Recent IFEBP webcast on benefits of direct healthcare features Midwest Operating Engineers, Midwest Coalition of Labor, and Premise Health

What is the value of direct healthcare for unions and Taft-Hartley funds? On Tuesday, March 14, the International Foundation of Employee Benefit Plans (IFEBP) hosted a webcast, Direct Health Care: Improving Member Access and Experience While Lowering Cost, focused on this question. The discussion centered around the positive impact that direct healthcare can have for union populations. It featured Thomas Bernstein, administrative manager of the Midwest Operating Engineers (MOE); Ken Edwards, director of the Midwest Coalition of Labor (MCL); and Beth Ratliff, chief operating officer of Premise Health.  

Bernstein has been the administrative fund manager for MOE since 2014. This Taft-Hartley fund encompasses the lives of all Local 150 members and their families, including dependents and retirees, administering the health and welfare pension fund benefits for roughly 55,000 lives from northwestern Indiana, to Chicago, IL, and the Quad Cities. Edwards is the director of the MCL, a consortium of unions throughout the Midwest representing roughly 225,000 members. Edwards previously represented MOE as an attorney for 20 years. Ratliff oversees operations of Premise Health’s 800+ wellness centers across the country in her role as chief operating officer, focusing on enhancing quality of care and experiences for patients while lowering costs for them and their organizations. 

The panelists covered a range of topics concerning direct healthcare, including:  

  • How direct healthcare, which is a value-driven model of care, is different from care in the community, which is fee-for-service  
  • The benefits of easily accessible wellness centers and primary care for members 
  • The reasons why a Taft-Hartley fund or union would consider direct healthcare 
  • The types of services that can be offered, including behavioral health. 

MOE has partnered with Premise Health to provide its members with exceptional healthcare since 2015 through two active health centers to date, one located in Countryside, IL and the other in Merrillville, IN, that cover an estimated 24,000 lives. These wellness centers offer a combination of primary care, musculoskeletal care, behavioral health, and condition management services.  

The MCL and Premise Health are partnering together on a shared wellness center model that will bring together multiple unions and Taft-Hartley funds to open wellness centers in locations that otherwise would not have the member density from one organization to support a center. Five shared wellness centers are planned to open this year. 

Watch the rest of the webcast for more insight into the impact that direct healthcare has had for members and what MOE, MCL, and Premise plan for the future. The webcast recording is available for free on IFEBP’s website once the user creates an account to gain access.