You Can Lead A Horse To Water…………………

A Texas City Gone Politically Tone-Deaf

By Josh Butler

“Your attempts to raise taxes …..have been rejected, twice.  Turn your attention to your health plan.  It is the single most significant area of opportunity, but you are not taking advantage of it currently.  What will it take?”

Over the past two years, I have been attempting to engage with Mayor Nelson, City Manager Miller, as well as multiple City Council members.  Previous City Council member Elaine Hays and I had a brief conversation in 2019, and more recently, I’ve had multiple conversations with newly elected Councilman, Cole Stanley.  Mr. Stanley is the only city official who has shown sincere interest in speaking about the solutions I’ve shared with the City of Amarillo on ways to dramatically reduce health care spending, one of the City’s top expenses. ($30 Million annually)

I have chronicled savings opportunities for the City of Amarillo through other blog posts in the past, as well as numerous social media posts.  In short, there is well over $1 Million of annualized savings potential within the City’s pharmacy spend, right now.  The City currently spends more than $7 Million per year on prescription drugs dispensed to covered members through the City’s health insurance plan.  It could be paying far less, but the City refuses to discuss strategies in this area.

There is another $1 Million plus hiding in broad daylight within the outpatient surgery spend.  Things like, knee and hip replacement surgeries, orthopedics, hernia surgery, general surgery, and a long list of other outpatient procedures.  There are more than 2000 outpatient surgical procedures performed and paid for through the City’s health plan each and every year. The City could be paying far less for these services through specific strategies they are either unaware of, or purposefully ignoring.

There’s another significant opportunity within the non-emergent diagnostic imaging spend the City is not addressing.  Things like non-emergent MRIs, CT Scans, Ultrasounds, and Xrays.  Combined, there is close to $3 Million PER YEAR in savings opportunities that the City is ignoring, just in these few key areas of their medical spend.  So why isn’t the City engaging in these solutions?

The City simply over-pays for these things. That is pure waste.