexx: How much of your total spend is orthopedic surgeries?
Dean Foods: Our average spend is about 15% to 17% depending on the year.
Regenexx: When did you identify orthopedics as a key cost driver in your plan?
Dean Foods: Two to three years ago we were noticing it to be the fastest growing of our diagnostic categories and it was a cost driver that we hadn’t addressed yet. Therefore, we looked for strategies to address cost and care.
Regenexx: Dean Foods is one of the first companies to truly attack musculoskeletal costs within your plan. What did you identify as problematic within your current musculoskeletal care continuum?
Dean Foods: We identified early on the propensity of our employees to resort to MSK surgeries rather than interventional strategies using a step therapy methodology. We started there.
Regenexx: When and why did you decide that Regenexx is a key strategy within your interventional health care approach?
Dean Foods: Stem cell and platelet therapies from Regenexx was a natural extension of our MSK step therapy process that is designed to give employees the highest quality of care possible while trying to avoid ineffective surgeries when appropriate.
Regenexx: How has the Regenexx Corporate Program helped advance your utilization strategies?
Dean Foods: Regenexx was an essential part of the team that reviewed and improved our musculoskeletal model. They were the experts in how to identify the potential employee subset that typically seeks surgical care for an orthopedic event as well as helped us implement a key steerage plan. They also developed the communication strategy to share the Regenexx option which lessened any burden on us. Once the communication plan was in place they developed the incentive model to direct employees and incent appropriate care. Dean Foods views Regenexx as a critical part of our MSK care continuum. To encourage our plan members to take advantage of this option, Dean Foods has opted to cover 100% of the cost for Regenexx services (for members on our HSA-qualified plan, we cover 100% above the federal minimum). We additionally provide a cash incentive to qualified candidates who chose to have a Regenexx procedure of between $1,000 and $2,000 depending on with Regenexx procedure they receive. This benefit structure provides a strong financial incentive for our plan members to seek out Regenexx treatment before orthopedic surgery.
Regenexx: What information gave you the confidence that adding Regenexx was the right choice?
Dean Foods: Every piece of information Regenexx provided us confirmed their value proposition even with the CMO. Their procedures were research driven, outcomes monitored and performed in a standardized approach across the country.
Regenexx: How important is utilization of services inside of all of your intervention strategies?
Dean Foods: We have learned that it is critical to first decide on the interventional strategies and more importantly ensure that our care are exercised at the employee level. This is a challenge for all healthcare providers in the US. A dual approach has provided the best results. The first is an education program and the second is adding steerage into the plan design. Without employees exercising these strategies at the point of care, the results are unrecognized. We have seen a significant positive impact to the care provided and the cost of that care.
Regenexx: What are the downsides, if any, for a self-funded employer to add Regenexx procedures to their orthopedic care continuum?
Dean Foods: There are no downsides and only upsides for a self-funded employer to add Regenexx to a self-funded health plan. It truly became a no-brainer for Dean Foods.