LeadHealth is the first employer health organization to provide self-insured companies with access to Functional Medicine to reduce healthcare costs. By marrying health outcomes data with healthcare cost data, this partnership provides the first opportunity to prove the health economic argument for Functional Medicine across a diverse set of health plan populations.
For most employers, health care is their second highest expense. LeadHealth is paving a path to connect IFM-trained practitioners to employers across the country using telemedicine-based episodes of care packaged for companies as a high-value bundle of services.
Initially focused on serving employer populations through worksite health centers, LeadHealth made two important discoveries that have the potential to accelerate the widespread adoption of Functional Medicine:
- Unlike most employer health and wellness initiatives that are focused on reducing risk among the healthiest 90% of the population, the greatest short-term economic return on Functional Medicine is found in service of the highest cost claimants struggling with chronic diseases.
- The ability for LeadHealth to achieve favorable health outcomes using Functional Medicine does not require a worksite clinic. Telemedicine-based episodes of care perform equally well.
The IFM collaboration with LeadHealth works toward IFM’s mission by:
- Precisely demonstrating the health economic impact of Functional Medicine in the new era of value-based care.
- Exposing Functional Medicine to all commercial payers as a cost-saving, high-value model for managing health and reducing the disease and cost burden of chronic high-claimants.
- Increasing patient access to Functional Medicine.
- Generating professional opportunities for IFM Certified Practitioners to augment their practice income.
LeadHealth created the nation’s first Functional Medicine–based worksite clinic and contained cost inflation in its first year to 1%. While most employer health programs achieve savings by price-optimizing the consumption of healthcare services (i.e., shifting plan members to generic drugs) or shifting costs to plan members, LeadHealth, in collaboration with IFM, is demonstrating that employers can reduce cost by de-escalating and even reversing chronic disease within the highest cost segment of the health plan population.