August 24, 2021
Keeping within expenditure limits is a top priority for most ACOs for Medicare. That makes sense. Savings are the main distinguishing feature of an ACO arrangement, as opposed to straight Fee-for-Service reimbursement. ACOs that accept downside risk can’t afford to exceed the expenditure target. It’s in their best interest to create initiatives to cut costs and control expenses—especially for services outside the ACO, such as post-acute care. But a cost strategy only focused on trimming expenses will likely fail the ACO in the long run. Why? Medicare ACOs face an annually decreasing expenditure limit that mandates them to lower costs…Read More
July 29, 2021
Five Important Health Care Trends that Consumers Should Track
In the world of health care, change is never-ending. Politics, government regulation, scientific advancement, technology, and the economics and financing of health care foster shifts to reshape how care is delivered and how much it costs. Many of these shifts are completely invisible to us as health care consumers. But they also drive what is happening to and around us, determining availability and affordability of physicians or other services. This came home to me last month when we had friends over for dinner, and the conversation turned to our work. I mentioned Accountable Care Organizations and got blank stares. The…Read More
June 11, 2020
Is Telehealth Bridging or Widening the Health Care Gap? We Need to Find Out.
ROJI Health Intelligence CEO Theresa Hush frames the questions we need to ask about the future of telehealth in this 3:37 minute video. Telehealth has become the go-to solution for health care during the COVID-19 pandemic, enabling providers and consumers to remain in contact for routine and non-emergency visits while brick-and-mortar spaces have been closed. Now that health care is reopening, however, telehealth remains a preferred communications medium, and many providers plan to expand it much more going forward. So, it’s time to ask: Are the services we are offering through telehealth really delivering the best health care possible? And,…Read More
January 15, 2020
Can Consumers Be the Answer to Health Care Cost Control?
In the intense ramp-up to accepting Value-Based Health Care payment models that include financial risk, providers have implemented an array of technologies and programs to improve cost performance. They are in a race against time. Capitation is re-emerging as a dominant payment type under Medicare Value-Based Primary Care Models and commercial contracts. Alternative Payment Models demand payback for excess costs. In the crunch, however, the most important health care goal is getting lost: how to reduce long-term costs while improving patient outcomes. The most effective solutions will require more than just technology. They will require provider-consumer partnering, facilitated by consumer-focused…Read More
January 9, 2020
Get the eBook: Turn Health Care Chaos into Value – Give Voice to Providers and Consumers
Are we on a real path to reducing health care costs and improving our citizens' health? Those were stated goals in the early 2000s that developed into what is now called Value-Based Health Care (VBHC). VBHC has come to mean a major reform effort to slow the pace of cost increases through changes in incentives for both providers and health care consumers. So far, however, the gains have fallen short of expectations. VBHC reforms require significant changes in the role of providers and consumers in order to succeed. These role changes are evolving too slowly. Health care costs continue to…Read More
December 18, 2019
Bottom Line: Can Consumers Survive Value-Based Health Care?
As 2019 nears its close, health care has reached a crossroads. Value-Based Health Care was intended to clarify consumer choices and motivate providers to offer high value services that improved outcomes, as well as to improve patient access to those services. But has that goal been realized? Has anything really changed? Or are health care consumers even worse off than before? Since September, we've been evaluating the consumer perspective of Value-Based Health Care, examining whether the movement is helping consumers achieve affordability, better choices, and good quality. We’ve focused on two central questions: Is Value on the right track? Has…Read More
December 11, 2019
Can Consumers Ever Get the Transparency Needed to Predict Health Care Costs?
If you’re feeling squeezed to control your medical costs and pressured to find the essential information and help you need to do it, there's a good reason. Health care professionals, politicians, and economic experts are calling on consumers to make decisions about what services to get and where to get them. While Value-Based Health Care claims may focus on provider accountability for better and more coordinated, economic care, a secondary theme is to achieve greater accountability and cost sharing by patients. Giving consumers the tools to be accountable underlies the Transparency movement, including the new proposed rule from CMS that…Read More
November 21, 2019
How Aching Joints Can Teach Consumers to Question the Evidence
As explained in our last article, there’s more to managing personal health care costs than concentrating on insurance payments and uncovered costs. As health care consumers, we’d all benefit from learning how to determine whether the value of the services—as delivered by a given provider—is worth the cost, potential risk, and benefits. Here, again, are the four key questions: Request evidence for new or continued treatment; Ask about your providers' cost and quality performance and service standards; Question what doesn't seem right about your experience, diagnosis, and treatment; Request episode-based cost information. There's a good chance that some consumers will…Read More
November 13, 2019
How to Manage Your Health Care Costs – Beyond Just Coverage Costs and Gaps
Consumers are rapidly becoming aware that costs for health care coverage extend well beyond premiums, copays, and deductibles—costs such as additional charges for out-of-network physicians and facilities. There is also a growing understanding that different providers charge varying costs for services—and that other hidden variables can increase the final bill for treatment. But consumer health care costs are not only a price issue. The cost of health care is the final sum of many decisions that are—at least partly—controllable by consumers or providers. Unfortunately, most consumers don't know all the factors that make up health care costs, and why those…Read More
October 30, 2019
Is Patient Lock-In the Next Step in Value-Based Care?
Hoping to safeguard survival under financial risk, health care providers are courting a contentious issue: how patients select primary providers. During the HMO heyday , health care risk economics depended on patient selection of primary providers as part of coverage selection that “locked” them into those PCPs and their referral networks. PCPs operated as gatekeepers to the rest of the health care system, authorizing services (or not) for specialists and other care. It’s well known that the HMO’s Primary Care gatekeeper model generated a backlash among private sector consumers. In fact, the gatekeeper was so unpopular with patients that it…Read More