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First Choice Health enters 2020 after year of growth focused on improving value and accessibility of care

Monday, February 10, 2020

First Choice Health (FCH) enters 2020 on a high note! FCH, a forward-thinking provider-owned and provider-driven health care system, has seen significant growth in its employee assistance program (EAP), telehealth and navigation advancements and innovative chronic opioid abuse program for employers. 

Between notable growth and cutting-edge initiatives, introduced during CEO Jaja Okigwe's first full year at the company, FCH has shown that its focus on flexible health care administration suiting employers' unique health care has succeeded in setting the company apart in the eyes of coverage area members and health care leaders throughout the country.

Focusing on Accessible and High-Value Care

In recent months, FCH has rolled out two new services aimed at simplifying the care experience for members. They first announced the integration of 98point6, an on-demand primary care service that delivers personalized consultation, diagnosis and treatment to patients. Following 98point6, FCH announced a strategic partnership with Rightway Healthcare, giving members direct access to Rightway's innovative technology platform and team of health care navigators. 

FCH's latest benefits focused on access and navigation followed the launch of an embedded service offered through online counseling partner BetterHelp, connecting FCH EAP clients to the world's largest online behavioral health network and improving behavioral health access in the workplace.

"Our priority in 2019 was to look more closely at how we could better reach our members and offer solutions that would allow them to easily access and receive the care they needed -- or didn't know they could get -- with high-value providers, at a time and place that was most convenient," said Okigwe. "We've taken major steps to help members effectively navigate the complex health care system, achieve optimal health and improved outcomes, drive forward new solutions focused on accessibility and convenience, and address behavioral health in new ways."

Expanding Reach, Growing Staff and Tackling Tough Issues

FCH also introduced one of the most comprehensive programs in the country aimed at reducing opioid misuse and abuse in the workplace, the COPE (Chronic Opioid Pain and Education) program. FCH's initiative has provided much-needed support and education for its clients and their workforces who are struggling with chronic opioid use and has made waves in national outlets including Fast Company, FierceHealthcare, Becker's Hospital Review and more. The COPE program's strong initial success led to FCH's offering of a free prescription opioid use report that was made available to employers in the Greater Seattle and Central Oregon areas. The program aimed to help identify high rates of opioid use which can be associated with potential misuse and addiction among employees.

Other notable areas of 2019 growth include:

  • Thirty-two percent growth rate for FCH's employee assistance program, meaning 53,000 new employees covered and 300,000 in total
  • Six percent overall company growth
  • Key strategic hires including Anisha Sood as Vice President of Strategy and Corporate Development, Dan Brown as Chief Technology Officer, and Gordon Thomson as Strategic Program Director; Heather Ford, LMHC was also promoted to Director of EAP
  • Steady growth rate throughout Washington, Oregon, Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, North Dakota and South Dakota with a focus and alignment with its CIN partners, including MultiCare in Pierce and Spokane counties; St. Charles in Central Oregon; and Eastside Health Network in Bellevue and Kirkland
  • FCH continues as the largest independent network in an eight-state region, covering more than 500,000 people in its network and 928,000 people in all of its products


"Between the addition of strong new leadership we've brought on to help strategically expand our reach and offerings, and one-of-a-kind initiatives like the COPE program, I couldn't be prouder of the success we achieved in 2019, which is especially evident in our EAP and PPO growth," Okigwe said. "We look forward to continuing this momentum through 2020 with new partnerships and programs all focused on making the health care experience easier, and the care itself more valuable for our members."