Healthcare Business Week in Review: Patient Engagement, Hospital Safety, Population Health, Medicaid

Tuesday, July 16th, 2013
This post was written by Cheryl Miller

Addressing what families and caregivers consider to be most important during a hospital stay is the impetus behind a new guide from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ).

The Guide to Patient and Family Engagement in Hospital Safety and Quality provides four evidence-based strategies that hospitals can use to implement patient and family-centered care practices. Each strategy includes educational tools and resources for patients and families, training materials for healthcare professionals and real-world examples that show how strategies are being implemented in hospital settings.

The strategies describe the ways patients and families can work more effectively with hospital staff, including promoting patient engagement and better communication at the bedside to improve quality.

Patient engagement is one of five key components when creating a patient-centered medical home (PCHM) model, as we discuss in two of our stories this week. If you don’t focus on engaging your patient in the model, it simply won’t be as successful as expected, explains Jay Driggers, director of consumer engagement at Horizon BCBS-NJ. Four other components, including payment reform, round out this story.

Health centers have gotten a payment boost to guide uninsured Americans toward affordable health coverage, according to the Department of Health & Human Services (HHS). The agency has allocated $150 million in grants to 1,159 health centers to help them with enrollment assistance. Health centers are expected to hire an additional 2,900 outreach and eligibility assistance workers to assist millions nationwide with enrollment into affordable health coverage.

Of those already insured, Medicaid recipients in Michigan were the most satisfied with their healthcare coverage in 2012, according to a report from The Center for Healthcare Research & Transformation (CHRT), while those with individual coverage were the least satisfied. These findings predict how consumers may react once health insurance marketplaces go into effect in 2014.

The survey, conducted with the Institute for Public Policy and Social Research at Michigan State University, found that those with individually purchased insurance had more negative experiences (61 percent) than those with other types of insurance. Their negative experiences related to services that were not covered by benefits, or having to pay out-of-pocket for services that cost above what their insurance would pay. This group was also the least concerned about losing their coverage.

In comparison, Medicaid recipients were the least likely to report a negative experience with their coverage (41 percent) and yet were the most concerned about losing their coverage. Researchers attributed this to Medicaid recipients’ gratitude at having coverage, given their health needs.

Population health management of dual eligibles — the 9 million Americans eligible for both Medicaid and Medicare — presents unique challenges. Public and private payors are now tailoring care coordination strategies for Medicare-Medicaid beneficiaries that are both geared to their medical, social and functional needs and cost-efficient. Describe your organization’s approach to care coordination of dual eligibles on our survey by July 31, 2013 and you will receive a free summary of survey results once it is compiled

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