Infographic: Improve Physician Practice Efficiency in 4 Easy Steps

January 18th, 2019 by Melanie Matthews

Trying to manage a physician practice while keeping patients, staff, and physicians happy is challenging, according to a new infographic by Change Healthcare.

The infographic examines how practices can improve efficiency both pre- and post-visit.

Profiting from Population Health Revenue in an ACO: Framework for Medicare Shared Savings and MIPS SuccessA laser focus on population health interventions and processes can generate immediate revenue streams for fledgling accountable care organizations that support the hard work of creating a sustainable ACO business model. This population health priority has proven a lucrative strategy for Caravan Health, whose 23 ACO clients saved more than $26 million across approximately 250,000 covered lives in 2016 under the Medicare Shared Savings Program (MSSP).

Profiting from Population Health Revenue in an ACO: Framework for Medicare Shared Savings and MIPS Success examines Caravan Health’s population health-focused approach for ACOs and its potential for positioning ACOs for success under MSSP and MACRA’s Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS).

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Guest Post: Medicare Advantage Environment Sparks Effective Risk, Quality and Care Strategies to Battle New Challenges

January 17th, 2019 by Jay Baker

Commercial insurers remain interested in competing for MA beneficiaries.

Projections show that national health expenditure growth is expected to average 5.5 percent annually to reach $5.7 trillion by 2026—higher than the projected increase in Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Fortunately, trends of insurers entering and exiting the program show that the Medicare Advantage (MA) market is stable yet dynamic—roughly the same numbers of plans enter/exit the program each year. Data shows that commercial insurers remain interested in competing for MA beneficiaries.

Given the benefits and challenges of value-based healthcare, stakeholders should gain a full understanding of Medicare Advantage (MA) plans, as well as strategies for optimizing this approach. What’s more, research indicates that the successes of MA are already having a positive impact on the broader healthcare delivery and payment landscape. In fact, fee-for-service Medicare spending has trended down in markets with high MA plan participation, indicating that doctors and other medical professionals operating in markets with high MA penetration adapt their practice patterns in alignment with MA plans’ strategies that control spending and use. This, in turn, helps to reduce use and costs for all their patients—including those enrolled in traditional Medicare and commercial/employer-sponsored plans.

MA plan coverage offered by private companies approved by Medicare provide all Medicare Part A (hospital insurance) and Medicare Part B (medical insurance) coverage.

Optimizing the MA Plan Opportunity

An effective MA plan that significantly improves outcomes takes a whole patient approach and applies an end-to-end solution designed to enhance care coordination using analytics, in-home care, retrospective solutions and care management.

Value-based contracting generates cost efficiencies and improves clinical outcomes in MA. The challenge is to design MA plans and risk-bearing entities to remain sustainable. This requires innovative quality and risk adjustment programs to meet the growing demand for effective care strategies. For instance, MA plans can gain clinical insight into risk-adjusting conditions to enhance their traditional analytical platforms.

Understanding a Risk Adjustment Model

Risk adjustment is an actuarial tool used to calibrate payments to health plans based on the relative health of the at-risk populations. If insurers are limited in the extent to which premiums can vary by health status or other factors that are associated with health spending, risk adjustment ensures that health plans are appropriately compensated for the risks they enroll.

Keep in mind that most claims in fee-for-service Medicare are paid using procedure codes, which offer little incentive for providers to record more diagnosis codes than necessary to justify ordering a procedure. In contrast, MA plans have a built-in financial incentive since the current risk adjustment model was introduced that prompts providers to record all possible diagnoses. This is important because higher enrollee risk scores result in higher payments to the plan.

Consider MA plans that rely upon Physician Record Review (PRR), a two-stage retrospective chart review process from a 1) certified coder and 2) board-certified physician. These same plans also use Prospective Health Assessments (PHA) to gain a robust view of members and their care needs. Providers also rely on PHAs to lay the groundwork for developing more accurate reporting documentation, improving patient engagement and compliance, enhancing disease management, and reducing utilization.

This kind of full-spectrum, end-to-end approach to care helps providers identify gaps in care and manage plan members more productively. It also helps health plans that are serving as intermediaries, executing solutions and assuming risk. Fortunately, plan members gain the most form this approach because they are guided toward more preventive care and self-management early in the care process.

Risk-Based Contracting on the Rise

Medicare beneficiaries in fee-for-service Medicare are normally required to pay multiple premiums and deductibles and face a confusing array of cost-sharing arrangements for benefits and services from physicians, pharmacies, and hospitals.

In contrast, when a Medicare beneficiary enrolls in a MA plan it is usually a comprehensive, integrated health plan that includes richer benefits and solid catastrophic coverage. Unburdened of siloed benefits and payments, MA beneficiaries’ plan structure is simpler, and they are able to receive more coordinated care.

The value-based world is enlarging to the benefit of MA patients. In a recent move, CMS expanded its definition of “primarily health-related” benefits that private insurers are allowed to include in their MA policies. These extras include, for instance, air conditioners for people with asthma, healthy food, rides to medical appointments and home-delivered meals. This means MA beneficiaries will have more supplemental benefits and be better able to lead healthier, more independent lives.

Jay Baker

Jay Baker is the senior vice president of quality and risk adjustment solutions at Advantmed, LLC. He was most recently responsible for the ACA risk adjustment strategy and execution for UnitedHealth Group’s Optum division. His accomplishments included standing up an end-to-end service offering and exceeding revenue goals for the first two years of the program. As one of the founders of Dynamic Healthcare Systems, he was responsible for the original design for each of their 10 Medicare Advantage software modules. He is an ACA and Medicare Advantage industry leader and expert in policy, compliance, systems and plans operations.

Advantmed recently developed a white paper that discusses federal policy and the economics of Medicare. Advantmed, LLC is a healthcare solutions company dedicated to partnering with health plans, provider groups and risk-bearing entities to optimize risk adjustment and quality improvement programs. Our integrated and technology-enabled solutions improve health plan financial results and offer insights on health plan members. For more information on Advantmed’s solutions visit www.advantmed.com.

Infographic: Consumer Expectations Define Today’s Patient Journey

January 16th, 2019 by Melanie Matthews

The modern patient’s healthcare journey is made up of seven distinct phases, according to a new infographic by Stericycle Communication Solutions.

The infographic dives into how to capitalize on opportunities to enhance engagement throughout each phase—and to avoid the very real risks that could damage the patient experience.

Improving the Patient Experience: Engaging Front-line Staff for a System-Wide Action PlanUnityPoint Health has moved from a siloed approach to improving the patient experience at each of its locations to a system-wide approach that encompasses a consistent, baseline experience while still allowing for each institution to address its specific needs. Armed with data from its Press Ganey and CAHPS ® Hospital Survey scores, UnityPoint’s patient experience team developed a front-line staff-driven improvement action plan.

During Improving the Patient Experience: Engaging Front-line Staff for a System-Wide Action Plan a 45-minute webinar, now available for replay, Paige Moore, director, patient experience at UnityPoint Health—Des Moines, shares how the organization switched from a top-down, leadership-driven patient experience improvement approach to one that engages front-line staff to own the process.

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Infographic: Telehealth’s Big Impact on the Patient Experience

January 14th, 2019 by Melanie Matthews

The growth of telehealth is being driven by younger consumers who bring heightened expectations for technology solutions to the patient experience, according to a new infographic by Spectrum Enterprise.

The infographic looks at what’s driving telehealth expectations, challenges in deploying telehealth and how changing policies on telehealth reimbursement may help remove barriers to its growth.

Real-time remote management of high-risk populations curbed hospitalizations, hospital readmissions and ER visits for more than 80 percent of respondents and boosted self-management levels for nearly all remotely monitored patients, according to 2014 market data from the Healthcare Intelligence Network (HIN).

Remote Monitoring of High-Risk Patients: Telehealth Protocols for Chronic Care Management profiles a successful eight-year initiative by New York City Health and Hospitals Corporation’s (NYCHHC) House Calls Telehealth Program that significantly lowered patients’ A1C blood glucose levels.

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Infographic: Blueprint for Complex Care

January 11th, 2019 by Melanie Matthews

The United States spends more on healthcare than any other industrialized nation, and much of that spending is concentrated on a small percentage of individuals with complex medical, behavioral, and social needs, according to a new infographic by the Center for Health Care Strategies.

The infographic highlights recommendations for advancing the field, based on input from stakeholders across the country.

Care Coordination of Highest-Risk Patients: Business Case for Managing Complex Populations Asked by its C-suite to quantify contributions of its multidisciplinary care team for its highest-risk patients, AltaMed Health Services Corporation readily identified seven key performance metrics associated with the team. Having demonstrated the team’s bottom line impact on specialty costs, emergency room visits, and HEDIS® measures, among other areas, the largest independent federally qualified community health center (FQHC) was granted additional staff to expand care management for its safety net population.

The Care Coordination of Highest-Risk Patients: Business Case for Managing Complex Populations chronicles AltaMed’s four-phase rollout of care coordination for dual eligibles—a population with higher hospitalization and utilization and care costs twice those of any other population served by AltaMed.

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Infographic: How Housing Affordability Matters in Healthcare

January 9th, 2019 by Melanie Matthews

Housing affordability is a social determinant of health. A lack of affordable housing contributes to housing instability and homelessness, both of which are strong predictors of higher healthcare costs and poor health outcomes, according to a new infographic by the State Health Access Data Assistance Center.

The infographic breaks down the issue of unaffordable rents and explores how state Medicaid policy can alleviate the burden of unaffordable rents.

Homelessness and Healthcare: Creating a Safety Net for Super Utilizers with Medical Bridge HousingChronic homelessness and chronic illness often go hand in hand; individuals struggling with housing insecurity frequently suffer a range of health problems that require hospitalization. Unfortunately, lacking stable housing where they can recuperate renders these newly discharged patients more likely to return to the hospital.

Recognizing that housing is healthcare, many healthcare organizations, particularly hospitals, now seek ways to address this social determinant of health (SDOH) by identifying housing barriers in their communities and developing initiatives to improve housing availability.

Homelessness and Healthcare: Creating a Safety Net for Super Utilizers with Medical Bridge Housing spotlights a California partnership that provides medical ‘bridge’ housing to homeless patients following hospitalization. This recuperative care initiative reduced avoidable hospital readmissions and ER visits and significantly lowered costs for the collaborating organizations.

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Infographic: How To Establish Your Healthcare Data Task Force

January 7th, 2019 by Melanie Matthews

Reaching electronic medical record (EMR) interoperability in healthcare begins with selecting the right data to share, according to a new infographic by HULFT.

The infographic illustrates the key players healthcare organizations should include on a healthcare data task force team to ensure that the data strategy gets the right data to the right people at the right time.

Health Analytics in Accountable Care: Leveraging Data to Transform ACO Performance and Results Between Medicare’s aggressive migration to value-based payment models and MACRA’s 2017 Quality Payment Program rollout, healthcare providers must accept the inevitability of participation in fee-for-quality reimbursement design—as well as cultivating a grounding in health data analytics to enhance success.

As an early adopter of the Medicare Shared Savings Program (MSSP) and the largest sponsor of MSSP accountable care organizations (ACOs), Collaborative Health Systems (CHS) is uniquely positioned to advise providers on the benefits of data analytics and technology, which CHS views as a major driver in its achievements in the MSSP arena. In performance year 2014, nine of CHS’s 24 MSSP ACOs generated savings and received payments of almost $27 million.

Health Analytics in Accountable Care: Leveraging Data to Transform ACO Performance and Results documents the accomplishments of CHS’s 24 ACOs under the MSSP program, the crucial role of data analytics in CHS operations, and the many lessons learned as an early trailblazer in value-based care delivery.

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Infographic: Reducing Healthcare Costs in 2019

January 4th, 2019 by Melanie Matthews

There are many factors driving up healthcare costs and many solutions to improve the situation, according to a new infographic by AcheronAnalytics.

The infographic examines four key areas where there are opportunities to reduce healthcare costs.

Telephonic and Community-Based Care Coordination Model: An Early Engagement Approach for Medicaid Managed CareWhen the Wisconsin Medicaid managed care program was expanded to include members who had traditionally opted out of the program, the HMOs that were going to serve these members had to optimize their member engagement strategies. Independent Care Plan (iCare), one of the HMOs selected as a Medicaid plan, identified early member engagement after enrollment as a key to success for the program.

Telephonic and Community-Based Care Coordination Model: An Early Engagement Approach for Medicaid Managed Care outlines how iCare has structured its care coordination team, including both telephonic and boots on the ground staff to find, engage and assess Medicaid members.

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Infographic: Physician Shortage Trends

January 2nd, 2019 by Melanie Matthews

The United States could be short as many as 120,000 physicians by 2030, according to a new infographic by BoardVitals.

The infographic drills down on where the physician shortages are, how the aging of the United States population is impacting healthcare and the physician workforce, what specialties are experiencing shortages and the top-five shortage-fueled recruiting challenges.

Profiting from Population Health Revenue in an ACO: Framework for Medicare Shared Savings and MIPS SuccessA laser focus on population health interventions and processes can generate immediate revenue streams for fledgling accountable care organizations that support the hard work of creating a sustainable ACO business model. This population health priority has proven a lucrative strategy for Caravan Health, whose 23 ACO clients saved more than $26 million across approximately 250,000 covered lives in 2016 under the Medicare Shared Savings Program (MSSP).

Profiting from Population Health Revenue in an ACO: Framework for Medicare Shared Savings and MIPS Success examines Caravan Health’s population health-focused approach for ACOs and its potential for positioning ACOs for success under MSSP and MACRA’s Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS).

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Infographic: Hospital Readmission Penalties

December 31st, 2018 by Melanie Matthews

Some 2,573 United States’ hospitals will be penalized for readmissions in 2018, according to a new infographic by 3M.

The infographic examines which hospitals are more likely to be penalized, as well as how diagnosis can impact readmission rates.

A Collaborative Blueprint for Reducing SNF Readmissions: Driving Results with Quality Reporting and Performance Metrics
Concerned about escalating hospital readmissions from skilled nursing facilities (SNFs) and the accompanying pinch of Medicare readmissions penalties, three Michigan healthcare organizations set competition aside to collaborate and reduce rehospitalizations from SNFs.

To solidify their coordinated approach, Henry Ford Health System (HFHS), the Detroit Medical Center and St. John’s Providence Health System formed the Tri-County SNF Collaborative with support from the Michigan Quality Improvement Organization (MPRO).

A Collaborative Blueprint for Reducing SNF Readmissions: Driving Results with Quality Reporting and Performance Metrics examines the evolution of the Tri-County SNF Collaborative, as well as the set of clinical and quality targets and metrics with which it operates.

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