Innovation and integration
AMA offers population health map
The American Medical Association released an enhanced version of its Health Workforce Mapper. It shows locations of each state’s health care workforce and provides population health data by location. (AMA)
Cautious optimism for success of CIN’s cousin, ACO
Despite limited evidence, the accountable care organization experience has been successful–especially when the ACO is physician-led. The opinion piece notes that cost savings are uneven, but quality measures have been “more impressive.” Like a clinically integrated network (CIN), an ACO brings together physicians and other partners to be accountable for defined patient populations, and rewards them for quality, not quantity, of care. (JAMA)
Data, collaboration essential to value-based model
To successfully transition to value-based care, payers and providers must collaborate–especially when it comes to data. “Successful models will require the flow of financial and clinical data … to efficiently manage care, transfer the appropriate type and amount of risk to providers … and engage patients in care processes.” (Health Data Management; HFMA Health Care 2020 report)
Meet Lisa Martin, senior director of human resources at Hilltop Community Resources
Lisa Martin is senior director of human resources at Hilltop Community Resources in Grand Junction. Hilltop is a 66-year-old non-profit focused on meeting community needs through 29 programs in Western Colorado. In this interview, she talks about engaging employees and the importance of culture and education.
How have you successfully engaged employees in their own health and as health care purchasers?
Martin: The most effective thing we’ve done is educate employees. People learn in different ways, so we provide a variety of opportunities for them to get the information they need. We have single-page education pieces on our intranet site; we also use them as posters and handouts. Topics include how to use the health plan, what insurance terms mean, and what questions to ask a physician. We have an active benefit coordinator who catches people where they are and talks to them. We also bring in guest speakers. Subjects range from value-based insurance design to the impact of sugar on health and advocating for one’s own health.
We’ve created a culture of wellness and education, and we’ve reinforced that we’re all in this together. This has helped keep our costs down.
What is the biggest challenge in designing a health benefit that meets your employees’ needs and those of Hilltop?
Martin: Managing the rising cost of health care while continuing to provide effective benefits. We have 670 employees, 480 of whom are benefit-eligible. Many don’t have a great deal of extra income to spend on health care. How can we manage our costs, provide the best coverage and make it affordable for our employees?
About four years ago, we worked with Engaged Public on a value-based insurance design for our plan, and more recently in a pilot program with them and the University of Colorado. We managed our claims extraordinarily well and came in $200,000 below budget. That’s really unheard of.
In chronic disease management, we’ve eliminated barriers to care. Copays are low, and the first two visits per chronic disease per year have no copay. We want people to stay healthy.
How have employee attitudes about health, wellness and health coverage changed?
Martin: For us, it’s an awakening among our employees. Participation in our wellness programs jumped from 300 to 500 employees. Registration in the health plan increased. There’s a deeper understanding of why health matters, and employees understand that Hilltop is really involved in and supports their health. We’ve created a culture of wellness. The American Psychological Association recognized us with a Psychologically Healthy Workplace Award, and we received the 2015 Governor’s Award for Worksite Wellness.
It’s a culture we want to share: We’re involved in community wellness, and our programs are available to the community. We’re willing to involve anyone in our wellness efforts.
Employers, employees and community
Employers add financial wellness offerings
Personal financial issues affect employee well-being, and can affect productivity. Employers are taking note: 56 percent are either creating or expanding financial wellness programs beyond retirement savings in 2016, up 10 points from 2015. (Bloomberg BNA; Aon Hewitt)
Research: Mobile apps help employees reach health goals
Mobile apps and web-based programs do help people reach health goals–like exercising more, losing weight and quitting smoking–but more data is needed on how sustainable these interventions are, according to a review published in the Journal of the American Heart Association. (Reuters)
To produce results, employers turn to produce
Hancock (Ind.) Regional Hospital’s Bountiful Blessings–part of its employee wellness program–provides a space for people to donate extra produce; anyone can take what they need, and the excess is given to food pantries. Employers in Lexington, Ken., offer employees $200 vouchers to buy shares in a local community-supported agriculture program. (Greenfield Reporter; Lexington Herald-Leader)
Tools and Information
Patient perspectives: NPR, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and Harvard’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health have published a useful resource: Patients’ Perspectives on Health Care In The United States–A Look at Seven States & the Nation, Feb. 2016 (report)
Infographic: Value of an Accountable Health Network