Archive for the ‘Physician Practices’ Category

Bon Secours Next Generation Healthcare: Smart Tools Tell Care Transitions, Chronic Care Management Stories

February 4th, 2016 by Patricia Donovan

Next Generation Healthcare smart tools facilitate Bon Secours care plans for care transitions, chronic care management and Medicare wellness visits.


A key component of chronic care management is a comprehensive plan of care—the "refrigerator copy" patients can refer to, explains Robert Fortini, PNP, chief clinical officer for Bon Secours medical Group (BSMG),

Today, using smart tools built into its electronic medical record, Bon Secours nurse navigators document twelve-point care plans for the 50 patients they have enrolled via Medicare's year-old Chronic Care Management (CCM) codes—a number Fortini expects will double this month.

The CCM assessment tool also captures frequently forgotten issues such as depression, pain and sleep problems that can derail care, Fortini said in a recent webinar on Physician Reimbursement in 2016: Workflow Optimization for Chronic Care Management and Advance Care Planning.

Bon Secours' seventy nurse navigators, embedded in physician practices, also tap these point-and-click smart tools to document transitions of care for patients recently discharged from the hospital. This Transition of Care smart note tracks 17 different aspects of patient care, including risk of readmission and medication reconciliation, and includes a placeholder for an advance medical directive.

Similar tools are in use for Medicare's three types of wellness visits, he added.

"I have been in this business a long time, and the documentation that navigators produce using these workflows is extraordinary," Fortini noted. "This is purposeful design. It tells a story and you have something actionable at the conclusion of reading it."

The smart tools are but one aspect of Bon Secours' Next Generation Healthcare initiative, which Fortini defined as "population health meets total access." Next Generation Healthcare fortifies the team-based medical home foundation Bon Secours introduced six years ago with expanded care access and technology, among other components the organization leverages to improve clinical outcomes and value-based reimbursement.

In the Next Generation Healthcare model, the primary care physician is the quarterback of care, with embedded nurse navigators doing the "heavy lifting" of enrolling at-risk patients into care management, building comprehensive care plans, and scheduling Medicare beneficiaries for annual wellness visits, Fortini explained.

Additionally, Bon Secours has broadened its care access menu to include employee clinics, fast care and urgent care sites, self-scheduling, and virtual visits for primary care. The organization expects to expand virtual visits to specialist consultations and behavioral health in the near future, and also envisions virtual case management visits, allowing nurse navigators to conduct real-time medication reconciliations with at-home patients.

To round out its Next Generation Healthcare continuum, Bon Secours is training a portion of nurse navigators as facilitators in a Virginia advance care planning initiative called "Honoring Choices," with the goal of formalizing the placement of advance directives in patients' records.

Investing in resources necessary to manage end-of-life effectively is a critical aspect of Bon Secours' strategic initiative, Fortini concluded. "Forty percent of Medicare spend occurs in the last two years of life, and the pain, suffering, and emotional angst that occurs for patients and their families is incredible."

Infographic: Improving Patient Satisfaction

January 25th, 2016 by Melanie Matthews

Provider-led changes can have a significant impact on patient satisfaction rates, according to a new infographic by PatientSafe Solutions.

The infographic outlines how communication is key to unlocking patient satisfaction via face-to-face visits, online touchpoints and provider office interactions.

Intermountain Healthcare's strategic six-point patient engagement framework not only has transformed patient care delivered by the Salt Lake City-based organization but also has fostered an attitude of shared accountability throughout the not-for-profit health system.

Framework for Patient Engagement: 6 Stages to Success in a Value-Based Health System details Intermountain's multilayered approach and how it supports its corporate mission: Helping people live the healthiest lives possible.

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Infographic: 12 Physician Practice Models

January 18th, 2016 by Melanie Matthews

Healthcare industry challenges and government mandates are changing the way some physician practices operate, according to a new infographic by BillingParadise.

The infographic outlines how 12 different physician practice models work to help physicians understand and choose a model best suited for them.

One year after the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services began reimbursing physician practices for chronic care management services, Bon Secours Medical Group is now comfortable with the CCM reimbursement requirements and is reporting that it's unique approach to this revenue opportunity is ramping up nicely. And, the organization's approach to chronic care management reimbursement is helping to position itself for advance care planning as a new billable CMS event in the upcoming year.

During Physician Reimbursement in 2016: Workflow Optimization for Chronic Care Management and Advance Care Planning, a January 26th webinar at 1:30 p.m. Eastern, Robert Fortini, PNP, chief clinical officer for Bon Secours Medical Group, will provide an inside look at his organization's experience with CMS' chronic care management reimbursement this year and how they are leveraging this experience for CMS' newest billable event in 2016—advance care planning.

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Infographic: Systemized Care by Physicians

January 6th, 2016 by Melanie Matthews

As patient care becomes increasingly systemized, more doctors say they feel less engaged and less motivated, according to a recent infographic by Bain & Company.

The infographic looks at the growth in the number of physicians using electronic medical records and treatment protocols, along with the growth in the number of doctors who work in large, management-led organizations.

Healthcare Trends & Forecasts in 2016: Performance Expectations for the Healthcare IndustryFrom cost pressures, consumerism and consolidation to a proliferation of patient-centered, value-based delivery and payment models, the state of healthcare continues to challenge organizations in the industry.

Healthcare Trends & Forecasts in 2016: Performance Expectations for the Healthcare Industry, HIN's 12th annual business forecast, pins down the trends destined to impact the industry in the year to come and proposes tactics C-suite executives can employ to distinguish their operations in a dynamic marketplace.

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Infographic: Physician Practice Profitability

December 14th, 2015 by Melanie Matthews

The Practice Profitability Index, a survey of more than 5,000 physicians that provides an annual window into the issues affecting the financial and operational health of physician practices across the United States, revealed room for cautious optimism in 2016, with the share of physicians forecasting a negative profitability trend declining year over year. The Practice Profitability Index is sponsored by CareCloud and QuantiaMD.

A new infographic highlights some of the results from the Practice Profitability Index, including challenges to practice profitability, physician practice ownership trends and key targets for physician practice operational improvement.

One year after the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services began reimbursing physician practices for chronic care management services, Bon Secours Medical Group is now comfortable with the CCM reimbursement requirements and is reporting that it's unique approach to this revenue opportunity is ramping up nicely. And, the organization's approach to chronic care management reimbursement is helping to position itself for advance care planning as a new billable CMS event in the upcoming year.

During Physician Reimbursement in 2016: Workflow Optimization for Chronic Care Management and Advance Care Planning, a January 26th webinar at 1:30 p.m. Eastern, Robert Fortini, PNP, chief clinical officer for Bon Secours Medical Group, will provide an inside look at his organization's experience with CMS' chronic care management reimbursement this year and how they are leveraging this experience for CMS' newest billable event in 2016—advance care planning.

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4 Patient Engagement Strategies from a Top-Performing Medicare ACO

November 17th, 2015 by Patricia Donovan

The Memorial Hermann accountable care organization, a top Medicare Shared Savings Programs (MSSP) in terms of quality metrics and cost savings, is proud of the 74 percent patient engagement rate associated with its Complex Care program for individuals with complex health conditions. Here, Mary Folladori, RN, MSN, FACM, CMAC, system director of care management at the Memorial Hermann Physician Network and ACO, outlines four tactics that help to engage high-risk patients in self-management.

First, when we outreach to members during our telephone calls, we identify our team member as calling from Memorial Hermann. We have designed scripts; our team members introduce themselves as members of that particular person’s physician office. We have access to the physician clinic’s electronic medical record (EMR) as well as to the hospital EMR if that member has been hospitalized, so we’re able to represent and present knowledge of that member as part of that physician’s team. All of those combined elements help to build trust and to enhance those engagement rates.

Second, we also have learned over time that we need to offer multiple ways to work with members. Depending on the individual member and family situation, and depending on the risk and complexity of the member, we may have a team member go into one of our facilities to introduce themselves and set up a time for that initial outreach when a transition is being planned. We may meet members in their physician clinics if we have had difficulty outreaching to them. This allows us again to build that trust and rapport with a member, or build a face-to-face relationship base with the family. That has led to that higher telephonic outreach engagement rate of 74 percent.

Third, we also have been able to enhance our engagement rates because we have built very close relationships with care managers on the payor side in the past. Sometimes there might be a different type of relationship between the care or case managers on the insurance side, but in the world of our ACO, we have specifically and deliberately built very close relationships where we have worked out workflows. We get concurrent data reports for most payors so that we’re able to reach out to members in real time—within 24 hours after a discharge, for example. We also get real-time reports on gaps in care, and on frequent or high-cost utilizers.

In the past, we started out using claims that we received. That presented a challenge, because there still is a claims lag in the world we all work within. Now for the most part, we get information directly from our payor partners, which has enabled us to outreach and engage members in a real-time manner rather than three or six months after an acute episode has ended.

And finally, because we are embedded within our physician practices and so much a part of their culture, our physicians talk to their members at that point of care and let them know that a care manager by this name will reach out to them. They explain the reason for the program and encourage that member or family to participate.

Source: Care Coordination in an ACO: Population Health Management from Wellness to End-of-Life

http://hin.3dcartstores.com/Care-Coordination-in-an-ACO-Population-Health-Management-from-Wellness-to-End-of-Life_p_5092.html

Care Coordination in an ACO: Population Health Management from Wellness to End-of-Life details Memorial Hermann's carefully executed journey to quality and the culmination of the ACO's community-based care management program.

Infographic: An Average Physician Day

November 4th, 2015 by Melanie Matthews

The average patient caseload of a primary care physician is about 2,300 patients, with about 94 patient encounters per week, according to a new infographic by eVisit.

The infographic breaks down the typical day of a physician, including the percentage of a physician's day that is spent outside the exam room doing documentation and follow-up due to insurance and new regulatory requirements. It also examines the impact of this workload and how it could be better managed.

An Average Physician Day

Starting this past January, Medicare is reimbursing physician practices for select Chronic Care Management (CCM) services not previously eligible for reimbursement, underscoring the vital role of care management in primary care.

Physician Reimbursement for Chronic Care Management: Identifying New Practice Revenue Opportunities offers practical guidance to prepare physician practices to maximize CCM reimbursement in the year ahead.

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Longitudinal Care Plans, Risk Scores Raise Patient Engagement for MSSP ACO’s Complex Population

October 6th, 2015 by Patricia Donovan

A top-performing MSSP in 2014, the Memorial Hermann ACO has successfully engaged its Complex Care population via a collaborative care coordination approach.

The Memorial Hermann ACO may have been one of 2014's top-performing Medicare Shared Savings Programs (MSSPs), but the health system's commitment to achieving quality outcomes was solidified more than eight years ago, when its own physicians asked for a clinically integrated physician network.

Memorial Hermann complied, developing a set of tools, training and care models to not only support the physicians but also reflect payors' needs: chief among them, initiatives that could boost patient engagement.

Today, the Memorial Hermann ACO has a patient-centered care delivery strategy built on teamwork and collaboration. The Texas ACO is proud to point to a patient engagement rate of 74 percent for individuals enrolled in Complex Care, an initiative for individuals with long-term, multiple chronic conditions that has significantly reduced cost and hospital lengths of stay for participants.

This patient engagement measure represents members who consent to participate in the program and remain engaged for 30 days, explained Mary Folladori, RN, MSN, FACM, CMAC, system director of care management at Memorial Hermann Physician Network and ACO, during Care Coordination in an ACO: Managing the Population Health Continuum from Wellness to End-of-Life, a September 2015 webinar from the Healthcare Intelligence Network now available for replay.

Ms. Folladori provided an overview of the ACO's care coordination strategy that in 2014 generated savings of nearly $53 million in the MSSP program, resulting in a health system payout of almost $23 million. The ACO's performance earned Memorial Hermann a MSSP quality score of 88 percent.

Some high points from Memorial Hermann's ACO strategy include the following:

  • Embedding of care coordinators into the 'micro culture' of a physician practice, its community and the members served by the practice;
  • Strategic use of a data warehouse to identify vulnerable members early and link them with needed health services;
  • Development of comprehensive risk scores derived from multiple sources for Complex Care patients; and
  • Creation of longitudinal care plans that follow Complex Care patients for up to 18 months and help to transition them back to a baseline level of functioning.

In wrapping up observations on Memorial Hermann's quality-driven approach, Ms. Folladori quoted its CEO, Chris Lloyd: "The success that has been found within our ACO is deeply based on a collaborative approach to care. It has been cultivated over eight years with our commitment to clinical integration. We all strongly believe that without that strong clinically integrated physician network, without our physicians driving those quality outcomes, we would not have been as successful as we have."

With so much emphasis on quality and outcomes, it's no wonder participation today in the Memorial Hermann ACO is by invitation only—and only after a practice has passed an assessment.

Infographic: 4 Key Steps to Increasing Physician Practice Revenue

September 25th, 2015 by Melanie Matthews

There are several key steps physician practices can take to help grow their practice revenue, according to a new infographic by MedLanding News.

4 Key Steps to Increasing Physician Practice Revenue

Lessons from a Leading Pioneer ACO: Value-Based Gains from Physician Engagement, Performance Improvement and Care ManagementFollowing Pioneer ACO Year 3 results released by CMS in August 2015, Steward Health Care Network continues to make good on its Promise to provide coordinated, high-quality and cost-efficient care to its 80,000 Pioneer-aligned Medicare beneficiaries. Promise, Steward's top-performing Pioneer ACO, has generated $30 million of savings in its first three years of participation, according to recently published data.

Lessons from a Leading Pioneer ACO: Value-Based Gains from Physician Engagement, Performance Improvement and Care Management provides veteran advice from Kelly Clements, Pioneer Program Director, Steward Health Care Network. Steward is one of 20 accountable care organizations remaining in the Pioneer program and one of 15 reporting savings for year 3 (2014).

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Guest Post: 7 Ideas to Improve Communication and Coordination between Care Sites

September 22nd, 2015 by Richard A. Royer, CEO, Primaris

With access to some of the most highly educated and trained medical professionals in the world, providing Americans with the best patient care possible should be simple. Unfortunately, that’s not often the case. Poor communication between specialists, duplicate tests and unnecessary procedures are frequently the norm rather than the exception, leading to costly, dangerous and sometimes deadly consequences. With so many specialists and resources readily on hand, how is this happening?

The problem is a lack of care coordination. Simply put, care coordination is the idea that all specialists treating a patient should communicate and share information to ensure that everyone acts as a team to meet patient needs. This includes reporting all results back to a primary care practice or to someone coordinating patient care, and ensuring that labs, specialists, hospitals, and long-term care facilities work together to communicate information quickly and appropriately. It’s about primary care physicians, nurses, technicians, specialists, and caregivers collaborating on patient care rather than working as separate entities.

The average Medicare beneficiary interacts with seven physicians in four different practices during a single year, according to the New England Journal of Medicine. For those with chronic conditions, the numbers can be even higher. And, nearly one-fifth of Medicare patients who are hospitalized are readmitted within 30 days of discharge, and 75 percent of these readmissions could have been prevented by improved care coordination.

Too often, patients discharged from hospitals don’t get the support and encouragement they need to take their medicine, follow their diets, and adhere to the regimens doctors have prescribed during their stay. Many of these problems can be solved by improving care coordination, and that starts with communication between care sites.

Here are seven suggestions for improving communication between care sites—as well as across the care continuum:

  • Start the dialog: As a rule of thumb, improving communication between care sites begins with healthcare providers asking themselves what they know that others need to know, and sharing that information with the patient’s care team. What do patients need to know when they’re referred to a specialist? What do the specialists that patients are being referred to need to be aware of, e.g. what tests have already been completed? Has the primary care physician been informed?
  • Create a team and make it accountable: Organizations should start by assigning a team of people to be accountable for managing patient care. Define the extent of their responsibilities for key activities such as following up on test results and communicating information to other physicians. Establish when specific responsibilities should be transferred to other care providers—whether that means specialty physicians, long-term care facilities, or home care providers.
  • Designate care coordinators: Designate staff that will act specifically as care coordinators can help to reduce hospital readmissions. Before patients leave the hospital, care coordinators should meet with them to make sure they understand the treatment plans they need to follow at home as well as any changes to their medication regimens. The hospital care coordinators also must follow up on any pending labs and imaging studies and contact primary care physicians to communicate updated medications, treatment plans, and test results for their patients. The likelihood of readmission drops significantly when patients leave with a clear understanding of their treatment plans and when their primary care physicians know what is necessary during follow-up care.

    This same communication protocol should also apply to patients who leave the hospital for long-term care facilities. In this instance, the hospital care coordinator should communicate discharge instructions to the long-term care staff. As soon as residents return to the long-term care facility, staff there should meet with residents to review their discharge instructions, answer their questions, and communicate with the hospital if any further clarification is needed. Long-term care staff should also follow up regularly with these residents to ensure they continue to comply with instructions the doctor has recommended and intervene if any problems arise.

  • Standardize communication processes: Create a protocol for filling out patient charts in a standard way so they are easy to interpret and key elements aren’t overlooked. You also should standardize communication by using structured forms to ensure primary care providers, specialists, and long-term care providers all have the same and necessary information.
  • Develop a referral tracking system: Creating a system to internally track and manage referrals and transitions— including consultations with specialists, hospitalizations and ER visits, and referrals to community agencies—can go a long way towards improving communication between care sites. It will help to ensure patients are well prepared for their referral visit and know what to expect afterwards. And, it simplifies follow-up with referral providers about findings, next steps and treatment plans.
  • Follow up on referrals: When a primary care physician refers a patient to a specialist, for example, office staff should follow up to make sure the appointment was made and completed. In addition, office staff needs to ensure the specialist shares his findings with the primary care physician so he can be well versed on the patient's progress and any additional steps to be taken.
  • Notify providers in the patient's medical neighborhood: Similarly, when patients visit the emergency room or are admitted to the hospital, communication should be a priority. In this instance, hospital staff should notify the primary care practice so the primary care doctor can follow the patient’s progress through discharge and institute a care plan to prevent future admissions. In addition, the practice can reach out to patients when they leave the hospital to make sure they understand discharge instructions and schedule follow-up appointments. When the patient comes in for follow-up care, the primary care physician should have a complete history of specialists seen during the hospital admission, their recommendations, and tests performed, along with the results.

The healthcare industry can no longer simply “discharge” patients. Providers must now work collaboratively with all others across the continuum of care to transition and coordinate the ongoing care of every patient. That’s what care coordination is all about.


Richard Royer

About the Author: Richard A. Royer has served as the chief executive officer of Primaris since 2001. He has extensive administrative healthcare experience and is actively involved in several statewide healthcare initiatives. In 2006 he was appointed by the Missouri governor to the Missouri Healthcare Information Technology Task Force and chaired the resources workgroup. He also serves on the board of directors as treasurer for the Excellence in Missouri Foundation. In his over 35 years of medical business experience he has held positions as chief executive officer at Cuyahoga Falls, Ohio, General Hospital; executive director of Columbia Regional Hospital in Missouri; and founder and president of Avalon Enterprises, a medical financial consulting firm.

HIN Disclaimer: The opinions, representations and statements made within this guest article are those of the author and not of the Healthcare Intelligence Network as a whole. Any copyright remains with the author and any liability with regard to infringement of intellectual property rights remain with them. The company accepts no liability for any errors, omissions or representations.