Archive for the ‘Behavioral Health’ Category

In Care Coordination of Medically Vulnerable Homeless Patients, Housing is a Form of Healthcare

January 17th, 2017 by Patricia Donovan

Chronic Care Plus recuperative care reduced ER visits by homeless patients by 84 percent, and avoided nearly $3 million in medical costs.

Most patients discharged from the hospital ultimately return to a secure home environment. Not so homeless or unstably housed patients; disconnected from healthcare and their community, their lack of stable housing compounds their medical difficulties following a hospital stay.

Enter Chronic Care Plus (CCP), a safety net recuperative care program in California whose mission is to bridge this gap between hospital discharge and permanent supportive housing for homeless patients, or "Joes," as Illumination Foundation Founder and CEO Paul Leon characterized his client profile during a recent presentation.

"I'm sure you can identify the 'Joes' in your neighborhood," Leon told participants during Intensive Care Coordination for Healthcare Super Utilizers: Community Collaborations Stabilize Medically Vulnerable Homeless Patients, a December 2016 webinar now available for replay. "They've come into the ER but are never quite connected with either a federally qualified health clinic (FQHC), your own hospital clinic or any available resources in your community."

The CCP program not only provides housing for recently discharged homeless or unstably housed individuals in model or dormitory-like settings but also reconnects them to the healthcare continuum. The program then wraps clients in a plethora of services, including housing placement, financial literacy, job placement, transportation and behavioral health support.

Back in 2008, Leon's organization was one of only about seven in the nation to provide recuperative care (also known as medical respite care). Recuperative care is care to homeless persons recovering from an acute illness or injury, no longer in need of acute care but unable to sustain recovery if living on the street or other unsuitable place, Leon explained. Today there are about 80 such programs in the United States.

Since then, his foundation created standards and best practices, and in 2013 launched CCP—"recuperative care on steroids, with tightly wrapped social services and a longer length of stay," Leon explained.

Originating as an ED diversion pilot aimed at 20 of the highest users of a local hospital ER, CCP has transformed discharge planning for the homeless and has served more than 2,500 patients since its inception.

During the presentation, Leon shared a host of program analytics, including recuperative care criteria client demographics and CCP statistics on medical, behavioral health, housing and other services provided. He also shared CCP's future plans, and some of the program's barriers and challenges, including medical management education and closing gaps in social services.

In terms of program outcomes, CCP has amassed significant savings as it closes gaps in care and reduces healthcare utilization, including 322 fewer ER visits by this population (a 84.3 percent decrease) and $2.8 million in medical cost avoidance at three participating hospitals.

"For Orange County hospitals as a total, we estimate that there was $5.2 million of savings," added John Kim, grants director of the Illumination Foundation. "If we compare the year prior on an annualized cost basis, that comes to over $7 million of savings to Orange County hospitals."

Click here for an interview with Paul Leon on Chronic Care Plus's challenges and lessons learned as it connects its medically vulnerable homeless to social services.

Infographic: The Opioid Burden on Hospitals

January 6th, 2017 by Melanie Matthews

The nation's opioid epidemic resulted in a 64 percent increase in opioid-related hospital stays between 2005 and 2014. However, hospital rates varied widely by state, according to a new infographic by the Agency for Healthcare Research & Quality.

The infographic shows the states with the highest and lowest rates in 2014.

Infographic: The Opioid Burden on Hospitals

Behavioral Health Patient Engagement: Using Motivational Interviewing Techniques and Strategies To Improve OutcomesAs the critical role of an engaged, activated healthcare consumer becomes more apparent in a value-based healthcare system, healthcare organizations are focusing on patient engagement and activation programs.

In a recent industry survey on trends in patient engagement, healthcare organizations reported that behavioral health conditions presented a particular challenge to patient engagement initiatives. However, there is robust evidence that motivational interviewing is a powerful approach for treating substance abuse, anxiety and depression.

Behavioral Health Patient Engagement: Using Motivational Interviewing Techniques and Strategies To Improve Outcomes, a 45-minute webinar now available for replay, Mia Croyle with the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health shares key learnings from patient engagement initiatives targeted at patients with behavioral health conditions.

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Use Annual Wellness Visit to Screen for Social Determinants of Health in High-Risk Medicare Population

December 13th, 2016 by Patricia Donovan

The social determinant of social isolation carries the same health risk as smoking, and double that of obesity.

With about a third of health outcomes determined by human behavior choices, according to a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation study, improving population health should be as straightforward as fostering healthy behaviors in patients and health plan members.

But what's unstated in that data point is that the remaining 70 percent of health outcomes are determined by social determinants of health—areas that involve an individual's social and environmental condition as well as experiences that directly impact health and health status.

By addressing social determinants, healthcare organizations can dramatically impact patient outcomes as well as their own financial success under value-based care, advised Dr. Randall Williams, chief executive officer, Pharos Innovations, during Social Determinants and Population Health: Moving Beyond Clinical Data in a Value-Based Healthcare System, a December 2016 webinar now available for replay.

"The challenge is that few healthcare systems are currently equipped to identify individuals within their populations who have social determinant challenges," said Dr. Williams, "And few are still are structured to coordinate both medical and nonmedical support needs."

The Medicare annual wellness visit is an ideal opportunity to screen beneficiaries for social determinants—particularly rising and high-risk patients, who frequently face a higher percentage of social determinant challenges.

Primary social determinants include the individual's access to healthcare, their socio- and economic conditions, and factors related to their living environment such as air or water quality, availability of food, and transportation.

Dr. Williams presented several patient scenarios illustrating key social determinants, including social isolation, in which individuals, particularly the elderly, are lonely, lack companionship and frequently suffer from depression. "Social isolation carries the same health risk as smoking and double that of obesity," he said.

While technology is useful in reducing social isolation, studies by the Pew Research Center determined that segments of the population with the highest percentage of chronic illness tend to be least connected to the Internet or even to mobile technologies.

"Accountable care organizations (ACOs) and other organizations managing populations must continue to push technology-enhanced care models," said Dr. Williams, "But they also have to understand and assess technology barriers and inequalities in their populations, especially among those with chronic conditions."

In another patient scenario, loss of transportation severely hampered an eighty-year-old woman's ability to complete physical rehabilitation following a knee replacement.

Dr. Williams then described multiple approaches for healthcare organizations to begin to address social determinants in population health, including patients' cultural biases, which may make them more or less open to specific care options. This fundamental care redesign should include an environmental assessment to catalog available social and community resources, he said, providing several examples.

"This is not the kind of information you're going to find in a traditional electronic health record or even care management platforms," he concluded.

2017 Healthcare Success Formula: Care Management Sophistication and ‘Patient Stickiness’

November 29th, 2016 by Patricia Donovan

HIN's 13th annual planning session provided a roadmap to key healthcare issues, challenges and opportunities in 2017.

Whether concerned with healthcare delivery or reimbursement for services rendered, providers and payors alike will need to be nimble in the coming year to survive and thrive in a sharply shifting, value-based marketplace, advises Steven Valentine, vice president, Advisory Consulting Services, Premier Inc.

"Be aware: the competitors you've had in the past are changing, and you're seeing more competition with various Internet providers, CVS, Apple, Watson. It's all going to change," said Valentine during Trends Shaping the Healthcare Industry in 2017: A Strategic Planning Session, a November 2016 webinar now available for replay.

But what healthcare shouldn't panic about, at least for the immediate future, is the demise of the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

"[The ACA] is not going to be canceled any time soon," Valentine emphasized during the thirteenth annual planning session sponsored by the Healthcare Intelligence Network. "We would expect it would take two years, at least, to begin to put in some kind of a replacement program."

Assuring participants that within all this industry flux are opportunities, Valentine suggested they follow the lead of retail pharmacy CVS. "CVS envisions itself as a full service healthcare organization with a goal of 'patient stickiness.' In other words, CVS is saying, 'I need patients to rely on me as their source of getting started for healthcare.'"

Later in the program, he offered participants a four-point plan for improving patient stickiness.

As for care management sophistication, Valentine pointed to the pairing of hospitals with a case manager, with incentives for care managers and hospitalists to manage down length of stay, or manage resource consumption.

"We're probably gravitating more toward care management models that are outside the four walls of the hospitals...which will give us better economies, better outcomes, people more specialized in the areas they're in that could really help provide better quality at a lower cost."

And while the healthcare thought leader believes Medicare will remain essentially untouched by the incoming presidential administration, he did identify nearly a dozen areas where President-Elect Donald Trump's 'Better Way' might eventually make its mark on healthcare, including more price transparency and the sale of insurance across state lines.

Moving on to sector-specific forecasts, Valentine outlined four expectations for health plans, including a push for more access points like telehealth and urgent care centers and added pressure to reduce chronic care costs.

Healthcare providers should focus on population health and immerse themselves in data analytics to better prepare for MACRA and the narrow, quality-based provider networks that will result.

Both sectors should expect more consumer demand for accountability, Valentine said, since patients and health plan members are fed up with rising costs and armed with more transparency information and health awareness.

Valentine concluded his presentation with eight guiding principles for 2017 success, including collaboration between health plans and physicians.

And in the Q&A that followed, Valentine offered guidance on a number of issues, including how providers can grow their population bases; identifying and addressing social health determinants; succeeding in value-based healthcare, and offering efficient, integrated behavioral healthcare services.

Click here to listen to advice from Steven Valentine on employing technology for patient engagement.

‘Connect the Dots’ Transitional Care Boosts ROI by Including Typically Overlooked Populations

October 11th, 2016 by Patricia Donovan

Typically overlooked patient populations do benefit greatly from nurse-directed transitional care management.

Some typically overlooked patient populations do benefit greatly from nurse-directed transitional care management.

Determining early on that transitional care works better for some patients than others, the award-winning Community Care of North Carolina (CCNC) transitional care (TC) program is careful to allocate resource-intensive TC interventions to those patients that would benefit most. Here, Carlos Jackson, Ph.D., CCNC director of program evaluation, explains the benefits of including often-overlooked patients in TC initiatives.

Transitional care must be targeted towards patients with multiple, chronic or catastrophic conditions to optimize your return on investment. These patients are the ones that benefit the most. It’s the 'multiple complex' part that is the key; this includes conditions that are typically overlooked in transitional care, such as behavioral health or cancers.

We may pass over and not focus on these patients in typical transitional care programs, but actually, they do benefit greatly from our nurse-directed transitional care management.

For example, with a cancer population, transitional care keeps them out of the hospital longer. The transitional care is not necessarily preventing or curing the cancer, but it’s helping to connect those dots in a way that keeps them from returning to the hospital. Again, we are also talking about complex patients. This is not just anybody with cancer; this is somebody with cancer and multiple other physical ailments as well.

The same is true for people who come in with a psychiatric condition. Again, we’re talking about a very sick population. For every 100 discharges, without transitional care almost 100 of these patients will go back to the hospital within the next 12 months. That’s almost a 100 percent return to the hospital. But with transitional care, only about 80 percent return to the hospital within the coming year.

This translates to an expected savings of nearly $100,000 just in averted hospitalizations per 100 patients managed. We were able to demonstrate that the aversions happened not only with the non-psychiatric hospitalizations, but also on the psychiatric hospitalizations.

Even though nurse care managers often tend to be siloed, by doing this coordinated ‘connecting the dots’ transitional care, they were able to prevent psychiatric hospitalization. That certainly has implications for capitated behavioral health systems. We don’t want to forget about these individuals.

Source: Home Visits for Clinically Complex Patients: Targeting Transitional Care for Maximum Outcomes and ROI

http://hin.3dcartstores.com/Home-Visits-for-Clinically-Complex-Patients-Targeting-Transitional-Care-for-Maximum-Outcomes-and-ROI_p_5180.html

Home Visits for Clinically Complex Patients: Targeting Transitional Care for Maximum Outcomes and ROI describes the award-winning Community Care of North Carolina (CCNC) transitional care program, how it discerns and manages a priority population for transitional care, and why home visits have risen to the forefront of activities by CCNC transitional care managers.

Infographic: How State Budget Cuts Are Impacting Mental Healthcare Services

September 28th, 2016 by Melanie Matthews

State mental healthcare budget cuts have caused an increase in emergency room visits for patients seeking mental health treatment with a total of 5.5 million patients seeking care in these facilities each year, according a new infographic by the Cummings Institute.

The $38.5 billion it costs hospitals to take care of these patients could be significantly reduced by integrating mental health professionals within the ER and hospital settings. The infographic looks at the impact of these budget cuts and looks at possible solutions.

Behavioral health conditions affect nearly one of five Americans, leading to healthcare costs of $57 billion a year, on par with cancer, according to a 2009 AHRQ brief. Despite this impact, and the ACA's provision for behavioral healthcare as an essential health benefit, progress toward total integration of behavioral healthcare into the primary care system has been slow.

2015 Healthcare Benchmarks: Integrating Behavioral Health and Primary Care captures healthcare's efforts to achieve healthcare parity and honor the joint principles of the patient-centered medical home, including a whole person orientation and provision of coordinated and/or integrated care.

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Infographic: Substance Abuse Trends

July 27th, 2016 by Melanie Matthews

Substance abuse—involving drugs, alcohol or both—adversely impacts individuals, families and communities. Stopping substance abuse before it begins can increase a person's chance of living a longer, healthier and more productive life, according to a new infographic by Healthy People 2020.

The infographic examines adolescent alcohol or illicit drug use trends and Healthy People 2020 targets for adolescent substance use and binge drinking in adults.

Behavioral health conditions affect nearly one of five Americans, leading to healthcare costs of $57 billion a year, on par with cancer, according to a 2009 AHRQ brief. Despite this impact, and the ACA's provision for behavioral healthcare as an essential health benefit, progress toward total integration of behavioral healthcare into the primary care system has been slow.

2015 Healthcare Benchmarks: Integrating Behavioral Health and Primary Care captures healthcare's efforts to achieve healthcare parity and honor the joint principles of the patient-centered medical home, including a whole person orientation and provision of coordinated and/or integrated care.

Get the latest healthcare infographics delivered to your e-inbox with Eye on Infographics, a bi-weekly, e-newsletter digest of visual healthcare data. Click here to sign up today.

Have an infographic you'd like featured on our site? Click here for submission guidelines.

Infographic: Painkillers and Heroin in the United States

June 20th, 2016 by Melanie Matthews

The abuse of, and addiction to, opioids is a serious problem in the United States that affects the social, health, and economic welfare of the society. It is estimated that opiate abuse/addiction costs Americans approximately $484 billion annually. It is also responsible for 50 percent of serious crimes in the United States, according to a new infographic by the University of New England.

The infographic explores the opiate abuse problem, who is most at-risk of becoming addicted and the role of social workers in treating opiate addiction.

Relieving the Costs and Consequences of Chronic Pain: A Best Practice Multimodal Approach The financial, physical and emotional toll of pain on the United States is excruciating, but Relieving the Costs and Consequences of Chronic Pain: A Best Practice Multimodal Approach offers an antidote for the 25 percent of Americans suffering daily from chronic or persistent pain and the healthcare organizations that treat them. Featuring contributions from two of pain management's foremost experts, this special report offers multi-faceted strategies in pain assessment and management to improve quality of life for the chronic pain patient, reducing healthcare utilization in the process.

In this 35-page report, Marilee I. Donovan, Ph.D., R.N., regional pain management coordinator, Kaiser Permanente Northwest, and Cheryl Pacella, D.N.P., R.N., performance improvement advisor at MassPro, describe patient-centric pain management tactics that engage the patient as an active partner and employ creative and alternative therapies and interventions.

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The Care Plan Process: 15 Trends to Know

January 21st, 2016 by Patricia Donovan

Care planning begins with a needs assessment, say the majority of respondents to HIN's 2015 survey on Care Plans.

The use of care plans increases medication adherence, patient self-management and clinical quality ratings, say 70 percent of healthcare organizations engaged in care planning, according to newly published market metrics from the Healthcare Intelligence Network (HIN).

A majority of respondents—83 percent—incorporate care plans into value-based healthcare delivery systems, according to HIN's December 2015 survey, with more than half of remaining organizations planning to do so in the coming year.

High-risk health indicators derived from health risk assessments or the imminent transition of a patient from one care site to another are the chief triggers of the care planning process, said survey respondents.

Survey Highlights:

Other findings from HIN's Care Plans survey include the following:

  • First and foremost in a care plan strategy is an assessment of needs, say 87 percent of respondents.
  • The electronic health record is the care plan maintenance and distribution tool of choice for almost two-thirds of respondents, although the retention of paper records is reported by nearly half of responding companies.
  • The principal criterion for classifying patients in need of care plans is the data derived from health risk assessments (HRAs), say nearly two-thirds of respondents, but patients transitioning between care sites also are prioritized for care planning, note 61 percent.
  • The presence of a behavioral health condition poses the greatest challenge to care planning by a large margin, said 39 percent of respondents, as compared to diagnosis of physical health problems.
  • The typical tracking time for care plans ranged from one to two months, said 24 percent, while adherence to care plans is checked monthly by 37 percent of respondents.
  • Patient engagement is the most significant barrier to care plan success, say 44 percent of respondents.
  • Patients’ healthcare utilization patterns are the most reliable indicators of care plan adherence, say 29 percent.
  • About 13 percent report ROI from care planning efforts as between 2:1 and 3:1.

Download a complimentary executive summary of 2016 Care Plan metrics to learn the value of evidence-based care plans in following high-risk patients through health episodes and transitions of care.

The Impact of Patient Engagement: 10 Metrics to Know

October 6th, 2015 by Patricia Donovan

A formal patient engagement program elevates patient satisfaction, care plan adherence and overall quality scores, say three-fifths of healthcare organizations.

While more than 60 percent of healthcare organizations report their patient engagement programs have elevated patient satisfaction, care plan adherence and overall quality metrics, populations with low health literacy or behavioral health conditions are more resistant to efforts to engage them in self-care.

These findings were among the benchmarks identified by an inaugural survey on Patient Engagement by the Healthcare Intelligence Network. The August 2015 survey also determined that 79 percent of respondents are striving to improve patient engagement, employing an arsenal of tactics and e-tools.

Asked to identify some hurdles of engaging patients, half of the survey's 133 respondents reported that the behavioral health population is the most challenging to engage. And “high utilizers”—individuals with frequent ER visits or hospitalizations—are top candidates for engagement efforts, say 52 percent of respondents.

Today’s value-focused healthcare models theorize that engaged patients not only are healthier and more satisfied but may incur fewer costs than the non-engaged, which is why many programs make patient engagement a priority, such as Medicare’s mandate that accountable care organizations (ACOs) develop processes to promote patient engagement.

Patient and caregiver education is the top strategy deployed to engage patients, say 72 percent of survey respondents. In this area, technology plays a pivotal role, the survey found.

Whether patient engagement translates to good business remains to be seen. In the meantime, the HIN survey found that organizations are testing the impact of health coaching, embedded case management, a team-based approach and telephonic follow-up, among other tactics, on overall population health engagement.

Here are five more metrics from the 2015 Patient Engagement Survey:

  • Sixty-six percent of respondents have a patient portal, whose top use is education.
  • Almost half of respondents—48 percent—possess an electronic health record (EHR) that helps to identify patients most in need of engagement.
  • Low health literacy is the top barrier to patient engagement, say 20 percent of respondents.
  • The case manager has top responsibility for patient engagement efforts, say 28 percent of respondents.
  • Of those respondents with no formal initiative to foster patient engagement, 65 percent will launch an effort in the coming year.

Download an executive summary of the 2015 Patient Engagement survey results.