Get to know Healthstat
Company’s CFO, West Bend Schools COO weigh in on company, clinic

By Sarah Pryor - Freeman Staff

March 17, 2014

Healthstat CFO Susan Kinzler    
Photo submitted

WAUKESHA - Local officials have had lots of discussion lately about a shared city/county/school district to be run by a company called Healthstat, but what really is this North Carolina-based company and how can it make such bold promises?

Proposed for the former Department of Public Health building adjacent to the Waukesha County Courthouse, 515 W. Moreland Blvd., the clinic is projected to save the district, county and city more than $7 million in employee health care costs over five years, with the city’s share being about $1.1 million, according to Healthstat’s figures.

Where do the cost savings actually come from?

“The way we save money is getting ahead of large medical expenses and either delaying or removing those that would happen if the person were left to their own devices,” said Healthstat CFO Susan Kinzler.

“Of course we’ll take care of patients and diagnose them when they have an acute illness, but our primary focus is proactive health, risk and disease management. What we do is work with patients for uncontrolled risks - such as for a person who has high blood sugar but isn’t diabetic, we would focus on keeping them from becoming a person with diabetes.”

Kinzler said that just because it’s expensive, it doesn’t mean it’s lower quality care.

“Quite the contrary. We don’t have to file insurance so we don’t have anywhere near as much overhead as the outside health care community has,” Kinzler said. “Because of the way we’re structured, it’s more affordable.”

Mayor Jeff Scrima has said some city employees are concerned about the concept of a “voluntary” clinic that isn’t truly voluntary, because not using it would have financial implications.

Kinzler said that it’s completely up to the municipality how to incentivize or de-incentivize clinic use.

“We have many, many clients who establish these clinics and it’s zero cost for the medical care patients receive and there are no incentives or disincentives,” she said. “Then we have some clients who give incentives for certain behavior. If they get their screening, they’ll get some sort of award, prize or incentive. At this point, none of those things have been decided about Waukesha County, city or schools.

She wanted to make it clear that although the company is based in Charlotte, N.C., all clinic staff would be local to the Waukesha area.

“We won’t be taking jobs or people away,” she said. “We’ll actually be adding.”


West Bend Schools clinic going well

Valley Elliehausen, chief operating officer of the West Bend School District, said the district’s Healthstat-run clinic has been open since September and that so far, she’s gotten “extraordinarily positive” employee feedback.

“A couple of things made us choose Healthstat - their model of 70 percent spent on really focusing on behavioral education and preventative health that makes people make better decisions about their own health. The other part was that they had a model that addressed the acute, like when you wake up with a sore throat,” she said.

Her district offered some incentives for employees to use the clinic.

“Healthstat puts a very good performance guarantee down on return for an investment, and part of your role as the employer is to get engagement. One of the key things is incentive,” she said.

“For our district, we had two consumer-driven health plans with high deductibles. We added another higher deductible and let employees choose. Then we kicked off with a wellness event, and if you participated and were a non-tobacco user, you’d get a discount off your monthly premium, whichever plan you chose. And if your spouse did it and was a non-tobacco user, we also added a discount for those folks.

“Also, we (the employer) contribute into their Health Reimbursement Account, but only if you do your follow-up visits in the clinic. So if I don’t make my visits, the district won’t put the dollars in the HRA the following year.”

Elliehausen said although it’s in the early stages, most employees have expressed a high satisfaction level with the clinic.