Monthly roundup of industry news, trends and information that will have a direct impact on the business of health care.
Population Health Management
Payers haven't waited for the BPC or the IOM to tell them what they already know about the high cost of chronic medical diseases, so most have created chronic disease management programs for enrollees. A Rand Corp. report said engaging providers and patients in the programs has been a “substantial challenge” and suggested a number of tactics payers could use to turn that situation around, including working with providers to incorporate chronic disease management into redesigned care plans and offering financial incentives to patients to participate in the programs.
The Brookings Institution and the American Society of Clinical Oncology have given oncology practices details of the VBR models that will change the way they practice and get reimbursed for care. In their report five health services researchers from Brookings acknowledged the concern over cancer care: The high cost doesn't necessarily correlate with better outcomes, and lower-cost treatment options often produce the same outcomes as higher-cost alternatives. The researchers reviewed four alternative payment models for oncology care and what it will take for each to work clinically and financially for oncologists and their patients. On their to-do list are greater investment in health IT, greater investment in human resources and smarter work flow changes.
ASCO's report, meanwhile, proposed dramatic payment changes that it says will “…support higher quality, more affordable cancer care.” Under its patient-centered oncology payment plan, or PCOP, oncology practices would be reimbursed under one of three approaches: basic, consolidated and bundled; with each of the three approaches featuring different types and levels of value-based payments.
Engaging medically underserved patients in their own care can be especially challenging, and it's an issue routinely faced by community health centers in urban and rural markets. The Commonwealth Fund released the results of a survey of community health centers on their use of cell phones to support their patient engagement efforts. The top three engagement challenges targeted by the community health centers included chronic disease management, wellness activities and preventive care practices.