Archive for the ‘Medicare’ Category

Infographic: Prescribing Healthy Food in Medicare/Medicaid

July 3rd, 2019 by Melanie Matthews

Health insurance coverage for healthy food could improve health, reduce healthcare costs and be highly cost-effective after five years, according to a new infographic by Tufts University.

The infographic examines the health and economic effects of healthy food prescriptions in Medicare and Medicaid.

Assessing Social Determinants of Health: Screening Tools, Triage and Workflows to Link High-Risk Patients to Community ServicesLeveraging the experience of several physician practices already screening patients for social determinants of health (SDOH), Montefiore Health System recently rolled out a two-tiered assessment program to measure SDOH positivity in its predominantly high-risk, government-insured population.

Assessing Social Determinants of Health: Screening Tools, Triage and Workflows to Link High-Risk Patients to Community Services outlines Montefiore’s approach to identifying SDOH markers such as housing, finances, healthcare access and violence that drive 85 percent of patients” well-being, and then connecting high-need individuals to community-based services. Click here for more information.

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Infographic: Medicare Beneficiaries at a Glance

March 8th, 2019 by Melanie Matthews

There were some 57 million Americans enrolled in Medicare in 2016—with the majority (68 percent) still enrolled in the traditional Medicare fee-for-service program, according to a new infographic by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

The infographic examines Medicare demographic data, service use, average total payments, beneficiary satisfaction rates and the top 10 chronic conditions among enrollees.

Medicare Chronic Care Management Billing: Evidence-Based Workflows to Maximize CCM RevenueSince the January 2015 rollout by CMS of new chronic care management (CCM) codes, many physician practices have been slow to engage in CCM.

Arcturus Healthcare, however, rapidly grasped the potential of CCM to improve patient outcomes while generating care coordination revenue, estimating it could earn up to $100,000 monthly for qualified patients treated in its four physician practices—or $1 million a year.

Medicare Chronic Care Management Billing: Evidence-Based Workflows to Maximize CCM Revenue traces the incorporation of CCM into Arcturus Healthcare’s existing care management efforts for high-risk patients, as well as the bonus that resulted from CCM code adoption: increased engagement and improved relationships with CCM patients.

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Guest Post: Medicare Advantage Environment Sparks Effective Risk, Quality and Care Strategies to Battle New Challenges

January 17th, 2019 by Jay Baker

Commercial insurers remain interested in competing for MA beneficiaries.

Projections show that national health expenditure growth is expected to average 5.5 percent annually to reach $5.7 trillion by 2026—higher than the projected increase in Gross Domestic Product (GDP). Fortunately, trends of insurers entering and exiting the program show that the Medicare Advantage (MA) market is stable yet dynamic—roughly the same numbers of plans enter/exit the program each year. Data shows that commercial insurers remain interested in competing for MA beneficiaries.

Given the benefits and challenges of value-based healthcare, stakeholders should gain a full understanding of Medicare Advantage (MA) plans, as well as strategies for optimizing this approach. What’s more, research indicates that the successes of MA are already having a positive impact on the broader healthcare delivery and payment landscape. In fact, fee-for-service Medicare spending has trended down in markets with high MA plan participation, indicating that doctors and other medical professionals operating in markets with high MA penetration adapt their practice patterns in alignment with MA plans’ strategies that control spending and use. This, in turn, helps to reduce use and costs for all their patients—including those enrolled in traditional Medicare and commercial/employer-sponsored plans.

MA plan coverage offered by private companies approved by Medicare provide all Medicare Part A (hospital insurance) and Medicare Part B (medical insurance) coverage.

Optimizing the MA Plan Opportunity

An effective MA plan that significantly improves outcomes takes a whole patient approach and applies an end-to-end solution designed to enhance care coordination using analytics, in-home care, retrospective solutions and care management.

Value-based contracting generates cost efficiencies and improves clinical outcomes in MA. The challenge is to design MA plans and risk-bearing entities to remain sustainable. This requires innovative quality and risk adjustment programs to meet the growing demand for effective care strategies. For instance, MA plans can gain clinical insight into risk-adjusting conditions to enhance their traditional analytical platforms.

Understanding a Risk Adjustment Model

Risk adjustment is an actuarial tool used to calibrate payments to health plans based on the relative health of the at-risk populations. If insurers are limited in the extent to which premiums can vary by health status or other factors that are associated with health spending, risk adjustment ensures that health plans are appropriately compensated for the risks they enroll.

Keep in mind that most claims in fee-for-service Medicare are paid using procedure codes, which offer little incentive for providers to record more diagnosis codes than necessary to justify ordering a procedure. In contrast, MA plans have a built-in financial incentive since the current risk adjustment model was introduced that prompts providers to record all possible diagnoses. This is important because higher enrollee risk scores result in higher payments to the plan.

Consider MA plans that rely upon Physician Record Review (PRR), a two-stage retrospective chart review process from a 1) certified coder and 2) board-certified physician. These same plans also use Prospective Health Assessments (PHA) to gain a robust view of members and their care needs. Providers also rely on PHAs to lay the groundwork for developing more accurate reporting documentation, improving patient engagement and compliance, enhancing disease management, and reducing utilization.

This kind of full-spectrum, end-to-end approach to care helps providers identify gaps in care and manage plan members more productively. It also helps health plans that are serving as intermediaries, executing solutions and assuming risk. Fortunately, plan members gain the most form this approach because they are guided toward more preventive care and self-management early in the care process.

Risk-Based Contracting on the Rise

Medicare beneficiaries in fee-for-service Medicare are normally required to pay multiple premiums and deductibles and face a confusing array of cost-sharing arrangements for benefits and services from physicians, pharmacies, and hospitals.

In contrast, when a Medicare beneficiary enrolls in a MA plan it is usually a comprehensive, integrated health plan that includes richer benefits and solid catastrophic coverage. Unburdened of siloed benefits and payments, MA beneficiaries’ plan structure is simpler, and they are able to receive more coordinated care.

The value-based world is enlarging to the benefit of MA patients. In a recent move, CMS expanded its definition of “primarily health-related” benefits that private insurers are allowed to include in their MA policies. These extras include, for instance, air conditioners for people with asthma, healthy food, rides to medical appointments and home-delivered meals. This means MA beneficiaries will have more supplemental benefits and be better able to lead healthier, more independent lives.

Jay Baker

Jay Baker is the senior vice president of quality and risk adjustment solutions at Advantmed, LLC. He was most recently responsible for the ACA risk adjustment strategy and execution for UnitedHealth Group’s Optum division. His accomplishments included standing up an end-to-end service offering and exceeding revenue goals for the first two years of the program. As one of the founders of Dynamic Healthcare Systems, he was responsible for the original design for each of their 10 Medicare Advantage software modules. He is an ACA and Medicare Advantage industry leader and expert in policy, compliance, systems and plans operations.

Advantmed recently developed a white paper that discusses federal policy and the economics of Medicare. Advantmed, LLC is a healthcare solutions company dedicated to partnering with health plans, provider groups and risk-bearing entities to optimize risk adjustment and quality improvement programs. Our integrated and technology-enabled solutions improve health plan financial results and offer insights on health plan members. For more information on Advantmed’s solutions visit www.advantmed.com.

Infographic: Medicare Enrollees with Multiple Chronic Conditions

September 19th, 2018 by Melanie Matthews

A small fraction of
Medicare enrollees with multiple chronic conditions drive a majority of Medicare spending. Moreover, these enrollees also drive an even greater percentage of hospital readmissions within 30 days of initial discharge—a metric targeted by policymakers as a symptom of wasteful spending, according to a new infographic by the California Health Care Foundation.

The infographic examines the share of Medicare activity by enrollees with multiple chronic conditions as well as the most common chronic conditions among Medicare enrollees.

In the sphere of value-based healthcare, chronic care management (CCM) is a critical component of primary care and population health management. Targeting the Triple Aim goals of better health and care for individuals while reducing spending, CCM is viewed as a stepping-stone to success under Medicare’s Quality Payment Program that launched January 1, 2017.

2017 Healthcare Benchmarks: Chronic Care captures tools, practices and lessons learned by the healthcare industry related to the management of chronic disease.

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Infographic: Proposed Changes to ACO Involvement in the Medicare Shared Savings Program

August 29th, 2018 by Melanie Matthews

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has proposed a new “Pathways to Success” rule to increase the financial risk doctors and hospitals participating in the Medicare Shared
Savings Program take on to increase accountability of healthcare quality and spending for patients, according to a new infographic by the South Dakota Association of Healthcare Organizations.

The infographic examines the key changes proposed in the “Pathways to Success” rule.

Profiting from Population Health Revenue in an ACO: Framework for Medicare Shared Savings and MIPS SuccessA laser focus on population health interventions and processes can generate immediate revenue streams for fledgling accountable care organizations that support the hard work of creating a sustainable ACO business model. This population health priority has proven a lucrative strategy for Caravan Health, whose 23 ACO clients saved more than $26 million across approximately 250,000 covered lives in 2016 under the Medicare Shared Savings Program (MSSP).

Profiting from Population Health Revenue in an ACO: Framework for Medicare Shared Savings and MIPS Success examines Caravan Health’s population health-focused approach for ACOs and its potential for positioning ACOs for success under MSSP and MACRA’s Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS).

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Infographic: Grading the Medicare Advantage Shopping Experience

August 3rd, 2018 by Melanie Matthews

With (on average) 20 Medicare plans to choose from, consumers have high expectations and little patience for friction in health plan interactions, according to a new infographic by NTT DATA.

The infographic examines the leaders and the laggards in the online shopping process for Medicare Advantage options and who is at the top performance level.

UnityPoint Health has moved from a siloed approach to improving the patient experience at each of its locations to a system-wide approach that encompasses a consistent, baseline experience while still allowing for each institution to address its specific needs.

Armed with data from its Press Ganey and CAHPS® Hospital Survey scores, UnityPoint’s patient experience team developed a front-line staff-driven improvement action plan.

Improving the Patient Experience: Engaging Front-line Staff for a System-Wide Action Plan, a 45-minute webinar on July 27th, now available for replay, Paige Moore, director, patient experience at UnityPoint Health—Des Moines, shares how the organization switched from a top-down, leadership-driven patient experience improvement approach to one that engages front-line staff to own the process.

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Infographic: Chronic Care Management Results

March 26th, 2018 by Melanie Matthews

The Chronic Care Management program through the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has produced significant positive changes during its first two years, according to a recent report by CMS researchers, Evaluation of the Diffusion and Impact of Chronic Care Management (CCM) Services: Final Report.

A new infographic by CareSync highlights the results of the CMS report, including benefits to healthcare providers, payers, and patients.

In the sphere of value-based healthcare, chronic care management (CCM) is a critical component of primary care and population health management. Targeting the Triple Aim goals of better health and care for individuals while reducing spending, CCM is viewed as a stepping-stone to success under Medicare’s Quality Payment Program that launched January 1, 2017.

2017 Healthcare Benchmarks: Chronic Care captures tools, practices and lessons learned by the healthcare industry related to the management of chronic disease.

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.

Population Health Tactics to Boost an ACO’s Medicare Annual Wellness Visit Rates

February 9th, 2018 by Patricia Donovan

One of the most important revenue opportunities for primary care physicians, and for population health nurses under their direct supervision, is the Medicare Annual Wellness Visit (AWV), advises Tim Gronninger, senior vice president of development and strategy, Caravan Health. The AWV offers an opportunity to check a number of Medicare quality boxes, including preventive check-ins, vaccinations and health screenings, to help make sure that a beneficiary’s medical needs are being met.

Here, Gronninger suggests ways that physician practices can improve all-important AWV rates.

Much of increasing annual wellness visit rates is about how to manage expectations of the practice and of the patient. You’ll be chasing your tail a lot if you are looking at your data and saying, “Well, these 1,000 patients haven’t had an annual wellness visit. I’m going to make a thousand phone calls, and then I’m going to make a thousand follow-up phone calls to try to schedule them all.”

It is very important for a practice to create a process where you have the time, the space and the plan, so that when a patient comes in the door for an Evaluation and Management (E&M) visit, the patient is handed off seamlessly to a nurse coordinator to complete an annual wellness visit at the same time. Obviously, different patients will require different handling. But we have found a very high acceptance rate from that approach among patients of clients that we work with.

It’s something that many patients take for granted, that their clinician knows this about them already. However, many times, the physician in practice doesn’t know whether the patient is up to date on their mammograms or other types of screenings.

Editor’s Note: Caravan Health’s ACOs saved more than $26 million in the Medicare Shared Savings Program (MSSP) and achieved higher than average quality scores and quality reporting scores in 2016.

Source: Profiting from Population Health Revenue in an ACO: Framework for Medicare Shared Savings and MIPS Success

ACO population health

Profiting from Population Health Revenue in an ACO: Framework for Medicare Shared Savings and MIPS Success examines Caravan Health’s population health-focused approach for ACOs and its potential for positioning ACOs for success under MSSP and MACRA’s Merit-based Incentive Payment System (MIPS).

CCMI’s Primary Care Initiatives Produce Modest, Mixed Results

February 8th, 2018 by Melanie Matthews

Comprehensive Primary Care Initiative Analysis

Comprehensive Primary Care Initiative Analysis: Mixed, Modest Results

The Center for Medicare & Medicaid Innovation’s (CCMI) Primary Care Initiatives have produced modest and mixed results, according to a final review of the program conducted by Kennell and Associates, Inc. and RTI International and released by CMS.

The six CMMI initiatives included in the review are the Comprehensive Primary Care (CPC) initiative, the Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC) Advanced Primacy Care Practice demonstration, the Independence at Home (IAH) demonstration, the Multi-Payer Advanced Primary Care Practice (MAPCP) Demonstration, the State Innovation Models (SIM) initiative, and the Health Care Innovation Awards Primary Care Redesign Programs (HCIA-PCR), which CMS identified as the most focused on primary care redesign.

Initiative practices did make large strides toward becoming Patient-Centered Medical Homes (PCMHs) or advanced primary care practices. While less than 10 percent of initiative FQHCs had any PCMH recognition status prior to the initiative, 70 percent achieved NCQA Level-3 recognition by the end of the initiative. Similarly, the CPC evaluation found that CPC initiative practices improved their PCMH Assessment scores by about 50 percent.

While the review did not find consistent impacts across the initiatives or by setting within initiatives for any of the four core outcomes identified by CMS: fee-for-service Medicare hospital admissions, 30-day readmissions, outpatient ED visits, and Medicare expenditures, some of the initiatives did report some positive outcomes.

Of the 22 more granular initiative settings (seven CPC regions, FQHC as a whole, six HCIA-PCR awardees, and eight MAPCP states) for which cumulative results through Year 3 were available, 10 settings experienced improvement relative to their comparison group for at least one of the four core outcome measures at a significance level and three of these settings (two CPC regions and HCIA TransforMED) experienced improvement on at least two core outcomes.

Across four initiatives (CPC, MAPCP, HCIA-PCR, and FQHC), analyses indicated that the aggregate impacts on the core outcomes were small and not statistically significant.

Certain population subgroups and practice types across initiatives experienced more favorable outcomes, according to the analysis. Specifically, beneficiaries originally eligible for Medicare due to disability and beneficiaries with poor health (highest quartile of baseline HCC risk scores) experienced slower growth in Medicare expenditures. However, disability status and HCC risk score were not associated with statically significant impacts on overall rates of hospitalizations or ED visits, and non-dually eligible beneficiaries and those who were not originally eligible for Medicare due to disability experienced lower rates of 30-day readmissions.

The analysis also found slower growth in Medicare expenditures and lower rates of inpatient admissions and ED visits among practices with fewer than six practitioners and also among practices that were not multispecialty practices.

Other key findings from the analysis:

  • There are advantages to both state-convened and CMS-convened initiatives;
  • Practice-level factors are important in addressing transformation challenges; and
  • Initiative-level supports also helped practices meet transformation challenges.

Infographic: Medicare Home Health Beneficiaries

January 29th, 2018 by Melanie Matthews

Home healthcare patients are among the poorest, sickest and most vulnerable beneficiaries in the Medicare program, according to a new infographic by the Partnership for Quality Home Healthcare.

The infographic compares a traditional Medicare beneficiary with a Medicare home health beneficiary and factors that demonstrate why Medicare home health beneficiaries are financially vulnerable.

The Science of Successful Care Transition Management: Leveraging Home Visits to Improve Readmissions and ROI A care transitions management program operated by Sun Health since 2011 has significantly reduced hospital readmissions for nearly 12,000 Medicare patients, resulting in $14.8 million in savings to the Medicare program. Using home visits as a core strategy, the Sun Health Care Transitions program was a top performer in CMS’s recently concluded Community-Based Care Transitions (CBCT) demonstration project, which was launched in 2012 to explore new solutions for reducing hospital readmissions, improving quality and achieving measurable savings for Medicare.

The Science of Successful Care Transition Management: Leveraging Home Visits to Improve Readmissions and ROI explores the critical five pillars of the Arizona non-profit’s leading care transitions management initiative, adapted from the Coleman Care Transitions Intervention®.

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