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Catholic Benefits Trust

Fundamental Population Health Tools and Technology

Population health can be difficult to manage, as it covers a large number of people and health needs. Fortunately, many helpful technologies exist that keep things under control. When managing population health, it’s important to note that multiple tools and types of technology need to be used to, as one size does not fit all. There are two tools that are effective for two reasons: managing daily operations for providers and patients, and seeing the outcomes. Here are the two tools needed for fundamental population health management.

Health Information Exchange

Health Information Exchange, or HIE for short, goes hand-in-hand with data analytics. This enables interoperability, or the method in which healthcare organizations and hospitals transmit data between one another. HIE is key for healthcare professionals to receive patient data and also to understand any recent developments. Being able to easily access this data benefits population health because of how quickly and simply a healthcare provider can send important information over to a hospital. This way, patients can receive the care they need without having to explain their troubles among the healthcare organizations they use.. HIE is continuously improving and healthcare professionals are taking advantage of its benefits.

Customer Relationship Management

Often referred to as CRM, these tools house performance metrics and credential information for healthcare providers. These allow for more effective communication between providers and their patients. Healthcare providers using CRM systems are able to personalize and educational and motivational messaging to engage patients. CRM systems work together with marketing because they are related to the hospital or healthcare provider’s messaging and the way they reach their patients or prospective patients. Population health and marketing teams are able to work together to come up with the best population health management communication strategies.

Managing population health can be done most effectively when using the right tools and technology. At Catholic Benefits Trust, we understand how useful these technologies are and how they work to benefit patients everywhere. Some of our benefits for members include valuable benchmark data, lower fixed costs, asset protection, and flexibility in choosing the right plan for your employees. Contact us today for more information on our plans and how we can help you.

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The Shift to Value-Based Care

As the shift in healthcare focuses more on value-based care, many healthcare providers, patients, and manufacturers are seeing positive trends. This shift allows for less focus on paying for prescription drugs with specific costs that are not guaranteed to meet a patient’s needs. As things are progressing in the world of value-based care, here are a few points many are making about the transition that focuses on value.

Improved Quality and Cost-Effectiveness

Increased focus on value improves overall quality of healthcare, and with this comes lower costs. High quality care does not necessarily mean it’s more expensive, which is relieving for many patients. The one issue with improved quality or performance is that it can sometimes be measured too narrowly, like in the case of length of stay. For example, patients staying at a hospital for a shorter amount of time and recovering more quickly shouldn’t be discharged as soon as possible. If their ailments are not completely cured, the hospital could face high readmissions, which leads to loss of credibility. Overall, performance and quality have improved over the past five years because of the way healthcare organizations are managing populations and putting emphasis on quality.

Quality in Specialty Industries

“Value-based care is all about shifting the incentives from paying exclusively based on volume, and instead paying for value delivered. I think it makes physicians and care providers think holistically about the patient,” said Durral Gilbert, president of supply chain services at Premiere Inc. Due to many speciality therapies having higher costs, this is especially true. When there are multiple drugs on the market that claim to cure the same condition, which one is giving patients the results they want? Because of the costs of so many of these specialty drugs and services, it’s often assumed that it’s all about how much money will be required to receive specialty treatments. Having an optimized outcome will lead to lower costs for patients, employers, and caregivers.

There are many shifts happening in the world of healthcare and Catholic Benefits Trust is keeping up with everything. Our members will receive a number of benefits, such as lower fixed costs, asset protection, and valuable data. Contact us today for more information on what we provide to our members and how we could help you.

 

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Interoperability: Improving the Way Doctors Access Data

Many hospitals and healthcare providers use different Electronic Health Records (EHR), which can be challenging in implementing population health management, viewing patient records, and various IT solutions. For healthcare organizations, it is essential to combine information from multiple electronic medical record systems for a simple way to access information. Many organizations have to access multiple EHR systems to access one patient’s record, which has complicated the system instead of making it seamless. So how can healthcare providers and hospitals using different systems easily access records across systems? This can be done through interoperability, or multiple independent systems exchanging useful information for mutual benefits.

Use the right technology

Creating the option for interoperability is not a simple task, but many technologies exist to make this happen. It is essential to house the information in one, easily accessible place, which is a Health Information Exchange, or HIE. With this technology, healthcare organizations are able to easily reference patient data from a number of sources, including EHRs, lab results, administrative data, and more. This is also helpful in normalizing population health data, which enables simpler data sharing.

The importance of interoperability

When doctors cannot easily access detailed patient data, they will not be able to see everything in the patient’s care history. And this goes across the board for all patients, which affects population health management. Having easy access to this information makes life easier for doctors and hospitals when it comes to new patients. Being able to look up a patient and see their medical history makes the process easier for both doctors and patients. Doctors don’t have to scramble to look for data from multiple sources, and patients won’t have to explain their medical history over and over again.

Technology has made healthcare and population health management easier, especially when it comes to sharing and transmitting data. At Catholic Benefits Trust, we provide member benefits including valuable benchmark data that you are able access how and when you want. With help from our actuaries, you can analyze the data to see how your plans and programs compare. Contact us today for more information on our benefits and how we can best help you and your health needs.

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Value Based Care Remains a Priority in Talks of Healthcare Reform

New healthcare plans are being discussed by the Trump administration. Both Republicans and Democrats agree that healthcare in the United States is too expensive, but coming up with a solution that works for everyone is easier said than done. The Trump administration wants to ensure that patients receive the high-quality, value-based care they deserve, all while keeping prices reasonable. Here are some trends that are pointing towards high value care being a priority.

Health Spending and Consumers

With patients and consumers currently covering an increasing percentage of health costs, this trend doesn’t seem to be changing anytime soon. Health savings accounts, or HSAs, will likely lead to a greater use of tax credits. A myriad of online tools are making it simpler for consumers to locate providers that offer lower costs, leading them to get the best value for their money. Medicare is also being discussed, although it will likely not receive the same spending increases it has been given in the past.

Employer Healthcare Demands

Just as employees want the best out of their health plan, employers want to see value as well. Health insurance premiums will likely increase by 6.5% this year and employers are feeling overwhelmed by increasing costs. In order to keep employers controlling costs through high-deductible plans, this will be a priority in the development of a new plan. Predictions show employers will allow employees to access care through on-site primary care physicians.

Payer Competition

Narrowing networks is one way to keep care value high and costs low. A competitive field will focus growth on new plans and tiered benefit structures. This will allow for high-value providers to be rewarded while low-value, more variable ones will not be as lucky. Bundled programs through narrow networks is one solution payers are considering to assist the high-value providers.

Many changes are in the works in the world of healthcare, and Catholic Benefits Trust is keeping track of all of them.  We offer a number of member benefits to ensure everyone receives the best care and service possible. For more information on our benefits and how we can help you, contact us today!

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Religious Liberty Under a New Administration

With the many changes happening to the country under the new Trump administration, it’s important to keep track of everything going on. When it comes to healthcare, there is much to follow along with, particularly the repeal of the Affordable Care Act. One other healthcare-related topic that has been discussed is the HHS mandate created by the Obama administration that requires almost all employers to provide free contraception as part of their health plans. The new administration is reviewing the mandate, which could  lead to relief for Catholic organizations.

The HHS Mandate

In 2013, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) launched the mandate to be required for most employers, including many Catholic organizations. The mandate covers contraception, sterilization and abortion inducing drugs, all of which go against the teachings of the Catholic church.  In the early stages, the Obama administration made an exception to religious organizations who did not agree with the mandate. Unfortunately, the insurance agencies working with these organizations were required to provide free contraception as part of their contracts. This lead to a number of legal battles going all the way up to the Supreme Court, resulting in a decision that allowed certain organizations to come up with a solution that would please everyone.

What’s Next?

With the Trump administration reviewing the mandate put into place, many believe that exceptions will be created for religious organizations. This will lead to religious freedom for those affected by the mandate, ending the four years of legal battles with the government and religious organizations. While this is just speculation, the Trump administration isn’t holding back on altering the mandates created over the past eight years.

Catholic Benefits Trust is open to all Catholic organizations nationwide. Dealing with the HHS mandate is not a legal strategy, but reducing costs and protecting assets is. We can provide improvements to current plans put into place by putting you in charge of data and improving outcomes. Contact us today to learn more about how we can help you and your organization.

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The ACA and Catholic Health Officials: What’s Next?

As we are over one month in the Trump presidency, many are concerned about the Affordable Care Act repeal process and what it means to them. Many Catholic health officials are concerned about the removal of the act, as a comparable replacement has not yet been proposed. Here are a few of the major questions Catholic health officials are asking during this transition period.

Will There be a Comparable Replacement?

With the House and Senate under Republican control, the repeal of the act is going to become reality. Catholic health officials believe everyone should have access to affordable health care, so what happens when the ACA is officially repealed? The major concern is the lack of a suitable and comparable replacement that will make transitioning into a new system much easier for both health officials and patients. Once the act is repealed, approximately 18 million people will lose coverage through the employer and individual mandates. Catholic officials believe the repeal will be devastating to those who are struggling to make ends meet.

What about coverage and access to coverage?

Tim Price, Trump’s selection for head of the Department of Health and Human Services has been proposing the repeal bill. One question left unanswered is the difference between coverage for everyone and access to coverage for everyone. The debate made it all the way to the Senate, as Democrats questioned the difference between providing access or coverage will be in the alternative plan.

How can we protect the advances made by the ACA?

Despite the many changes being made during the repeal process, the improvements made by the ACA cannot be ruined. The number of people insured has increased since the ACA was created and the uninsured rate has been the lowest the country has seen since 2013. The Catholic Health Association has begun sharing stories of people and families who have been positively impacted by some of the program. The shift in health care delivery, models and payment have also made positive impacts on those who need it.

Keeping tabs on the changes being made to the healthcare world under the new administration is going to be one of our priorities this year. At Catholic Benefits Trust, we can provide more information about U.S. healthcare, as well as give our members the best benefits possible.

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How to Encourage Employees to Use Preventive Care

stethoscope, medical, cost effective health careHappy and healthy employees play a big part in making a business run effectively. One effective way employers can  make this happen is by accessing preventive healthcare. Preventive care helps keep all of your employees healthy and offers benefits for you as well. Employees that take advantage of the preventive healthcare options will experience long term health benefits that will also save you money in the future.

The ACA

You should notify all employees about the free options available as some may not know what they can access. The Affordable Care Act (ACA) is one thing many employees may know about, but may not fully understand. Make time to inform employees about everything they can access so they can take advantage of the benefits provided.

First and foremost, preventive care is free and available to everyone, including men, women and children. This is a major convenience for employees who have been putting off seeing a doctor due to costs or those who who have never been able to access health care services. Be sure to keep in mind that services are only free when delivered by an in-network doctor. As an employer, be sure to invest in the best wellness programs so your employees can take advantage of free services.

Services

So what services are covered? Depending on age, participants have access to a variety of tests, such as blood pressure, cholesterol, diabetes and cancer screenings. These screenings are effective in detecting diseases in early stages, so action can take place in order to take care of the issue up front. Routine vaccinations and pediatrician visits for children and young adults are available up until age 21. Pregnant women can receive screenings, vaccines and information on the pregnancy to ensure everything is progressing smoothly. Healthy habit information and advice on quitting smoking, reducing alcohol consumption, losing weight, combating depression and more are also included. Catholic Benefits Trust provides a few additional services, such as nurses who serve as personal health coaches and assistance with building annual specialized wellness plans.

Organizations like Catholic Benefits Trust will help you and your employees gain access and understand free preventive health care. At CBT, we strive to make the best and most affordable options available to our members. Managing an employee benefits program can be tricky, but we are here to help. We provide a great number of benefits and services to assist in making this process effective for you and your employees.

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Lowering Healthcare Costs with Advanced Analytics

Medical care has come quite a long way in the last several decades. Diseases that were once thought unsurvivable are now treatable, and doctors’ understanding of many conditions has improved greatly. One area where we’ve made tremendous strides, particularly in the last decade, is in healthcare analytics. The widespread availability of data on many facets of patient care means that we’re now better able to analyze and understand how patients are using healthcare – enabling employers to make better decisions.

Today, almost all healthcare purchasers want advanced analytics, with 90% believing that real time data is key to making critical decisions for their organizations. With the right analytics, an employer can tell how many employees are taking advantage of emergency room care but not seeing a primary care doctor, for example, or how many of their employees are pre-diabetic but are not being treated. Analytics can also help:

By incorporating this type of actionable data, organizations can make smart choices for themselves and their employees when it comes to healthcare.

Making Analytics Actionable

The key word when it comes to analytics, of course, is “actionable”. Employers need to be presented with data in a fashion that’s going to support and enable them to create strategic plans. As evidence-based medicine moves to the forefront, it’s no surprise that advanced analytics would come forward as well. In a recent survey from nonprofit National Alliance of Healthcare Purchaser Coalitions, 97% of respondents agree that “now more than ever it’s essential to have tools to effectively evaluate data and make informed decisions”.

Of course, not all organizations are able to bring advanced analytics in-house. Perceived cost or lack of internal resources could keep an organization from pursuing actionable analytics. However, in many cases, the need for analytics is supported by an organization’s health plan. For example, Catholic Benefits Trust members receive both ownership of their medical data, as well as a robust analysis of that data, helping you make smart choices. We even offer benchmark data so you can see how your plans and programs stack up compared to other CBT members.

We know that you might not have the staff to undergo a large analytics initiative – but we can help you uncover actionable insights without investing in a whole host of mathematicians. Get in touch today to see how we can help your organization make use of analytics, shared best practices, and a host of other benefits.

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Design Your Benefits Plan to Attract Talent

office yoga, workplace wellness, attract talent with benefitsYour organization and your employees will have different benefit requirements than other businesses and organizations. How can you ensure your benefits package is optimized to meet the requirements of your organization and attract top talent? Here are a few things to consider as you design your own benefits plan:

  • Wellness Plans

You can never go wrong with wellness plans. An essential part of preventative health care, wellness plans can help your employees adopt healthy lifestyles and catch symptoms before they become expensive and painful health problems. Offering wellness programs shows applicants that you’re a cost-effective organization that makes the well-being of their employees a priority.

  • Financial Wellness Plans

Retirement remains a top concern for many employees. Many even consider delaying their retirement beyond the age they originally intended in order to save more money. Providing a financial wellness program will help your employees stay on track as they plan for retirement. Potential employees will see that you value their long-term plans and will also recognize their need for financial advice when it comes to retirement savings and options.

  • Health Improvement Programs

Health improvement programs focus on helping individuals at-risk for or diagnosed with certain chronic conditions. Chronic diseases are often the most expensive to treat. With an improvement plan in place, you can reduce health costs while also providing your employees the support they need to improve their health and their productivity.

  • Flexibility

In order to attract top talent to your organization, you have to understand what your employees value most in their benefits package. What kind of benefits will potential employees be most tempted by? Once you understand your audience, you can work with CBT to design your own plan and select the benefit carriers and consultants you want.

  • Lower Fixed Costs

One way to attract talent is to provide a benefits plan with lower fixed costs. When you join an organization like CBT, you become part of a larger group of members. This allows you to reduce administrative costs no matter what.

At CBT, we can help you optimize your benefits package to attract and retain top talent at your organization. Please contact us if you have any questions!

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3 Tips for Implementing a Financial Education Program

financial education for employeeesFor many workers, their understanding of corporate finance doesn’t extend beyond the numbers on their paycheck. Learning all of the intricacies behind the numbers such as  pension plans, savings, and other long term financial solutions isn’t always easy. Fortunately, employers can help make financial planning for the future easier for their employees with financial education programs. Here’s what you need to know when implementing an education program at work:

  1. Before starting your financial education program, you should set clear goals and expectations for yourself and your employees. What do you want your employees to gain from this program? A better understanding of their retirement plan options and their healthcare expenses? Once you establish specific goals, it’ll be easier to measure the success of your program.
  2. Design your education program around your audience. If many of your employees are young, your approach will be different than if they were older. Older employees are more likely to be interested in their healthcare options. When people are young, they don’t usually make long-term financial planning a priority because healthcare problems and retirement seem a long way off for them. So when designing your program, make sure you address the needs and concerns of your demographic.
  3. Establish a time and place for your education program that works for everyone. After working so hard to prepare this financial education program, the last thing you want is for no one to attend. It may take more than one session to accomplish all of the goals you established in the beginning, so make sure you schedule the sessions appropriately. If your employees work remotely or have to travel frequently for their jobs, you should consider teleconferencing or even preparing informational videos for them to watch at their convenience.

There are many benefits to hosting a financial education program at your business. When all of your employees are up-to-date on the latest information concerning their financial well-being, it leaves more time for them to focus on work. When employees are stressed about finances, it affects their work performance.

With an education program, you can eliminate stress and improve productivity among your workers. You can also help them understand the true cost of their healthcare options, which will encourage them to maintain healthy lifestyles and take preventative healthcare suggestions seriously.

If you have any questions about healthcare expenses and education for your employees, feel free to contact us.

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