In the News: Jan 24–31

Kaiser Permanente Announces Initiatives for Housing Insecurity

During a recent press conference, Mayor of Oakland Libby Schaff, alongside Kaiser Permanente CEO and Chairman Bernard J Tyson, announced the first of many investments by Kaiser Permanente’s $200 million Thriving Communities Fund. Kaiser has committed to obtaining a 41-unit housing complex in East Oakland for $5.2 million; residents of these affordable housing units will have the option to receive additional services, including social services, with the goal of maximizing positive health outcomes for the population of Oakland, CA.

In addition, a second $100 million loan fund will help develop and maintain low-income housing opportunities for residents in their service areas. Kaiser Permanente also announced its goal of ending homelessness in Oakland for over 500 individuals above the age of 50 with a least one chronic condition.

Kaiser’s latest initiatives to address the need for low-income housing in the communities it serves highlights the changing role of hospitals and health systems in providing services beyond clinical care. To learn about how other hospitals and health systems are using innovative approaches to address social determinants of health, read the Sg2 Expert Insight Extending Health Care Beyond the Medical Campus: Addressing Social Determinants of Health.

Chronic Disease Treatment Spending Has Been a Good Investment

A recent Health Affairs study examined the rising costs in health care related to 7 chronic conditions (breast cancer, lung cancer, cerebrovascular disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, diabetes, HIV/AIDS and ischemic heart disease) between 1996 and 2015 and the effectiveness of those cost increases on disease outcomes.

Taking into consideration increasing prevalence of the diseases and the rate of inflation, the study found that, overall, the rise in health care costs for 6 of the 7 chronic conditions were cost-effective and of value. Additionally, for select conditions, the increased spending on treatment created enough value to warrant the growth of the cost of care. Another key study finding showed there was a high degree of variability in value across diseases, suggesting that health care spending should be approached at a disease level.

Chronic disease accounts for an outsized and growing portion of health care utilization and costs. As chronic care management increases in priority in an evolving value-based care health care environment, hospital and health systems need to understand and segment the chronic care population in their markets and assess their capabilities in this area. Take the first step in creating a strategy for your organization by reading our Sg2 Strategic Countdown: Developing a Market-Driven Chronic Care Strategy.

ACOs Differ in Segmenting High-Cost, High-Need Patients

A recent study by The Commonwealth Fund explores how a few mature accountable care organizations (ACOs) segment their high need, high-cost patients into smaller groups with similar needs.

The study discovered that although ACOs use several approaches to population segmentation, most utilize both qualitative information (ie, clinical assessments) and quantitative data (ie, claims data) to risk-stratify their populations. Preliminary findings suggested population segmentation helps ACOs understand program needs, such as specific skill sets or staff required for interventions.

Segmentation can allow ACOs to better match patients with appropriate and relevant interventions that have a higher likelihood of success. Sg2 believes that achieving a value-based business model requires health systems to analyze their different business lines—Medicare, Medicaid and commercial—to determine how to best move forward into risk. For further guidance on achieving the right balance of contracts on the path toward value-based care, read the Sg2 report Value-Based Care: Achieving the Right Balance.

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