In the News: Sept 20–27

American Hospital Association Steps Up to the Plate for 340B

A recent Modern Healthcare article highlighted the American Hospital Association’s (AHA) effort to help the 340B program with more price transparency and adherence to Human Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) regulations. The 340B program is a drug pricing program designed to allow hospitals serving a largely low-income or uninsured population to purchase outpatient drugs at a significantly discounted rate to provide the uninsured a wide range of services.

This AHA 340B “stewardship initiative” is voluntary for 340B hospital participants, and hospitals choosing to join the initiative will be committing to internal 340B program reviews to ensure HRSA rules compliance, as well as training for its 340B multidisciplinary teams. The idea of this initiative is to fast-track the program’s transparency and oversight per lawmakers’ continuous requests and to assist in AHA’s argument and lawsuit against CMS’s $1.6 billion program budget cuts.

The 340B program has grown from about 800 qualified entities in 1992 to now including roughly 40% of all hospitals. There is debate on whether this program has grown outside its original intent, and other critics believe hospitals with higher-income patients are taking advantage of the drug discounts the program provides. To learn more about Sg2’s ideas on fixing the program and the program’s future, read the Sg2 Expert Insight What We Know, What We Think and What We Fear About the 340B Program.

Health Systems Are Rethinking Patient-Centered Care

A Modern Healthcare article provides results from a recent health care executive survey that found 65% of respondents have changed their definition of patient-centered care in the past 5 years due to changing consumer expectations.

With consumers demanding more personalized services, health systems are reevaluating their interactions with patients. While approaches to addressing these demands differ greatly, many health systems have deployed some type of technological application. Nearly 95% of respondents are making technology investments intended to improve patient care; 97% have deployed mobile apps, with over 80% investing in apps for providers; and nearly half of respondents are utilizing wearable devices.

As health care leaders grapple with how to develop consumer-centric strategies, Sg2 believes providers need data to understand what really matters to the populations they serve. To learn the latest insights from Sg2’s recently completed National Sg2 Consumerism Survey—representing over 25,000 consumer responses—register for the upcoming Sg2 webinar Consumerism Update 2018: Sg2 Shares National Consumer Survey Highlights.

Physician Burnout and Career Choice Regret Is Specialty Specific

A recent JAMA prospective cohort study, including over 4,700 resident physicians enrolled during their first year of medical school, found that although burnout and career choice regret is prevalent among US resident physicians, these symptoms vary considerably by clinical specialty. For instance, symptoms of burnout were reported to be higher in the fields of urology, neurology, emergency medicine and general surgery.

Sg2 believes it is essential that health systems understand the pressures facing hospitals and physicians in order to integrate services, enhance care coordination and reduce costs. For more resources on optimizing physician staffing and strengthening hospital-physician alignment, review the Sg2 Resource Kit Physician Alignment and Workforce.

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