Infographic: How Hospital Acquired Conditions Can Impact a Hospital’s Bottom Line

June 1st, 2018 by Melanie Matthews

In 2018, an estimated 32 percent of large U.S. hospitals will occupy the lowest performing quartile for hospital acquired conditions (HACs), according to a new infographic by 3M.

The infographic examines how HACs impact a hospital’s bottom line and how to stay out of the bottom quartile.

Predictive Healthcare Analytics: Four Pillars for SuccessWith an increasing percentage of at-risk healthcare payments, the Allina Health System’s Minneapolis Heart Institute began to drill down on the reasons for clinical variations among its cardiovascular patients. The Heart Institute’s Center for Healthcare Delivery Innovation, charged with analyzing and reducing unnecessary clinical variation, has saved over $155 million by reducing this unnecessary clinical variation through its predictive analytics programs.

During Predictive Healthcare Analytics: Four Pillars for Success, a 45-minute webinar, available on-demand, Pam Rush, cardiovascular clinical service line program director at Allina Health, and Dr. Steven Bradley, cardiologist, Minneapolis Heart Institute (MHI) and associate director, MHI Healthcare Delivery Innovation Center, shared their organization’s four pillars of predictive analytics success…addressing population health issues, reducing clinical variation, testing new processes and leveraging an enterprise data warehouse. Click here for more information.

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Guest Post: Is the Future of Value-based Healthcare Payments at Risk?

May 31st, 2018 by Erin Weber

CAQH CORE report highlights how value-based payment may encounter the challenges fee-for-service faced 20 years ago.

There is an old adage that anyone who doesn’t learn from the past is doomed to repeat it. For those of us in healthcare, it is time to review our history, so we can avoid repeating some of the operational headaches that emerged almost two decades ago.

Beginning in the 1990s, when electronic transactions were first being implemented to administer fee-for-service payment models, organizations began using many different, often proprietary approaches. Although HIPAA standards were in place, there were no agreed-upon expectations for exchanging data, and the content of transactions varied from one organization to another. This slowed automation and resulted in an inefficient, costly and frustrating experience for all parties.

If wireless companies, for example, did not use common approaches for exchanging data, you would need to carry different phones to call people on other networks. This is what health systems started to face with fee-for-service models. Instead of having to connect with four or five different carriers, however, they had to exchange electronic data with every health plan with which they contracted, often a dozen or more.

To help address this challenge, stakeholders across healthcare came together to form CAQH CORE®, a nonprofit collaboration of health plans, health systems, and vendors. Members worked together to develop common rules, many of which have been codified as part of the Affordable Care Act.

Because of these and other industry efforts, more fee-for-service administrative information flows electronically and securely today. Health plans, providers, and clearinghouses have sharply reduced the use of costlier manual phone, fax, and mail processes.

CAQH CORE is starting to see signs that value-based payment operations are following a similar path. Today, as adoption of value-based payment is growing, health plans and providers are developing new approaches to measure, manage, and pay for care. While innovation is needed, a common foundation for basic administrative operations is lacking. Absent this foundation, value-based payment is being managed, in part, using approaches designed for fee-for-service. This is not likely to yield the fluid, reliable, and trusted exchanges of data needed for long-term value-based payment model success.

Given that experience, CAQH CORE began to study the matter in depth by interviewing stakeholders and reviewing the literature. Last month, CAQH CORE published these findings in a report, All Together Now: Applying the Lessons of Fee-for-Service to Streamline Adoption of Value-Based Payments. In it, they identified five areas where greater uniformity can help the value-based healthcare economy thrive: data quality, interoperability, patient risk stratification, provider attribution, and quality measurement. The report also details specific strategies to address each of these areas.

For example, today there are many issues with data quality, particularly involving provider identification. In the value-based payment world, inaccurate information about the provider can yield a cascading series of problems, such as misplaced accountability, erroneous risk-based payments, inappropriate referrals, and higher patient costs. The report recommends more universal and consistent use of the National Provider Identifier as one way to improve data quality and mitigate many of these problems.

This is just one example, but it highlights how acting now, before operational variances can become entrenched in value-based payment models, will help avoid needless costs, inefficiencies, and frustration. Others in the industry are looking at these challenges as well. By working together to apply the lessons learned during the fee-for-service transition, CAQH CORE hopes to energize an effort to ease the pain points in value-based payment and avoid reliving challenges of the past.

Erin Weber

Erin Weber

About the Author:

Erin Weber is director of CAQH CORE, a nonprofit collaboration of over 130 public and private health plans, hospitals and health systems, vendors and others that helps stakeholders uniformly adopt electronic transactions and exchange data efficiently.

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 remains with them. The company accepts no liability for any errors, omissions or representations.

Infographic: Focus on Care Transitions to Reduce Readmissions and Boost Your Bottom Line

May 30th, 2018 by Melanie Matthews

Decreased hospital readmissions leads to improved patient outcomes, which improves brand reputation, ultimately leading to increased patient volume and market share. Reducing readmissions begins with creating a seamless care transition plan for what will happen within the hospital as well as after discharge, according to a new infographic by the Studer Group.

The infographic examines how reducing readmissions impacts a hospital’s bottom line and techniques to improve care transitions.

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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Infographic: Shooting for Five Stars in Medicare Advantage

May 28th, 2018 by Melanie Matthews

Health plans have continued to mature in their approach to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services’ Stars rating. Over the past two years, they have become more effective and more efficient at driving high quality scores overall, demonstrated by significant increases in the 4-Star thresholds of key measures, according to a new infographic by Oliver Wyman.

The infographic provides an analysis of annual Stars metrics, which demonstrates a continued high correlation between plans’ overall Stars scores and their performance on provider-driven measures.

2018 Healthcare Benchmarks: Telehealth & Remote Patient MonitoringArtificial intelligence. Automation. Blockchain. Robotics. Once the domain of science fiction, these telehealth technologies have begun to transform the fabric of healthcare delivery systems. As further proof of telehealth’s explosive growth, the use of wearable health-tracking devices and remote patient monitoring has proliferated, and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has added several new provider telehealth billing codes for calendar year 2018.

2018 Healthcare Benchmarks: Telehealth & Remote Patient Monitoring delivers the latest actionable telehealth and remote patient monitoring metrics on tools, applications, challenges, successes and ROI from healthcare organizations across the care spectrum. This 60-page report, now in its fifth edition, documents benchmarks on current and planned telehealth and remote patient monitoring initiatives as well as the use of emerging technologies in the healthcare space.

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Infographic: Telehealth Video Calling

May 25th, 2018 by Melanie Matthews

Some 64 percent of Americans are willing to engage in a video session with a healthcare provider, according to a new infographic by Lua Technologies, Inc.

The infographic examines telehealth use cases and patients’ telehealth perceptions.

2018 Healthcare Benchmarks: Telehealth & Remote Patient MonitoringArtificial intelligence. Automation. Blockchain. Robotics. Once the domain of science fiction, these telehealth technologies have begun to transform the fabric of healthcare delivery systems. As further proof of telehealth’s explosive growth, the use of wearable health-tracking devices and remote patient monitoring has proliferated, and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) has added several new provider telehealth billing codes for calendar year 2018.

2018 Healthcare Benchmarks: Telehealth & Remote Patient Monitoring delivers the latest actionable telehealth and remote patient monitoring metrics on tools, applications, challenges, successes and ROI from healthcare organizations across the care spectrum. This 60-page report, now in its fifth edition, documents benchmarks on current and planned telehealth and remote patient monitoring initiatives as well as the use of emerging technologies in the healthcare space.

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Guest Post: 3 Steps to Successfully Model Hospital-Payer Contracts

May 24th, 2018 by Brad Olin

Allowing your healthcare organization time to prepare for modeling long-term contracts can be the difference in maintaining revenue integrity.

When a hospital’s financial success is largely based on its ability to accurately collect reimbursement, allowing your healthcare organization time to prepare for modeling long-term contracts can be the difference in maintaining revenue integrity.

But how can you be absolutely sure your organization isn’t leaving money on the table?

One way (and probably the most direct route to the answer) is to start with contract governance by establishing a foundation of accuracy to (re)evaluate the current process your organization has for modeling contracts. This allows your organization to take a deeper dive into your payer contracts and determine the root cause(s) of your current issues.

Because without accurate data and analytics supporting your current contracts, how can you be expected to confidently predict future reimbursement and outcomes?

Ask yourself these questions:

  • Do I understand my current contract composition?
  • Am I benchmarking against competing payers’ overall performance, current market rate, leadership dependencies, etc.?
  • Has my organization implemented a scorecard to measure its performance?

Initiating the Negotiation

Let’s begin with understanding the components within your current contracts.

Ask yourself “What don’t I know about my current contracts?”

While knowing which specific areas of care you need to address is certainly important to discuss prior to (re)negotiations, being aware of what you don’t know lets you gain a more comprehensive understanding of other aspects of care you may be neglecting, but have significant impact on your reimbursement rates (i.e. reimbursement rate schedule, claims adjustment schedule, etc.)

Before the negotiations begin, it’s important to look at all options for negotiating the conversation and identify any barriers that may hinder your organization’s ability to leverage any power in the negotiation. For example, some contracts include provisions with a notice window prior to its auto-renewal.

Keep in mind, however, that if both parties are on good terms and mutually agree to discuss payer contracts, negotiations can still take place despite what the contract may say.

The next step is to reassess the contract terms of the base agreement and its amendments, regardless of the date of those initial agreements. Take note that generic language and changes during prior negotiations do not necessarily dictate future contract terms. Then, you can isolate which areas of care within your organization are most important to your organization that is not a provision of the current contract.

Setting Benchmarks

After an organization has done their homework and prepared a list of objectives to achieve during the negotiations, the next step is to figure out with the payer how you’re currently performing under the current contracts.

Using a set of predetermined contract performance metrics, you can compare projected and current conditions side-by-side to determine what financial improvements you can realistically expect to see in the near future.

While every hospital comes with its own unique set of challenges, here is a list of common performance benchmarks any organization can use to establish a basis for how they should be performing in specific areas of care:

  • Benchmark against original projections—Comparing actual performance against what was projected when negotiated.
  • Benchmark against current/projected high-volume services—Mining your claims data and assess the current revenue value per service, particularly those that are growing in volume.
  • Benchmark against industry benchmarks—Convert proprietary contract reimbursements to a percentage or charge equivalent and a Medicare relativity to assess the playing field.
  • Benchmark against leadership dependencies—Establish what role this payer needs to play in supporting your organization.
  • Benchmark against competing payers’ overall performance—Revisit against competing payers’ overall performance.

By combining industry benchmarks with accurate data to gain a clearer understanding of your projected financial impact, the hospital can gain a clearer understanding of how they’ll execute their goals and eventually develop a consistent routine for modeling future payer contracts as well.

Using Scorecards to Measure Payer Performance

After you’ve established set goals and a realistic plan for executing those goals, the final step involves measuring the success of your payer contracts using a variety of standardized metrics. These metrics include:

  • Year-over-year collections
  • Collections by payer
  • Collections by month
  • Collections by service code

Through the use of a scorecard, hospitals can engage in more proactive negotiations with the payer by presenting accurate data metrics to justify future contracts and mapping out any areas that are falling short of expectations. Then, hospitals can focus on why it did not meet expectations and use that information to be better prepared for the next set of payer negotiations.

Any organization can make a list of things they need to improve on for future contract negotiations, but without accurate data driving each negotiation, hospitals can’t confidently make realistic predictions on how it will affect their financial standing, say, a year from now.

At the end of the day, what all the negotiations really comes down to is whether or not your organization is able to maintain revenue integrity year-in and year-out. Building on a foundation of accurate data, hospitals can prepare for negotiations by learning how to properly initiate the negotiation, set benchmarks, and measure the payer performance. This, in turn, will allow your organization to meet their financial goals and produce more predictable results.

Brad Olin

Brad Olin

About the Author:

Brad Olin is the Marketing Communications Specialist at PMMC, a leading provider of revenue cycle management solutions for hospitals and healthcare systems across the U.S. Brad offers a modern outlook into the evolution of the healthcare industry and general practices used to grow an organization’s revenue integrity.

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 remains with them. The company accepts no liability for any errors, omissions or representations.

Infographic: Provider Appointment Wait Times

May 23rd, 2018 by Melanie Matthews

With an on-demand economy, patients value convenience in their healthcare experience, according to a new infographic by athenahealth, Inc.

The infographic examines patients’ perceptions and the impact of provider appointment wait times, along with ways to reduce these wait times.

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: The Journey to Population Wellness

May 21st, 2018 by Melanie Matthews

Population health has become a puzzle of processes and technologies to improve health outcomes, enhance the physician-patient experience, and reduce costs. The healthcare industry must work together to chart a path toward interoperability, analytics and care tools that will impact the future of population health and wellness, according to a new infographic by Transcend Insights.

The infographic helps convey this journey in alignment with key findings from a Healthcare Financial Management Association executive survey on population health.

Care Coordination in an ACO: Population Health Management from Wellness to End-of-LifeWhen acknowledging its position as a top-ranking Medicare Shared Savings Program (MSSP), Memorial Hermann is quick to credit its own physicians—who in 2007 lobbied for a clinically integrated network that formed the foundation of the current Memorial Hermann accountable care organization (ACO). Now, collaboration and integration continue to be the engines driving the ACO’s cost savings, reduced utilization and healthy patient engagement rates associated with Memorial Hermann ACO’s highest-risk population.

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.

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Infographic: Hospital Adoption of Alternative Payment and Delivery Models

May 18th, 2018 by Melanie Matthews

Hospitals and health systems continue to test and adopt alternative payment and delivery models, such as ACOs, medical homes, and performance-based payment, according to a new infographic by the American Hospital Association.

The infographic examines market trends for value-based payment and delivery models.

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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10 Critical Care Coordination Model Elements for Medicaid Managed Care Members

May 17th, 2018 by Melanie Matthews

There are 10 critical elements of the care coordination model for Independent Health Care Plan (iCare) Medicaid managed care members, according to Lisa Holden, vice president of accountable care, iCare.

The first element and touchpoint for Medicaid managed care members is their care coordinator. “Every single one of our incoming SSI Medicaid members is assigned to a care coordinator,” Holden told participants in the May 2018 webinar, Medicaid Member Engagement: A Telephonic Care Coordination Relationship-Building Strategy, now available for replay. “That person is responsible for everything to do with that member’s coordination of care.”

Care coordinators are assigned to every Medicaid member and are responsible for engaging and coordinating member’s care needs.

“We want our care coordinators to make an initial phone call as early as a couple of days after the member is enrolled in our plan,” she said. “If the member is interested in having a conversation, we offer to conduct a health risk assessment. But if the timing isn’t right, then we offer to schedule another appointment. There’s no pressure except that we want them to feel engaged by us.”

Once completed, the health risk assessment forms the basis of an interdisciplinary individualized care plan created by the care coordinator with the member.

The care coordinator, who is a social worker by background, has access to a nurse, who is available for medically complex members, said Holden.

iCare also relies on health coaches. Health coaches are now teaming up with a care coordinator as much as, if not more than, the nurses are historically, Holden said.

“Our health coaches are literally assigned to work in the community to become very familiar with the resources that are available,” she added. “They are becoming steeped in the communities in which they serve. Each one is assigned to a neighborhood, and we’ve asked them, ‘Get to know the police. Get to know the fire. Get to know the food organizations and food pantries. Get to know the housing specialists in your area.'”

The health coaches also help the care coordinators locate difficult-to-contact members by being in the community as a boots on the ground force. They’re also focused on assessing and addressing social determinants of health.

“We really believe that health coaches are going to be the key to our success in this year and in years to come,” Holden explained.

In addition to the care coordinators, health coaches and nurses, the care coordination team includes two specialized positions…a trauma-informed intervention specialist and a mental health and substance abuse intervention specialist. “We brought those two specialties into this program for our Medicaid members because we know that there’s a high instance of behavioral health conditions, which usually has another diagnosis of alcohol and drug use, not always, but quite often. We wanted to have the team ready to engage the member,” said Holden.

Once the member is engaged, iCare’s care coordination team begins to identify unmet needs, she explained. “We want to know, ‘Is their life going well? Do they have appropriate medical care? Are they in a relationship with a primary care provider that they feel is co-respectful? Are they getting their answers to their questions?'”

To begin talking about medical needs, the care coordination team has to establish trust, said Holden. “We have to talk with the member in an honest way that reflects our respect for them and also engages them in order for them to tell us how they really feel.”

iCare uses the Patient Activation Measure tool to help identify where the member is in a spectrum of four different levels of activation. iCare then tailors its member engagement approach to build a trusting relationship and provide member education by recognizing where they are in their activation level.

Following up on preventive measures are key for the iCare care coordination model. Care coordinators reach out to members for care plan updates. The care plan has to be alive and very member-centric, said Holden. The health risk assessment is repeated each year and the care plan is updated based on those results.

iCare is also focusing on social determinants of health with the recognition that they impact a members’ health more than clinical care. Clinical care attributes to only about 20 percent of somebody’s health outcomes; the rest of that 80 percent is made up of by health behaviors, social and economic factors, and physical environment. “If we don’t get underneath those issues, we can ask for things to improve, but we’re going to see minimal success,” Holden added.

During the webinar, Holden also shared: how the care coordinators helps Medicaid members overcome barriers to care; seven rising risk/acuity identification tools; readmission prevention initiatives for high-risk patients; three programs aimed at reducing high emergency department utilization; and details on a Follow-to-Home program for members who are homeless. Holden also shared: details on language to use…and not to use…when engaging members; advice on the best time to connect with members by phone, such as time of day, specific days of the months; the role of the specialist interventionist compared to the care coordinator; and the background of iCare’s care coordinators and health coaches.

Click here to view the webinar today or order a DVD or CD of the conference proceedings.