Posts Taged 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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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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Why Your Health Coach Should Be A Nurse

why nurses make good health coachesYou make decisions every day. Whether you’re deciding on what to eat for breakfast or if you need your umbrella before leaving your house, your life is filled with endless choices you must make. While you may not give much thought to these choices, some of them do warrant more consideration than merely checking a weather app. Some of the most important decisions you’ll make in your life will center around your health, and your health is not something you want to treat like an afterthought. Because making the wrong decision could have severe consequences for you and your wallet, there are several things you should consider when it comes to your health and wellness. Fortunately, the Catholic Benefits Trust has an easy solution to help you make all the right decisions, nurse advocates.

The Advantages to Nurses as Health Coaches

Many people use health coaches to help them develop healthier lifestyles. Instead of trusting your health care to just anyone, at CBT we’ll match you up with one of our nurse advocates. As experienced care-providers, nurses make effective health coaches. Here are a few reasons why you can benefit from having a nurse on your side:

  • Nurses are fantastic health resources with tons of medical experience and professional knowledge. As the unsung heroes of the medical world, our nurse advocates will help you make informed decisions about healthcare.
  • Not only do nurses have the background to help you make important decisions about your health, but they will also keep your best interests in mind. They will become familiar with your health needs and verify that all of your data is accurate and up-to-date.
  • When you’re feeling overwhelmed by medical jargon and policy options, you can turn to your nurse advocate to coach you through a diagnosis or treatment plan. Instead of handing you a pamphlet to read or referring you to someone else, your nurse advocate will walk you through every step of your healthcare journey.

You can learn more about nurse advocates and the other advantages the Catholic Benefits Trust offers our members including lower fixed costs by contacting us!

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Why Private Insurers Adopt Value-Based Care Models

why private insurers adopt value based care models similar to catholic benefits trustAccountable care organizations (ACOs) are becoming increasingly popular in the private sector as well as among government contracted organizations. Despite the many challenges of transitioning to a new model, private insurers are interested in the alternative payment methods and benefits ACOs provide. In fact, of the estimated 750 public and private ACOs in the US, about half of the contracts are with private insurers.

So, why is the private sector adapting to this coordinated care model? Switching from a fee-for-service model to value-based care isn’t an easy transition. Not all health systems allow for such a huge structural change. Those that do decide to take the risk, however, find ACOs effective for several reasons.

  • The value-based healthcare model allows providers to address rising healthcare costs without sacrificing quality. A value-based model places the emphasis on the patient by focusing on preventative medicine and treatment plans. Instead of the fee-for-service model where frequent patient visits means better compensation for doctors, the ACO model rewards physicians whose patients have less visits.
  • Today, real-time data allows everything to be analyzed thoroughly from how every penny is spent to details of patient symptoms. With accurate, reliable data to support the effectiveness of value-based models, it makes committing to the transition seem like less of a risk to private insurers.
  • Value-based care and ACOs also increase cost savings. A fee-for-service model with frequent patient visits not only consumes a doctor’s valuable time, but it also wastes resources. By reducing patient visits and increasing a focus on preventative healthcare, organizations can save money and resources.

At Catholic Benefits Trust, we understand the benefits and advantages to using a value-based model. As a nonprofit organization dedicated to serving the Catholic Church, we provide improved group health plans with Catholic values in mind. Members of CBT receive full ownership of their medical data as well as a personal health management plan based on a thorough analysis of that data. We also have a team of personal health nurses to assist our members with any health-related questions or concerns.

If you’re interested in learning more about the benefits of value-based care organizations or the Catholic Benefits Trust, feel free to contact us!

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MACRA and Value-Based Care Move on to OMB

MACRA and value based care move on to omb health care legislation news

At the moment, our healthcare system is far from perfect, and it can be difficult to keep track of all the changes in healthcare legislation. When it comes to healthcare organizations though, we carefully follow relevant health care reform such as the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 (MACRA). MACRA has just moved on to the next step in the legislative process. It’s now awaiting a final ruling at the Office of Management and Budget (OMB). So, why does MACRA matter to accountable care organizations like Catholic Benefits Trust?

Why MACRA Matters

MACRA was created to replace Medicare’s Sustainable Growth Rate after the Senate repealed it last year. The new legislation is more conducive to value-based care models and accountable care organizations (ACOs). Health care providers focused on value-based care and payment models will find two relevant programs under the new act:

1. Merit-Based Incentive Payment System (MIPS)


MIPS consolidates the Physician Quality Reporting System (PQRS), the Value Modifier, and the EHR Incentive programs. Starting in 2017, health care providers will receive an evaluation and a MIPS score based on four categories: quality of care, use of resources, improvement of clinical practice, and use of EHR technology. EHR technology enables the gathering and sharing of patient data so professionals can collaborate. MIPS focuses on these four categories because it encourages physicians to work with each other to develop inexpensive, preventative treatments that allow patients to avoid costly procedures and hospital stays.

2. Alternate Payment Methods (APMs)


Some models, such as ACOs, patient-centered medical homes, and bundled payment models qualify as alternate payment methods (APMs). This payment method offers health care providers 0.5% lump-sum incentive payments for their Medicare payments from 2019 to 2024. Providers will still receive evaluations similar to the four categories described under MIPS.

MACRA supports value-based healthcare models and preventative treatments. Incentives will encourage care providers to improve their services in all four areas listed under MIPS and provide quality, value-based care for their patients.

You can learn more about how the Catholic Benefits Trust combines value-based health care and preventative medicine with Catholic values when you contact us!

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How You Can Benefit From Joining An ACO

cost effective health care focusing on preventive medicine with accountable care organizationsThe traditional health care payment system favors quantity over quality. Because health care providers are compensated on a per service basis, they profit more from a high volume of patient visits, treatments, and procedures. This system isn’t conducive to preventative medicine because a healthy person wouldn’t generate as much profit as an unhealthy person.

How do accountable care organizations (ACO) solve this problem?

An ACO differs from the traditional system by rewarding health care professionals for keeping their patients healthy and reducing the number of procedures they need. Partnering with an ACO means the focus is on quality of care instead of quantity. Here are 3 reasons why you should consider partnering with an ACO:

1. The focus is on the patient, not the paycheck. The compensation system of an ACO facilitates more communication among caregivers and patients. Because one single doctor doesn’t have all the answers all the time, communication among a patient’s multiple doctors is important for giving accurate diagnoses and treatment. The ACO system requires communication by giving physicians an incentive to find care options specific to each patient’s needs.

2. Patients will have access to a larger team of healthcare professionals. An ACO brings health professionals and providers that share similar values together. As part of an ACO, patients and professionals will have access to the expertise of other professionals within their ACO’s network. This network also means that patients waste less time filling out forms and answering questions about their health. Because every member of the ACO is connected, patient information can be shared easily and securely among them.

3. Preventative care becomes essential to reducing costs and keeping patients healthy. This cost-effective care model means everyone benefits by improving and maintaining the health of patients. Not only does a patient’s health become more of a priority, but preventative care reduces long term spending. When you identify and treat a health problem early on, you save on possible costly, invasive treatments that would have been needed in the future.

At the Catholic Benefits Trust, we take a similar approach with our healthcare payment system. Instead of focusing on profits, we focus on providing the best care options for our members. You can learn more about our flexible, low-cost health care solutions on our website or when you contact us.

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3 Ways To Get Cost-Effective Benefits

find cost effective healthcare at Catholic benefits trust for nonprofits

Health insurance rates are still on the rise despite recent legislation making it more accessible to a larger population of people. Staying on top of increasing rates is a major obstacle nonprofit organizations and employers must face. So, what can you do to cut costs while maintaining decent health care services for your employees? Here are a few ways employers can start saving:

  • Invest in Employee Wellness

Helping your employees develop and maintain a healthy lifestyle now will save your organization money in the future. It’s estimated that 60-75% of healthcare expenses in the U.S. could have been avoided with better lifestyle choices. For example, encouraging employees to quit using tobacco is one way a wellness program can effectively help your employees while also cutting health costs.

  • Consider a Private Plan Exchanges

You also have the option of a plan-exchange approach. Nonprofits can work with a private health insurance exchange to select a plan that meets their needs. A private exchange collects a limited number of plans from different commercial insurers. While there aren’t as many options in a private exchange, it makes certain commercial plans more accessible to nonprofits.

  • Opt for Self-Insurance

Instead of purchasing a fully-insured plan from an insurance carrier, you can save money by outsourcing administrative services. These self-insured plans allow employers to have more flexibility when it comes to plan design and savings. Outsourcing services such as claims processing and provider networks will let you select an insurance partner who will work with you to cut costs. Partnering with a trusted organization that shares similar values is a great way for self-insured employers to mitigate risk while navigating the options flexible plan design allows.

Partnering with an organization such as Catholic Benefits Trust will guarantee you access to certain member benefits. At CBT, we offer legal protection of employee benefit funds as well as secure management and analysis of medical data. With years of experience, expertise, and Catholic values, our benefits and services will provide your nonprofit the guidance you need to find a flexible plan that works for you. As a member of CBT, your organization will also join the CBT Board of Directors where all major decisions are made. You won’t find that kind of control anywhere else.

Contact us today to find out if the Catholic Benefits Trust is right for you!

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CBT Partner Recognized For Superior Care Solutions

catholic organization awarded for health care solutionsWe are pleased to share the news that Conifer Health Solutions has been recognized once again by a national accrediting agency for their quality and effectiveness. Conifer Health Solutions is a pioneer when it comes to customizable health care that benefits your organization’s financial health as well as patient health. Their care delivery system is one of the innovative services that sets Conifer apart. As our business partner, Conifer provides cutting-edge data analytics for each of our member’s health plans.

Conifer Health ranked No.1 for categories including Best of Breed Technology and Process Improvement, Client Relationships and Cultural Fit, and Innovation and Customization. Conifer ranks so well for accountable care and value-based reimbursement solutions because of their diverse and innovative services. For example, Conifer delivers peer-reviewed Revenue Management and Patient Experience services and solutions to the health system of their members, a service designed to alleviate cost and ensure better treatment options.  

Why Is This Important To CBT?

At CBT, our most valuable service is the coordination of patient care where we employ nurses as patient advocates to help our members navigate the complex medical system. This service sets us apart from the competition and results in better treatment outcomes with less wasted dollars. We chose Conifer as a business partner to deliver value-based care to the members of the Trust in addition to our exceptional services.

Together, Conifer Health Solutions and CBT are able to cultivate a culture of collaboration and provide superior health care options on a budget for our members. Here are some of the advantages to having this prestigious organization as a business partner:

  • Highmark shares all of the medical data from our members with Conifer to allow for efficiency and collaboration.
  • Conifer maintains all of this data for our members in an independent and secure “warehouse.”
  • Conifer frequently conducts a comprehensive analysis on the patient data.
  • Health experts hired by Conifer reach out to the employees of our members who have complex medical issues or health risks to provide one-on-one guidance.
  • With permission from patients, Conifer nurses facilitate a dialogue between all points of contact in patient care to arrive at more informed decisions for the patient.
  • CBT members have documented cost savings to be nearly 4 times higher than the costs of patient advocacy.

To learn more about the CBT and the advantages we deliver to Catholic organizations, please visit our website or contact us!

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Population Health Management

population health management challenges and advantagesMany have recognized that population health is the next step in the advancement of healthcare management. Unfortunately, developing a sustainable population health management strategy requires overcoming several challenges. Not all providers have access to the necessary technology and other resources required to establish an effective strategy.

What Is Population Health?

Population health focuses on preventing health problems before they require more financially-draining treatment solutions. It could mean instigating a wellness program or a treatment plan designed to encourage people to adopt healthier lifestyles. But simply hosting a wellness program isn’t enough. Population health management also means keeping track of patients and participants data for research and analysis. The aggregation of patient data into a single place for everyone to access and assess could lead to superior health and treatment solutions.

The Challenges of Population Health

Enabling strong communication amongst health professionals and providers is one of the biggest challenges of population health management. Physicians have been trained to diagnose and treat their patients in a single-minded fashion. Part of the new strategy requires experts to consider their patients more holistically. They would need to go beyond the traditional two-step process to collaborate with other professionals and consider other factors in their patients lives such as environment or occupation.

The effective and sustainable aggregation of patient data is another challenge to overcome when it comes to population health management. Having basic electronic health records isn’t always sufficient for high-level analytics required to develop effective health initiatives.

In order to transition to an effective population health management strategy, we have to develop a new culture in healthcare to encapsulate the needs of patients in alignment with this strategy. This involves training medical professionals and staff to adapt to a new system where the goal is to focus on the patient instead of the diagnosis. This evolving healthcare strategy wouldn’t be possible without modern technology. The infrastructure of population health management needs sophisticated platforms for aggregating and interpreting patient data.

The advantages to adopting population health management far outweigh the challenges. Population health would improve patient care while saving money and valuable resources to the benefit of patients, physicians, and providers. You can contact us to find out how the Catholic Benefits Trust is working to change our culture to encompass population health.

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