January 22, 2020
As the millennium's third decade begins, Risk has taken hold as THE strategy for tackling health care costs. Virtually overnight (in health care years) the industry has moved—albeit not uniformly—to accept Risk. This transition is already beginning to impact hospitals and hospital-based systems, and raises serious questions about the viability of their role as the primary financial engine bankrolling health care operations, reforms and modernization. Just one year ago, the concept of provider risk in Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs) was anathema to most participants. Despite initial misgivings, however, most ACOs remained in the system after CMS pushed forward with its…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
October 16, 2019
The Hedge Bet for Risk is Patient Experience
Creating a good Patient Experience in health care has gained little traction, despite being touted as one of the Triple Aim’s key goals in Value-Based Health Care. Health systems have been more focused on how to increase patients via health plan negotiations and consolidating regional providers, rather than focusing on the slower paced process of improving customer appeal. But now Patient Experience appears to be gaining some attention, and some forward-thinking providers are innovating to be more attractive to patients. Why? Because in the fiscal landscape of Risk, growing patient volume is essential. Providers are beginning to realize that there…Read More
October 2, 2019
How Consumers Can Choose Quality in Value-Based Health Care
In our last article on how Quality should be reflected in Value-Based Health Care, we looked at the problematic route of quality measurement and reporting. The intent to develop payment for quality has resulted in a complex measurement system that produced provider-specific performance scores across hundreds of measures, yet has failed to advance achievement of better health care outcomes. The system creates flexibility for providers by allowing choice of measures, which eliminates consumers’ ability to see differences among providers. The quality agenda needs to mature. In its developmental period, there was a need to achieve consensus on the standard of…Read More