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The Rundown | Week of 12.9.2019

The Rundown | Week of 12.9.2019
Busy provider looking for healthcare news? Check out The Rundown

Survey Shows Decline in Health Plan Satisfaction Among Millennials, Gen Xers

A survey from The Voice of the Market reveals that millennials and Gen Xers do not trust their privatized health plans as much as previous generations. Additionally, 45 percent of millennials “desire incentives for healthy behaviors even more decidedly than the general population.” The survey also showed that the Silent Generation, defined as “the 73+ age group” are more cost-conscious and “reported that the most important service missing from their health insurer is tools or information to help find less costly care.” The survey advises health insurance companies to keep in mind that consumers “want access to lower-cost care, want to understand their benefits to utilize them the best way possible, and want incentives for healthy behaviors.”

>> Read More: Voice of the Market Survey Series: Consumer Trust in Health Insurers Remains High Despite Weariness Over Costs and Missing Services

Value-Based Care is On the Rise But Risk is Still Needed

Catalyst for Payment Reform (CPR) has reported that “half of all commercial plan payments to hospitals in 2017 were earmarked toward some form of value-oriented care or alternative payments intended to reduce waste.” However, CPR reports that “44.4 percent of value-oriented payments were fee-for-service based, which means they were essentially canceled out depending on how the providers billed for care.” Additionally, only “23 percent of those payments had a downside risk, meaning nearly 80 percent had no financial incentive for providers to be disciplined in their approach.” CPR calls the results “disappointing” and hopes more effort will be made in creating payment systems that are not based on fee-for-service models.

>> Read More: Payment Reform Has Grown Significantly, though not across Methods likely to Transform Health Care; Key Indicators Raise Questions about Impact to Date

Cognitive Decline and Heart Failure are Officially Connected

The Warfarin versus Aspirin in Reduced Cardiac Ejection Fraction (WARCEF) Trial has confirmed that “greater cognitive decline occurred among patients with heart failure who had better cognitive function at baseline” out of the study sample. Marco Di Tullio, MD, of Columbia University Irving Medical Center in New York City, conducted a post-hoc analysis of WARCEF, and discovered that 13.6 percent of participants suffered cognitive decline and 18.9 percent of participants “experienced cognitive decline beyond 12 months.” The study suggests providers should monitor patients with heart disease and heart failure for cognitive decline in addition to other symptoms.

>> Read More: WARCEF Trial Confirms Cognitive Decline Is Common in Heart Failure

Now Bringing You (Digital) House Calls

Home healthcare agencies are expanding their telehealth services to meet the health needs of the baby boomer demographic, particularly those suffering from complications related to chronic diseases. The study from Definitive Healthcare shows that 24 percent of home health agencies are “planning to expand their service offerings within the next two years, most notably in the telehealth technology space.” Seventy-three percent of home health agencies studied indicated they “plan to either expand upon or initially offer specialized care services, with an emphasis on care or treatment of specific chronic diseases or conditions.” Home health agencies also hope that telehealth services will help address staffing shortages, as 61.6 percent “of organizations identified staffing as the biggest challenge for their organization.”

>> Read More: Definitive Healthcare Study: Home Health Agency (HHA) Market on the Rise

Healthcare Spending Up 4.6% in the U.S. in 2018

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Office of the Actuary released a report stating that “U.S. healthcare spending grew 4.6 percent in 2018, reaching $3.6 trillion or $11,172 per person” in 2018. CMS attributes the increase in spending to the “faster growth in the net cost of health insurance, which increased 13.2 percent following growth of 4.3 percent in 2017, due primarily to the reinstatement of the health insurance tax in 2018.” The report states that despite the increase in spending, the U.S.’ overall gross domestic product (GDP) “related to healthcare spending was 17.7 percent in 2018, down from 17.9 percent in 2017.”

>> Read More: National Health Expenditure Accounts (NHEA) Data

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