In the News: Jan 30–Feb 6

Maternal Mortality Is Tied to Social Determinants

A recent Modern Healthcare article highlighted data from the Medicaid and CHIP Payment and Access Commission meeting that found Medicaid beneficiaries were 82% more likely to experience severe maternal mortality than women who have private health coverage. Improvements in Medicaid policy could help reduce this rate, as current programs disproportionately cover people of color living in rural areas. Covering high costs associated with obstetrics care for low reimbursement Medicaid patients can become challenging for rural hospitals that see lower overall patient volumes.

The expansion of Medicaid coverage will prevent unnecessary caesarean sections, which traditionally have higher reimbursement rates under current Medicaid plans. Beginning to address additional areas for coverage expansion also opens a window to nonclinical services such as community health workers and housing. Addressing social determinants of health that contribute to higher morbidity and mortality rates can ultimately help improve overall health outcomes.

To learn more about an organization that focused on collaborative efforts to address social determinants of health specific to maternal and child health, please see the West Side United case study (at approximately 22:25) in our Sg2 on-demand webinar Women’s Health Landscape 2019.

US Children Are Seeing Physicians More for Preventive Care

A Washington Post article discusses a recent JAMA Pediatrics study that found children with private health insurance are seeing their primary care physicians more for preventive care and mental health issues and less for physical illness. The study showed an overall decrease in primary care visits for children by roughly 14% from 2008 to 2016, primarily driven by the decline in sick visits.

Over the 8-year time period, researchers found that sick visits decreased by about 24% whereas preventive visits increased by about 10%. Although the study did not investigate what is driving these trends, researchers are considering several factors that may have contributed to the decrease in sick visits and increase in well-child checkups, including improved vaccination, increasing out-of-pocket costs, the expanded use of virtual health, and the rise of retail and urgent care clinics.

To learn more about Sg2’s projected patient demand for key services and procedures in the pediatric service line, please see the Sg2 report Pediatrics Service Line Forecast 2019.

CDC Data Highlight US Major Health Trends

A recent Washington Post article highlighted the release of highly anticipated CDC data that provide high-level insights into broad patterns for American health, showing areas of improvement as the number of fatal drug overdoses saw a decline for the first time in 28 years, and life expectancy at birth increased for the first time since 2014, mainly due to a decline in the cancer death rate. Additionally, 5 of the top 9 leading causes of death also declined in mortality rates.

Despite these encouraging statistics, however, life expectancy in the US continues to be lower than the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) average, and health spending as a share of the gross domestic product has grown to twice the OECD average. Experts cite socioeconomic factors and an inadequate primary care system as the causes of these trends.

To gain insight into more of the national trends affecting health service utilization and to learn how your organization can leverage growth opportunities to deliver value-driven care in the decade ahead, please register for the Sg2 webinar 2020 Impact of Change® Forecast Highlights.

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