In the News: June 22–28

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.

Management of Chronic Pain Differs From Acute Pain

A recent JAMA article discusses how patients’ pain management frequently falls on primary care physicians who may not fully understand the difference between acute and chronic pain, often treating chronic pain patients with opioids. The authors argue that chronic pain management treatment requires a comprehensive model that incorporates an understanding of chronic pain pathophysiology, shared decision making, non-pharmacological treatment and the selective use of non-opioid pharmacotherapy.

Given the high prevalence of chronic pain in the US, Sg2 believes that organizations can meet the demand with chronic pain management programs that leverage a multidisciplinary team of providers that includes psychiatrists, addiction specialists and physical therapists. To learn more about developing a comprehensive chronic pain management program, read the Sg2 Expert Insight: Pain Management Programs Fill Unmet Need.

CBO Scores Better Care Reconciliation Act

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) and the Joint Committee on Taxation scored the impact of the Better Care Reconciliation Act (BCRA), the Senate Republican plan to repeal and replace the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA). Table 1 compares key highlights from the CBO scores of the House-passed American Health Care Act (AHCA) and the Senate’s June 26 discussion draft of the BCRA:

Sg2 will continue to track the fate of ACA repeal and replace legislation. In the meantime, we urge health care organization leaders to consider 2017 as the year to challenge yourself and your organization to make better, tougher decisions amid uncertainty. To learn more, read the January 2017 Sg2 Letter: Making Better Decisions.

Hospitals Must Prepare for High Deductible Health Plans

According to a Kaiser Family Foundation study, 2016 marked the first time that a majority of workers experienced a deductible of at least $1,000. The growth of high deductible health plans places a financial burden not only on consumers facing higher out-of-pocket costs, but also on providers tasked with collecting patient payments.

A new HFMA/Navigant survey explored the consequences of rising out-of-pocket costs for providers, finding that more than 90% of surveyed respondents believed their organizations would experience financial strain as a result. This concern was particularly salient among rural hospital executives, but the effects have been observed nationwide. Managed care net revenue at nearly 700 hospitals declined 2.5% in the outpatient setting and 1.4% in the inpatient setting due to lower collection rates from patients, according to a Crowe Revenue Cycle Analytics study.

Sg2 feels that helping patients navigate the new financial responsibilities of care will be an essential part of consumerism strategy. To learn more about how your organization can engage and meet the evolving needs of consumers, read the Sg2 Expert Insight: Improve Patient Experience to Attract and Retain Savvy Consumers.

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As of February 11, 2016, Vizient, Inc. has completed its purchase of MedAssets Sg2 and spend and clinical resource management segments from Pamplona Capital Management, LLC. MedAssets revenue cycle business will continue to operate as a wholly-owned subsidiary of Pamplona Capital Management LLP.

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