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Care Delivery

 

High-deductible health plans have been framed as a way to give healthcare consumers more “skin in the game,” leading them to avoid low-value services as a way to save money. According to researchers from the USC Schaeffer Center for Health Policy and Economics and the RAND Corporation, they’re having little to no impact.

PricewaterhouseCoopers' (PwC) Health Research Institute expects “persistent risks and uncertainties” to impact healthcare in 2017, ranging from policy changes under the Trump administration to how artificial intelligence (AI) will change workflows—and in the end, it may come out stronger because of those challenges.

The goal of accountable care organizations (ACOs), according to CMS, is to better coordinate care for chronically ill patients, avoiding unnecessary services and preventing errors. For ACOs in the Medicare Shared Savings Program (MSSP), however, those weren’t the reasons they saved money, according to a study published in the Dec. 2017 issue of Health Affairs.

The offerings on the Affordable Care Act’s health insurance exchanges for 2018 are dominated by narrow network plans, with higher deductibles for silver- and gold-level plans, according to an analysis from Avalere.

Between 2006 and 2014, the number of emergency department (ED) visits paid for by Medicaid rose from 26.5 million to 44.1 million, making the program the most frequent payer in the ED over private insurance.

 

Recent Headlines

HIMSS 2017: Prior authorization flaws require collaborative response

A multi-stakeholder conversation about the burden of prior authorization requirements offered a consensus that something has to change with these policies, but the parties could not offer a silver bullet on how the process can improve.

Telehealth increases utilization instead of replacing office visits

Using direct-to-consumer telehealth, where a patient was direct access to a physician on the phone or through videoconferencing, may be a tool to increase access to care. According to a study published in the March 2017 issue of Health Affairs, it also increases utilization and spending. 

Need for real-world evidence in value-based care could be advantage for pharma

With more physicians employed in larger organizations than private practices, and those larger groups being more likely to be reimbursed through models which involve financial risk, more physicians are looking to real-world evidence to inform their clinical decisions—a shift which could be beneficial for pharmaceutical companies.

New Jersey law limits initial opioid prescriptions to five days

New Jersey has enacted what its governor calls the strictest anti-opioid law in the country, affecting how long the length of initial prescriptions and waiving prior authorization requirements for those seeking treatment for addiction.

Uninsured rate at 8.8 percent; high-deductible plans on the rise

The latest National Health Interview Survey figures on health coverage show the number of people without health insurance fell to a new low through the first nine months of 2016.

California insurers reported inaccurate provider info to regulators

According to a review released by the California Department of Managed Health Care (DMHC), 90 percent of California insurer reports on which providers were in their network contained inaccurate information.

Lower wages change utilization, even in employer-sponsored insurance plans

Workers who make $24,000 or less annually, but still have employer-sponsored health insurance, have higher hospital and emergency department admissions rates and lower utilization of preventive care compared to higher-paid coworkers.

Physicians warn Trump immigration order will worsen doctor shortage, affect care

Two University of Pennsylvania Medical Center physicians said suspending immigration from seven Muslim-majority countries will have a negative impact on graduate medical education (GME) and the U.S. healthcare system as a whole.

Major organizations aim to change prior authorization requirements

A coalition of medical organizations led by the American Medical Association has released a 21-point plan to change when health insurers require pre-approval before patients can receive certain treatments, drugs or devices.

Illinois governor proposing new pharmacy rules after risky drug combinations go unnoticed

In response to a Chicago Tribune investigation, Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner is a backing of series of changes to the state’s oversight of pharmacies, including sending “mystery shoppers” to make sure pharmacists are warning customers when their prescriptions may have adverse effects when taken together. 

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