News and Events

Methodist Joins Midwest Network Alliance To Help Employers Reduce Health Care Spending While Caring for Their Employees

Published: April 24, 2023
Midwest Network Alliance

Methodist Health System and six other health systems in Nebraska have partnered to create the Midwest Network Alliance. The new organization provides health benefit plans directly to employers across the state and empowers providers to work together to deliver a better care experience for our communities.

The other owners of the Midwest Network Alliance are Bryan Health, Columbus Community Hospital, Faith Regional Health Services, Great Plains Health, Mary Lanning Healthcare and Nebraska Medicine.


What Does Direct-to-Employer Mean?

Employers are looking for innovative ways to reduce their health care spending without sacrificing the quality of care their employees receive. By partnering directly with a health system, employers can structure benefit offerings around the needs of their employees and have more direct access to those providing their care.

Direct-to-employer contracting is defined as a partnership between an employer and a local health care organization(s) for covered services under an employee benefits plan. Unlike traditional models where insurance carriers sit between the provider network and the employer, the Midwest Network Alliance model brings employers, providers and patients together to develop customized solutions.

Demand for this new model is growing. According to an Aon Hewitt employer survey, 40% of employers are considering direct-to-employer agreements within the next five years.


What Makes the Midwest Network Alliance Different?

For employers, the Midwest Network Alliance offers peace of mind that employees and their dependents will receive the highest level of care at the lowest possible cost and will be actively engaged in their health. As stakeholders in their communities, employers will have direct access to Midwest Network Alliance member organizations in a true partnership focused on positive health outcomes and cost savings. 

Human resources leaders will have on-demand access to data and reports regarding population health trends, utilization patterns and the percentage of at-risk members. The data is shared at an aggregate level, ensuring that HIPAA standards are upheld and that employees’ privacy is protected.

Using this data, we can:

  • Ensure that all members are under the care of a primary care provider
  • Highlight the importance of and ensure that preventive care screenings and immunizations are current
  • Identify which chronic conditions are most prominent within an organization and deploy educational resources to support impacted members
  • Provide extra oversight and care management to individuals identified as high risk based on their health conditions, family history or utilization patterns
  • Address utilization patterns by educating members on the importance of primary care, seeing in-network providers and the appropriate utilization of emergency services

As an owner, Methodist benefits as well.

The Midwest Network Alliance agreements further position us as a community leader. Our participation demonstrates our commitment to supporting local businesses and creating a healthier community.

“Being an owner and participant in the Midwest Network Alliance allows us to continue leveraging our strong provider offering in primary care and specialty services while developing stronger partnerships with local and state employers to provide the right care to their employees,” said Mike Vrbicky, president of Methodist Health Partners. “It will also allow Methodist to continue working with and developing working partnerships with other health systems throughout Nebraska.” 

Financially, direct-to-employer agreements are structured to steer patients toward Midwest Network Alliance facilities. This expands our services, broadens our referral base, reduces the likelihood that members will seek care at a competitive system and increases our overall revenue.


Who Are the Prospective Customers?

As the Midwest Network Alliance is a new organization, we started with some of our ownership groups as the first clients before targeting outside employers. The first groups went live on Jan. 1, 2022. Today, more than 9,300 members are on the alliance, including the following employee health plans:

  1. Columbus Community Hospital
  2. Faith Regional Health Services
  3. Great Plains Health
  4. Kearney Regional Medical Center (part of Bryan Health)
  5. Mary Lanning Healthcare

As the product offering matures, we’ll expand our focus to include self-funded employers with around 150 employees strategically located across the state.


Where Can I Learn More?

This frequently asked questions document is an internal resource to help address common questions related to the Midwest Network Alliance. We also encourage you to visit the Midwest Network Alliance website and follow the organization on social media (Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.) Internally, questions can be directed to Mike Vrbicky, president of Methodist Health Partners, who represents Methodist on the Midwest Network Alliance board of directors.