Healthcare Business Year in Review: A Look Back at 2013’s Top Stories

Thursday, January 9th, 2014
This post was written by Cheryl Miller

From an early surge in Medicare accountable care collaborations to the rocky introduction of ACA-mandated health insurance exchanges during a government shutdown, healthcare in 2013 was nothing short of unpredictable.

But in this issue, as in “Best of” issues past, we bring you the stories that resonated most with you. Your top story was one that ran nearly a year ago: Post-Hospital Telephonic Outreach Reduces Readmissions by 22 Percent for High Risk Patients. This initiative from Cigna monitored telephonic outreach by health plan case managers within 24 hours of hospital discharge, finding that they reduced future readmissions by 22 percent. Resulting in more physician visits and prescription drug fills, the timing and prioritizing of the calls was critical to its success.

Case managers’ roles in long term care also spiked your interest in our featured white paper: Case Management in 2013: Achieving Results with Cardiovascular Disease; Long-Term Care Next Frontier for Embedded Case Managers. As care coordination by healthcare case managers continues to drive clinical and financial outcomes in population health management, expect to see lots more case managers — not just coordinating care telephonically like Cigna, but co-located in nursing home, long-term care (LTC) and assisted living settings.

Other top stories included CMS’ announcement that Medicare beneficiaries saw significant out-of-pocket savings due to the ACA, including provisions to close the prescription-drug “donut hole” that saved more than 7.1 million seniors and people with disabilities $8.3 billion on their prescription drugs since it took effect.

How the ACO model figures in most hospitals’ futures also topped your reading list, as did a story on how 24 states and the District of Columbia chose a benchmark health insurance plan that met the ACA’s essential health benefit requirement, which is scheduled to begin next month, January 2014. Researchers found that 19 of the states that selected plans chose existing small-group plans, employer-based plans for businesses with fewer than 50 employees. The remaining five states selected HMO or state employee benefit plans.

An infographic on 2013’s Most Significant Healthcare Issues, and our podcast on Physician Hospital Organizations: Developing a Collaborative Structure for Shared Savings Agreements also attracted the most views.

We will continue to provide you with the kind of up-to-the-minute coverage you need to stay informed.

And as with issues past, we send our best wishes to all of you for a happy, healthy, prosperous and peaceful new year.

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