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February 2017


Innovation and integration

Integration cuts costs, improves outcomes
An integrated approach, including provider collaboration and financial incentives, lowered costs and improved outcomes in high-need pediatric populations. (Pediatrics)
Employers: Stay the course
Employers may see changes down the road because of President Trump’s executive orders but for now, experts have this advice: Stay the course and continue to comply with current rules. ( Employee Benefit News)
Searching for potential addicts
Some employers are reviewing the medications their employees take. Substance abuse is costly; employers want to find out about workers who have been prescribed opioids. HIPAA generally restricts employers from accessing patient records or insurance claims, but they can access data from third-party pharmacy benefit managers. ( Dayton Daily News)


Michael Millenson, president, Health Quality Advisors; author, Demanding Medical Excellence: Doctors and Accountability in the Information Age; adjunct associate professor of medicine, Feinberg School of Medicine.


With all the changes and proposed changes in the works, what can employers expect in the coming months?

Millenson: First, they can expect a terrible lack of clarity. There’s no question that, as Congress scrambles to make everybody happy, it’s going to get confusing. Whatever Congress passes, they won’t pass it until the spring. They are undermining first, clarifying later. It will be a very confusing time.

Second, what we do know is that responsibility for all aspects of health care quality and cost will be more diffused–this means more responsibility will be placed on employers; they will need to make sure their employees don’t end up on the short end of the stick.

What advice do you have for employers?

Millenson: Keep in mind that legislation like this gets passed in a hurry, with unintended negative consequences. Stay close to the process. Pay attention.

For larger employers, make your voice heard during the political process. Things are in flux. Now is a good time to affect the process–rather than trying to deal with problems later. Even smaller employers can do this, working through organizations such as chambers of commerce.

Will the trend toward clinical integration accelerate or slow?

Millenson: Accelerate. Without question. Accelerate.

Clinical integration is being driven by forces outside of politics, forces that are pushing health care delivery to be more effective and efficient.

Even if everyone walks into the doctor’s office with a government-issued insurance card, or if there are another 20 million uninsured, the imperative for improving the care delivery system remains. We have to differentiate between the noise around insurance and the tidal wave affecting health care delivery.



Employers, employees and community

Tips for building a culture of health
“To move the needle on workforce health, employers need to establish and maintain comprehensive, multi-component, evidence-based health promotion programs,” says a recent
Health Affairs Blog post. That means building a culture of health; the authors offer the “secret sauce” for doing just that. (Health Affairs Blog)

Wellness trends to watch include social well-being
Wellness trends for 2017 may include a bigger focus on social well-being, financial and mental health, and “mindfulness” programs. Another trend: “Employees tend to adopt healthy behaviors when it benefits others rather than themselves,” says Jane Ruppert of Interactive Health. (Workforce)

Align business, wellness objectives
Employers often fail to tie the goals of their health and wellness programs to business objectives. However by making that connection, you not only help ensure their long-term success, you increase the likelihood of corporate buy-in, says Laurie Gondek, vice president at Welltok. (Employee Benefit News)

Tooresources-iconls and Information

Want to build a culture of health? This two-minute video from Monument Health shows you how to keep employees happy, healthy and covered. ( video)
Picture accountable care: Want to help your employees understand the benefits of an accountable health network? Show them this infographic. ( Value of an Accountable Health Network)
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eNewsbrief Archives

January 2017

The First. Achieve. Health. monthly e-newsbrief spotlights the research, trends and people driving positive change in health care delivery. It's…

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