ACHP Media Monitoring Report – August 10, 2017

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Member News: Independent Health President and CEO Dr. Michael Cropp wrote an op-ed about three foundational components to health care reform: preventive coverage, market stabilization and controlling the cost of prescription drugs. He also calls on the health care community to adopt value-based payment models.

Despite the interplay between mental and physical health, the two are often broken into different realms of treatment.  Politico explores how integration of the two can yield better overall health outcomes. Intermountain Healthcare’s work is cited as an example of how a holistic approach to medicine can lead to higher quality and less expensive healthcare.

Bipartisan approach to ACA reform, health insurance tax driving premium rates
A bipartisan group of health experts has come up with a proposal that aims to stabilize the markets by guaranteeing subsidies and enforcing the individual mandate. The plan would also allow for greater flexibility at the state level through experimental waivers and higher contributions to HSAs. While the ideas in the plan aren’t new, the bipartisan approach is. The group is comprised of experts who advocated for the ACA’s passage as well as those who have argued for repealing the law.

Insurers have lobbied for the repeal of the ACA health insurance tax, and a new study looks at how much the tax will cost enrollees in 2018. The rate requests were subject to more uncertainty than in previous years, with the ACA health insurance tax acting as an additional factor driving rates. The estimated 2.6 percent premium increase in 2018 would translate to $158 per person in the individual market and $245 per Medicare Advantage enrollee.

Administration must decide on “navigator” funding soon
The Trump administration only has a few weeks to decide if it will continue funding “navigator” organizations that assist people with enrollment in ACA plans. Almost 100 organizations received grants last year, but funding for the program is renewed annually based on organizational performance and Administration policy.

Patients support health care price shopping but few seek out price information
Most patients believe price shopping for health care is important, but few actually seek out pricing information, according to a study of 3,000 non-elderly adults. Only 13 percent of those who had out-of-pocket spending sought information about pricing before receiving care, and just three percent compared costs across providers beforehand. Patients reported barriers to shopping included difficulty obtaining price information and not wanting to disrupt relationships with providers.

Ambulatory surgery centers on the rise, hospitals look to acquire
Hospitals are acquiring ambulatory surgical centers or forming joint ventures with their surgeons as the market for joint replacements shifts to outpatient care. CMS is considering a rule to pay for outpatient knee and hip replacements, which has garnered positive reaction from surgeons and ASC operators but mixed responses from hospital leaders. Most hospital officials fear losing substantial inpatient revenue and some cite a lack of data to show outpatient procedures will result in better outcomes.

Push for value-based care burns out clinicians and staff at community health centers
The shift to value-based care at community health centers contributes to workplace dissatisfaction, according to a new study in Health Affairs. The centers are typically known for high rates of turnover due to the stress of caring for 24.3 million low-income patients on a fee-for-service model. However, researchers found the push for value-based care is contributing to clinicians and staff reporting a 10 percent decline in professional satisfaction and an eight percent increase in feeling burned out.