In the News: April 19–26
Sg2 is dedicated to helping our clients interpret the latest news and trends in health care. Below you’ll find our analysis of this week’s key industry headlines, along with links to related Sg2 resources.
Kaiser Permanente Members Are Flocking to Virtual Visits
The increasing gap between consumer demand and provider supply has led some health systems to turn to innovative approaches to care. Kaiser Permanente, based out of Oakland, CA, began investing in IT as it found that members were moving toward virtual visits and away from the hospital and physician office setting. Kaiser’s current IT spend accounts for about 25% of its $3.8B annual capital spend. The health system’s CEO recently announced that 52% of the 100M member encounters with company physicians are virtual, resulting in more convenient, cost-effective care.
Sg2 believes that disruptive technologies and the use of advanced practitioners are a few of the ways health systems can alleviate the pressures of today’s evolving landscape. To learn more, check out the Sg2 Expert Insight Advanced Practice Providers + Technology = Tomorrow’s Workforce Challenges Solution.
After a Decade of Growth, Use and Complexity of Imaging Declined
A recent Health Affairs retrospective study analyzed imaging utilization patterns of fee-for-service Medicare beneficiaries from 2008 to 2014. Study data showed a slow decline in noninvasive diagnostic imaging from 2011 to 2014. The decline was only present for some modalities, with CT showing slight growth in the final 2 years of the study. Potential reasons for the decrease include code bundling; the existence of radiology benefits companies; and cuts to reimbursement for some imaging modalities.
There are a number of pressures and incentives that influence volumes differently by modality. Sg2 believes that, with the exception of x-ray and nuclear medicine, demand for imaging will recover from previous flat-to-declining volumes. See the 2016 Sg2 Imaging Service Line Snapshot for top trends and action steps to drive value in imaging.
Hospitals Ask for Further Delay of Mandatory Cardiac and Orthopedic Bundles
CMS recently posted comments it received in response to the interim final rule that delayed the effective date of regulations pertaining to Medicare’s mandatory bundled payment models and the Cardiac Rehab Incentive Payment Model. Within these public comments, several supported CMS’s proposed further delay for implementation of the mandatory bundled payment programs until January 1, 2018.
While uncertainty over the fate of these bundled payment models continues, Sg2 believes that bundles will stand the test of time. Read the Sg2 Letter April 2017: Gauging Bundles’ Place in the Great Payment Debatefor our tips to get you started with a proactive approach to bundles at your organization.