In the News: Mar 1–8

Study Finds Recent Policy Changes May Lead to Millions Uninsured

A recent Urban Institute study examined the potential impact of recent health policy changes on insurance coverage and premiums, including a February proposed rule to increase the maximum length of short-term limited-duration policies to one year. The study found these changes may lead to an additional 6.4 million uninsured people, as well as 2.5 million without minimum essential coverage, in 2019. The study also found in the 43 states not prohibiting or limiting short-term plans, premiums for 2019 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act–compliant nongroup insurance plans may increase by 18.2% on average.

With the ongoing flurry of federal- and state-level health policy and regulatory actions, it can be difficult for providers to anticipate how these changes will affect them. For a deeper discussion on payment and policy changes, register for the upcoming Sg2 interactive discussion, Experts Live Q&A: Payment and Policy (Spring 2018).

Colorado EDs Reduced Use of Prescription Pain Killers

A recent report highlights the Colorado Opioid Safety Collaborative, a 6-month pilot project where 10 participating Colorado hospital emergency departments reduced their prescription pain killer usage by 36% on average, amounting to ~35,000 fewer opioid administrations than in 2016.

Their pain management strategy involved care coordination across providers and pharmacies, as well as using opioid alternatives like fentanyl and hydrocodone. Alternative procedures were also utilized, such as nonopioid patches and ultrasound for targeted injections of nonopioid pain medication.

Pain management is an ongoing challenge for providers, with patients often visiting the ED for chronic pain, which impacts nearly a third of the US population at an estimated cost of $635 billion per year. Sg2 believes that providers can address this need by developing their own chronic pain program. To learn more about chronic pain programs, read the Sg2 Expert Insight, If You Build It, They Will Come! Pain Management Programs Fill Unmet Need.

Uber Launches Medical Transportation Service

Uber recently announced its entrance into the medical transportation market with the launch of Uber Health, a business-to-business service where providers can schedule rides for patients through a digital dashboard with hospital system integration capability. This design allows patients without smartphones access to transportation, which Uber expects to resonate well with an aging baby boomer population with a high demand for health care services.

With an estimated 3.6 million Americans missing health care appointments every year due to unreliable transportation and approximately $150 billion in annual lost provider revenue from missed appointments, ride-sharing solutions could have a significant impact on medical transportation and patient retention rates.

Sg2 believes that health systems need to understand the factors influencing consumer decision making and redesign offerings that are more responsive to consumer needs and pain points. To learn more about how health systems can address consumer demands, read the Sg2 report, Reinventing the Patient Journey: A Consumerism Update and Outlook.

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