Moving Intelligent Change Forward
February, 2018 Vol. 2 - In This Issue:
Are we witnessing signs of new directions in the health care conversation? While the usual politics and bickering about our broken access and financing continues, some points of light are emerging. Payer and manufacturer contracting based on outcomes and value to the patient could potentially change the way we drive innovation and payment for care. More data is emerging about the relationship (and impact) of social determinants on health, both access and outcomes. Those that work in communities across the country know this is fact. Now it appears that payers may be taking notice. Could this mean that housing, transportation and access to food could be core elements of health care in the future? 
Before we become giddy about the possibilities, there are also sobering reminders that we continue to ignore basics, including early and consistent mental health treatment, basic dental care and appropriate use of the medicines we have. While we're all attracted to the new and improved, let's first do no harm.

Survey: 80% of payers taking steps to address social determinants of health 

There's a lot of buzz around social determinants of health as a means to improve population health while reducing costs. Steps organizations are taking include leveraging community programs and resources, integrating medical data with financial, census and geographical data, including social assessments with a health risk assessment and training doctors to identify social indicators.   
To Fight Fatal Infections, Hospitals May Turn to Algorithms

The technology used by Facebook, Google and Amazon to turn spoken language into text, recognize faces and target advertising could help doctors combat one of the deadliest killers in American hospitals. Clostridium difficile, a deadly bacterium spread by physical contact with objects or infected people, thrives in hospitals, causing 453,000 cases a year and 29,000 deaths in the United States, according to a  2015 study  in the New England Journal of Medicine. Traditional methods such as monitoring hygiene and warning signs often fail to stop the disease. 
How Value-Based Medicare Payments Exacerbate Health Care Disparities

Paying physicians on the basis of the quality of their care, not the quantity, sounded like a good idea when Congress passed the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 ( MACRA ), which changed the way the government pays physicians.
How Dental Inequality Hurts Americans

Even before any proposed cuts take effect, Medicaid is already lean in one key area: Many state programs lack coverage for dental care.
That can be bad news not only for people's overall well-being, but also for their ability to find and keep a job.  
Study Shows Fluoroquinolones Unnecessarily Prescribed for Urinary Tract Infections and Respiratory Conditions 

A new study published in Clinical Infectious Diseases reports about 5% of all fluoroquinolones prescribed for adults in doctor's offices and emergency departments are completely unnecessary, and about 20% of all fluoroquinolone prescriptions in these two settings are not the recommended first-line treatment.  
Community health center patients more likely to cite housing struggles, JAMA reports 

Housing problems are often linked to poor health outcomes. Like other social determinants of health, people who can't rely on steady housing will likely have difficulties staying on top of their health, adhering to medication and making appointments. In their conclusion, the study authors suggested CHCs consider universal screening of housing status for patients.
Medtronic Moves to a New Health-Care Model: Pay Only if It Works 

Omar Ishrak, chief executive of Medtronic PLC, sees a future in which medical-technology companies accept more risk in how they get paid for their products.
Reducing Overtreatment of Cancer With Precision Medicine 

Clinicians increasingly recognize the problem of overtreatment in medical care. Overtreatment is particularly a concern for cancer conditions that are targeted for early detection because screening results in a large population of patients with early-stage disease.
Legislative Actions Encourage Value in Medicare Advantage and High-Deductible Health Plans

While many healthcare reform concepts struggle to gain traction on the national stage, value-based insurance design (VBID) continues to experience success in both public and private payer arenas. Broad bipartisan and multi-stakeholder support of VBID's clinically nuanced cost-sharing has stemmed from its applicability to a wide range of healthcare issues and its potential to reduce overall healthcare expenditures while improving health outcomes.
Passion + Quality = Change That Matters
I embrace the powerful opportunities in our evolving health care landscape. I founded Momentum Health Strategies to be a catalyst for change through continuous learning, diverse engagement and thoughtful policy and practice initiatives. I deliver innovative, strategic thinking and a passion for improving the patient experience. My personal drive and dedication to high-quality results will help you navigate the competitive terrain you face and convert your vision to action.

Momentum Health Strategies

Jennifer L Bright, MPA
(703) 628 - 0534