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What We’re Reading | Week of 7.10.2017

Healthcare is a rapidly evolving industry – it’s difficult to read up on everything that matters to you. But the success of your practice can depend on how knowledgeable you are about changes in the healthcare landscape. Privia has compiled a weekly list of important articles we are reading on healthcare industry trends, clinical best practices and legislative updates for your convenience. Here are some of the important articles and blogs on healthcare that stood out this week:

>>Many large employers and state governments are going further, reducing cost-sharing for high-value care and medications to treat chronic illnesses, like depression and heart disease. This year, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services began a five-year test of value-based design that permits Medicare Advantage plans in seven states to reduce cost-sharing and enhance benefits for enrollees with designated chronic conditions. Bipartisan legislation has been introduced in the House and Senate to expand the program nationwide.”

>>Policymakers who are focused predominantly on how to improve the health care system by providing health insurance coverage will fail unless they simultaneously focus on transforming and modifying the delivery system; otherwise, the cost of providing that care will erode any program they create, whether coverage is provided through private insurance, Medicare, Medicaid, or another method. For this reason, we encourage the new Administration and members of Congress to consult and rely on the nation’s physician leaders, in addition to health insurance executives, to help chart the course for American health care in the future.

>>Medicaid has a starring role in the health care drama currently playing out in Washington. But unless you actually receive Medicaid, chances are you don’t know much about this unique social safety net that provides health insurance to some 74.5 million Americans — nearly a quarter of the U.S. population. It pays the bills for 62 percent of the nation’s nursing home patients. Some assume that Medicaid is strictly a federal program. Others think it’s part of welfare. More than a few think it’s the same as Medicare. In fact, it is none of the above. Here’s what you need to know about Medicaid.”

>>Engagement strategies should focus on leveraging health IT, forging strong connections and making care easy and convenient. To do that, the article suggests these physician practices: Provide tools such as a patient portal to help patients keep in touch and to answer questions. Young patients want to be able to access their medical records online. During appointments, educate patients about the tools your practice has available…”

>>A recent report by the Government Accountability Office, the auditing arm of Congress, adds new weight to criticisms that some health plans may leave sicker patients worse off. The GAO report, released this spring, reviewed 126 Medicare Advantage plans and found that 35 of them had disproportionately high numbers of sicker people dropping out. Patients cited difficulty with access to “preferred doctors and hospitals” or other medical care, as the leading reasons for leaving.

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