The Rundown | Week of 6.10.2019

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Patients Want Providers to Address Social Needs

A recent survey from Kaiser Permanente revealed 93 percent of patients would like their provider to ask about their social needs during visits. Eighty percent of respondents noted that they would like resources to relieve unmet social determinants of health, such as food insecurity or housing issues. However, only half of those respondents felt like they would reach out to their provider for such assistance. More than two-thirds of respondents listed at least one unmet social need in the past year.
>> Read More: Kaiser Permanente Research: Social Needs in America

Employer-Sponsored Insurance Leaves Gaps in Care

A report from the nonprofit Kaiser Family Foundation shows the difficulties faced by workers with employer-sponsored health insurance. “Between 2008 and 2018, premiums for employer-sponsored insurance plans increased 55 percent, twice as fast as workers’ earnings,” researchers found. Furthermore, deductibles increased by more than 200 percent. One-third of respondents delayed or skipped necessary care due to costs. “Asked who is to blame for high costs, majorities point the finger at pharmaceutical and insurance companies, while fewer see hospitals, doctors, or employers as deserving of blame,” the report noted.
>> Read More: Kaiser Family Foundation / LA Times Survey Of Adults With Employer-Sponsored Health Insurance

Nearly All Health Executives Fear Industry Disruptors

Traditional healthcare leaders fear their systems are “vulnerable to consumer-friendly offerings from non-hospital competitors, such as Optum, CVS Health, and Amazon.” The report from Kaufman Hall shows that 88 percent of executives worried non-hospital industry disruptors could jeopardize their existing systems. Researchers summarized their findings, noting: “The net takeaway [is that] many [leaders] are not doing enough to develop the strong, consumer-centric foundations their organizations need to compete in today’s online, convenience-obsessed, and increasingly consumer-focused world.”
>> Read More: 2019 State of Consumerism in Healthcare: The Bar is Rising

Providers’ Engagement Key to Weight Loss

A study published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine found patients’ engagement is a key factor in successful weight-loss interventions. “Provider counseling that focuses specifically on engagement in a weight loss intervention may enhance weight loss outcomes relative to more general weight loss advice,” researchers concluded. This finding suggests that goal-setting, monitoring, or information alone aren’t as effective as counseling calls, which “enhance[d] patients’ perceptions of empathy.” A separate study found that regular sleep patterns may help protect metabolic health as well.
>> Read More: Provider Counseling and Weight Loss Outcomes in a Primary Care-Based Digital Obesity Treatment

CMS Open to Public Suggestions Reduce Healthcare’s “Red Tape”

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) is allowing the public to suggest ideas plans to reduce excessive administrative burdens. The request for information (RFI), which are due by August 12, is part of the Patients over Paperwork initiative. The RFI calls for “changes to rules, policies, and procedures that would shift more of clinicians’ time and our healthcare system’s resources from needless paperwork to high-quality care that improves patient health.” CMS Administrator Seema Verma said: “We are doubling down on efforts to decrease healthcare costs by reducing administrative burden. In removing what doesn’t add value, we’re making room for what does.”
>> Read More: CMS Seeks Public Input on Patients over Paperwork Initiative to Further Reduce Administrative, Regulatory Burden to Lower Healthcare Costs

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