In the News: Mar 29–Apr 5

Infectious Disease Mortality Differences Among US Counties

A recent JAMA study analyzed deidentified death records to estimate infectious disease mortality rates by US county between 1980 and 2014, finding that while overall infectious disease mortality rates have declined since 1980 (except for diarrheal diseases, which increased by 480%), there were significant differences between US counties.

Lower respiratory infections were found to be the leading cause of infectious disease mortality, accounting for more than 78% in 2014. Among the 6 infectious diseases analyzed, lower respiratory infections had the highest absolute difference in mortality rates between counties, with certain counties throughout the South and East experiencing increases, which could be related to a higher concentration of aging population in these areas.

Sg2 believes that despite the increasing prevalence of pulmonary disease in the aging population, inpatient pulmonology volumes will decrease as pulmonary care continues to shift to the outpatient setting due to the adoption of value-based clinical care. To learn about key considerations in establishing a comprehensive pulmonary program, read the Sg2 FAQ, Establishing Comprehensive Pulmonary Programs.

Baltimore Pilot Program Offers Alternative Addiction Site of Care

A recent Washington Post article highlights a Baltimore pilot program opening a 24/7 stabilization center, a unique facility offering safe, short-term care for those under the influence of drugs and alcohol to recover before being connected to other health services. The center will be the first of its kind in Maryland and will function as an alternative site of care to the ED.

Health officials plan to admit patients for a day or less, during which time they will have access to buprenorphine and a connection to behavioral health and social work services. Staff at the center will coordinate patient recovery and transfers to longer-term rehabilitation centers.

Access to behavioral health services continues to be a major obstacle for those suffering from alcohol and substance use disorders. Sg2 believes that partnerships with key stakeholders are crucial to addressing access to behavioral health services across the continuum of care. To learn strategies to best leverage behavioral health services, read the Sg2 FAQ, Treating Substance Use Across the System of CARE.

Urgent Care, Retail Care and Telehealth Claims Show Strong Growth

A recent FAIR Health report examined more than 25 billion claim records to analyze trends in site of care utilization from 2007 to 2016, revealing enormous growth in reported claims for urgent care (1,725%) and retail care (847% between 2011 and 2016), relative to other sites of care.

Telehealth has also experienced sharp growth from 2011 to 2016, particularly in rural areas where claims increased by 960%. The top diagnosis categories for urgent care and retail care were acute respiratory infections, followed by general symptoms.

With ambulatory care becoming a growing source of health system revenue, Sg2 believes a systematic approach is required to develop an optimal ambulatory strategy. To learn more about how organizations can optimize and connect growing key ambulatory assets such as urgent care, retail care centers and virtual visits, read the Sg2 report, Ambulatory Strategy—Recognizing the New Reality.

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