Posts by Catholic Benefits Trust

How Employers Can Raise Diabetes Awareness

world diabetes awareness for employersThe most effective way to cut healthcare costs is to prevent health problems. If your employees don’t require expensive medical care, you don’t have to spend precious time researching and weighing your options. In order to help your employees maintain healthy lifestyles, you can start a corporate wellness program or hire a health coach. You can also raise awareness through basic education programs.

Diabetes education is a great place for employers to start. In 2014, 442 million people were diagnosed with diabetes, up from 108 million in 1980 according to the World Health Organization. Diabetes is also one of the mostly costly diseases. The American Diabetes Association estimated that the total costs of diagnosed diabetes rose from $174 billion in 2007 to $245 billion in 2012. What can employers do to raise awareness and support employees with diabetes?

1. Implement a Diabetes Education Program

You can help your employees prevent diabetes by establishing an education program to teach them the causes and symptoms of the disease. Despite how common diabetes is, misconceptions about how you get it and what it does still exist. By providing your employees with a basic understanding of the disease, you can raise awareness and show support for those who have been diagnosed with diabetes.

2. Offer Diabetes Screening

Employers can also offer diabetes screening tests for employees. When employees understand how the disease is detected, they will notice warning signs and symptoms earlier, which will improve their ability to treat the disease later.

3. Encourage Healthy Lifestyles

The most important outcome of your diabetes education program should be that your employees are motivated and able to adopt healthier lifestyles. If they know what causes the disease, they can take the appropriate steps to prevent diabetes. You can also offer wellness programs and hire health coaches to help your employees maintain healthy, preventative lifestyles.

Offering a diabetes education program will raise awareness for the disease and encourage your employees to be more aware of their health. Education programs play a major role in prevention. The more your employees know about health risks and benefits, the more motivated they will be to avoid expensive health issues such as diabetes in the future. Contact us to learn more.

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3 Tips for Developing a Culture of Health

culture of health at work

While regular exercise and a balanced diet can prevent many health problems in the future, our society doesn’t make healthy lifestyles a priority. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle becomes more difficult when you’re living in an environment that doesn’t promote health and wellness. You can help your employees prevent expensive health issues in the future by cultivating a culture of health at work. A culture of health is a community where personal and collective health is a priority. Here are a few ways you can develop and benefit from a culture of health at work:

1. Wellness Programs

Implementing a wellness program is one of the most effective ways to transform your workplace culture. A wellness program can help your employees focus on their long-term health by encouraging healthy habits such as diet and exercise. At CBT, we help our members develop a wellness plan that includes health screenings and doctor visits. Our wellness plan can help you identify and manage health risks for your employees so you can customize a wellness program for your workers. CBT members can also access our Health Improvement Program, which will help individuals at your organization manage and improve their health.

2. Health Coaches

Many people develop preventable diseases and illnesses due to a lack of education. With a health coach and other resources, you can educate your workers so they understand how to help themselves. At CBT, we provide our members with a nurse to act as their advocate and health coach. Nurses are valuable assets in the medical world and they can teach your employees how to maintain healthy lifestyles.

3. Communication

You can develop a culture of health at work by connecting your employees with a variety of health professionals. With several health professionals in your network, they can communicate with each other and collaborate on diagnoses and developing effective treatment plans.  

With all of these resources available, your employees will know that you’re making their health a priority, which will encourage them to do the same. It may not happen overnight, but with access to the right resources you are developing a culture of health. Contact us to learn more about our member benefits so you can start helping your employees get healthy!

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Common Myths about the Price of Professors

the truth about tuition increases and professor salaries

Increases in tuition costs have caused many to question what they’re actually paying for when they attend a higher education institution. Many people believe that significant salary increases for faculty members are causing higher tuition rates. In reality though, faculty salaries are not driving tuition increases. The main reason for the rise of tuition costs is declining support from outside resources such as private endowments and state appropriations. Here are a few myths about the profession of university faculty members and the real cause of rising tuition costs:

1. Faculty Salaries Are Too High

Next to professionals in comparable industries, university professors, even those with tenure, are underpaid. According to the Annual Report on the Economic Status of Profession, 2014-15 prepared by the American Association of University Professors, instructional salaries only account for about a third of a university’s costs. From the 2008-09 academic year to the 2012-13 academic year, the average net price for tuition rose by about 10%. If teacher salaries were causing this increase, then we should see a similar jump in faculty pay. The average salary growth for public institutions was only 5.62% in the same period of time.

While professors aren’t receiving significant salary increases, senior administrators at universities are. According to the Annual Report on the Economic Status of the Profession from last year, CEOs at public institutions saw a salary increase of 75% over the course of 35 years. CEOs at non-profit private institutions received a 175% salary increase in that same time. Check out this table for compared ratios of professors to that of university presidents.

2. Professors Don’t Work 40 Hours A Week

Many people believe that professors are overpaid because they don’t really work full-time. However, they don’t consider all of the work faculty members do outside the classroom. While professors may only teach classes 15 or 20 hours a week, they often work over 40 hours a week. Along with personal development, professors must also develop lesson plans, prepare lectures, grade assignments, and field questions and office visits from their students.

3. Faculty Benefits Drive the Cost of Tuition Up

About 31% of an institution’s budget goes towards instructors. Of that 31% of total compensation, only about 30% represents benefits for faculty. Over a five-year period the benefits for full-time faculty increased by 5.76%. This modest increase in faculty benefits does not account for the significant increase in tuition costs.

At the Catholic Benefits Trust (CBT), we understand the reality of higher education tuition costs. We can help your institution and faculty members get the support you need to provide decent healthcare plans. Learn more about our partnership with the Franciscan University of Steubenville or contact us!

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The Benefits of Telemedicine

telemedicine and technology used to improve healthcare quality and access

Accountable care organizations (ACOs) are already transforming the healthcare industry. ACOs replace the fee-for-service pay structure with a value-based care model where the emphasis is on the patient not the payment. As ACOs continue to grow and evolve, one of the ways they ensure higher quality care for patients is through telemedicine. Telemedicine is the term used to describe the transfer of medical information via electronic devices. Whether through email, video chat, smartphones, or other wireless tools, telemedicine aims to improve patient health more efficiently. The use of telemedicine is expected to increase significantly among ACOs in 2016 because of the efficiency and cost savings that telemedicine technology allows. Here are a few ways ACOs can benefit from using telemedicine:

1. Improve Quality of Care

With telemedicine, doctors and caregivers can track symptoms and make more accurate diagnoses. They can use technology to understand symptoms better and catch health issues before they become costly emergencies. Patients can also have access to specialists without having to schedule months in advance for an in-person visit.

2. Reduce Healthcare Costs

ACOs and telemedicine reduce healthcare costs by reducing the number of patient visits. With a fee-for-service model, more in-person visits to the doctor means more profits. Unfortunately, it also means more wasted resources. Instead of focusing on the long-term health of patients, fee-for-service healthcare prioritizes frequency of visits and services over treatment and quality patient care. Frequent visits that only focus on short-term healthcare waste valuable resources and are more likely to lead to costly health emergencies. With telemedicine, patients can consult with their caregivers via email, phone, or video, which saves money and resources.

3. Increased Access to Healthcare

Telemedicine makes healthcare available to a wider range of people than ever before. Patients living in rural communities can contact their physicians more often and even consult with them without having to travel. With video technology and webinars, patients living in rural areas have access to relevant medical information. They can consult with their doctors over long distances without traveling, which saves time and money. This easy-access to medical resources makes it easier for doctors to catch health problems early and provide effective treatment plans.

Contact us to learn more about our role as an ACO and how we use telemedicine to help you!

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An Overview of Healthcare Benefits in Higher Education

healthcare benefits and higher education survey

A survey conducted annually by the College and University Professional Association for Human Resources (CUPA-HR) yielded some interesting results for 2016. For the survey, CUPA-HR collected data from colleges and universities in the US on the healthcare benefits they provide employees. Here are a few things worth noting from the Employee Healthcare and Other Benefits Survey:

  • While American colleges and universities continue to offer Preferred Provider Organization (PPO) more frequently than most, the survey noted a dramatic increase in the number of institutions offering High Deductible Health plans (HDH). Other popular plan types include Health Maintenance Organization plans (HMO) and Point of Service plans (POS).
  • Fewer institutions are providing long-term care plans. Since last year, the number of higher education institutions providing plans for long-term health has decreased by 7 percent.
  • While wellness programs have proven to be effective solutions for improving the long term health of patients, many higher education institutions lack the budgets and staff for these programs. According to the survey, the existence of wellness programs is becoming less common for employees in higher education.

At the Catholic Benefits Trust (CBT), we help higher education institutions get the results they want for their employee healthcare plans. We’re dedicated to the Catholic Church, so we can help you develop group medical plans that adhere to Catholic values. We also understand the value of quality healthcare focused on long term health and wellness. With our personal health coaches and improvement programs, your institution can defy these statistics and stand out from the majority. For institutions struggling to maintain health benefits with a decreasing budget, we can provide legal advocacy and help protect assets reserved for your employee benefits.

If you’re interested in learning more about how we can help your higher education institution, check out our partnership with the Franciscan University of Steubenville. You can also learn more about our member benefits by contacting us!

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How You Can Benefit from Automation

how you can benefit from automation in healthcareTransitioning to a value-based cost model from a fee-based payment model can be challenging. Your organization can make the transition easier by using automation tools. Automation tools will determine the exact costs of all resources and services, which will help you assign accurate prices for your new payment model. Value-based care and automation is a cost-effective solution for both patients and providers.

Automation will make balancing the cost of care and what payers are willing to pay easier by reducing mistakes and providing an accurate analysis of prices. Here are a few ways your organization can benefit from automation:

  • Using an automated system to determine costs will reduce the likelihood of human error in calculations. They also operate more efficiently and can collect and analyze data 24/7. A constantly updated stream of reliable data will help providers predict outcomes and future expenses.
  • One of the many benefits to adopting a value-based care model is that you save on resources. With automation, you will reduce paper use while also determining problem areas in your current cost model where resources are being misused.
  • Automated patient data can also reduce death rates and decrease complications among patients. A Texas hospital reported lower death rates associated with an increase in automated records and notes.

Value-based care models are more cost-effective because they shift the focus to a patient’s long-term health. This allows providers and doctors to treat minor health issues with treatment plans before they become costly health problems. Automated data and cost analysis will help you make your value-based care model operate smoothly and efficiently.  

At Catholic Benefits Trust, we put the focus on the health of your employees. Our members have access to a variety of benefits. When you partner with us, you’ll earn a leadership role on our Board of Directors as well as a personal health coach to guide you and your employees along every step of the way. We also understand the importance of automation and patient data. Our data warehouse will encourage your employees to participate in wellness programs and it will allow you to make accurate predictions about healthcare costs. Contact us to learn more!

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Applying Business Intelligence to Healthcare

business intelligence and healthcareBusinesses already use data and analytics tools to improve their operations and marketing strategies. In order to reach their audience more effectively and predict the wants and needs of their market, they apply business intelligence tools to acquire data. We can apply the same types of tools to collect patient data and use them to improve healthcare. Applying business intelligence techniques to healthcare can help providers reduce costs and improve treatments for patients.

Opportunities to Save

Collecting data and studying patterns will help you save money in the future. With all of the information in one place, you can identify opportunities where resources are misused or where there’s room for improvement. Using business intelligence techniques to track data will save both employers and employees money in the long run. Instead of cutting back on employee benefits, employers can use their data analysis to find other ways of reducing costs. Applying business intelligence tools to your health benefits analysis also provides transparency for your employees so they can work to maintain their health and avoid costly health issues in the future.

Improve Quality of Care

With proper application, business intelligence tools can also improve the quality of care and treatment for your employees. Doctors can use predictive analytics to design treatment plans for individuals. Using big data in healthcare allows providers to anticipate health problems before they occur, which helps doctors and patients work together on preventative treatment plans. Preventative medicine will improve the overall, long-term health of your employees while also saving money on costly emergency treatments.

The Catholic Benefits Trust already uses business intelligence techniques when designing health and benefits plans for our members. As a member, you’ll receive access to a data warehouse and an in-depth cost analysis of your health plan. We help you save money on health costs by preventing them in the first place. With our individual care advocacy and wellness plans, your employees are encouraged to stay healthy and avoid expensive medical treatments. You can learn more about the flexible benefits we offer our members by contacting us!

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Population Health Management Strategies that Work

simple population health management strategies to tryMost organizations can benefit from implementing population health management strategies. Population health management focuses on preventative medicine and treatment for patients. The goal of population health is to address potential health problems before they become major financial burdens. Switching to a population health management infrastructure isn’t a simple process though. While it is cost-effective in the long run, it may seem intimidating at first. Here are a few ways to test a population health management strategy before making a final decision and a big transformation:

1. Diabetes Education

As one of the most expensive chronic diseases in the US, diabetes is often underdiagnosed. Frequently, problems caused by diabetes could be prevented. This is where population health comes in. Offering diabetes education is a simple way to implement a population health strategy. All you have to do is take a few extra minutes with diabetic patients and assess their literacy level when it comes to understanding their disease. The more informed they are about diabetes, the more likely they are to follow their treatment plans.

2. Mental Health Screenings

Incorporating screenings for mental health is another simple way to start introducing population health management into your organization. You can include questions about mental health during regular primary care visits. Noticing the symptoms and getting ahead of mental health issues will prevent problems from escalating and becoming more expensive in the future.

3. Patient Data

Collecting demographic data and taking patient lifestyles into consideration when providing treatment options is another small way to adopt population health management. When you look at where your patients live and work, you learn more about how their lifestyles impact their health. For example, understanding the communities your patients live in will give you insight into their poverty level, education level, and employment status, which can impact their wellness choices.

At the Catholic Benefits Trust, you can learn more about population health management and how we incorporate value-based care models into our strategy. As a CBT partner, you will have access to our healthcare resources as well as several other advantages including nurse advocates and a seat on our Board of Directors. Feel free to contact us with any questions!

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How to Decrease Costly Hospital Stays

reducing number of expensive hospital visits with ACOsWhen there’s a medical emergency that requires a hospital stay, expenses can add up quickly. Increasingly, patients are responsible for paying their own medical bills instead of insurers. Researchers at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor studied how much insurers spent on hospital stays. Between 2009 and 2013, out-of-pocket expenses increased by 37% per hospital stay, which is a growth rate of 6.5% per year. How can you avoid expensive hospital stays?

With value-based healthcare models, you can minimize costly hospital stays. With accountable care organizations (ACOs) and value-based care, the focus is on you and your health. Many current cost models reward doctors and providers for high-traffic visits. This means that patient health takes a back seat because, if patients are healthy, then they don’t need as many doctor or hospital visits. Here are a few ways value-based care models decrease hospital stays and doctor visits to save you money:

  • With value-based models, doctors are rewarded for practicing preventative medicine and decreasing the number of doctor visits. Preventative treatments take priority over short-term fixes so patients receive higher quality, long term care.
  • These healthcare models also use predictive analytics to improve their preventative treatment methods and diagnoses. Predictive analytics allows medical professionals to examine patterns in a larger pool of patient data. This helps them predict how your health might progress so they can design a treatment plan customized to your specific needs.
  • Part of customized care and treatment plans at the Catholic Benefits Trust includes a personal health coach. Your health coach acts as your advocate and can walk you through every step of the treatment process.  

All of these strategies combine to help reduce the likelihood of medical emergencies that require a hospital stay. Instead of just lowering the costs of hospital stays, value-based care models encourage doctors, specialists, and providers to collaborate on the best way to treat patients so they don’t require a hospital stay at all. This cost-effective healthcare strategy saves you money and focuses on improving your health before small problems become medical disasters. You and your insurance provider will save money in the long-run by using less resources.

You can learn more about how the Catholic Benefit Trust works to make sure our partners save money and have improved healthcare services by contacting us!

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The Importance of Predictive Analytics

why predictive analytics can improve your health care For most people, their healthcare decisions are determined by cost and affordability. While this strategy may good for your bank account, your health decisions should always be centered around your personal wellness as well as that of your wallet. In order to get the best of both worlds, we can use predictive analytics to improve healthcare while also making it more cost-effective for patients. Here’s why healthcare data and analytics can benefit you:

Predictive analytics will help improve healthcare in several ways. By gathering and analyzing patient data, medical professionals can study patterns in medical history and treatment plans on a much larger scale. Healthcare data will increase the accuracy of diagnoses and improve preventative medicine. For example, your doctor could compare your data to that of patients with similar medical history and demographics to you and see which treatment options were most effective for them.

Medical providers could also use this healthcare data to predict how your health will progress so they can anticipate a problem before it occurs. Not only does this benefit you and your personal wellness, but it will also alleviate healthcare costs. Instead of spending money on emergency medical services, you can save money by avoiding emergency situations altogether with preventative treatment plans designed specifically for you.

Having comprehensive medical data on all patients also allows for coordinated efforts among medical professionals. Instead of having your information transferred from one specialist to another, everything will be secure and available to all relevant providers. This eliminates the possibility of errors and outdated information on patients.

Another advantage to predictive analytics is that it helps policy makers develop more accurate payment plans and cost-model tools. Where you once had to gamble on how much treatment would cost you, with predictive analytics cost-model tools can be fine-tuned so you won’t experience any financial surprises.

You can learn more about how the Catholic Benefits Trust works to integrate predictive analytics, Catholic values, and value-based healthcare into our member benefits by contacting us!

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