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American Healthcare Entrepreneurs and Execs you might want to know. Talking. Relentless Health Value is a weekly interview podcast hosted by Stacey Richter, a healthcare entrepreneur celebrating fifteen successful years in the business side of healthcare. Subscribe to the podcast and spend a hour w…

Stacey Richter


    • Jun 30, 2022 LATEST EPISODE
    • weekly NEW EPISODES
    • 30m AVG DURATION
    • 435 EPISODES

    Listeners of Relentless Health Value that love the show mention: episode 134, healthcare industry, stacey does a great, pharma, great variety of topics, health care, stacy, innovation, patient, pertinent, benefits, system, emotions, kudos, delivery, timely, problems, leaders, diverse, interviewer.



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    Latest episodes from Relentless Health Value

    Encore! EP308: How Financial Toxicity Wreaks Havoc on Value-Based Payment Success, With Mark Fendrick, MD

    Play Episode Listen Later Jun 30, 2022 35:14

    I wanted to remind everyone about this show from last year because it's becoming increasingly relevant. We have this weird thing going on where everybody seems to be talking about physician incentives and payments and financial implications but so often disregards patient incentives and payments and financial implications. Consider that we're at a place in the time-space continuum where it is inarguable that financial toxicity has become clinical toxicity. Patients are increasingly in huge numbers abandoning care, splitting pills, doing all kinds of things to save money that are clinically toxic. And these are patients with “good insurance” that we are talking about here. So, here's a role play: Provider organization is actually paying doctors for outcomes. In wanders a patient with a huge deductible. Doc says, “Wow, Patient … so important that you take your insulin or med as directed or get a follow-up on that scary colonoscopy finding.” Patient says, “Sorry, Doc. Can't afford it.” And the doc gets dinged because the patient outcomes are avoidably poor. That's what this show with Dr. Mark Fendrick digs into: aligning patient incentives (aka benefit designs etc) with value-based payments on the provider side. And with that, here's your encore: And here I thought I knew a lot about value-based care. In this healthcare podcast, I am speaking with Mark Fendrick, MD, who is the director over at the University of Michigan Center for Value-Based Insurance Design. This conversation is for those of you who already know pretty much about value-based care concepts. If you do not, I'd go back and listen to, say, Encore! EP206, with Ashok Subramanian, before this one.   Dr. Fendrick talks in this healthcare podcast about what it takes for value-based care to happen in the real world. No kidding, it's about making sure that reimbursement is aligned with good things (no great surprise there). But two light bulb moments I had in this conversation with Dr. Fendrick: At the beginning of the year, how many doctors and nurses, inspired to do the right thing, have told their patients with diabetes, say, to go get an eye exam to check for diabetic retinopathy? No one would disagree that this is definitely a good idea. Diabetic retinopathy causes blindness. But here's the reality of that conversation. Doc says, “Go get an eye exam.” And patient says, “I can't. My deductible is huge, and I can't afford it.” So, the patient doesn't get the follow-up care and winds up in the hospital or blind. And the doctor gets dinged on his or her quality scores. Suboptimal outcomes all around, I'd say. This also happens on the pharmacy side of the equation, but I think a lot of us are a little bit more familiar with that scenario—like type 1 diabetics who can't afford to pick up their insulin because of a Medicare Part D or commercial deductible that they haven't met yet. I just never really connected the dots back to the provider getting black marks because their patient has a benefit design that's not aligned with the quality measures. In a majority of benefit designs, consumer price sharing is based not on the value of the service but on how expensive the service just happens to be. Wow! So, we're trying to get our plan members to be consumers and use the power of their wallets to make good healthcare choices. And what we're really doing is driving them toward cheap things or no care and discouraging them from indulging—and I say that sarcastically—in expensive things. But the expensive things might be the high-value care, and the relatively cheap things might be crap that's fully unnecessary or harmful and, over a whole population, adds up to a lot of zeros. Healthcare is not like a consumer market where the expensive things are usually a better version of the cheap things. For all you economists out there, you don't want the demand curve to be elastic when what's cheap and what's expensive has no correlation to quality or necessity. Nobody should be super flabbergasted when a $35 cure-all supplement peddled on YouTube makes some random influencer a millionaire. That's how supply and demand works. Much to ponder in this episode. You can learn more at vbidcenter.org. There's also a great newsletter you can sign up for there.   A. Mark Fendrick, MD, is a professor of internal medicine in the School of Medicine and a professor of health management and policy in the School of Public Health at the University of Michigan. Dr. Fendrick received a bachelor's degree in economics and chemistry from the University of Pennsylvania and his medical degree from Harvard Medical School. He completed his residency in internal medicine at the University of Pennsylvania, where he was a fellow in the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Clinical Scholars Program. Dr. Fendrick conceptualized and coined the term Value-Based Insurance Design (V-BID) and currently directs the V-BID Center at the University of Michigan (vbidcenter.org), the leading advocate for development, implementation, and evaluation of innovative health benefit plans. His research focuses on how clinician payment and consumer engagement initiatives impact access to care, quality of care, and healthcare costs. Dr. Fendrick has authored over 250 articles and book chapters and has received numerous awards for the creation and implementation of value-based insurance design. His perspective and understanding of clinical and economic issues have fostered collaborations with numerous government agencies, health plans, professional societies, and healthcare companies.   Dr. Fendrick is an elected member of the National Academy of Medicine (formerly IOM), serves on the Medicare Coverage Advisory Committee, and has been invited to present testimony before the US Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pensions; the US House of Representatives Ways and Means Subcommittee on Health; and the US Senate Committee on Armed Services Subcommittee on Personnel. 05:00 Is back surgery high-value care? 05:51 If care is patient to patient, how is high-value care decided upon? 06:40 “Flintstones delivery: We have to move from the sledgehammer to the scalpel.” 11:14 “Almost all of the services that we recommend to reduce cost sharing … do not save money.” 12:30 “I didn't go to medical school to learn how to save people money.” 17:03 “When a patient and their clinician agree … the patient should be able to get that [service] easily, and the clinician should be paid generously.” 18:01 “When patients and providers are aligned, they do much better.” 19:59 What services are deemed high value, and what services should be pre-deductible? 21:50 “Are primary care visits high value? … The answer is, it depends.” 25:55 What are V-BID's core pillars to address value-based care? 28:04 How does Dr. Fendrick's method of value-based care and reimbursement actually enable better consumerism? 29:51 What do providers think about changing reimbursement on low-value and high-value care? 30:58 “We have incentives that are run amok.” 32:12 EP176 with Dr. Robert Pearl. 32:49 “It's all about incentives.” 33:43 “You do have the funding; you just have to have the courage.” You can learn more at vbidcenter.org. There's also a great newsletter you can sign up for there. Mark Fendrick, MD, of @UM_VBID discusses #valuebasedcare on our #healthcarepodcast. #healthcare #podcast #vbc #digitalhealth If care is patient to patient, how is high-value care decided upon? Mark Fendrick, MD, of @UM_VBID discusses #valuebasedcare on our #healthcarepodcast. #healthcare #podcast #vbc #digitalhealth “Flintstones delivery: We have to move from the sledgehammer to the scalpel.” Mark Fendrick, MD, of @UM_VBID discusses #valuebasedcare on our #healthcarepodcast. #healthcare #podcast #vbc #digitalhealth “Almost all of the services that we recommend to reduce cost sharing … do not save money.” Mark Fendrick, MD, of @UM_VBID discusses #valuebasedcare on our #healthcarepodcast. #healthcare #podcast #vbc #digitalhealth “I didn't go to medical school to learn how to save people money.” Mark Fendrick, MD, of @UM_VBID discusses #valuebasedcare on our #healthcarepodcast. #healthcare #podcast #vbc #digitalhealth “When patients and providers are aligned, they do much better.” Mark Fendrick, MD, of @UM_VBID discusses #valuebasedcare on our #healthcarepodcast. #healthcare #podcast #vbc #digitalhealth “Are primary care visits high value? … The answer is, it depends.” Mark Fendrick, MD, of @UM_VBID discusses #valuebasedcare on our #healthcarepodcast. #healthcare #podcast #vbc #digitalhealth “We have incentives that are run amok.” Mark Fendrick, MD, of @UM_VBID discusses #valuebasedcare on our #healthcarepodcast. #healthcare #podcast #vbc #digitalhealth “You do have the funding; you just have to have the courage.” Mark Fendrick, MD, of @UM_VBID discusses #valuebasedcare on our #healthcarepodcast. #healthcare #podcast #vbc #digitalhealth   Recent past interviews: Click a guest's name for their latest RHV episode! Erik Davis and Autumn Yongchu (EP371), Erik Davis and Autumn Yongchu (EP370), Keith Hartman, Dr Aaron Mitchell (Encore! EP282), Stacey Richter (INBW34), Ashleigh Gunter, Doug Hetherington, Dr Kevin Schulman, Scott Haas, David Muhlestein, David Scheinker, Ali Ucar, Dr Carly Eckert, Jeb Dunkelberger (EP360), Dan O'Neill, Dr Wayne Jenkins, Liliana Petrova, Ge Bai, Nikhil Krishnan, Shawn Rhodes, Pramod John (EP353), Pramod John (EP352), Dr Eric Bricker, Katy Talento, Stacey Richter (INBW33), Stacey Richter (INBW32), Dr Steve Schutzer (Encore! EP294), Lisa Trumble  

    EP371: Buy and Bill vs Pharmacy Bagging—Which Is Better for a Plan Sponsor and Patients? With Erik Davis and Autumn Yongchu

    Play Episode Listen Later Jun 23, 2022 32:44

    So, this is a 400-level episode in specialty pharmacy options for plan sponsors, meaning here are your prerequisites: You gotta know what buy and bill is, and you gotta know what pharmacy bagging is, meaning white bagging, for example. If you do not, I would listen to Encore! EP282 with Aaron Mitchell, MD, MPH, where we go deep on buy and bill. And then listen to EP369 for the skinny on pharmacy bagging. If you already know what buy and bill is and you already know what white bagging is, then not only do you know more than 98% of the people in the healthcare industry, but also, you're going to get as much out of this conversation with Erik Davis and Autumn Yongchu as I did.   Last week's show was also with Erik Davis and Autumn Yongchu. Last week, we talked about how some hospitals and cancer centers are managing to ring up up to six times the cost of an expensive-already injected or infused drug through buy and bill. This is why pharmacy bagging became a thing, if we want to talk about this in historical perspective. It's a direct market response to buy and bill. Hospital systems start making egregious amounts of money marking up drugs that already cost hundreds of thousands of dollars, and their markups are hundreds of thousands of dollars on top of that. Hospital starts making a fortune off of drug markups. Plan sponsors need an alternative, and … enter pharmacy bagging (ie, carving out specialty pharmacy drugs to a PBM [pharmacy benefit manager]). In this show, we compare the potential benefits and problematic loopholes and/or patient concerns for plan sponsors who are trying to figure out whether to carve out specialty pharmacy benefits to a PBM or grin and bear it with the buy and bill. Or, as another option, whether to steer patients to specific infusion centers or specific provider organizations that might have more favorable contract terms for the plan sponsor. Or, hooking up with a home infusion company, again, who is willing to negotiate terms that might be far better for said plan sponsor than just letting some hospital have their way with employees and the health plan. As another alternative, of course, plan sponsors could consider medical travel, which some certainly are. My biggest takeaway from this whole conversation and from the episodes that we have had in this, dare I call it, series about pharmacy benefits, starting with the show with Scott Haas (EP365) where we talked about PBM contracts, moving to the show with Dr. Aaron Mitchell (Encore! EP282) where we talked about buy and bill, then going to the show with Keith Hartman (EP369) where we talked about pharmacy bagging, then last week's show how hospitals manage to buy and bill at 6x the price of these expensive pharmaceuticals … my takeaway from this whole specialty drug extravaganza is that specialty drug procurement is very different than retail drug procurement. Retail drugs, you worry about them en masse at scale almost at the population level. Specialty drugs? You can have one patient on a specialty drug, and that one patient costs as much as the entire rest of the member population combined. So, managing specialty drugs and their administration becomes almost a case-by-case operation. What drug is it? Where is the patient? What options are available? It's possible to save hundreds of thousands of dollars on that one patient, for that one patient's care, and get better patient outcomes by getting the right patient on the right drug that is administered in the right setting.   You can learn more by connecting with Erik and Autumn on LinkedIn or by emailing them at erik.davis@usi.com and autumn.yongchu@usi.com.   Erik Davis, AAI, CIC, CRM, is senior vice president and principal consultant, managed care and analytics, at USI Insurance Services. He has over 30 years of experience in the insurance and risk management industry. Erik works to create an environment that supports the healthcare risk management goals of an organization while maintaining focus on compliance and financial accountability. He is instrumental in vendor negotiations, data benchmarking, population health strategies, claims analysis, recommendations in plan design, and communication strategies. In this capacity, Erik has been involved with development of rates, payment structures, and recommendations of changes in processes, policies, and procedures. He has a broad understanding of contract analysis, evaluating risk, auditing for correct payment, and structuring of excess loss and pharmacy programs. Erik's experience extends from overall employee benefits consulting to workers' compensation, as well as managed care organizations in Medicaid, Medicare, and commercial contractual risk arrangements. Erik earned his bachelor's degree in economics from Oregon State University. He holds Accredited Advisor in Insurance (AAI), Certified Insurance Counselor (CIC), and Certified Risk Manager (CRM) designations. Autumn Yongchu is a healthcare operational risk consultant at USI Insurance Services. Autumn works with multiple database platforms to examine data for trends and abnormalities. Using investigative querying, medical coding analysis, and report development, she provides resources that help identify cost control opportunities and assists organizations in strategic business decisions regarding the management of healthcare risks. Autumn analyzes and interprets healthcare utilization data, allowing the development of initiatives regarding claim and risk management. This includes identifying fiscal and clinical strategies and providing necessary information to develop, design, and implement management initiatives. Autumn also analyzes trends, assists with insurance underwriting, and adjudicates stop-loss claims. Autumn has an in-depth knowledge of Medicaid and Medicare billing guidelines and payment methodologies. Prior to joining USI, Autumn was a claims auditor and trainer for a managed care organization which serviced over 100,000 commercial, Medicaid, and Medicare lives. Her responsibilities included contract analysis, claims adjudication, ensuring accurate payment, and identifying and recouping errors. 04:45 Can you actually save money by carving out specialty infused drugs and making them a pharmacy benefit? 06:28 How can plan sponsors use white bagging as leverage to reduce costs from markups? 06:47 Does white bagging save money compared to buy and bill? 07:42 “You also need to understand that with some of these drugs, you're dealing with very vulnerable people.”—Erik 08:41 EP369 with Keith Hartman, RPh. 11:10 “When your insurance carrier is married to your PBM, it doesn't matter where the money goes.”—Autumn 11:33 EP365 with Scott Haas. 12:00 “You need to have a collective understanding of every variable … when you're making those … decisions.”—Erik 14:53 How can comparison shopping save plan sponsors money when it comes to specialty infusion costs? 16:51 How can comparison shopping be a vicious circle in the wrong setting for plan sponsors? 18:43 “That's part of the problem: It's not just the plan sponsor not being educated enough; it's also the consultant … that they believe is supposed to be that isn't.”—Erik 19:03 How has transparency been used by healthcare systems to keep buyers' eyes off the ball? 26:55 “It is very case by case, but it comes down to your risk appetite.”—Autumn 28:19 “It's something that you have to, as a plan sponsor, really continue to monitor throughout the plan year.”—Autumn 28:38 “The more you know, the better equipped you're gonna be.”—Autumn 29:27 What can employers who are feeling aggressive do? 31:19 “The dollars circle, whether people realize it or not.”—Autumn You can learn more by connecting with Erik and Autumn on LinkedIn or by emailing them at erik.davis@usi.com and autumn.yongchu@usi.com.   Erik Davis and Autumn Yongchu discuss #buyandbill and #pharmabagging on our #healthcarepodcast. #healthcare #podcast #pharmacy #pharma Can you actually save money by carving out specialty infused drugs and making them a pharmacy benefit? Erik Davis and Autumn Yongchu discuss #buyandbill and #pharmabagging on our #healthcarepodcast. #healthcare #podcast #pharmacy #pharma How can plan sponsors use white bagging as leverage to reduce costs from markups? Erik Davis and Autumn Yongchu discuss #buyandbill and #pharmabagging on our #healthcarepodcast. #healthcare #podcast #pharmacy #pharma Does white bagging save money compared to buy and bill? Erik Davis and Autumn Yongchu discuss #buyandbill and #pharmabagging on our #healthcarepodcast. #healthcare #podcast #pharmacy #pharma “You also need to understand that with some of these drugs, you're dealing with very vulnerable people.” Erik Davis and Autumn Yongchu discuss #buyandbill and #pharmabagging on our #healthcarepodcast. #healthcare #podcast #pharmacy #pharma “When your insurance carrier is married to your PBM, it doesn't matter where the money goes.” Erik Davis and Autumn Yongchu discuss #buyandbill and #pharmabagging on our #healthcarepodcast. #healthcare #podcast #pharmacy #pharma “You need to have a collective understanding of every variable … when you're making those … decisions.” Erik Davis and Autumn Yongchu discuss #buyandbill and #pharmabagging on our #healthcarepodcast. #healthcare #podcast #pharmacy #pharma How can comparison shopping save plan sponsors money when it comes to specialty infusion costs? Erik Davis and Autumn Yongchu discuss #buyandbill and #pharmabagging on our #healthcarepodcast. #healthcare #podcast #pharmacy #pharma How can comparison shopping be a vicious circle in the wrong setting for plan sponsors? Erik Davis and Autumn Yongchu discuss #buyandbill and #pharmabagging on our #healthcarepodcast. #healthcare #podcast #pharmacy #pharma “That's part of the problem: It's not just the plan sponsor not being educated enough; it's also the consultant … that they believe is supposed to be that isn't.” Erik Davis and Autumn Yongchu discuss #buyandbill and #pharmabagging on our #healthcarepodcast. #healthcare #podcast #pharmacy #pharma How has transparency been used by healthcare systems to keep buyers' eyes off the ball? Erik Davis and Autumn Yongchu discuss #buyandbill and #pharmabagging on our #healthcarepodcast. #healthcare #podcast #pharmacy #pharma “It is very case by case, but it comes down to your risk appetite.” Erik Davis and Autumn Yongchu discuss #buyandbill and #pharmabagging on our #healthcarepodcast. #healthcare #podcast #pharmacy #pharma “It's something that you have to, as a plan sponsor, really continue to monitor throughout the plan year.” Erik Davis and Autumn Yongchu discuss #buyandbill and #pharmabagging on our #healthcarepodcast. #healthcare #podcast #pharmacy #pharma “The more you know, the better equipped you're gonna be.” Erik Davis and Autumn Yongchu discuss #buyandbill and #pharmabagging on our #healthcarepodcast. #healthcare #podcast #pharmacy #pharma What can employers who are feeling aggressive do? Erik Davis and Autumn Yongchu discuss #buyandbill and #pharmabagging on our #healthcarepodcast. #healthcare #podcast #pharmacy #pharma “The dollars circle, whether people realize it or not.” Erik Davis and Autumn Yongchu discuss #buyandbill and #pharmabagging on our #healthcarepodcast. #healthcare #podcast #pharmacy #pharma   Recent past interviews: Click a guest's name for their latest RHV episode! Erik Davis and Autumn Yongchu (EP370), Keith Hartman, Dr Aaron Mitchell (Encore! EP282), Stacey Richter (INBW34), Ashleigh Gunter, Doug Hetherington, Dr Kevin Schulman, Scott Haas, David Muhlestein, David Scheinker, Ali Ucar, Dr Carly Eckert, Jeb Dunkelberger (EP360), Dan O'Neill, Dr Wayne Jenkins, Liliana Petrova, Ge Bai, Nikhil Krishnan, Shawn Rhodes, Pramod John (EP353), Pramod John (EP352), Dr Eric Bricker, Katy Talento, Stacey Richter (INBW33), Stacey Richter (INBW32), Dr Steve Schutzer (Encore! EP294), Lisa Trumble, Jeb Dunkelberger  

    EP370: How Do Some Health Systems Manage to Charge 6x the Cost of a Specialty Pharmacy Med to Infuse It? With Erik Davis and Autumn Yongchu

    Play Episode Listen Later Jun 16, 2022 31:43

    I have been on a mission to figure out why some health systems, particularly in the oncology space but not limited to the oncology space, could manage to mark up the price of infused specialty pharmacy drugs up to 6x. Some employers and patients are paying six times the cost of a specialty pharmacy drug in markup for some already incredibly expensive specialty pharmacy drug at some oncology centers. Read more about this in a study by Roy Xiao, MD, and colleagues. Let's not forget now or ever that financial toxicity is clinical toxicity. This 6x is exactly how financial toxicity is operationalized. Many patients are charged a coinsurance percentage based on their cost of care, after all; and like 20% of 6x is a huge number, it is a huge bankrupting bill for some patients—maybe many patients. That, plus their premiums go up because, of course, their employers are picking up the remaining 80% of that 600% markup. Families are already, on average, paying I think it's $22,000 in premium; and the trend line on that premium growth continues to go up steeply in the 2022-23 projections that I have seen. Bottom line: This 6x is not a victimless modus operandi is my point. But what I wanted to know is how they do it, these health systems. Charging 6x the cost of a super expensive specialty pharmacy drug in markup would seem to require some skill, right? And any time I see a Pandora's box, I have a terrible habit of trying to get in there. Autumn Yongchu and Erik Davis to the rescue. Today's show digs into how some health systems and hospitals stack the odds that no one will notice their 6x markups and just pay the bills. Here's the short version of the playbook, but you'll need to listen to the show for a more robust explanation. First off, keep in mind that while Medicare Part B tells hospitals to charge ASP (average sales price) + 6% (ish) when they buy and bill Medicare patients, there is no such guidance for commercial patients. Commercial insurers negotiate a fee off chargemaster rates, and as we all know, those chargemaster prices are, in general, based on absolutely nothing and are, in general, sky-high. So that's the first thing. The second thing gets into coding. Let me give you the general idea here, but we talk about this in some depth in the conversation to come. As you likely know, hospitals get paid by sending bills with codes on them—procedure codes, for example. We the hospital did this procedure, and our charge for this procedure is $4000—so, here you go. Code followed by dollar amount is shown on somebody's bill or explanation of benefits document. These procedure codes are standardized across the industry for the most part. It's not like every health system and/or payer is making up their own. This standardized set of procedure codes is called the Healthcare Common Procedure Coding System, affectionally known as HCPCS. So, if someone starts talking about a HCPCS code, all it means is that the code comes out of that standard set of codes. Now, J-codes are one kind of code in this common procedure coding system. They are procedure codes that start with a “J.” These J-codes are for procedures involving (usually) specialty pharmacy drugs. A J-code identifies the specialty pharmacy drug that was used in the procedure. So, you'd think it'd be pretty easy to audit a hospital bill, right? You look at the J-code on the bill; you find the ASP, the average sales price, or whatever of the drug; and then you get out your trusty calculator and you do the math on what the markup is. And okay, maybe this works sometimes … but the problem is that so very, very often, the hospital doesn't put the actual drug's J-code on the bill. There's this miscellaneous J-code that doesn't specify the drug used, which is a quite common tactic, it seems. (I learned that in this episode.) Hospital just sticks “Miscellaneous chemotherapy” on a bill with a price after it, and nobody knows what drug was used. Or the hospital will send a bill that just includes revenue codes. I think about revenue codes as the name of the section of the bill. It's like on a menu: There's that section, that headline, that says “Seafood” with a whole list of seafood dishes underneath it. In this example, the Seafood header is like the revenue code; and the J-codes are the actual dishes. Some bills come from the hospital, and all they have on them are the revenue code. There was some seafood. We're not gonna tell you what dish or how much seafood, but yeah, seafood. The only thing we know about seafood is that there was some and it was very pricy. Here's a great example of a bill with some explanations.   The main point here is that how health systems get away, in large part, with charging a whole lot for specialty pharmacy drugs is that their bills roll up charges into these very opaque codes that include lots and lots of stuff that is not broken out. When I interviewed Marshall Allen (EP328) and we talked about his book Never Pay the First Bill, he said step one in getting an accurate and fair bill is to ask for the line item charges—and now that is totally making sense to me and also why this is so vital. Just be aware, if you ask for these breakouts, you will likely get a huge box of hard copies. Check out this photo of a literally three-foot pile of printouts that one patient-turned-artist exhibited at an art show recently that I saw. If you don't have the stamina to sort through all of those pages and pages and pages, you could be subject to 6x or more in markups or billing errors which are all too common and all too expensive. Hospital charges are a huge chunk of any employer's healthcare spend, after all—over half of it in some cases. These are not small potatoes that we're talking about. These are bills that bankrupt patients and make premiums go so high that patients cannot afford to get care.   In this healthcare podcast, as mentioned earlier, we have two guests—Erik Davis and Autumn Yongchu—both from USI Managed Care Consulting and both having spent decades deep in the inner workings of the healthcare industry. And the topic of today's show required that depth of knowledge, for sure. You can learn more by connecting with Erik and Autumn on LinkedIn or by emailing them at erik.davis@usi.com and autumn.yongchu@usi.com.   Erik Davis, AAI, CIC, CRM, is senior vice president and principal consultant, managed care and analytics, at USI Insurance Services. He has over 30 years of experience in the insurance and risk management industry. Erik works to create an environment that supports the healthcare risk management goals of an organization while maintaining focus on compliance and financial accountability. He is instrumental in vendor negotiations, data benchmarking, population health strategies, claims analysis, recommendations in plan design, and communication strategies. In this capacity, Erik has been involved with development of rates, payment structures, and recommendations of changes in processes, policies, and procedures. He has a broad understanding of contract analysis, evaluating risk, auditing for correct payment, and structuring of excess loss and pharmacy programs. Erik's experience extends from overall employee benefits consulting to workers' compensation, as well as managed care organizations in Medicaid, Medicare, and commercial contractual risk arrangements. Erik earned his bachelor's degree in economics from Oregon State University. He holds Accredited Advisor in Insurance (AAI), Certified Insurance Counselor (CIC), and Certified Risk Manager (CRM) designations. Autumn Yongchu is a healthcare operational risk consultant at USI Insurance Services. Autumn works with multiple database platforms to examine data for trends and abnormalities. Using investigative querying, medical coding analysis, and report development, she provides resources that help identify cost control opportunities and assists organizations in strategic business decisions regarding the management of healthcare risks. Autumn analyzes and interprets healthcare utilization data, allowing the development of initiatives regarding claim and risk management. This includes identifying fiscal and clinical strategies and providing necessary information to develop, design, and implement management initiatives. Autumn also analyzes trends, assists with insurance underwriting, and adjudicates stop-loss claims. Autumn has an in-depth knowledge of Medicaid and Medicare billing guidelines and payment methodologies. Prior to joining USI, Autumn was a claims auditor and trainer for a managed care organization which serviced over 100,000 commercial, Medicaid, and Medicare lives. Her responsibilities included contract analysis, claims adjudication, ensuring accurate payment, and identifying and recouping errors. 07:33 How do hospitals maximize inpatient bills? 08:05 How can hospitals upcode on specialty pharmacy products? 09:44 “It's really not uncommon to be overbilled and overcharged.”—Autumn 11:11 Why do marked up bill charges actually affect the price commercial payers pay? 12:49 “If your payer's not double-checking … how do you know that fraud's happening?”—Autumn 12:52 “If the payer doesn't have the detail to validate what that drug actually is, then are they really checking?”—Autumn 13:33 Why is it so hard to verify what you're actually paying for on a hospital bill? 16:28 How do hospitals maximize profit with outpatients? 17:12 “Really it comes down to contracts and how [the] contracts are written.”—Autumn 21:54 “There are … silos within healthcare, and none of them actually talk to each other.”—Autumn 24:56 “There are these rules out there, but there are also big loopholes out there.”—Autumn 26:13 How can hospitals maximize payments for Medicare patients on drugs that have been out for a while? 29:30 “We just have a tendency to assume … that Medicare has a rate for everything, and Medicare doesn't.”—Autumn 30:32: EP369 with Keith Hartman, RPh.   You can learn more by connecting with Erik and Autumn on LinkedIn or by emailing them at erik.davis@usi.com and autumn.yongchu@usi.com.   Erik Davis and Autumn Yongchu discuss #specialtypharma billing in #healthsystems on our #healthcarepodcast. #healthcare #podcast #hospitalsystems How do hospitals maximize inpatient bills? Erik Davis and Autumn Yongchu discuss #specialtypharma billing in #healthsystems on our #healthcarepodcast. #healthcare #podcast #hospitalsystems How can hospitals upcode on specialty pharmacy products? Erik Davis and Autumn Yongchu discuss #specialtypharma billing in #healthsystems on our #healthcarepodcast. #healthcare #podcast #hospitalsystems “It's really not uncommon to be overbilled and overcharged.” Erik Davis and Autumn Yongchu discuss #specialtypharma billing in #healthsystems on our #healthcarepodcast. #healthcare #podcast #hospitalsystems Why do marked up bill charges actually affect the price commercial payers pay? Erik Davis and Autumn Yongchu discuss #specialtypharma billing in #healthsystems on our #healthcarepodcast. #healthcare #podcast #hospitalsystems “If your payer's not double-checking … how do you know that fraud's happening?” Erik Davis and Autumn Yongchu discuss #specialtypharma billing in #healthsystems on our #healthcarepodcast. #healthcare #podcast #hospitalsystems “If the payer doesn't have the detail to validate what that drug actually is, then are they really checking?” Erik Davis and Autumn Yongchu discuss #specialtypharma billing in #healthsystems on our #healthcarepodcast. #healthcare #podcast #hospitalsystems Why is it so hard to verify what you're actually paying for on a hospital bill? Erik Davis and Autumn Yongchu discuss #specialtypharma billing in #healthsystems on our #healthcarepodcast. #healthcare #podcast #hospitalsystems How do hospitals maximize profit with outpatients? Erik Davis and Autumn Yongchu discuss #specialtypharma billing in #healthsystems on our #healthcarepodcast. #healthcare #podcast #hospitalsystems “Really it comes down to contracts and how [the] contracts are written.” Erik Davis and Autumn Yongchu discuss #specialtypharma billing in #healthsystems on our #healthcarepodcast. #healthcare #podcast #hospitalsystems “There are … silos within healthcare, and none of them actually talk to each other.” Erik Davis and Autumn Yongchu discuss #specialtypharma billing in #healthsystems on our #healthcarepodcast. #healthcare #podcast #hospitalsystems “There are these rules out there, but there are also big loopholes out there.” Erik Davis and Autumn Yongchu discuss #specialtypharma billing in #healthsystems on our #healthcarepodcast. #healthcare #podcast #hospitalsystems How can hospitals maximize payments for Medicare patients on drugs that have been out for a while? Erik Davis and Autumn Yongchu discuss #specialtypharma billing in #healthsystems on our #healthcarepodcast. #healthcare #podcast #hospitalsystems “We just have a tendency to assume … that Medicare has a rate for everything, and Medicare doesn't.” Erik Davis and Autumn Yongchu discuss #specialtypharma billing in #healthsystems on our #healthcarepodcast. #healthcare #podcast #hospitalsystems   Recent past interviews: Click a guest's name for their latest RHV episode! Keith Hartman, Dr Aaron Mitchell (Encore! EP282), Stacey Richter (INBW34), Ashleigh Gunter, Doug Hetherington, Dr Kevin Schulman, Scott Haas, David Muhlestein, David Scheinker, Ali Ucar, Dr Carly Eckert, Jeb Dunkelberger (EP360), Dan O'Neill, Dr Wayne Jenkins, Liliana Petrova, Ge Bai, Nikhil Krishnan, Shawn Rhodes, Pramod John (EP353), Pramod John (EP352), Dr Eric Bricker, Katy Talento, Stacey Richter (INBW33), Stacey Richter (INBW32), Dr Steve Schutzer (Encore! EP294), Lisa Trumble, Jeb Dunkelberger, Dr Ian Tong    

    EP369: What's Up With Specialty Pharmacy Bagging? With Keith Hartman, RPh

    Play Episode Listen Later Jun 9, 2022 33:23

    Last week's show was an encore episode with Dr. Aaron Mitchell (Encore! EP282), and we talked about buy and bill. To continue our exploration of specialty pharmacy intrigue, let's talk about so-called “bagging.” I wanted to get an overview of all of the different kinds of specialty pharmacy bagging. Bagging is a big deal. If you have anything to do with trying to control pharmacy costs or the clinical outcomes of specialty pharmacy patients, you too are going to want to understand what's going on here with bagging. I was thrilled to have a chance to chat with Keith Hartman, who is my guest in this healthcare podcast. He is the CEO of ContinuumRx. He's a pharmacist by education and has been in the pharmacy space for over 25 years now, touching just about every aspect of pharmacy from retail operations to long-term care and now, most recently, home infusion. This makes him an ideal person to chat with about this topic. And FYI, it was not easy to find someone to do so to clearly see the actions and reactions going on here because that's what this is all about: actions and reactions—how any self-respecting market distortion is going to cause a cascade of equal and opposite market distortions. So, let's cruise through the whole infused/injected specialty pharmacy historical play-by-play, shall we? It's like a “Who's on First?” routine—except very, very not funny. So, here we go. This is, of course, the semi-reductive abridged version; but let's do this thing. Once upon a time, the bagging story starts in ye olden days, meaning more than ten years ago, before specialty pharmacy drugs really became the massive profit centers for any party who can manage to get their fingers in the specialty pharmacy cookie jar. In these ancient and halcyon times, brown bagging was kind of a modus operandi. Don't forget, we're talking about infused or injectable drugs here, especially ones that need to be infused or injected in the provider's office. So, brown bagging means and meant when a specialty pharmacy drug is shipped directly to a patient, or a patient goes and picks up the specialty pharmacy drug at the pharmacy. Doc takes out prescription pad (this is in ye olden days, remember) and writes out the Rx. Patient picks up the drug from the pharmacy, which may be handed to them in a brown bag. Get it? But then they take that “brown bag,” as it were, to their doctor's office. The doctor takes the drug out of the brown bag and infuses or injects it. I say doctor's office because many times, in the olden days, that's where this went down. And this brown bagging had some issues, for sure; but specialty pharmacy drugs really weren't all that big of a thing either dollar-wise or frequency-wise. At some point in our story here, pharma manufacturers start seeing just exactly how much money the market will bear for specialty pharmacy drugs, and the prices of these specialty drugs go through the roof. At the same time, for a bunch of reasons I actually discussed with Dr. Bruce Rector (EP300), a whole bunch of these specialty pharmacy drugs start hitting the market all at once. So, these drugs have skyrocketing prices—and there's lots of them.   At that point, some (certainly not all, but enough) CFOs at provider organizations were like—wowza, epiphany, light bulb moment—there's a lot of money that can be made here because buy and bill. In buy and bill, which I talked about last week with Dr. Aaron Mitchell, provider organizations get reimbursed the cost of the drug plus some percentage when they administer it—meaning the more expensive the drug, the more money a provider can make because a percentage of a bigger number is, of course, a bigger number. Add to that a party-sized container of other provider shenanigans to maximize revenue on specialty pharmacy patients—and that revenue got bigger every single year. A recent report just came out that, on average, for oncology drugs, some providers are making six times the cost of the drug. Six times the cost of a drug that can cost lots of zeros! Just wow—6x! That's real money. This is winning the lottery every single time a patient needing a specialty drug shows up on your doorstep.   Continuing the tale here, this buy and bill health system extreme greed hits employers in their pocketbooks. And, of course, plan sponsors start desperately seeking relief. Who rides up on a white horse? PBMs (pharmacy benefit managers), of course. PBMs say that they will negotiate with drug companies and buy the drugs on behalf of the plan sponsors for much cheaper. Then they will ship the drugs purchased to the provider organizations. Thus, the plan sponsor only needs to pay providers to administer the drug, not that and some crazy markup on the drug itself. Ladies and gentlemen, white bagging has entered the building. White bagging is when the drug is not shipped directly to the patient à la brown bagging. It is when the drug is shipped to the provider. But wait … there's more to the story than a grand PBM gesture of goodwill. They see how much money the employers are used to paying providers for these drugs and realize that the PBM only needs to come in with a price that's less than that, at least at the beginning. So, over the years, weird stuff starts happening with rebates on the specialty drugs. Listen to the show with Scott Haas (EP365) for more on that. But bottom line, white bagging becomes not exactly a mecca of cost savings. PBMs are, as we all know, not known for their ability to moderate their profitability, after all. At this point in our story, let's just pause to say that provider organizations are very, very, very not happy with this whole white bagging intervention. Not only did a piece of the provider's specialty pharmacy cash cow get snatched by the PBMs, but there are also clinical issues with white bagging that we talk about on the show today. And some of these issues are not BS. Do not get me wrong. They are very real, and I do not want to minimize them. And so, provider organizations start to stand up their own hospital specialty pharmacies because then at least they can get some of the white bagging cha-ching. See what I mean? Plan sponsor, health plan mandates that the drug be filled in a pharmacy, hospital owns the pharmacy or part of the pharmacy … and now they have so-called clear bagging. Clear bagging is when one organization owns the pharmacy and the provider who will administer the drug. Clear bagging solves some of the clinical issues with white bagging, and the hospital also gets to take a cut. I'd be remiss not to mention here that some hospitals have worked very hard on their clear-bagging programs and definitely have tried to improve the quality of service here. You're going to have to listen to the show to hear about gold bagging and also the latest developments in this whole war employers and patients and taxpayers are fighting with PBMs and hospitals who are fighting with each other over who gets the money. Also, the continuing trend of brown bagging, especially as “in the patient's home” gets tagged on the end of lots of care delivery like “in bed” gets tagged on the end of lots of fortune cookies. Next week's show will dig into how exactly some providers are managing to get the up to 6x the cost of specialty pharmacy drugs when Medicare Part B at least says that they're only supposed to get ASP [average sales price] + 6% (ish). I just could not figure out how they were managing to get 6x just given that Medicare Part B rule, but yeah, they are—and we'll learn about that next week. You can learn more at continuumrx.com.   Keith P. Hartman, RPh, is chief executive officer of ContinuumRx and an experienced operating entrepreneur and pharmacy business owner spanning two decades. Keith founded and grew a chain of retail pharmacies, a compounding pharmacy, and two specialty pharmacies along with a long-term care pharmacy. All were built and grown under the guise of operational excellence and produced great results. Some were sold, while others he still owns and provides limited strategic guidance as a member of the board of directors. Keith graduated from the University of the Sciences with a degree in pharmacy. Today he is still involved mentoring future pharmacists and pharmacy owners. 08:09 What kinds of patients and/or drugs is the concept of bagging relevant to? 08:53 What is brown bagging, and what are the issues with it? 10:28 What is white bagging, and how is it different from brown bagging? 11:30 Who are the key players in pharma bagging? 12:25 Why does a PBM want a specialty drug to go through them? 12:49 From the physician's perspective, why is buy and bill ideal? 16:46 How does white bagging impact patient clinical care? 22:12 Encore! EP216 with Chris Sloan. 23:05 What are the two main reasons patients might not continue their therapy? 23:29 “We've got to leave some authority with our prescribers to be able to make a clinical decision of what's best for that … patient.” 24:41 What is clear bagging? 26:51 How does a hospital specialty pharmacy get in network with a PBM? 28:57 What is gold bagging? 30:11 “Outlook really needs to be what's best for the patient.” 32:10 EP337 with Olivia Webb.   You can learn more at continuumrx.com.   Keith Hartman of @continuumrx1 discusses #specialtypharmabagging on our #healthcarepodcast. #healthcare #podcast #pharma #specialtypharma What kinds of patients and/or drugs is the concept of bagging relevant to? Keith Hartman of @continuumrx1 discusses #specialtypharmabagging on our #healthcarepodcast. #healthcare #podcast #pharma #specialtypharma What is brown bagging, and what are the issues with it? Keith Hartman of @continuumrx1 discusses #specialtypharmabagging on our #healthcarepodcast. #healthcare #podcast #pharma #specialtypharma What is white bagging, and how is it different from brown bagging? Keith Hartman of @continuumrx1 discusses #specialtypharmabagging on our #healthcarepodcast. #healthcare #podcast #pharma #specialtypharma Who are the key players in pharma bagging? Keith Hartman of @continuumrx1 discusses #specialtypharmabagging on our #healthcarepodcast. #healthcare #podcast #pharma #specialtypharma Why does a PBM want a specialty drug to go through them? Keith Hartman of @continuumrx1 discusses #specialtypharmabagging on our #healthcarepodcast. #healthcare #podcast #pharma #specialtypharma From the physician's perspective, why is buy and bill ideal? Keith Hartman of @continuumrx1 discusses #specialtypharmabagging on our #healthcarepodcast. #healthcare #podcast #pharma #specialtypharma How does white bagging impact patient clinical care? Keith Hartman of @continuumrx1 discusses #specialtypharmabagging on our #healthcarepodcast. #healthcare #podcast #pharma #specialtypharma What are the two main reasons patients might not continue their therapy? Keith Hartman of @continuumrx1 discusses #specialtypharmabagging on our #healthcarepodcast. #healthcare #podcast #pharma #specialtypharma “We've got to leave some authority with our prescribers to be able to make a clinical decision of what's best for that … patient.” Keith Hartman of @continuumrx1 discusses #specialtypharmabagging on our #healthcarepodcast. #healthcare #podcast #pharma #specialtypharma What is clear bagging? Keith Hartman of @continuumrx1 discusses #specialtypharmabagging on our #healthcarepodcast. #healthcare #podcast #pharma #specialtypharma How does a hospital specialty pharmacy get in network with a PBM? Keith Hartman of @continuumrx1 discusses #specialtypharmabagging on our #healthcarepodcast. #healthcare #podcast #pharma #specialtypharma What is gold bagging? Keith Hartman of @continuumrx1 discusses #specialtypharmabagging on our #healthcarepodcast. #healthcare #podcast #pharma #specialtypharma “Outlook really needs to be what's best for the patient.” Keith Hartman of @continuumrx1 discusses #specialtypharmabagging on our #healthcarepodcast. #healthcare #podcast #pharma #specialtypharma   Recent past interviews: Click a guest's name for their latest RHV episode! Dr Aaron Mitchell (Encore! EP282), Stacey Richter (INBW34), Ashleigh Gunter, Doug Hetherington, Dr Kevin Schulman, Scott Haas, David Muhlestein, David Scheinker, Ali Ucar, Dr Carly Eckert, Jeb Dunkelberger (EP360), Dan O'Neill, Dr Wayne Jenkins, Liliana Petrova, Ge Bai, Nikhil Krishnan, Shawn Rhodes, Pramod John (EP353), Pramod John (EP352), Dr Eric Bricker, Katy Talento, Stacey Richter (INBW33), Stacey Richter (INBW32), Dr Steve Schutzer (Encore! EP294), Lisa Trumble, Jeb Dunkelberger, Dr Ian Tong, Mike Schneider  

    Encore! EP282: Do You Know How Much Cancer Centers Get Paid to Put Patients on Drugs? With Aaron Mitchell, MD, MPH

    Play Episode Listen Later Jun 2, 2022 33:21

    After that recent episode with Scott Haas (EP365), where we talked about the real deal with PBM contracting, I kicked into high gear trying to untangle this whole apocalyptic honky-tonk we call benefits for prescription drugs. Notice I did not say prescription drug benefits because that would imply that pharmaceuticals are only charged for under the umbrella of pharmacy benefits. Ha ha, that would be just too easy. No, some pharma drugs are charged as part of patients' medical benefits. An amazing primer for what that looks like in the real world follows.   Just pointing out that any self-respecting healthcare market distortion deserves another, and if anything qualifies as a market distortion, it's buy and bill—what I talk about with Dr. Mitchell in this healthcare podcast. In the following weeks, we'll chat about how the market has responded to this buy and bill market distortion that we talk about in this episode. So, next week, we're gonna get into all the different kinds of bagging: the so-called brown bagging, the white bagging, the clear bagging … and what is this newfangled gold bagging? Spoiler alert there. Tune in next week. And here's another spoiler alert: While in this show today we chat about how provider organizations tend to make somewhere between 4.5% and 20% additional over drug costs, there was a recent study claiming that 4.5% to 20% is chump change. Some provider organizations are, in fact, making four times to six times the cost of the drug—a very expensive drug, mind you (lots of zeros here)—in profit. In the show in two weeks, I'm speaking with April Yongchu and Erik Davis from USI about exactly and specifically how provider organizations can manage to perform this “let's make hundreds of thousands of dollars today” magic trick. So, with that, here's your encore. In the April [2020] issue of Value-Based Cancer Care (that's a journal), there's an article talking about a keynote presentation and a study highlighting a big problem for patients with cancer: toxicity. It's a fact that some chemo agents are pretty toxic, but in this healthcare podcast I am talking about financial toxicity. The financial burden of cancer care has a seriously negative influence on patients' quality of life. This keynote speaker quoted in the Value-Based Cancer Care article implored his fellow oncologists: “Think twice before ordering costly interventions that may have little impact on the clinical course,” he said. This might be difficult for a number of reasons, and one of them is that oncology centers make money, a whole lot of money, sometimes the most money, from infusing cancer medications. It's this little payment paradigm called “buy and bill.” The cancer center buys the meds and then gets paid an additional fee to infuse the drug. This fee is a percentage of the drug cost. You've probably heard a lot lately about the skyrocketing costs of some of these cancer agents. Realize that if you're an oncology center, the higher the drug costs, the higher your revenue. Now consider the patient suffering under the weight of increased cost sharing and employers and taxpayers who are funding this strange payment model. In this healthcare podcast, I dig into this so-called “buy and bill” payment model with Aaron Mitchell, MD, MPH. Dr. Mitchell is an oncologist and health services researcher over at Memorial Sloan Kettering. You can learn more at drugpricinglab.org. You can also connect with Dr. Mitchell on Twitter at @TheWonkologist.   Aaron Mitchell, MD, MPH, is a practicing medical oncologist and health services researcher. He is an assistant attending at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in the department of epidemiology and biostatistics. His research focuses on understanding how the financial incentives in the healthcare system affect physician practice patterns and care delivery to cancer patients. He cares for patients with prostate and bladder cancer.   04:34 Following the drug and following the dollar. 04:56 The “buy and bill” system. 05:43 The perverse and problematic incentives of the system. 08:38 “It creates the incentive for us to gravitate toward the more expensive drug.” 08:42 The hesitancy to address the financial toxicity of drugs for patients. 09:53 Why the only person losing in this situation is the patient. 10:51 The financial impact from the patient perspective. 13:57 Are patients realizing this impact? 14:42 Solving the problem of oncology drug choice. 16:45 Reimbursement reform. 18:24 Capitated systems and incrementalist impacts to reimbursement reform, and what these look like. 23:30 Are we at a tipping point? 23:51 “The current system … works too well for too many people.” 25:01 Who isn't well served by the current system. 25:32 Who has to lead the charge for change. 28:28 Large oncology providers vs small oncology providers in the buy and bill system.   You can learn more at drugpricinglab.org. You can also connect with Dr. Mitchell on Twitter at @TheWonkologist.   Check out our #healthcarepodcast with @TheWonkologist of @sloan_kettering as he discusses #oncology #drugpricing and #reimbursement. #healthcare #podcast #digitalhealth Following the drug and following the dollar. @TheWonkologist of @sloan_kettering discusses #oncology #drugpricing and #reimbursement. #healthcarepodcast #healthcare #podcast #digitalhealth The “buy and bill” system. @TheWonkologist of @sloan_kettering discusses #oncology #drugpricing and #reimbursement. #healthcarepodcast #healthcare #podcast #digitalhealth The perverse and problematic incentives of the system. @TheWonkologist of @sloan_kettering discusses #oncology #drugpricing and #reimbursement. #healthcarepodcast #healthcare #podcast #digitalhealth “It creates the incentive for us to gravitate toward the more expensive drug.” @TheWonkologist of @sloan_kettering discusses #oncology #drugpricing and #reimbursement. #healthcarepodcast #healthcare #podcast #digitalhealth Why is there hesitancy to address the financial toxicity of drug pricing for patients? @TheWonkologist of @sloan_kettering discusses #oncology #drugpricing and #reimbursement. #healthcarepodcast #healthcare #podcast #digitalhealth Why the patient is the only one that loses. @TheWonkologist of @sloan_kettering discusses #oncology #drugpricing and #reimbursement. #healthcarepodcast #healthcare #podcast #digitalhealth What's the financial impact from the patient perspective? @TheWonkologist of @sloan_kettering discusses #oncology #drugpricing and #reimbursement. #healthcarepodcast #healthcare #podcast #digitalhealth Are patients realizing this financial impact? @TheWonkologist of @sloan_kettering discusses #oncology #drugpricing and #reimbursement. #healthcarepodcast #healthcare #podcast #digitalhealth Solving the problem of oncology drug choice. @TheWonkologist of @sloan_kettering discusses #oncology #drugpricing and #reimbursement. #healthcarepodcast #healthcare #podcast #digitalhealth What should reimbursement reform look like? @TheWonkologist of @sloan_kettering discusses #oncology #drugpricing and #reimbursement. #healthcarepodcast #healthcare #podcast #digitalhealth “The current system … works too well for too many people.” @TheWonkologist of @sloan_kettering discusses #oncology #drugpricing and #reimbursement. #healthcarepodcast #healthcare #podcast #digitalhealth Who has to lead the charge for change? @TheWonkologist of @sloan_kettering discusses #oncology #drugpricing and #reimbursement. #healthcarepodcast #healthcare #podcast #digitalhealth Large oncology providers vs small oncology providers in the buy and bill system. @TheWonkologist of @sloan_kettering discusses #oncology #drugpricing and #reimbursement. #healthcarepodcast #healthcare #podcast #digitalhealth   Recent past interviews: Click a guest's name for their latest RHV episode! Stacey Richter (INBW34), Ashleigh Gunter, Doug Hetherington, Dr Kevin Schulman, Scott Haas, David Muhlestein, David Scheinker, Ali Ucar, Dr Carly Eckert, Jeb Dunkelberger (EP360), Dan O'Neill, Dr Wayne Jenkins, Liliana Petrova, Ge Bai, Nikhil Krishnan, Shawn Rhodes, Pramod John (EP353), Pramod John (EP352), Dr Eric Bricker, Katy Talento, Stacey Richter (INBW33), Stacey Richter (INBW32), Dr Steve Schutzer (Encore! EP294), Lisa Trumble, Jeb Dunkelberger, Dr Ian Tong, Mike Schneider, Peter Hayes  

    INBW34: The Absence of Collaboration Between Healthcare Stakeholders: What It Means

    Play Episode Listen Later May 26, 2022 19:15

    In INBW32, I talked about telehealth. In this episode, I'm talking about collaboration between healthcare stakeholders or the lack thereof. My grandfather suffered from heart failure. This was many years ago now. But when I say suffered, I mean it. As many of you know, when heart failure is uncontrolled, it is painful to go through or even watch a loved one go through. There was that one time when I accompanied my grandfather (and my grandma was there, too) on a trip to the emergency room, you know, because he was drowning in his own lung fluid and could barely breathe. And when we arrived, they were going to wheel him into one of the exam rooms. But my grandmother put her foot down. She did not want to go into that one exam room because the TV was broken in there. Yes, the two of them had been in the ER so many times that they were familiar with the pros and cons of the various exam rooms. The end of my grandfather's life was almost unbearable, and I can't even begin to estimate the hundreds of thousands of dollars racked up in ER visits and inpatient stays. He was in the ER once a month at a minimum, and he would come home disoriented and confused. Now, as everybody listening to this show knows, this anecdote is also a data point that is, dare I say, all too common. But to that end, let me just talk about heart failure data for a second. Patients with heart failure generate a third of Medicare spending and 40% of Medicare fee-for-service deaths. They are also responsible for 55% of Medicare readmissions. You'd think that if there were any chronic condition that we'd be looking to improve outcomes on, it'd be this one. So, everybody's on it, right? Oh, wait … heart failure readmissions have actually gone up in recent years.   I just want to point out that in between ER visits and inpatient stays, my grandfather received effectively no education, no PCP or cardiology follow-ups, no community support. He did not get a case manager. He got no coaching. He got 25 pages of tiny, printed instructions just before the door hit him in the butt on his way out to the parking lot. Obvious point here, but to do any of this in-between stuff would have required collaboration between the hospital and others. And it was conspicuous in its absence. Look, this is sad and I'm not telling the story because I think it's unique. If I asked who else has a story like this one where a family member or a loved one got lost in the gaps between their care, I am suspecting that everyone would raise their hands—even those of you who have medical degrees. No matter how much any of us know or care or try to help, stories like my grandfather's are painfully and unequivocally common in this country today. OK, so how to improve care, especially for chronic care patients. At its core, and I am not telling anyone listening something that you probably have not already thought about at great length, but there are two important contributors to patient outcomes. Not the only contributors for absolutely sure, but here are two important ones: Nonfragmented patient journeys that adhere to evidence-based best-practice care. My grandfather and anyone with a chronic condition requires a patient journey that isn't a game of whack-a-mole. Carly Eckert, MD, says this so well in EP361. Steering patients to the best care setting, which is required to get the highest-value best-practice care and also reduce financial toxicity. Short but important sidebar: We know that financial toxicity is clinical toxicity. There was just a study that came out that said in 2030, a leading cause of death will be noncompliance to treatment due to patients abandoning care because it costs too much. Wayne Jenkins, MD, from Centivo (EP358) talks about other implications of financial toxicity for a half-hour. Also, there's another paper that, again, is just more on this point. At this juncture, it is not arguable. Financial toxicity is clinical toxicity. So, we need to get patients, people, customers to the next place that is the highest value for them. Doing either or both of these things—nonfragmenting the patient journey and making sure patients get to the next care setting—it requires collaboration. Let me quote Dr. Steve Klasko, who, until recently, was president and CEO over at Jefferson Health in Philly. He said—and this is an adaptation of an old Steve Jobs mantra—but Steve Klasko said that for hospitals, our old math was inpatient revenue, outpatient revenue, and in-person tuition and funding. The new math is going to be strategic partnerships around this healthcare at any address model. Right? But good collaborations don't just improve patient outcomes. Here's another benefit: They also make happier clinicians or employees. If every outside interaction is a friction point, where employees, clinicians, doctors, nurses are rubbed raw because every interaction becomes a battle, if that's the ecosystem that any given party has created for themselves, patients aren't happy and clinicians aren't happy. And since everything in healthcare spirals around that one relationship, the one between the patient and their clinicians, this could not be more vital. There's that famous Richard Branson quote, which I'll paraphrase: If you want to keep the customers happy, keep the employees happy. How anyone thinks that patients are going to get amazing care when those providing the care are miserable is just the very definition of magical thinking. All right … so, let's get into the hard thing about hard things: why with the lack of collaboration across the industry there are a lot of excuses for why parties cannot collaborate. For example, interoperability, HIPAA, legal, cyber, bureaucracy … Also, people are busy, COVID response, being overworked and burned out is a big deal. And I'm not saying that some of these are not valid, but the elephant in the room is this: In healthcare today, most (if not all) big organizations for sure and a lot of small ones have a business model that is built on revenue maximization. Look, when I'm referring to organizations as revenue maximizers, maybe I'm not talking specifically about specific departments and people working hard in those departments within any given organization. Organizations are not one-celled organisms, after all. But what I am saying is that, as a whole, healthcare organizations—the vast majority and certainly every so-called incumbent payer and health system—when you factor in the actions of the CFO, the actions of the billing department, the group that sets premiums, the one that sets prices, the group that incentivizes brokers, the group that sells to employers, the group that lobbies politicians, the group that writes the contract terms … if you factor in the whole organization, what you get is an organization who acts to maximize outcomes—financial outcomes, that is. As per my normal MO, I'm gonna say the quiet part out loud here. One big reason why parties do not collaborate is because they are thinking they are going to maximize their revenue by info blocking to prevent network leakage, or not sharing data with an employer because then the employer might steer the employee to an infusion center for their chemo, or drugs will get switched from the profitable one to the not profitable one. I just saw another article the other day, entitled “The Many Barriers to Payer-Provider Alignment on Value-based Care.” Two entities vital for a nonfragmented frictionless patient journey cannot figure out how to align incentives, share data, or even figure out what good looks like. Speaking industry-wide here, but if patient outcomes were the top of either the payer or the provider's organizational lists of priorities, I do not think that this would be the case decades later. Listen to the show with Kevin Schulman, MD (EP366); Scott Haas (EP365); or an upcoming one with Autumn Yongchu and Erik Davis coming out in a few weeks that just drives this point home.   So, can you do well by doing good? Yes, you can. I have a degree from a business school, after all; but there is a line that gets crossed when maximizing revenue harms patients. And I'll tell you how you can tell if you're over the line. And again, I'm talking organizations here who have power and control in their local markets. I would say that a lack of collaboration is a symptom. If we all agree that collaboration is essential and some organization is not doing it, maybe it is a sign. It is an actionable bit of information that I hope, if relevant, gets contemplated. For example, back to my grandfather for a sec, it's pretty well known how to reduce heart failure revisits. There are more than a few care models that have definitely been shown to work. Here is one of them, and this was talked about in Dr. William Bestermann's Substacks. There was a nurse in the Carolinas—and I talked about this before—but there was a nurse in the Carolinas who decreased heart failure readmissions markedly by simply calling up heart failure patients and making sure they were doing OK and that they understood how to take care of themselves. She was caring, and she had relationships with these patients. That's all she did.   So, hospital collaborates with a payer case manager or a CBO (community-based organization) or an MSO (management services organization), or maybe the hospital has pop health capabilities internally. I mean, we can manage to transplant important organs in this country, and most healthcare organizations cannot figure out how to work together well enough that a nurse calls up a bunch of patients? Is this some arcane or highly complex thing to do? No, it's not. But most are not doing anything even close to this because revenue maximization is the goal of one or more of the entities who would need to be a party to this, and everything else is just an excuse. If anyone is thinking interoperability right now, I've heard Don Lee say on The #HCBiz Show! often enough that there's lots of evidence at this point that interoperability has been solved from a technical standpoint. It's been solved for years. The problem is a business case problem. No one wants to be interoperable because … revenue maximization All right … aspirationally here, despite all of this, great collaborations happen every single day—collaborations that are bright spots and that definitely improve patient outcomes and reduce financial burdens short-term and long-term. Let me give you some examples: what 32BJ is doing in New York City (upcoming episode with Cora Opsahl talking about the cool things that they are doing with Mount Sinai); CINs (clinically integrated networks), like Lisa Trumble, who talks about SoNE HEALTH in EP349.   There are MSOs that work with ACOs (accountable care organizations) and others. Listen to Shawn Rhodes (EP354); also what Nicole Bradberry and Kelly Conroy are doing in Florida (EP324).   In an upcoming episode, Dave Chase from Health Rosetta: He's got one great story after another about how employers these days are teaming up with provider organizations, pharmacies, and their communities to put a serious dent in costs while raising patient outcomes and satisfaction. Doug Hetherington's episode (EP367) talks about direct contracting with hospitals. Katy Talento (EP350) talks about this also. Steve Schutzer, MD, talks about collaborating with other local orthopedic surgeons to stand up a now nationally recognized center of excellence in Connecticut (EP294). We also have some pharma companies who are developing some pretty great disease-centric resources for providers. Some pharma companies and some internal teams at those companies can actually be fair and good community players. Mike Levitt and the work that he has done on the Accountable Care Learning Collaborative, which is headed up by Dr. Eric Weaver, who has been on the show (EP277); or I'm sure after this show airs, I'm gonna hear about more. Please send them my way.   Now, look … let's get real here. These collaborations may have been initiated with, let's just say, other beneficial side effects; but they all improve care and reduce costs. If I were gonna list some common and appealing side effects that could motivate some prospective collaborators to come to the table, some of the usual suspects are proposing that the collaboration will, for example, improve HCAHPS scores, quality metrics, star ratings; improve predictable spend; reduce shock claims; avenge your common competitor and steal their market share; gang up against a payer or some consolidated health system; improve OR utilization; or improve efficiency in some way. What I would say, though, is that if leveling up patient care happens and costs do not rise as a result, that's the shared priority I'd focus on. If someone gets some beneficial side action, this is kind of the definition of doing well by doing good. All right, so let's talk about the different kinds of collaboration just briefly. I'm gonna say that there's three kinds of collaboration: Collaboration along the patient journey by multiple parties who are all along the patient journey Collaboration by parties who can help inform the patient journey, but they're not necessarily on the patient journey themselves Collaboration by parties who can help navigate the patient journey I am mentioning these three because there's often sort of this insinuation that collaborators should have equal stature in the care journey or have similar roles, that if you're not actually on the clinical journey, then you don't have any responsibility or accountability for the clinical journey and, therefore, are not a worthy collaborator. That is limiting if you are trying to figure out who you might be able to collaborate with to help you. The patient journey is not like a movie showing all the minutes a patient spends in clinic, and then all the gaps in between visits are edited out. Care can be improved at the population level, at the community level. Care can be improved at the disease or the condition level when clinicians get needed insights or information or tools. I mean, frankly, to my mind, it shouldn't be considered a plus when a pharma company or a payer actually does something in the service of improving patient outcomes. It should almost be a requirement that they do. I don't mean by delivering care in any way. And for the record, most prior auth programs are the opposite of collaborative. Payers can collaborate by supplying data, as just one example. Heck, external collaborations are great, but we also could think about collaborating internally, like invite the CFO or maybe the gang rewarding brokers with sales competitions. I don't know. I'd consider ethically dubious: Invite them to come to some meeting where oncology patients are choosing to die rather than bankrupt their families. Communication is the first step to collaboration, after all. That's a place to start. Or life science types: They can supply knowledge and expertise about specific diseases or conditions with the purpose of improving patient outcomes. Informing the patient journey could be a collaboration with some of these amazing patient efficacy organizations or CBOs that are out in the community. Now, I think one barrier to collaboration that we all need to get over is the whole, I call it, stakeholder prejudice thing. Here's what Colton Ortolf wrote on Twitter the other day. He tweeted, “Hospitals are the Lance Armstrong of healthcare. Pissed [off] at all the [crappy] things they do economically, but also grateful for all the lives they save.” If we're gonna eliminate everybody in healthcare who has revenue maximization as their organizational goal, as aforementioned, there is going to be basically no one left standing. As Ge Bai, PhD, CPA, said in EP356, there's no angels and no demons in healthcare. Everybody is both.   If we're talking about stakeholder prejudice, though, I would be remiss not to single out Pharma. When I mentioned them a sec ago, I bet some of your eyebrows went up. Here's my take on it. Consider Pharma's potential role in leveling up disease-/condition-specific outcomes. I mean, there are thousands, millions probably, of diseases and conditions and health problems out there that any given doctor or clinician has to be familiar with. Pharma has huge infrastructures and physicians and smart people who focused on, like, six of them. They know more about those six than anybody else. We pay a ton also for their drugs. It's my view that people along the patient journey should ask for what they want and need relative to the expertise that Pharma possesses. It should be about helping those providing care on the patient journey to level up the standard of care. Frankly, I'd expect collaboration from some of these entities. Ask for it on your own terms, and if all you get back is a sales pitch, you deserve better than that. Find somebody higher up on the food chain to talk to. And also, outcomes-based contracts … yeah, we need to figure out how to operationalize them so that really good drugs that actually produce outcomes like overall survival get paid for and those that do not do not. Point of note must be said: Colluding and conflict of interest is not cost neutral. If someone is getting things bought for them and then thinking, falsely, that it does not impact prescribing, that is not collaboration. Any of these revenue-maximizing hookups are not included in my definition of collaboration. So, in sum, ultimately, what we're talking about here is our legacy. As David Muhlestein, PhD, JD, talks about really well in EP364, we got to ask ourselves, What do we want to leave behind to our children and our grandchildren? Some of this is generational change, for sure. But seriously, talking about today, I mean, who wants to sign their family member up for what my grandfather went through? Right now, across the country, there are heart failure patients going through exactly what he did; and there are other patients with care journeys so dysfunctional that lives are shattered.   Chronic care patients, oncology patients … and this isn't going to change unless we contemplate, first of all, what we can do today—right now. Even little things can matter a lot, but then also to really consider what we want healthcare to look like in 20 or 25 years and then start working back from that vision and collaborating today so that, slowly and surely, we reach a place with better care that is not financially toxic. Check out the 8-Step Collaboration Roadmap for more resources to operationalize a collaboration. For more information, go to aventriahealth.com.   Each week on Relentless Health Value, Stacey uses her voice and thought leadership to provide insights for healthcare industry decision makers trying to do the right thing. Each show features expert guests who break down the twists and tricks in the medical field to help improve outcomes and lower costs across the care continuum. Relentless Health Value is a top 100 podcast on iTunes in the medicine category and reaches tens of thousands of engaged listeners across the healthcare industry. In addition to hosting Relentless Health Value, Stacey is co-president of QC-Health, a benefit corporation finding cost-effective ways to improve the health of Americans. She is also co-president of Aventria Health Group, a consultancy working with clients who endeavor to form collaborations with payers, providers, Pharma, employer organizations, or patient advocacy groups. 03:07 How do we improve care, especially for chronic care patients? 03:18 What are two important contributors to patient outcomes? 03:40 EP361 with Carly Eckert, MD. 03:56 “We know that financial toxicity is clinical toxicity.” 04:09 EP358 with Wayne Jenkins, MD. 06:05 Why can't parties across the healthcare industry seem to collaborate? 08:05 EP366 with Kevin Schulman, MD. 08:07 EP365 with Scott Haas. 08:10 Upcoming episode with Autumn Yongchu and Erik Davis. 08:34 “I would say that a lack of collaboration is a symptom.” 10:10 There's lots of evidence that interoperability has been solved. It's been solved for years. 10:37 Upcoming episode with Cora Opsahl. 10:46 EP349 with Lisa Trumble. 10:53 EP354 with Shawn Rhodes. 10:57 EP324 with Nicole Bradberry and Kelly Conroy. 11:04 Upcoming episode with Dave Chase. 11:19 EP367 with Doug Hetherington. 11:25 EP350 with Katy Talento. 11:28 EP294 with Steve Schutzer, MD. 11:50 EP277 with Eric Weaver, DHA, MHA. 13:00 What are the three kinds of collaboration in healthcare? 13:23 Do collaborators need to have equal status in a collaboration? 13:57 “Care can be improved at the population level, at the community level … at the disease or the condition level.” 15:10 How is stakeholder prejudice holding healthcare back? 15:42 EP356 with Ge Bai, PhD, CPA. 16:55 “Outcomes-based contracts … we need to figure out how to operationalize them.” 17:08 “Colluding and conflict of interest is not cost neutral.” 17:30 EP364 with David Muhlestein, PhD, JD.   For more information, go to aventriahealth.com.   Stacey discusses #healthcarecollaboration on our #healthcarepodcast. #healthcare #podcast #healthcollab How do we improve care, especially for chronic care patients? Stacey discusses #healthcarecollaboration on our #healthcarepodcast. #healthcare #podcast #healthcollab What are two important contributors to patient outcomes? Stacey discusses #healthcarecollaboration on our #healthcarepodcast. #healthcare #podcast #healthcollab “We know that financial toxicity is clinical toxicity.” Stacey discusses #healthcarecollaboration on our #healthcarepodcast. #healthcare #podcast #healthcollab Why can't parties across the healthcare industry seem to collaborate? Stacey discusses #healthcarecollaboration on our #healthcarepodcast. #healthcare #podcast #healthcollab “I would say that a lack of collaboration is a symptom.” Stacey discusses #healthcarecollaboration on our #healthcarepodcast. #healthcare #podcast #healthcollab There's lots of evidence that interoperability has been solved. It's been solved for years. Stacey discusses #healthcarecollaboration on our #healthcarepodcast. #healthcare #podcast #healthcollab What are the three kinds of collaboration in healthcare? Stacey discusses #healthcarecollaboration on our #healthcarepodcast. #healthcare #podcast #healthcollab Do collaborators need to have equal status in a collaboration? Stacey discusses #healthcarecollaboration on our #healthcarepodcast. #healthcare #podcast #healthcollab “Care can be improved at the population level, at the community level … at the disease or the condition level.” Stacey discusses #healthcarecollaboration on our #healthcarepodcast. #healthcare #podcast #healthcollab How is stakeholder prejudice holding healthcare back? Stacey discusses #healthcarecollaboration on our #healthcarepodcast. #healthcare #podcast #healthcollab “Outcomes-based contracts … we need to figure out how to operationalize them.” Stacey discusses #healthcarecollaboration on our #healthcarepodcast. #healthcare #podcast #healthcollab “Colluding and conflict of interest is not cost neutral.” Stacey discusses #healthcarecollaboration on our #healthcarepodcast. #healthcare #podcast #healthcollab Recent past interviews: Click a guest's name for their latest RHV episode! Ashleigh Gunter, Doug Hetherington, Dr Kevin Schulman, Scott Haas, David Muhlestein, David Scheinker, Ali Ucar, Dr Carly Eckert, Jeb Dunkelberger (EP360), Dan O'Neill, Dr Wayne Jenkins, Liliana Petrova, Ge Bai, Nikhil Krishnan, Shawn Rhodes, Pramod John (EP353), Pramod John (EP352), Dr Eric Bricker, Katy Talento, Stacey Richter (INBW33), Stacey Richter (INBW32), Dr Steve Schutzer (Encore! EP294), Lisa Trumble, Jeb Dunkelberger, Dr Ian Tong, Mike Schneider, Peter Hayes, Paul Simms  

    EP368: How to Successfully Roll Out New Benefit Designs to Employees and New Care Delivery Models at a Provider Organization, With Ashleigh Gunter

    Play Episode Listen Later May 19, 2022 30:48

    People are averse to change. It's a thing. It's a thing that affects even those of us who consider ourselves highly educated and/or very smart. Nobody likes disruption or, even worse, the prospect of disruption and the uncertainty that goes along with that. Nobody likes to feel like the rug just got pulled out from under them or that they've lost control of something, especially something important like their health benefits or how they care for patients. Changes to health insurance and healthcare, from any angle, are fraught with stress. A big reason for this is because health and healthcare are filled with so-called “one-way-door” types of decisions and decision points. If I cannot get the care I need today, or if the care I want to provide today to a patient does not go as desired, I feel like the door is one-way: Once I make a decision, I cannot go back. I can't click “undo” on that and go back through the door and arrive at yesterday. Health decisions, therefore, have a very “you got one shot at this” kind of feel. And it's that, right there, that just upped the ante considerably in the stress department for employees and then also for any clinician who is working with patients. It's life or death, and this is why making changes either to the insurance side or the care side of the equation feels like they will be so disruptive. It's a big reason why some self-insured employers or even fully insured employers won't mess with the status quo benefit designs or switch up their EBC (employee benefit consultant) or their ASO/TPA (Administrative Services Only/Third-Party Administrator), even if everybody in the entire company is currently complaining about the price and complexity of said status quo (it's kind of like the devil that you know) and even if it's possible to offer employees overall better-quality care at lower prices, meaning that everybody in the company could get a raise funded by the sometimes massive savings that could be had. I just heard a union leader the other day, and she said that every worker would have an extra $5000 in their pocket if their healthcare costs were what they should be. So, for many employers, the prospect of disruption is just too much. It's not in the CHRO's (chief human resources officer's) job description to open that Pandora's box. Nobody gets fired for doing what they did last year—I guess, until they do (one straw or another is gonna break the camel's back, after all). But in the meantime, we have this fear-induced festering inertia. Let me just point out one thing: Implicit in everything that I just said is the notion that one day everyone will have their familiar insurance card snugly tucked in their wallet, and then the next day, it will be ripped from their bloody fingers in a violent and unexpected fashion. Or, let's talk about provider organizations now. Say one's trying to move from the world of fee for service to the world of value-based payment structures with downstream risk, or direct contracts with employers. To do this well, let's chat about one aspect of this that health systems seem to struggle with that's been a topic of some conversation lately. There's an article cautioning that “practicing at the top of one's license” and its attendant need for team-based care is a giant fail and/or a money grab, or it could be. And it could be both of these things, don't get me wrong. Team-based care isn't a homogeneous construct. It would be like saying that all movies are bad because Super Baby Geniuses 2 was such a dog.   I mean, team-based care—pretty much like team-based anything—if it's not implemented well, nobody on the team knows what they're supposed to be doing and nobody is accountable. There's no infrastructure supporting it. There was no testing or iteration or discussion about the intent. No one actually on the proposed teams was even consulted about the whole idea. And so, everyone starts to suspect, maybe rightfully or maybe not, that it's all financially driven and a cost-cutting exercise. On the show today, my guest, Ashleigh Gunter, warns about all of these exact things. You switch something up without going through the proper steps and stages, everybody gets very suspicious. And, nothing for nothing, their suspicion could be the least of the leader's problems. The initiative's ensuing failure maybe should be their biggest concern. Which is a shame if something was done in the spirit of better patient care, for example, because there's tons of research on the immense power of well-functioning teams as just continuing this one example. And there's just as much research and well-proven case studies showing that innovative benefit designs can be a 365-degree win when they cut out wasteful spending and navigate employees and plan members to high-value care. For all of these reasons and more, I wanted to get Ashleigh Gunter, who is an expert in change management, on the show to talk about how to succeed when you want to change something as touchy as healthcare and health insurance. This all really goes back to the show with Matt Anderson, MD, MBA (EP266) and what Robert Pearl, MD, writes about all the time. It's a skill we all need to learn to lead change. Many of us had to learn this the hard way because we see our vision so clearly and we want to make it a reality as fast as possible, but the result of our enthusiasm might be that we skip implementation steps that are really not optional.   As Thomas Edison said (and I love this), “Having a vision for what you want is not enough. Vision without execution is hallucination.” So, to transform anything effectively, we have to put as much effort into the implementation as we do into the strategy. If we don't do that, then sadly, despite all of the best intentions, whatever we're trying to do is not gonna work and it might be labeled disruptive. So, I couldn't be more pleased to have learned a thing or two from Ashleigh Gunter about change management that avoids this disruption label. Ashleigh Gunter is president of Translucent Healthcare Consulting. She also is an expert in change management as aforementioned and how to help align employees and staff so that an organization can move forward together. According to Ashleigh, there's five steps to effective change management that will ensure success: Having great leadership Creating a case for the change Finding champions, engaging people who have to change so that they can contribute and be supportive Overcommunicating Measuring how things are going and also celebrating small triumphs You can learn more at translucenthc.com.  Ashleigh Gunter, president of Translucent Healthcare Consulting, combines her experience, an understanding of organizational culture, and a practical mindset to meet her clients' needs. With over 30 years of management consulting experience, Ashleigh has deep expertise in advising in the dramatically changing healthcare market. Ashleigh specializes in helping her clients drive change within their health plans, resulting in increased employee engagement, improved human resources experience, and reduced cost for both the employer and the employee. She believes in challenging the status quo by creating direct relationships between employers and providers. Ashleigh has been a key contributor to several community-owned health plans in states from Washington to Virginia and has been credited with being key to employee participation and support of the plans. In working for Andersen Consulting/Accenture, Deloitte Consulting, and The Gunter Group, Ashleigh has provided advice and consulting support to Fortune 100 C-suite executives over her career. She has an MBA with a focus in strategic management and organizational change from the University of Texas at Austin and a bachelor's degree in business administration from the University of Denver with a concentration in finance. 07:46 How does change management go wrong in healthcare? 08:27 “Communication [of change] in and of itself isn't change management.” 10:03 What is change management? 11:06 What does great leadership look like in change management? 12:29 “Leadership sets the tone.” 12:38 What makes change management so hard? 13:27 “What's the company reason to make this change happen?” 15:57 What are change champions, and why do you need to create them when changing your benefit plan? 19:18 Why is it important to overcommunicate change? 22:46 Why is it important to measure your successes and communicate those after a change? 24:14 How does change management work on the provider organization side? 28:53 “You want to ensure you are educating the operational folks.” You can learn more at translucenthc.com.  Ashleigh Gunter of Translucent Healthcare Consulting discusses #benefitdesign and #deliverymodels on our #healthcarepodcast. #healthcare #podcast How does change management go wrong in healthcare? Ashleigh Gunter of Translucent Healthcare Consulting discusses #benefitdesign and #deliverymodels on our #healthcarepodcast. #healthcare #podcast “Communication [of change] in and of itself isn't change management.” Ashleigh Gunter of Translucent Healthcare Consulting discusses #benefitdesign and #deliverymodels on our #healthcarepodcast. #healthcare #podcast What is change management? Ashleigh Gunter of Translucent Healthcare Consulting discusses #benefitdesign and #deliverymodels on our #healthcarepodcast. #healthcare #podcast What does great leadership look like in change management? Ashleigh Gunter of Translucent Healthcare Consulting discusses #benefitdesign and #deliverymodels on our #healthcarepodcast. #healthcare #podcast “Leadership sets the tone.” Ashleigh Gunter of Translucent Healthcare Consulting discusses #benefitdesign and #deliverymodels on our #healthcarepodcast. #healthcare #podcast What makes change management so hard? Ashleigh Gunter of Translucent Healthcare Consulting discusses #benefitdesign and #deliverymodels on our #healthcarepodcast. #healthcare #podcast “What's the company reason to make this change happen?” Ashleigh Gunter of Translucent Healthcare Consulting discusses #benefitdesign and #deliverymodels on our #healthcarepodcast. #healthcare #podcast What are change champions, and why do you need to create them when changing your benefit plan? Ashleigh Gunter of Translucent Healthcare Consulting discusses #benefitdesign and #deliverymodels on our #healthcarepodcast. #healthcare #podcast Why is it important to overcommunicate change? Ashleigh Gunter of Translucent Healthcare Consulting discusses #benefitdesign and #deliverymodels on our #healthcarepodcast. #healthcare #podcast Why is it important to measure your successes and communicate those after a change? Ashleigh Gunter of Translucent Healthcare Consulting discusses #benefitdesign and #deliverymodels on our #healthcarepodcast. #healthcare #podcast How does change management work on the provider organization side? Ashleigh Gunter of Translucent Healthcare Consulting discusses #benefitdesign and #deliverymodels on our #healthcarepodcast. #healthcare #podcast “You want to ensure you are educating the operational folks.” Ashleigh Gunter of Translucent Healthcare Consulting discusses #benefitdesign and #deliverymodels on our #healthcarepodcast. #healthcare #podcast   Recent past interviews: Click a guest's name for their latest RHV episode! Doug Hetherington, Dr Kevin Schulman, Scott Haas, David Muhlestein, David Scheinker, Ali Ucar, Dr Carly Eckert, Jeb Dunkelberger (EP360), Dan O'Neill, Dr Wayne Jenkins, Liliana Petrova, Ge Bai, Nikhil Krishnan, Shawn Rhodes, Pramod John (EP353), Pramod John (EP352), Dr Eric Bricker, Katy Talento, Stacey Richter (INBW33), Stacey Richter (INBW32), Dr Steve Schutzer (Encore! EP294), Lisa Trumble, Jeb Dunkelberger, Dr Ian Tong, Mike Schneider, Peter Hayes, Paul Simms, Dr Steven Quimby  

    EP367: Why Would a Hospital Direct Contract With an Employer Looking to Pay Less? With Doug Hetherington

    Play Episode Listen Later May 12, 2022 33:41

    Lots of talk about direct contracting going on these days. Many of you will be familiar with the term, but in short, direct contracting means when a self-insured employer directly contracts with a provider organization with no payer in the middle of that arrangement. And when I say “employer,” I mean the employer and all their peeps—their TPAs, repricers, other vendors, and consultants. Most of this talk, though, seems to come from the point of view of the employer. It's super easy to quantify what's in it for employers. US healthcare costs get blamed for all kinds of things: companies who have lost big global contracts because all of those fringe benefits cost way too much around here. If we're looking around for a why on that point, let me refer you to last week's episode (EP366) with Dr. Kevin Schulman entitled “An In-Depth Dissection of Our Dysfunctional Healthcare Benefits Market.” Or the show with Dr. Wayne Jenkins (EP358) about how premium and deductible financial toxicity negatively impacts plan members. Never forget that financial toxicity is clinical toxicity.   So, like a knight riding in on a white horse, direct contracting with a provider organization has some interesting potential. Most obviously, when an employer contracts directly with a provider organization, they cut out the middleman. They put the direct in direct contracting. Considering the multi-billions of dollars that some of these middle people are raking in every quarter in profits and/or “margins,” cutting out the middle people could have a financial upside as big as those billions in profit. If those billions get passed on to patients in the form of lower co-pays/coinsurance or premiums, there could be some big benefits to direct contracting for pretty much all involved … except the middle people, of course. My guest in this healthcare podcast, Doug Hetherington, says that it's not uncommon to see on the low end a 10% reduction in costs to maybe up to 50% reduction in costs. It's amazing what can be accomplished when everybody starts working together for the good of the local community and patient and is held accountable for more than just revenue maximization. But there's also quality and patient outcomes upsides to these cost reductions. Here's a few we can speculate about: For example, if the middle people add layers of bureaucracy and administrative burden that make it really hard and/or upsettingly inefficient for anyone trying to serve their patients' needs to actually serve their patients' needs, then yeah, direct contracting can make getting the right care to patients faster and easier. That matters to burned-out clinicians. Also, here's another potential point to ponder: benefit designs. Listen to the show with Dr. Mark Fendrick (EP308) on this, but most benefit designs offered by middle people are really, as they call them, blunt instruments. High-value care costs as much (or more) as low-value care. Deductibles don't care if you need your diabetic foot ulcers checked urgently or you might get your foot amputated. It's a known fact that health outcomes plummet in January when, all of a sudden, cancer meds or whatever essential lifesaving medical innovation cost as much as a patient's deductible. So, patients abandon care—and outcomes go down.   When an employer direct contracts with a provider, in its most sophisticated form—which my guest, Doug Hetherington, calls a “full-pay open contract”—the employer and the provider work together to construct a benefit design that helps patients get the best outcomes. Or here's another benefit, for the whole community, not just the employer: The whole community keeps the money local. Many of these middle people are big national companies. As Dave Chase and others have said often, when these Fortune whatever companies arrive on the scene, lots of money exits stage left out of the community. If local employers contract with local providers, the money stays local. So, all that I have said has been said before. What I wanted to dig into in this episode is the why and the how from the provider organization standpoint. I got curious about this after my conversation with Katy Talento (EP350). She talks about a major barrier for self-insured employers who want to work with local hospitals is that the local hospitals couldn't, frankly, get out of their own way. Maybe they couldn't see the benefit for themselves that made the juice worth the squeeze? That's what I talk about in this episode with Doug Hetherington: what's in it for providers and what a provider organization interested in direct contracting needs to actually pull it off.  Doug Hetherington is CEO of Health2Business, and he has done and continues to do pioneering work with community hospitals in eastern Idaho and elsewhere. Health2Business helps facilitate direct contracting between hospitals and local employers. You can learn more at health2business.com and connect with Doug on LinkedIn.  You can also learn how to engage in direct contracts from Doug's presentation, “Beyond the Direct Contract.”    Doug Hetherington is a health plan visionary, innovator, and program architect who believes providers are the key to sustainable and meaningful healthcare in our communities. Midway through his 20-year tenure as a benefit advisor, Doug began innovating around self-funding, captives, reference-based pricing (RBP), and population management in search of viable solutions that gave his employer clients control over cost and plan design. His creativity and tenacity for change drove his development of several first-of-their-kind innovations, including RB EmCap, a national access captive program for RBP employers. Doug founded Health2Business (H2B) in 2019 after successful proof of concept that better healthcare results when employers, providers, and health systems work together at the local level through direct contracts. Tackling one aspect of our broken healthcare system, H2B solves for how we access and pay for care. While establishing scalable direct contracts with some of the largest flagship health systems in the country, Doug realized that in order to truly decapitalize healthcare, direct contracts need to be transparent, open, and free for employers of all sizes to access. By establishing H2B's independent, agnostic, and collaborative direct contract administrative platform infrastructure, Doug has created an entirely new vendor class known as direct contract administration. An optimist by nature, Doug truly believes that the more we work together, the faster we can restore value to our healthcare system and create a sustainable mutual benefit for provider, employer, and employee/member stakeholders. 05:38 Why are health systems interested in direct contracting? 09:43 EP308 with Mark Fendrick, MD.10:06 What are the essentials for direct contracting between a health system and an employer or payer? 11:16 What are the three categories of open direct contracting agreements? 12:44 EP350 with Katy Talento.12:59 EP363 with David Scheinker, PhD.14:43 What direction do we need to be moving to solve the cost problems in healthcare? 18:10 “What does a value-based model begin to look like?” 20:31 What is one of the inherent benefits of a direct contracting environment? 21:01 What data should we actually be capturing? 25:01 “Sometimes you really begin to wonder, why is there such a high level of misalignment?” 25:16 How much can an employer save, on average, with a direct contract? 26:33 What are healthcare costs going up by per year? 26:50 “We pay for these insurance plans … and yet what you're paying for that and how they're assessing the risk is not … in line with the actual cost of care.” 30:20 “I would say that … consolidation … is one of the reasons why we're … seeing more movement towards direct contracting.” You can learn more at health2business.com and connect with Doug on LinkedIn.  You can also learn how to engage in direct contracts from Doug's presentation, “Beyond the Direct Contract.” Doug Hetherington of @MyH2B discusses #directcontracting on our #healthcarepodcast. #healthcare #podcast #digitalhealth Why are health systems interested in direct contracting? Doug Hetherington of @MyH2B discusses #directcontracting on our #healthcarepodcast. #healthcare #podcast #digitalhealth What are the essentials for direct contracting between a health system and an employer or payer? Doug Hetherington of @MyH2B discusses #directcontracting on our #healthcarepodcast. #healthcare #podcast #digitalhealth What are the three categories of open direct contracting agreements? Doug Hetherington of @MyH2B discusses #directcontracting on our #healthcarepodcast. #healthcare #podcast #digitalhealth What direction do we need to be moving to solve the cost problems in healthcare? Doug Hetherington of @MyH2B discusses #directcontracting on our #healthcarepodcast. #healthcare #podcast #digitalhealth “What does a value-based model begin to look like?” Doug Hetherington of @MyH2B discusses #directcontracting on our #healthcarepodcast. #healthcare #podcast #digitalhealth What is one of the inherent benefits of a direct contracting environment? Doug Hetherington of @MyH2B discusses #directcontracting on our #healthcarepodcast. #healthcare #podcast #digitalhealth What data should we actually be capturing? Doug Hetherington of @MyH2B discusses #directcontracting on our #healthcarepodcast. #healthcare #podcast #digitalhealth “Sometimes you really begin to wonder, why is there such a high level of misalignment?” Doug Hetherington of @MyH2B discusses #directcontracting on our #healthcarepodcast. #healthcare #podcast #digitalhealth How much can an employer save, on average, with a direct contract? Doug Hetherington of @MyH2B discusses #directcontracting on our #healthcarepodcast. #healthcare #podcast #digitalhealth What are healthcare costs going up by per year? Doug Hetherington of @MyH2B discusses #directcontracting on our #healthcarepodcast. #healthcare #podcast #digitalhealth “We pay for these insurance plans … and yet what you're paying for that and how they're assessing the risk is not … in line with the actual cost of care.” Doug Hetherington of @MyH2B discusses #directcontracting on our #healthcarepodcast. #healthcare #podcast #digitalhealth “I would say that … consolidation … is one of the reasons why we're … seeing more movement towards direct contracting.” Doug Hetherington of @MyH2B discusses #directcontracting on our #healthcarepodcast. #healthcare #podcast #digitalhealth Recent past interviews: Click a guest's name for their latest RHV episode! Dr Kevin Schulman, Scott Haas, David Muhlestein, David Scheinker, Ali Ucar, Dr Carly Eckert, Jeb Dunkelberger (EP360), Dan O'Neill, Dr Wayne Jenkins, Liliana Petrova, Ge Bai, Nikhil Krishnan, Shawn Rhodes, Pramod John (EP353), Pramod John (EP352), Dr Eric Bricker, Katy Talento, Stacey Richter (INBW33), Stacey Richter (INBW32), Dr Steve Schutzer (Encore! EP294), Lisa Trumble, Jeb Dunkelberger, Dr Ian Tong, Mike Schneider, Peter Hayes, Paul Simms, Dr Steven Quimby, Dr David Carmouche (EP343)  

    EP366: An In-Depth Dissection of Our Dysfunctional Healthcare Benefits Market, With Kevin Schulman, MD

    Play Episode Listen Later May 5, 2022 32:55

    First of all, this is a 400-level discussion. If you think you already know all about our dysfunctional healthcare benefits market, then this show is for you. Before we begin, I just want to say something. I'm gonna refer back to David Muhlestein's episode (EP364), where he talks about the first step toward healthcare transformation. It is, let's just say, for incumbent health systems and payers, people who work there, to step back and in the harsh light of day really contemplate their business model—see it clearly. If you're listening to this show, then know that I love you; so this is not a condemnation of you or the great things that you are likely doing in your department. I see you as a changemaker. But contemplating your organization as a whole is like the first step of a 10-step program … to admit what friends and family were saying at the intervention. If you're not yet at the—what's it called?—contemplative stage in your journey toward transformation, you could skip ahead to the 23:00 mark approximately for some advice on what people who work at incumbent payers and/or providers can do right now. My one and only intent here is to see change happen. What I see currently are certainly efforts to improve quality at some level. But those responsible for finance, premiums, and the employer sales team are in a different part of the building. I mean, maybe a first step here is, Can you invite those guys and gals to your meetings? OK … so, there was a paper that came out in JAMA entitled “The Dysfunctional Health Benefits Market and Implications for US Employers and Employees.” It was by David Scheinker, PhD; Arnold Milstein, MD; and Kevin Schulman, MD, who is my guest in this healthcare podcast. David Scheinker, by the way, was on the show earlier (EP363), so certainly go back and listen to that.   This paper (the “Dysfunctional Health Benefits Market” paper) showed that commercial insurance costs have gone up 4x the rate of other benchmark goods or services in price. So, bottom line, “It is assumed that insurers compete intensely to improve the value received by employers and employees by negotiating to keep prices down and advocating for employers and employees.” It turns out, though … not so much with that. My guest in this healthcare podcast, as mentioned, is Kevin Schulman, MD, an author on that paper. And he says this much more eloquently than I will, but the skinny is this: Because insurer profits are capped at 15%, that means that the more healthcare costs go up, the more possible profit in absolute terms that a health insurance carrier can make. After all, 15% of a bigger number is … a bigger number. If you look at how Wall Street responds to these bigger numbers all the way around—higher costs translating to higher profits, that whole thing—you will find that Wall Street likes this profit-generating formula … very much. Share prices go up when that 15% goes up. What does Wall Street like less? It likes less restructuring and pushing providers to deliver better care for less cost and then passing those savings on to employers and employees. Even if you increase quality and decrease costs really well and/or profitably as an insurer, share prices do not rise nearly as much as they rise if you phone it in with the “negotiations” with providers. Nonprofits, by the way, get no pass here either. Some of the most expensive hospitals in the country, which are nonprofit, are doing their thing in areas where nonprofit carriers are the big kahunas. Call it margins. Call it profits. Whatever … same thing. Listen to the show with David Muhlestein, PhD, JD (EP364) from two weeks ago. It's all about the business models. And that business model is revenue maximization. Period. End of the sentence.  So, who loses in this equation? Oh, right … patients. And employers. Read anything by Dave Chase for more on how crushing this loss is that patients and employers suffer: middle-class wage stagnation, bankruptcies, financial toxicity that is actually clinical toxicity, skyrocketing premiums way over the cost of inflation, that healthcare costs borne by employers are a driver for offshoring because they make American labor so expensive. A study the other day said that nonadherence due to a patient's inability to pay for treatment will be a leading cause of death in 2030. That's what this all is adding up to.   Because of business models, insurers have become the piggy banks for health systems, as my guest Dr. Kevin Schulman says. This piggy bank is funded with the pennies, nickels, and dimes from you and me, the insured lives, our employers, and taxpayers. So, unless you're a shareholder in one of these carriers and their vertically integrated PBMs, of course, then, I guess, good for you. Or getting political donations from them might also be a net plus for you personally. Where are the activist investors in all of this? Something that Dr. Schulman said in this episode I had never heard before, and—wow!—it explains so much. It's this whole idea of some, not all, but some health systems clamoring about how they have to charge commercial patients more because they are losing so much on their Medicare patients. They have to cost shift to commercial lives. Here's what Dr. Kevin Schulman said about that in my own words: Cost is a construct. Cost is a dynamic fiction. I mean, say I buy a mansion. I put in a Jacuzzi and a tropical flower bed that needs to be misted with water on the half-hour. Then I tell you that my fixed costs are really high and, therefore, my tuna sandwiches are really expensive. I just made them expensive. I made the decision to increase my costs. The interesting backdrop for that is that in competitive marketplaces, or in Maryland, hospitals do just fine (thank you very much) getting paid Medicare rates. They don't have to price shift. But in markets with no competition, where the hospitals decided to build, baby, build, they created these giant brick-and-mortar money pits that, yeah, cost a boatload. And then they complain that they have to price shift to employers and their own patients to pay for it all. One thing that we don't talk about in this episode are non–fee-based brokers and the role that they play in all of this. One recent lawsuit is a pretty perfect example of what I'm saying here.   You can learn more by visiting Dr. Schulman's profile page and connect with him on LinkedIn. Kevin Schulman, MD, is a professor of medicine for the Clinical Excellence Research Center (CERC) at the Stanford University School of Medicine and, by courtesy, professor of operations, information, and technology at Stanford's Graduate School of Business. He is the faculty director of Stanford's new applied master degree program, the master of science in clinical informatics management program. His research focuses on broad, system challenges in the healthcare market, looking for ways to better understand hidden costs throughout the system. He then works to develop innovative solutions to deliver great care at lower cost. 07:13 Why have commercial insurers become price-takers? 10:04 How does a health plan get bigger profits? 10:40 “At the core at this, Wall Street rewards predictable performance; and the predictable performance … is great if healthcare costs go up.” 11:00 What does it mean to have a “dysfunctional equilibrium” in healthcare? 12:05 What's really changed in healthcare in the last 20 years that's caused this increase in healthcare pricing? 12:47 Commercial price versus Medicare: Do hospitals really need to cost shift? 15:51 How is value-based care really going to work? 17:43 “It's not A or B; it's a dysfunctional market.” 17:57 “Little changes in volume or incentives is not going to change the underlying dynamics.” 24:32 “I think it's an open question whether this model is really serving the American public.” 29:25 “It's a really important time for us to think about, how do we create a different trajectory?” You can learn more by visiting Dr. Schulman's profile page and connect with him on LinkedIn. @kevin_schulman discusses #healthcarebenefits on our #healthcarepodcast. #healthcare #podcast #benefitsmarket Why have commercial insurers become price-takers? @kevin_schulman discusses #healthcarebenefits on our #healthcarepodcast. #healthcare #podcast #benefitsmarket How does a health plan get bigger profits? @kevin_schulman discusses #healthcarebenefits on our #healthcarepodcast. #healthcare #podcast #benefitsmarket “At the core at this, Wall Street rewards predictable performance; and predictable performance … is great if healthcare costs go up.” @kevin_schulman discusses #healthcarebenefits on our #healthcarepodcast. #healthcare #podcast #benefitsmarket What does it mean to have a “dysfunctional equilibrium” in healthcare? @kevin_schulman discusses #healthcarebenefits on our #healthcarepodcast. #healthcare #podcast #benefitsmarket What's really changed in healthcare in the last 20 years that's caused this increase in healthcare pricing? @kevin_schulman discusses #healthcarebenefits on our #healthcarepodcast. #healthcare #podcast #benefitsmarket Commercial price versus Medicare: Do hospitals really need to cost shift? @kevin_schulman discusses #healthcarebenefits on our #healthcarepodcast. #healthcare #podcast #benefitsmarket How is value-based care really going to work? @kevin_schulman discusses #healthcarebenefits on our #healthcarepodcast. #healthcare #podcast #benefitsmarket “It's not A or B; it's a dysfunctional market.” @kevin_schulman discusses #healthcarebenefits on our #healthcarepodcast. #healthcare #podcast #benefitsmarket “Little changes in volume or incentives is not going to change the underlying dynamics.” @kevin_schulman discusses #healthcarebenefits on our #healthcarepodcast. #healthcare #podcast #benefitsmarket “I think it's an open question whether this model is really serving the American public.” @kevin_schulman discusses #healthcarebenefits on our #healthcarepodcast. #healthcare #podcast #benefitsmarket “It's a really important time for us to think about, how do we create a different trajectory?” @kevin_schulman discusses #healthcarebenefits on our #healthcarepodcast. #healthcare #podcast #benefitsmarket   Recent past interviews: Click a guest's name for their latest RHV episode! Scott Haas, David Muhlestein, David Scheinker, Ali Ucar, Dr Carly Eckert, Jeb Dunkelberger (EP360), Dan O'Neill, Dr Wayne Jenkins, Liliana Petrova, Ge Bai, Nikhil Krishnan, Shawn Rhodes, Pramod John (EP353), Pramod John (EP352), Dr Eric Bricker, Katy Talento, Stacey Richter (INBW33), Stacey Richter (INBW32), Dr Steve Schutzer (Encore! EP294), Lisa Trumble, Jeb Dunkelberger, Dr Ian Tong, Mike Schneider, Peter Hayes, Paul Simms, Dr Steven Quimby, Dr David Carmouche (EP343), Christin Deacon    

    EP365: The Real Deal With PBM Contracts and Drug Rebates, With Scott Haas

    Play Episode Listen Later Apr 28, 2022 33:05

    One of my mentors often said price is irrelevant. He said he would sell anything for any price as long as he could define the terms of the deal. During this conversation today with Scott Haas about PBMs, that quote was playing in my head like an earworm. I'm henceforth gonna struggle with the term rebate to define dollars that the PBM gets back from Pharma, because, according to my guest in this healthcare podcast Scott Haas, it turns out “rebates” comprise only about 40% of those back-end dollars that some PBMs manage to score from pharma manufacturers. I don't have any insight really into this, but Scott Haas certainly does—and this is the average that he has seen in his work and that we're going to dig into today. But in sum … wow! Let me just repeat that a mere 40 cents on the dollar of the gross amount that PBMs take in “rebates” from Pharma these days winds up going back to plan sponsors, even plan sponsors who are getting “100% of the rebates.” If you didn't understand what I just said, no worries. I'm gonna explain it right now. If you did and you know the why behind all of this also, you could probably skip ahead about five minutes. Here's the backstory on this whole rebate fandango. Let's start with part one of what is a two-part transaction. So, part one: the deal between pharma manufacturers and PBMs. In general, a pharma manufacturer signs a deal with a PBM to give back whatever percentage of their gross sales revenue to the PBM at the end of the year, say. It's along the same lines as a cash-back coupon for the PBM. Why would a pharma company be up for giving cash back like this? Well, to get on a PBM's formulary, giving cash back is like the price of admission. PBMs have a lot of leverage, after all—at least the big ones. They control access to millions and millions of patient lives. So, if Pharma wants their drug to be accessible to those millions and millions of lives, they have to play the cash-back game, otherwise known as the rebate game. They have to agree to give back to the PBM a certain amount of cash on the back end. So, PBM pays Pharma's list price up front—that's the gross amount paid, based on the list price of the drug—and then after all the cash back gets toted up at the end of the year, there'll be a net price. List price or gross price minus the cash back equals net price. It's this net price that's the true kind of final price which the pharma company gets paid per script by said PBM at the end of the day. These days, most everybody pretty much knows that PBMs are getting these so-called rebates—this cash back from pharma companies that I just explained. And it's pretty common knowledge the so-called gross-to-net bubble (the gross-to-net dollar amount) is pretty huge, meaning the rebate or cash-back amount is pretty huge. And many have also noticed that the gross-to-net dollar amounts seem to be growing bigger and bigger every year. I mean, for one insulin manufacturer, consider this: Their list price, their gross price, is $350 per script. And their net price after cash back/rebates was $52 this past year. Wait ... what? After all the cash back to the PBM, the insulin manufacturer got paid 86% less than their list price—$350 went down to $52 per prescription. The PBM vacuumed up 86% of the dough for every script written for this particular brand of insulin.   OK … so, say Pharma gives $100 back to the PBM based on the terms of their deal. Call that part one of this example transaction. Here's part two: the deal between PBMs and health plans or self-insured employers. Health plans and self-insured employers are customers of the PBM. They hire PBMs to manage the pharmacy benefits for their members or employees. So, because everybody knows this whole rebate thing is going on, as part of the contracts that the PBMs put in place with their customers (meaning the health plans or employers), the PBMs tell their customers that they're going to give 100% of the rebates back to the plan/employer. So, you'd think that if the pharma manufacturer paid $100 to the PBM, that the customers of the PBM (the plan sponsors) would get the $100 back then, right? The PBM would pass on 100% of the savings, as it were, if they're saying that they're gonna give 100% of the rebates. I mean, if this is actually true, that $100 in and $100 out, then the PBM is potentially performing a useful service, right? They're lowering drug costs for their customer, the plan sponsors for their members and employees. Except … turns out, not so much. Because what is a rebate, really? A rebate can be anything the PBM defines as a rebate. And it turns out that, on average, as I said before, according to those in the know, something like $60 of that $100 is not a rebate. It's an administration fee. Or a data fee. Or an education fee. A clinical program fee. Some other name that is not rebate. As my guest Scott Haas says, the term rebate is meaningless because it can mean whatever the PBM wants it to mean. It's like inconceivable from The Princess Bride. I do not think that word rebate means what you think it means.   Now it is a tangled web we weave here, and for more on why I say that, listen to the episode with Chris Sloan (Encore! EP216) entitled “How Medicare Part D Plans Became Addicted to Drug Rebates.” There's also a show with Pramod John (EP353) where we dig into, specifically, specialty drugs and rebating and so-called rebate walls.   But net net, all of this probably myopic focus on rebates means that you have to keep an eagle eye out for so-called exclusions in contracts if you are a plan sponsor. So, what are exclusions? This is that whole thing where some cheap generic is excluded from a PBM formulary while some expensive brand for the same condition is on formulary. Why would a cheap generic be excluded from a PBM formulary? Simple. Cheap generics don't have rebates. PBMs lose a lot of money when some high-priced specialty drug, for example, goes generic. They might have made thousands of dollars per script on that high-priced brand by collecting its rebate. Think about that insulin example. The rebate is 86% of the cost of the drug. And everybody wonders why some cheap generic insulin or biosimilar or whatever isn't on formulary. It is not a mystery when you're dealing with for-profit enterprises built around a model of revenue maximization. So, given all this, what's my guest Scott Haas's bottom-line advice in this whole thing? If you're a health plan or employer and you're trying to negotiate a PBM contract where your spend is predictable and your contracted price promises have any meaning whatsoever, Scott Haas's advice is, you have to ensure that the contract defines the actual prices for the drugs in the contract. With absolute numbers. Not percentages off or weird formulas or the empty promise of getting an AWP or a WAC (which means average wholesale price or wholesale acquisition cost) or any of the other various acronyms for some drug pricing schema. All of these are basically shorthand for “this price could change at any moment.” There's a reason in-the-know people say AWP stands for “Ain't what's paid,” meaning ain't what's ultimately going to be paid by plan sponsors. What is necessary in PBM contracts is the final price—that number. Some digits with a dollar sign in front of them and a “per unit” after them. No acronyms and no percentage signs. Whoever gets to define the terms ultimately controls the price. So, get the price up front. As mentioned several times already, I am talking to Scott Haas, who is a senior VP over at USI Insurance Services. He's speaking today from the perspective of a plan sponsor, meaning from the point of view of a health plan, including those health plans managed by and paid for by a self-insured employer and their employees. For more information on PBMs and how drugs get adjudicated, listen to the show with AJ Loiacono (Encore! EP231), which was one of the most popular episodes over here at Relentless Health Value. Somebody on a LinkedIn post the other day commented on how much she appreciated AJ Loiacono's frank assessment of things and how she would love to go to a meeting with more people similarly telling it like it is. That's pretty much what we aim to do at every episode over here at Relentless Health Value, and AJ nails it on that objective for sure in this episode.   One last thing, also on the show: Scott Haas brings up GPOs that the Big Three PBMs have been spinning up to aggregate and maximize all of those rebates that we just talked about. I discuss this exact topic at some length in another incredibly popular episode with Mike Schneider (Encore! EP288).   You can learn more at usi.com or by emailing Scott at scott.haas@usi.com.  Scott Haas has over 38 years of employee benefits experience. His background includes the development and validation of care management programs; prescription benefit management solutions; provider network evaluation, valuation, and negotiation; and underwriting. Scott started and operationalized a third-party administrator (TPA) and a pharmacy benefit manager platform from scratch. He has worked in the arena of alternative funding for most of his career. Scott's primary focus is in the area of alternative delivery and financing of healthcare other than fee for service, along with prescription benefit and healthcare risk management consulting. Scott has held officer-level positions within Blues plans and TPAs as vice president of sales and marketing, vice president of underwriting, and president. Scott has also served as a trustee for both union and non-union health and welfare and pension plans. Scott frequently shares his consulting expertise speaking at national events hosted by organizations such as Health Rosetta, the International Foundation of Employee Benefits, the Health and Welfare Plan Management Conference, the Western Pension and Benefits Conference, and the Self-Insurance Institute of America (SIIA). Scott has authored and coauthored articles on various topics over his career. Scott earned his bachelor's degree in business administration and economics from the University of Nebraska at Kearney. Scott also holds Chartered Life Underwriter (CLU) and Registered Health Underwriter (RHU) designations. 10:29 What's the major flaw with the buyer-seller relationship between plan sponsors and PBMs? 12:04 What are the five things that need to be considered in order to get a fair price from a PBM? 13:16 Why does using average wholesale price cause problems for plan sponsors? 15:05 What does it mean to put the network risk on the PBM? 17:10 What's happening with drugs moving from specialty brand to specialty generic? 19:14 “A generic is a generic; in our world, it's binary.” 23:31 “The term 100% of rebates is really irrelevant.” 23:54 What does it mean to have a minimum guarantee in drug rebates? 26:39 “When you do a line-item assessment … is it producing an optimal result in comparison to competitively achieved … pricing for generics … and for specialty?” 27:52 “Plan sponsors need to grow a backbone.” 28:36 EP342 with Christin Deacon.29:05 Why do you need to understand your consultant's process as a plan sponsor? 29:30 Why do you need to understand formulary exclusions as a plan sponsor? 29:41 Why is it important to create a more equal PBM contract? 30:52 “Rebates inure to the benefit of the plan sponsor; they don't necessarily benefit the consumer.” 31:45 What does Scott do at USI? You can learn more at usi.com or by emailing Scott at scott.haas@usi.com.  Scott Haas of @USIIns discusses #PBMs and #drugrebates on our #healthcarepodcast. #healthcare #podcast What's the major flaw with the buyer-seller relationship between plan sponsors and PBMs? Scott Haas of @USIIns discusses #PBMs and #drugrebates on our #healthcarepodcast. #healthcare #podcast What are the five things that need to be considered in order to get a fair price from a PBM? Scott Haas of @USIIns discusses #PBMs and #drugrebates on our #healthcarepodcast. #healthcare #podcast Why does using average wholesale price cause problems for plan sponsors? Scott Haas of @USIIns discusses #PBMs and #drugrebates on our #healthcarepodcast. #healthcare #podcast What does it mean to put the network risk on the PBM? Scott Haas of @USIIns discusses #PBMs and #drugrebates on our #healthcarepodcast. #healthcare #podcast What's happening with drugs moving from specialty brand to specialty generic? Scott Haas of @USIIns discusses #PBMs and #drugrebates on our #healthcarepodcast. #healthcare #podcast “A generic is a generic; in our world, it's binary.” Scott Haas of @USIIns discusses #PBMs and #drugrebates on our #healthcarepodcast. #healthcare #podcast “The term 100% of rebates is really irrelevant.” Scott Haas of @USIIns discusses #PBMs and #drugrebates on our #healthcarepodcast. #healthcare #podcast What does it mean to have a minimum guarantee in drug rebates? Scott Haas of @USIIns discusses #PBMs and #drugrebates on our #healthcarepodcast. #healthcare #podcast “When you do a line-item assessment … is it producing an optimal result in comparison to competitively achieved … pricing for generics … and for specialty?” Scott Haas of @USIIns discusses #PBMs and #drugrebates on our #healthcarepodcast. #healthcare #podcast “Plan sponsors need to grow a backbone.” Scott Haas of @USIIns discusses #PBMs and #drugrebates on our #healthcarepodcast. #healthcare #podcast Why do you need to understand your consultant's process as a plan sponsor? Scott Haas of @USIIns discusses #PBMs and #drugrebates on our #healthcarepodcast. #healthcare #podcast Why do you need to understand formulary exclusions as a plan sponsor? Scott Haas of @USIIns discusses #PBMs and #drugrebates on our #healthcarepodcast. #healthcare #podcast Why is it important to create a more equal PBM contract? Scott Haas of @USIIns discusses #PBMs and #drugrebates on our #healthcarepodcast. #healthcare #podcast “Rebates inure to the benefit of the plan sponsor; they don't necessarily benefit the consumer.” Scott Haas of @USIIns discusses #PBMs and #drugrebates on our #healthcarepodcast. #healthcare #podcast   Recent past interviews: Click a guest's name for their latest RHV episode! David Muhlestein, David Scheinker, Ali Ucar, Dr Carly Eckert, Jeb Dunkelberger (EP360), Dan O'Neill, Dr Wayne Jenkins, Liliana Petrova, Ge Bai, Nikhil Krishnan, Shawn Rhodes, Pramod John (EP353), Pramod John (EP352), Dr Eric Bricker, Katy Talento, Stacey Richter (INBW33), Stacey Richter (INBW32), Dr Steve Schutzer (Encore! EP294), Lisa Trumble, Jeb Dunkelberger, Dr Ian Tong, Mike Schneider, Peter Hayes, Paul Simms, Dr Steven Quimby, Dr David Carmouche (EP343), Christin Deacon, Gary Campbell  

    EP364: A Way to Think About Transforming the Healthcare Industry, With David Muhlestein, PhD, JD

    Play Episode Listen Later Apr 21, 2022 36:00

    In this healthcare podcast, we're gonna zoom out and look at the entire healthcare industry. I am very confident that you know a lot about the healthcare industry and its basic stats. It's huge. The healthcare industry is approaching the $4 trillion mark, and it employs more people than any other industry in 47 states. Think about that momentarily. More people work in healthcare than in any other industry in every state except for Wisconsin, Indiana, and Nevada. We could get into (but we won't) how many of the gigantic, consolidated incumbents in the healthcare industry are either for-profits sporting very happy shareholders or investors. Then, of course, we have our “nonprofits”—especially mega-nonprofit health systems—who enjoy some pretty healthy margins while, at the same time, these health systems in general offer up some fairly embarrassing levels of charity care considering the amount of taxes they deprive their communities of. You also are probably eminently familiar with various ways that have been cited to transform the industry. So, the usual suspects here are, of course, changing incentives—offering true value-based care contracts, for example—and then the whole creative destruction angle, wherein upstarts come in with far superior products and services, à la the whole Kodak case study or what happened to Sears and Kmart. Maybe this will happen in healthcare. Other ideas to transform the healthcare industry include employers harnessing the latent power that they have in some markets and then, of course, getting rid of middle people, for sure. Or we could go single payer, of course. That's another suggestion/solution. Today's conversation is a rather holistic look at all of this. I dig into this with David Muhlestein, who is chief research and innovation officer at Health Management Association (HMA). And when I say dig in, I mean dig in. David made some very intriguing points that I had not heard before, actually—and I've heard a lot in my time, so that's saying something. I'm gonna tick off a couple of them, but I don't do them justice. So, you'll need to listen to David explain them and give context. First off, what's the problem with healthcare being a $4 trillion industry in this country—I mean, almost 20% of GDP—and employing more people than any other industry in 47 of our 50 states? There are other big sectors in our economy, after all, that get lots of love. Why is big healthcare “bad” and these other sectors “good” in economic terms when we talk about employment? That's one thing I wanted to know. And David made a point that may be self-evident for some but is worth reiterating in all cases. The government pays for roughly half of healthcare, and from a consumer or just American standpoint, it kind of sucks. I mean, I don't see many Insta selfies of someone rocking their brand-new insurance premium. Dollars going to healthcare or health insurance are not going to consumer goods. And that matters economically as well as retail therapy. For all you econ geeks out there, this industry offers no marginal utility. Here's a second interesting point: Just changing incentives might not be enough. Organizations downstream and upstream need to be on board with the spirit and objective of the incentive change. If they are not, then it's game on for every CFO and their revenue cycle managers to finagle how to find the loophole that enables revenue maximization. Revenue maximization. Period. Revenue. The end. Which brings me to another interesting point: Boards of directors, CEOs, people with fiduciary responsibility … they need to know thyself and consider their actual customer. Spoiler alert: 99% of the time, that actual customer is not patients, no matter what is printed in big letters on the front door. No change can really happen unless those who serve in the upper echelons of these businesses get really real about where their bread is buttered. Organizations are built to serve their customer, after all. So, if a patient isn't identified as a customer, the organization at its very core is gonna have a lot of difficulty serving the patient. So, now what? If I want my organization to move forward in a way that is more patient-centric and less financially toxic, say, what to do? Here's thoughts after chatting with David Muhlestein. Four main steps: As I just said, you gotta get your current state unemotionally understood. For reals, who is the organization built to serve? So, first step is being introspective in the harsh light of day. Consider the timeline of your existential demise. Ha ha, this show is so uplifting. But unless organizations really think out 5 years, 10 years, 25 years and really internalize the existential threat, it's going to be hard to motivate change. I see this all the time. So do you. Inertia is real. Nobody does anything until they absolutely have to. Sidebar: But if you need an eventual demise to bring up at your next strategy meeting, I just saw a paper come out saying that by 2030, cost-related nonadherence could become a leading cause of death in the United States, surpassing diabetes, influenza, pneumonia, and kidney disease. This is as per a study by the nonprofit West Health Policy Center and Xcenda. Nonadherence … what does that mean? It means the patient is not doing their treatment. They are not going to the doctor or getting medical care or not taking their drugs. Meaning no one is making money off of all of those patients, especially when they're dead. This is where the rubber meets all of those excess profits everybody is reaping in the short term. I hope that was helpful for anybody trying to motivate change today.   Consider what legacy we want to leave behind. Do we all want to wait until we're forced to change to do so? Is this the healthcare system we want to leave behind to children and grandchildren? I mean, anybody who's got a loved one in the hospital with anything complex, fighting for their own patient records, on the phone for hours a day with insurance carriers while care is delayed with possibly devastating consequences, the family having to coordinate care and cross their fingers and pray they don't get a ridiculous bill for services that may or may not have been rendered and then use retirement savings to pay for them … if anyone is not looking to be a party to all of this, then let's think about our strategy moving forward and how it will change to meet the future we want to see. On to the evolve and change approaches: How exactly do you think about doing that? According to David Muhlestein, you can repair your current organization or remodel or rebuild. It sounds daunting, but as Dr. Eric Bricker said on our recent interview together (EP351) and as others have said as well, this is already happening in some regions across the country. There are pockets with real transformation. These changes are on the edges right now, but they're showing that this can and is possible.   You can learn more at healthmanagement.com.   David Muhlestein, PhD, JD, is chief research and innovation officer for Health Management Associates (HMA). He is responsible for the firm's self-directed research and supports strategic planning and innovation. David's research and expertise center on healthcare payment and delivery transformation, understanding healthcare markets, and evaluating how the broader healthcare system is changing. He is a self-identified data nerd and regularly speaks and writes about healthcare system evolution. David joined HMA via its acquisition of Leavitt Partners in 2021, where he was the chief strategy and chief research officer. Additionally, David is a visiting policy fellow at the Margolis Center for Health Policy at Duke University, adjunct assistant professor at The Ohio State University College of Public Health, and a visiting fellow at the Accountable Care Learning Collaborative. He previously served as adjunct assistant professor of The Dartmouth Institute (TDI) at the Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth College. David earned his PhD in health services management and policy, JD, MHA, and MS from The Ohio State University and a BA from Brigham Young University. 07:38 Is it an issue for the healthcare industry that it is one of the largest employers in the country? 08:42 “I think that we need to figure out what is an appropriate amount to spend on healthcare and get to that level.” 09:01 How do we not decrease the amount of healthcare we're receiving while paying less for that healthcare? 10:11 What are the two ways we can look at decreasing healthcare spend? 15:39 “I think that a regional approach may happen.” 16:56 “When somebody takes less, others are going to follow them.” 17:33 Who is really paying in our current healthcare system? 19:47 “Any sort of a model that you start with influences everything else that you do.” 20:09 What's the common challenge David Muhlestein sees in value-based care systems? 23:21 “There are countless things that you can do to improve the current system today.” 27:25 What are the three options for building up better healthcare? 28:19 David's advice for healthcare executives. 33:22 “To really lower the total cost of … healthcare, it's a 30-year process.” You can learn more at healthmanagement.com.   @DavidMuhlestein discusses #healthcaretransformation on our #healthcarepodcast. #healthcare #podcast #digitalhealth Is it an issue for the healthcare industry that it is one of the largest employers in the country? @DavidMuhlestein discusses #healthcaretransformation on our #healthcarepodcast. #healthcare #podcast #digitalhealth “I think that we need to figure out what is an appropriate amount to spend on healthcare and get to that level.” @DavidMuhlestein discusses #healthcaretransformation on our #healthcarepodcast. #healthcare #podcast #digitalhealth How do we not decrease the amount of healthcare we're receiving while paying less for that healthcare? @DavidMuhlestein discusses #healthcaretransformation on our #healthcarepodcast. #healthcare #podcast #digitalhealth What are the two ways we can look at decreasing healthcare spend? @DavidMuhlestein discusses #healthcaretransformation on our #healthcarepodcast. #healthcare #podcast #digitalhealth “I think that a regional approach may happen.” @DavidMuhlestein discusses #healthcaretransformation on our #healthcarepodcast. #healthcare #podcast #digitalhealth “When somebody takes less, others are going to follow them.” @DavidMuhlestein discusses #healthcaretransformation on our #healthcarepodcast. #healthcare #podcast #digitalhealth Who is really paying in our current healthcare system? @DavidMuhlestein discusses #healthcaretransformation on our #healthcarepodcast. #healthcare #podcast #digitalhealth “Any sort of a model that you start with influences everything else that you do.” @DavidMuhlestein discusses #healthcaretransformation on our #healthcarepodcast. #healthcare #podcast #digitalhealth What's the common challenge David Muhlestein sees in value-based care systems? @DavidMuhlestein discusses #healthcaretransformation on our #healthcarepodcast. #healthcare #podcast #digitalhealth “There are countless things that you can do to improve the current system today.” @DavidMuhlestein discusses #healthcaretransformation on our #healthcarepodcast. #healthcare #podcast #digitalhealth “To really lower the total cost of … healthcare, it's a 30-year process.” @DavidMuhlestein discusses #healthcaretransformation on our #healthcarepodcast. #healthcare #podcast #digitalhealth   Recent past interviews: Click a guest's name for their latest RHV episode! David Scheinker, Ali Ucar, Dr Carly Eckert, Jeb Dunkelberger (EP360), Dan O'Neill, Dr Wayne Jenkins, Liliana Petrova, Ge Bai, Nikhil Krishnan, Shawn Rhodes, Pramod John (EP353), Pramod John (EP352), Dr Eric Bricker, Katy Talento, Stacey Richter (INBW33), Stacey Richter (INBW32), Dr Steve Schutzer (Encore! EP294), Lisa Trumble, Jeb Dunkelberger, Dr Ian Tong, Mike Schneider, Peter Hayes, Paul Simms, Dr Steven Quimby, Dr David Carmouche (EP343), Christin Deacon, Gary Campbell, Kristin Begley  

    EP363: How to Cut the Healthcare Administrative Burden in Half, With David Scheinker, PhD

    Play Episode Listen Later Apr 14, 2022 32:25

    Administrative costs in the United States have a bad rap. You don't have to look too far to find an article about how there's now, like, 10 administrators for every 1 physician in this country. Or 3 to 4 billing people for every physician. Or find someone complaining about arduous prior auth processes and how long specialists sit on phones trying to get a prior auth approved while having a frustrating “peer consult” with a “peer” whose career has nothing to do with that specialty and, in fact, knows very little about it. Also consider the time that specialists' admin teams have to spend—or really any doctor's admin teams have to spend—when they are required to send documentation validating some prior auth request or appeal. They, in many cases, have to send this documentation via old-school, drop-it-in-a-mailbox mail … literally. This documentation can and often does amount to a sizable box full of paper patient records. They have to drag a box into their office and fill it up with paper to send to the insurance company to validate whatever appeal. Think about who prints out all that paper. Who does all this stuff? And who on the insurance side is unboxing it all and, I don't know, are they highlighting the good parts? Are they rekeying anything? What goes on there? Or here's another administrative cost: collecting and tabulating all the data needed to participate in some quality incentive program. Considering that each carrier has their own flavor of metrics … yeah again. Administrative burden, administrative costs. Or consider what Dan O'Neill was talking about in EP359 the other day. He was talking about IPAs (independent physician associations) and other managed care entities. These entities hold the contracts with payers on behalf of smaller provider organizations or solo practitioners. So, these smaller (usually) individual practices contract with the IPAs—you know, for leverage and all that. And then it's the IPA who then holds the contract with the payer. As Dan mentions, contracting with some of these IPAs is like an “I love 1990” flashback. The contracting process, again, transpires via mail. Not email, mind you. Mail. Like, stick-a-stamp-on-the-envelope mail.  So, in sum, there's a lot of pretty well-founded complaining about administrative costs in this country. A lot of this administrative stuff is truly inefficient and a fantastical waste of time—valuable clinician time. So, here we are freaking out about staffing shortages, overlooking that doctors at the heights of their careers are spending some percentage of their time not counseling, treating, or diagnosing patients but twiddling their thumbs on hold with one insurance company or another slowly burning out by the inefficiency of it all. Or doing pajama time, and we all know that too much pajama time means also burnout on a silver platter. Now consider this: Reducing admin costs are frequently cited as a fine way to reduce overall healthcare spending in this country. So then, let's get granular here. If we're trying to quantify admin costs, how you'd do that is to quantify how much each transaction costs. How much does it cost to send a bill and get paid for it? How much does it cost to file an appeal and a denial of a prior auth? Add all those transactions together and you get the full cost of the administrative burden. In this healthcare podcast, we're digging into a paper about admin costs written by David Scheinker, PhD (my guest today); Barak Richman, JD, PhD; Arnold Milstein, MD, MPH; and Kevin Schulman, MD, MBA.   I have the pleasure of speaking with David Scheinker, PhD (as I mentioned), who is the lead author on this paper. Dr. Scheinker is an associate professor of pediatrics and executive director of systems design and collaborative research at the Stanford Lucile Packard Children's Hospital. He is the founder and director of SURF Stanford Medicine at Stanford. David Scheinker's work centers around bringing together engineering PhD students and faculty with hospital administrators, leaders, doctors, nurses. The goal here is to design improvements to operations from an industrial engineering point of view. So, you can see how investigating administrative burden and costs and trying to reduce them fits in here. Before we begin, I just want to point out one thing: I alluded to this earlier when I mentioned staffing shortages. As reported by Gist a few weeks ago, health systems saw an 8% increase in labor costs per patient day; and many are budgeting for a negative operating margin. In the past, most administrative challenges were solved by throwing bodies at the problem. That is now untenable. This is one promise of technology. Tech can automate, replicate, and scale much of what has required human labor in the past. Tech is used to automate administrative functions in many other industries also, so there's a number of precedents for this. Now, just to underline a major takeaway from this conversation with Dr. David Scheinker, he reiterates a recommendation to eliminate a big proportion of administrative costs. I guess I should say spoiler alert here, but the major takeaway/recommendation is this: Standardize healthcare contracts between payers and providers. Every payer and every provider finds one contract template and uses it. I don't mean one template per payer or per provider, although that probably would be a revelation in and of itself. But I mean that all payers use one basic provider contract. A couple of specifics here: The template that I'm referring to (and that Dr. David Scheinker is referring to) consists of parameters. What do I mean when I say parameters? Consider what Airbnb does when you're looking for a place to stay, as an example. How many bedrooms (that's a parameter)? How many bathrooms (that's a parameter)? How many amenities (that's a parameter)? After everybody picks their standard set of parameters, at that point, all parties can negotiate and come up with whatever they want for what is the price of an extra bedroom or whatever value you're gonna assign to that parameter. Go nuts there, but from a data collection and analytic perspective and a getting paid perspective, it is way easier to do it that way—meaning it's way easier to execute and report when all of the contracts use the same parameters. Also, you can build tech to do a lot of that because you don't have to write algorithms with exponential variables. And anybody who has tried to write algorithms with exponential variables—and I am talking from firsthand experience here—it's a hot mess right out of the gate. You can learn more by connecting with David on LinkedIn and following him on Twitter.   David Scheinker, PhD, started his career as a research mathematician and switched to healthcare operations to work on an interdisciplinary team and have a more immediate impact. He is a clinical associate professor of pediatrics, the executive director of systems design and collaborative research at the Stanford Lucile Packard Children's Hospital, and a member of the Clinical Excellence Research Center (CERC) at Stanford University. He founded and directs SURF Stanford Medicine, which brings together students and faculty from the university with physicians, nurses, and administrators from the hospitals. He studies clinical care delivery, hospital operations, sensor-based and algorithm-enabled telemedicine, the socioeconomic factors that shape healthcare, and policy. 07:23 What's the quantitative administrative cost in an average transaction? 07:49 What's the quantitative administrative cost in a healthcare transaction? 08:43 What does the healthcare billing and administration cost add to the US's overall healthcare spend? 09:38 Is it possible to cut billing and administrative costs in healthcare? 11:01 “In some ways, the problem for healthcare should be simpler.” 12:14 What does the complexity of the current system look like in a doctor's office? 15:26 How did David go about studying healthcare administrative costs? 18:17 “It doesn't have to be simple; it should be standardized.” 21:41 What would be the pushback on standardizing contracts in healthcare? 22:35 Why is it possible to gain more value by losing customization in contracts? 24:11 “Never let a good crisis go to waste.” 24:33 “It's much easier in healthcare to build something new than to change something that exists.” 27:39 What benefits does telemedicine have to cutting administrative costs? 29:09 What is another significant benefit of using standardized contracts? 30:17 Why haven't standardized contracts become a common thing in the current healthcare system? You can learn more by connecting with David on LinkedIn and following him on Twitter.   @David_Scheinker of @SURFStanfordMed discusses administrative burden on our #healthcarepodcast. #healthcare #podcast #healthcarecosts What's the quantitative administrative cost in an average transaction? @David_Scheinker of @SURFStanfordMed discusses administrative burden on our #healthcarepodcast. #healthcare #podcast #healthcarecosts What's the quantitative administrative cost in a healthcare transaction? @David_Scheinker of @SURFStanfordMed discusses administrative burden on our #healthcarepodcast. #healthcare #podcast #healthcarecosts What does the healthcare billing and administration cost add to the US's overall healthcare spend? @David_Scheinker of @SURFStanfordMed discusses administrative burden on our #healthcarepodcast. #healthcare #podcast #healthcarecosts Is it possible to cut billing and administrative costs in healthcare? @David_Scheinker of @SURFStanfordMed discusses administrative burden on our #healthcarepodcast. #healthcare #podcast #healthcarecosts “In some ways, the problem for healthcare should be simpler.” @David_Scheinker of @SURFStanfordMed discusses administrative burden on our #healthcarepodcast. #healthcare #podcast #healthcarecosts What does the complexity of the current system look like in a doctor's office? @David_Scheinker of @SURFStanfordMed discusses administrative burden on our #healthcarepodcast. #healthcare #podcast #healthcarecosts How did David go about studying healthcare administrative costs? @David_Scheinker of @SURFStanfordMed discusses administrative burden on our #healthcarepodcast. #healthcare #podcast #healthcarecosts “It doesn't have to be simple; it should be standardized.” @David_Scheinker of @SURFStanfordMed discusses administrative burden on our #healthcarepodcast. #healthcare #podcast #healthcarecosts What would be the pushback on standardizing contracts in healthcare? @David_Scheinker of @SURFStanfordMed discusses administrative burden on our #healthcarepodcast. #healthcare #podcast #healthcarecosts Why is it possible to gain more value by losing customization in contracts? @David_Scheinker of @SURFStanfordMed discusses administrative burden on our #healthcarepodcast. #healthcare #podcast #healthcarecosts “Never let a good crisis go to waste.” @David_Scheinker of @SURFStanfordMed discusses administrative burden on our #healthcarepodcast. #healthcare #podcast #healthcarecosts “It's much easier in healthcare to build something new than to change something that exists.” @David_Scheinker of @SURFStanfordMed discusses administrative burden on our #healthcarepodcast. #healthcare #podcast #healthcarecosts What benefits does telemedicine have to cutting administrative cost? @David_Scheinker of @SURFStanfordMed discusses administrative burden on our #healthcarepodcast. #healthcare #podcast #healthcarecosts What is another significant benefit of using standardized contracts? @David_Scheinker of @SURFStanfordMed discusses administrative burden on our #healthcarepodcast. #healthcare #podcast #healthcarecosts Why haven't standardized contracts become a common thing in the current healthcare system? @David_Scheinker of @SURFStanfordMed discusses administrative burden on our #healthcarepodcast. #healthcare #podcast #healthcarecosts Recent past interviews: Click a guest's name for their latest RHV episode! Ali Ucar, Dr Carly Eckert, Jeb Dunkelberger (EP360), Dan O'Neill, Dr Wayne Jenkins, Liliana Petrova, Ge Bai, Nikhil Krishnan, Shawn Rhodes, Pramod John (EP353), Pramod John (EP352), Dr Eric Bricker, Katy Talento, Stacey Richter (INBW33), Stacey Richter (INBW32), Dr Steve Schutzer (Encore! EP294), Lisa Trumble, Jeb Dunkelberger, Dr Ian Tong, Mike Schneider, Peter Hayes, Paul Simms, Dr Steven Quimby, Dr David Carmouche (EP343), Christin Deacon, Gary Campbell, Kristin Begley, David Contorno (AEE17)  

    EP362: A CFO Talks About a Hybrid Business Model, With Ali Ucar

    Play Episode Listen Later Apr 7, 2022 32:49

    Let's talk about provider organizations and telehealth. It's just too common a refrain amongst provider organizations who say some combination of: Our patients and/or clinicians don't like telehealth. Telehealth is too expensive for us to do ... unless maybe we should charge facility fees for telehealth visits. Telehealth is risky to invest in because as soon as payers start paying less than 65% of in-person visits, we're gonna drop it anyway. These things are said despite the overwhelming popularity of telehealth in almost any large-scale survey that you'll find. It seems like largely the only entities reporting that patients and clinicians don't like telehealth are provider organizations who haven't adequately invested in telehealth at the systematic/strategic level. Therefore, the only thing their anecdotal evidence about telehealth really seems to show is the negative impact of phoning it in—which is no one wanting to phone in (pun unintentional but, you have to admit, kind of great). All of this is going on with an interesting backdrop, as reported by Chartis Group (and shared by Olivia Webb in her Substack the other day): Health systems see telehealth as a major competitor—82% of health systems surveyed reported that telehealth companies like Teladoc or Amwell are competitors. This is second only to the percentage of surveyed health systems that named other health systems as competitors.   John Singer wrote on Twitter the other day, “Any leader who thinks their business is immune to the wild dynamism of our time is unlikely to last long.”  So apropos. Love it. I said this on a podcast last December (and you can go back and check the tape if you want to), and I'm even more convinced of it right now: Telehealth is inexorable, and it's already showing its disruptive potential. But let me point out something here. Who is leaning in hard to telehealth? I'm gonna make a broad-stroke statement here—so take it for what it's worth—but let me hypothesize that who is leaning in hard to telehealth and virtual healthcare are telehealth and virtual healthcare companies. Many of them are adding in-person care because billing codes, but their DNA is digital. So, most of the so-called “hybrid” companies out there are digital companies with in-person clinics that they've added—not ye old in-person clinic that added a digital service line.  So, I say all this to say I wanted to talk to a traditional sort of provider organization. I wanted to talk to an in-person provider organization who is conceiving of telehealth not as a threat but as a new opportunity to provide ancillary services. One who is going “hybrid” but from the other direction—traditional in-person to digital instead of digital to in-person. Further, I wanted to talk to the CFO of one of these places. I thought the CFO would be the one to get the real scoop from because it's all about the business model, baby. Let me underline the business model point with a quote from a Substack entitled “I wasted $40k on a fantastic startup idea.” And here's the quote: “It had been … a working assumption of mine ... that if you could improve the health of … patients then, you know, [someone] would pay for that.”   Yeah. No, they won't. Unless … business model. My guest in this healthcare podcast, Ali Ucar, is the CFO of Care Solutions Group. They provide mobile physician services to seniors. As they expanded their mobile physician service, they also looked at additional ancillary opportunities. Those ancillary opportunities all involve telehealth. Right now, Ali Ucar's company is running two telehealth programs. One of them is basically tele-urgent care. The second one is using telehealth for care transitions including some care coordination. They transition patients back to the home care setting as safely as possible. Let me say that again in business model speak: Discharged patients don't wind up in the ER and/or readmitted within 30 days. So, let's hear about telehealth from the vantage point of a CFO. How do organizations who realize that telehealth is essential for future viability, how do they make it financially viable today? Ali Ucar listed out a stepwise approach to creating a sustainable business model that takes advantage of telehealth. Here's the first thing: Figure out what you're trying to do on behalf of patients … please. For example, what opportunities are you trying to give your team or customers to improve patient care or equity in care? That's where it really should start. The next step, then, is figuring out how you're gonna get paid sustainably. There are two pieces to that. Maybe you can get paid directly, if at all possible. The most common way to do this, which is also the one I like the least because it echoes with the ghosts of paying for volume, is the whole “get yourself a code and bill FFS” for your activities. Maybe there's a value-based or risk-based contract that you can get where you're taking care of a patient population at a certain stage in their care journey. Good luck with that, and I say this as a finger wag to plan sponsors/employers/carriers who, only in a slim majority of cases, offer a way for providers to get paid for the value they create. Please do better. OK … moving along in our ways to get paid list besides trying to figure out how to get paid directly vis-à-vis FFS or in some kind of risk-based way, another thing that you can do is to ascertain how another stakeholder in the care continuum is going to directly benefit from what you're doing. Make them your customer and then bill them. You can figure out the quality programs that they're a part of and how much revenue is at stake, then take a piece of that. Maybe you can charge them to do something because they could get direct reimbursement for what you're doing, and then you take a piece of that. There's a second part to the business model here besides the revenue generation part, and oddly, despite its apparent, I don't know, seeming straightforwardness, it's so often relegated to the world of the afterthought. After constructing the revenue side of the business model, you gotta get operational and figure out how you're going to switch up your workflows and your processes and your roles and responsibilities, your strategy or infrastructure ... ascertain how you're doing business has to change to accommodate the new service offerings. Listen to the shows with Liliana Petrova (EP357) and Christian Milaster (EP320) for many examples of healthcare businesses kind of weirdly disregarding this last part here. If I had to pick one predominant reason why, first of all, telehealth at some provider organizations is getting a bad rap but also why doctors are suffering under the weight of their administrative burden (and other clinicians as well, of course), it's this, right here. If leadership in an organization doesn't stop and pick apart their operational model when their revenue model changes, you get a suboptimal and misaligned operational model. I feel like there's three shelves of books on this topic in most public libraries, so I won't belabor it here.   You can learn more at caresolutionsusa.com or by emailing Ali at ali@caresolutionsusa.com.  Ali Ucar is CFO of Care Solutions Group with a diverse background in finance, operations, and strategic planning. Ali has been instrumental in designing and implementing programs targeted at reducing costs to insurance companies, hospitals, and nursing homes. Ali played the lead role in the acquisition and integration of a distressed, near-bankrupt mobile physician practice in 2015. The integration included implementation of operating and restructuring initiatives to improve competitive positioning and financial performance. As part of the mobile clinician service and to improve access to care while minimizing the financial impact of the pandemic, Ali launched the statewide telehealth program in 2020. Additionally, to address the needs of a chronically ill and high-risk patient population, Ali has assisted in the launch of the Transitional and Chronic Care Management Programs to assist families and patients with the required coordination of care in the home. Providing this connectivity to a dedicated, single-contact point provided through a registered nurse has been a major factor in reducing hospitalizations, readmissions, and emergency room visits. Ali also has secured contracts with commercial insurance companies for implementation of Chronic Care Management programs as well as program outreach initiatives targeted at engaging and communicating with moderate- to high-risk members. His work also includes project management expertise gained while leading projects with a chain of skilled nursing facilities targeted at managing the needs of discharged patients and for projects initiated by Blue Cross Blue Shield, Ford Motor Company, and multiple start-ups. The development and expansion of Care Solutions Group's comprehensive medical management programs traverse across multiple healthcare systems and settings that include private homes, group homes, independent living communities, assisted living, and skilled nursing facilities. 07:45 How do Care Solutions' telehealth programs do payments? 08:57 EP320 with Christian Milaster and EP357 with Liliana Petrova.09:33 “As you go deeper into it, you're coupling that telehealth with transitional care, chronic care; you can also address … health equity issues in … areas which may be difficult to reach.” 10:02 As a CFO, how is Ali Ucar involved in the telehealth strategy development? 11:26 How have Care Solutions' telehealth programs become sustainable? 13:02 Why would it make financial sense for Care Solutions to continue their telehealth programs? 15:13 EP354 with Shawn Rhodes.18:55 How does the work that Care Solutions' telehealth programs do benefit customers? 21:50 Does Care Solutions have a proactive strategy to building out their telehealth programs? 24:34 How do Care Solutions' telehealth programs add value to provider organizations? 26:33 “It's basically refining your practice. That's the way I look at it.” 27:58 How does Ali Ucar, as a CFO, evaluate the success of his telehealth programs? 30:09 “I think the most frustrating thing from a patient standpoint may be if they don't have those needs addressed quickly.” You can learn more at caresolutionsusa.com or by emailing Ali at ali@caresolutionsusa.com.  Ali Ucar of Care Solutions discusses #hybridbusinessmodels on our #healthcarepodcast. #healthcare #podcast #digitalhealth How do Care Solutions' #telehealth programs do payments? Ali Ucar of Care Solutions discusses #hybridbusinessmodels on our #healthcarepodcast. #healthcare #podcast #digitalhealth “As you go deeper into it, you're coupling that telehealth with transitional care, chronic care; you can also address … health equity issues in … areas which may be difficult to reach.” Ali Ucar of Care Solutions discusses #hybridbusinessmodels on our #healthcarepodcast. #healthcare #podcast #digitalhealth As a CFO, how is Ali Ucar involved in the telehealth strategy development? Ali Ucar of Care Solutions discusses #hybridbusinessmodels on our #healthcarepodcast. #healthcare #podcast #digitalhealth How have Care Solutions' telehealth programs become sustainable? Ali Ucar of Care Solutions discusses #hybridbusinessmodels on our #healthcarepodcast. #healthcare #podcast #digitalhealth Why would it make financial sense for Care Solutions to continue their telehealth programs? Ali Ucar of Care Solutions discusses #hybridbusinessmodels on our #healthcarepodcast. #healthcare #podcast #digitalhealth How does the work that Care Solutions' telehealth programs do benefit customers? Ali Ucar of Care Solutions discusses #hybridbusinessmodels on our #healthcarepodcast. #healthcare #podcast #digitalhealth Does Care Solutions have a proactive strategy to building out their telehealth programs? Ali Ucar of Care Solutions discusses #hybridbusinessmodels on our #healthcarepodcast. #healthcare #podcast #digitalhealth How do Care Solutions' telehealth programs add value to provider organizations? Ali Ucar of Care Solutions discusses #hybridbusinessmodels on our #healthcarepodcast. #healthcare #podcast #digitalhealth “It's basically refining your practice. That's the way I look at it.” Ali Ucar of Care Solutions discusses #hybridbusinessmodels on our #healthcarepodcast. #healthcare #podcast #digitalhealth How does Ali Ucar, as a CFO, evaluate the success of his telehealth programs? Ali Ucar of Care Solutions discusses #hybridbusinessmodels on our #healthcarepodcast. #healthcare #podcast #digitalhealth “I think the most frustrating thing from a patient standpoint may be if they don't have those needs addressed quickly.” Ali Ucar of Care Solutions discusses #hybridbusinessmodels on our #healthcarepodcast. #healthcare #podcast #digitalhealth  

    EP361: The Gap in Closing Care Gaps, With Carly Eckert, MD

    Play Episode Listen Later Mar 31, 2022 32:18

    David Contorno the other day posted the life expectancy chart comparing the US to comparable countries. Spoiler alert: It's horrifying. You see Japan; you see Switzerland, Israel, Spain, Italy … basically everybody else in a cluster of pretty darn vertical lines: increasing life expectancies year over year without much cost increase at all. And then—wow!—off to the right, all by itself, you see the USA, costing nearly double the worst of the other countries with a life expectancy that is years lower. We pay a whole lot, and despite all of the advances in medicine and how much we pay, we don't seem to be getting the value for our dollar. We could dig into those poor outcomes that we pay for. If we were going to, I might mention our truly beyond-upsetting maternal mortality rates and also infant mortality rates, which are way above other comparable countries. We could talk about all of our issues with diabetes and obesity. But let's save all that for another day and just take one example that is really the quintessential example of what's going on. Let's chat about heart failure for just a sec. Here's some stats for you. They come from Dr. William Bestermann's Substack newsletter, and if you don't subscribe to it, you might want to. It's free.  Dr. Bestermann wrote: “Twenty-two percent of heart failure patients who are admitted to the hospital are dead within a year. Patients with [heart failure] generate a third of Medicare spending and 40% of Medicare fee-for-service deaths. Overall, heart failure patients have a mortality of 22%, compared [to] 4% for Medicare patients without heart failure. They are responsible for 55% of Medicare readmissions.” But here's some good news: In Denmark, investigators proved that using optimal medical therapy reduced heart failure admissions by 70% compared with usual care. Here's some more good news: There was a small, impoverished town near the coast of the Carolinas that had very few heart failure admissions. How did they accomplish that, you might wonder? Well, there was a nurse—one nurse—who was working under a grant. She was very dedicated. She had a list of all the heart failure patients in the area, and this was her job: making certain that every patient was on the best treatment for heart failure. She called the patients. She spent time with them. She had a trusting, caring, long-term relationship with them. That's it! That was the secret sauce. As Dr. Bestermann says, “Every poor community in our country could do that, but they don't.” So, this leads us to care gaps—dare I say, this country's seeming care gap fetish dealing with care gaps retroactively. In this healthcare podcast, I'm speaking with Carly Eckert, MD. It's kinda funny, actually. I originally wanted to get Dr. Eckert on the show to talk about care gaps and how to close them, but this show did not wind up going how I thought it was going to go because Carly Eckert is a physician by training who got really interested in the upstream causes of what she was seeing in clinical practice. Despite my best efforts, she refused to be lured into my closing care gaps conversation. So, instead, this conversation is about the construct of care gaps and thinking about them in context. Closing care gaps is a model of care and maybe not a particularly great one, relatively speaking. In fact, here's another name for the model of care called closing care gaps: care gap whack-a-mole. Care gap pops up … we whack it. Care gap pops up … we try to close it. Another care gap pops up … we try to close it. Another care gap … you get the idea. Carly Eckert has worked in epidemiology and public health and also clinical informatics for health systems and payers. She is currently leading a team at Olive AI working on network data analytics and machine learning algorithms. I recorded this show with Dr. Eckert prior to EP359 with Dan O'Neill. In that interview, which you should go back and listen to when you have a sec, Dan O'Neill cleared up a couple of things that I struggled with during this interview.  Here's the big one that I could not figure out: Why with the whack-a-mole? Why do we still insist as a nation on waiting for someone to show up in clinic to retroactively and reactively address a missed preventative care opportunity? Why don't so many more provider organizations create pop health programs that consider the whole person proactively? Why don't they take the time to operationalize whole-person care in a meaningful way? Why don't they do what that nurse was doing in the Carolinas? Ah, yes … to the surprise of exactly no one, it's all about the Benjamins. As Dan O'Neill put it, if all a provider organization is doing is slapping a sheet on a doc's desk every morning with a list of care gaps for all the patients that he/she will see that day, it's highly likely that incentives, or penalties to do anything else, are very weak. It's a sign that, from a paying for value perspective, we're not paying enough for value that it's worth it or maybe even feasible for any provider organization to take the time and capital expense to switch up their business model in any meaningful way. So, the provider gets a little bump or a little knock if they don't meet some quality standard. OK, great … so then they'll minimally tweak their workflow and have doctors within their 7- to 15-minute visit suss out and try to close care gaps. I don't want to say this is entirely negative. It's known that when provider organizations do close care gaps, patient outcomes do tend to get better—so, not arguing that. But there's opportunities that get left on the table with all this reactiveness. Bottom line: You insurers, you purchasers of healthcare, get to it. Pay for value, for real. If you're still just kinda paying mostly FFS with an icing of quality measures, maybe think a little bit harder about what's next that's really gonna end the whack-a-mole and bring about a more proactive and in-context mindset. But you provider organizations, if you don't fix this stuff yourself, you're gonna get doctors and other clinicians (as we're seeing) burning out and quitting because there's only so much you can jam into a 7- or 15-minute visit, number one. But number two, doing population health reactively like this is suboptimal—and everybody knows it. So, what winds up happening is dedicated doctors and nurses desperately want to do the right thing but simply do not have the time. And they watch patient after patient suffer for it. That sucks. So, fix it. Maybe find a nurse like they did in North Carolina. At the end of the day, it's probably cheaper to stand up a program like that than having to recruit all new doctors and hire traveling nurses when all of the current staff quits due to burnout and/or moral injury. You can learn more at oliveai.com. You can also connect with Dr. Eckert on LinkedIn and follow her on Twitter.   Carly Eckert, MD, MPH, is a product leader at Olive AI, the automation company creating the internet of healthcare. As a trained physician, epidemiologist, and informatician, Dr. Eckert brings a tremendous amount of clinical experience and relevant healthcare industry knowledge to her work. In her role, Dr. Eckert combines her expertise, data understanding, and deep passion to impact healthcare for all patients. Prior to her role at Olive, Dr. Eckert led product for multiple AI start-ups with a particular interest in socially responsible technology and community impact. 06:59 What is the true goal in making population health successful? 07:26 How does the clinical pathway need to manifest in population health? 08:00 How do we get a nonfragmented state of care? 08:25 What is the best model of care? 10:08 “Identifying and addressing care gaps is an important element of population health.” 13:01 Closing care gaps vs creating a nonfragmented system of care. 17:11 “I think you have to take small steps with people.” 18:18 “There's a lot of power in peer support.” 18:52 Why should provider organizations connect with peer groups? 20:39 “The key is that it's not going to be the same for everybody.” 24:43 Why is diversity of the workforce key to closing care gaps? 25:07 EP322 with Monica Lypson, MD, MHPE.25:11 EP347 with Ian Tong, MD.30:09 Where can providers improve transparency to help close care gaps? You can learn more at oliveai.com. You can also connect with Dr. Eckert on LinkedIn and follow her on Twitter.   @md_carly discusses #caregaps in #healthcare on our #healthcarepodcast. #podcast #digitalhealth #valuebasedcare #vbc What is the true goal in making #populationhealth successful? @md_carly discusses #caregaps in #healthcare on our #healthcarepodcast. #podcast #digitalhealth #valuebasedcare #vbc How does the clinical pathway need to manifest in #populationhealth? @md_carly discusses #caregaps in #healthcare on our #healthcarepodcast. #podcast #digitalhealth #valuebasedcare #vbc How do we get a nonfragmented state of care? @md_carly discusses #caregaps in #healthcare on our #healthcarepodcast. #podcast #digitalhealth #valuebasedcare #vbc What is the best model of care? @md_carly discusses #caregaps in #healthcare on our #healthcarepodcast. #podcast #digitalhealth #valuebasedcare #vbc “Identifying and addressing care gaps is an important element of #populationhealth.” @md_carly discusses #caregaps in #healthcare on our #healthcarepodcast. #podcast #digitalhealth #valuebasedcare #vbc Closing care gaps vs creating a nonfragmented system of care. @md_carly discusses #caregaps in #healthcare on our #healthcarepodcast. #podcast #digitalhealth #valuebasedcare #vbc “I think you have to take small steps with people.” @md_carly discusses #caregaps in #healthcare on our #healthcarepodcast. #podcast #digitalhealth #valuebasedcare #vbc “There's a lot of power in peer support.” @md_carly discusses #caregaps in #healthcare on our #healthcarepodcast. #podcast #digitalhealth #valuebasedcare #vbc Why should provider organizations connect with peer groups? @md_carly discusses #caregaps in #healthcare on our #healthcarepodcast. #podcast #digitalhealth #valuebasedcare #vbc “The key is that it's not going to be the same for everybody.” @md_carly discusses #caregaps in #healthcare on our #healthcarepodcast. #podcast #digitalhealth #valuebasedcare #vbc Why is diversity of the workforce key to closing care gaps? @md_carly discusses #caregaps in #healthcare on our #healthcarepodcast. #podcast #digitalhealth #valuebasedcare #vbc Where can providers improve transparency to help close care gaps? @md_carly discusses #caregaps in #healthcare on our #healthcarepodcast. #podcast #digitalhealth #valuebasedcare #vbc   Recent past interviews: Click a guest's name for their latest RHV episode! Jeb Dunkelberger (EP360), Dan O'Neill, Dr Wayne Jenkins, Liliana Petrova, Ge Bai, Nikhil Krishnan, Shawn Rhodes, Pramod John (EP353), Pramod John (EP352), Dr Eric Bricker, Katy Talento, Stacey Richter (INBW33), Stacey Richter (INBW32), Dr Steve Schutzer (Encore! EP294), Lisa Trumble, Jeb Dunkelberger, Dr Ian Tong, Mike Schneider, Peter Hayes, Paul Simms, Dr Steven Quimby, Dr David Carmouche (EP343), Christin Deacon, Gary Campbell, Kristin Begley, David Contorno (AEE17), David Contorno (EP339), Nikki King

    EP360: How to Deliver Value-Based Care That Meets Value-Based Payment Objectives, With Jeb Dunkelberger

    Play Episode Listen Later Mar 24, 2022 28:59

    Before I get into the show today, let me just remind everybody about our mailing list, which you can sign up for on our Web site, relentlesshealthvalue.com. You might follow Relentless Health Value on LinkedIn or Twitter, which is a great option, for sure; but I wanted to point out that what you see there is abridged at some level. Meanwhile, if you subscribe to our mailing list directly (again, by going to our Web site, relentlesshealthvalue.com—it's over on the right sidebar where you can sign up for the mailing list), if you subscribe that way, each week you'll get an email with a full transcription of the whole introduction of the show with timed show notes. Also, we don't send out literally anything else beyond what I just described on a weekly basis. Also, you can unsubscribe easily and anytime you want. You just hit the unsubscribe in the email. Also, we don't share our list with anybody. We barely have time to look at it ourselves, so if you have any concerns there in that regard, please don't.  Last week's show (EP359) was with Dan O'Neill, and he talked about the four gradations of value-based payments, from paying purely for volume on one end of the continuum to paying purely for value on the other. When you have a moment (not now, but when you can), go back and listen to that show, as it adds some color to what we talk about in this healthcare podcast.  But in the meantime, one of the points that Dan O'Neill makes is that patients in this country won't gain the benefits of value-based care unless commercial insurers pay for value, for reals. After all, value-based payments are payments that incentivize value-based care. Without value-based payments, how does anyone expect to get value-based care? To belabor this point momentarily, a provider is not gonna switch up their FFS business model when insurers, especially commercial insurers, pay whatever for whatever with no reward going to providers who spend time and effort to create value and/or better outcomes for patients. I'm being super cynical here, I will grant you. But in this day and age of private equity and record profits by a consolidated healthcare industry, if I'm in charge of a provider organization just realistically here, Pramod John, PhD, says this really well in EP352. He's talking about drug development in that episode, but same thing here is true for medical care. If you indiscriminately pay Ferrari prices for Hyundais, you're gonna get a Hyundai for the price of a Ferrari.   To add insult to injury—and this is just one important reason why providers aren't really willing to invest in lifting outcomes—any value that they would manage to create is gonna be realized by the insurers. It's gonna go right back into insurers' pockets. Steve Schutzer, MD, talks about this in his episode (Encore! EP294) about the why and how to create a center of excellence. If, as a provider in a pure volume contract which is FFS, I work really hard to save downstream costs and complications for patients, some carrier is gonna bank the difference.   It's go time, all you self-insured employers out there. Pay for high quality. Make the carrot an orange-colored stick, as they say. Patients will benefit. Probably doctors and other clinicians, too, honestly: less moral injury and crappy workflows. In this healthcare podcast, I am talking with Jeb Dunkelberger. Jeb Dunkelberger is the CEO of Sutter Health | Aetna, which is a payvider. Payviders, by Jeb's definition, take on full risk. They have a full-risk insurance product, meaning they must switch up their business model and how they deliver care so that it works in a total capitation payment situation. We go deep on payviders the last time Jeb was on the show (EP348). But in this relatively short conversation, I wanted to talk to Jeb about the operational imperatives of moving to value-based care, moving to a care model that is aligned with value-based payments—what needs to switch up in the day-to-day to ensure that patients don't have care gaps that cause expensive trouble downstream, or patients at rising risk get taken care of promptly before something avoidable and/or acute (ie, expensive) happens.   There are three main things that Jeb talks about: Fixing up the clinical workflow Having care navigators Aligning physician comp to organizational goals Let me dig into each one of them briefly. 1. Fixing up the clinical workflow. There's basically five aspects to that: Ensuring that the right data is in the clinical workflow. Let's talk about this data for just one sec and we'll find actually one more reason that payers and purchasers need to get kinda engaged in this making sure members get care thing. Because data—data that payers have that is needed at the point of care. Like claims data. Please provide it to providers and actually insist that it gets used by clinicians making clinical decisions at the point of care. Ensuring that there are pick lists of drugs, with generic drugs first Making sure it's easy to get to pended orders that close care gaps right within the clinical workflow Empowering medical assistants and holding them responsible to create value for members Building referral management into the clinical workflow in pursuit of a nonfragmented patient journey 2. Having care navigators. I just want to remind everyone: This is even more important if the EHR doesn't support referral navigation. Also, Liliana Petrova talks about this extensively, the need for care navigators, in EP357. She's talking about it relative to telehealth, and she makes a really important point: If you want to ensure that the right patients are getting telehealth and also taking advantage of it to streamline their longitudinal care and make it less fragmented, you have to have navigators involved in scheduling. Otherwise, how's a patient supposed to know whether to go in person or telehealth or even that telehealth is available?  3. Aligning physician comp to organizational goals. We definitely get into this in some detail. We cover these three top-line operational must-haves in this episode, and you'll hear about them right from a CEO who is doing them right now. Besides this conversation, another resource I would highly recommend checking out is a recent article in Nature entitled “Deploying Digital Health Tools Within Large, Complex Health Systems.” While this article is about digital health tools (obviously by its title), 80% of the article is pertinent to deploying pretty much anything in a big provider organization, including an upgrade to value-based care delivery—and/or probably digital health tools are pretty requisite in any attempt to effectively remodel the clinical workflow in this way in 2022, so there's that, too.   For additional Relentless Health Value episodes on this topic of how to build an operational model that fulfills value-based care objectives, I'd listen to the show with Shawn Rhodes on the essentials for clinical integration (EP354)—also the show with Lisa Trumble (EP349) on what that clinical integration looks like from a care perspective. I am also going to refer you to the episode next week (EP361) with Carly Eckert, MD, MPH. So, check that out for sure. We talk about care gaps.  You can learn more at sutterhealthaetna.com.   You can also connect with Jeb on LinkedIn and follow him on Twitter.   Jeb Dunkelberger, MSc, MHCI, currently serves as CEO of Sutter Health | Aetna (SH|A), a commercial insurance plan serving Northern California. The health plan aims to combine the value of retail, provider, and payer via its partnerships with CVS, Sutter Health, and Aetna. Prior to SH|A, Jeb led growth for two bay-area healthcare start-ups: Cricket Health and Notable Health. Jeb has also held executive roles at Highmark, McKesson, and EY. Jeb holds healthcare-related degrees from Virginia Tech, The London School of Economics, Cornell University, and University of Pennsylvania. 08:36 What must a provider organization consider operationally when incorporating value-based care and value-based payments? 09:44 How can you use perverse incentives to encourage people to do the right thing? 12:25 How should clinical workflows operate to incorporate value-based care? 14:10 “How do you align patients?” 15:52 How should the EHR operate to maximize value-based workflow? 16:52 Why is taking action on claims data and clinical data together important? 20:26 “Have they actually solved the last mile of integrations?” 21:15 “Changing the behavior of a provider is an absolute art and science.” 22:57 “We have to do more.” 27:09 “That administrative headache … doesn't just end with the insurer.” You can learn more at sutterhealthaetna.com.   You can also connect with Jeb on LinkedIn and follow him on Twitter.   @Jeb_Dunk discusses #valuebased #clinicalworkflows in this week's #healthcarepodcast. #healthcare #podcast #vbc #valuebasedcare #ffs What must a provider organization consider operationally when incorporating value-based care and value-based payments? @Jeb_Dunk discusses #valuebased #clinicalworkflows in this week's #healthcarepodcast. #healthcare #podcast #vbc #valuebasedcare #ffs How can you use perverse incentives to encourage people to do the right thing? @Jeb_Dunk discusses #valuebased #clinicalworkflows in this week's #healthcarepodcast. #healthcare #podcast #vbc #valuebasedcare #ffs How should clinical workflows operate to incorporate value-based care? @Jeb_Dunk discusses #valuebased #clinicalworkflows in this week's #healthcarepodcast. #healthcare #podcast #vbc #valuebasedcare #ffs “How do you align patients?” @Jeb_Dunk discusses #valuebased #clinicalworkflows in this week's #healthcarepodcast. #healthcare #podcast #vbc #valuebasedcare #ffs How should the EHR operate to maximize value-based workflow? @Jeb_Dunk discusses #valuebased #clinicalworkflows in this week's #healthcarepodcast. #healthcare #podcast #vbc #valuebasedcare #ffs Why is taking action on claims data and clinical data together important? @Jeb_Dunk discusses #valuebased #clinicalworkflows in this week's #healthcarepodcast. #healthcare #podcast #vbc #valuebasedcare #ffs “Have they actually solved the last mile of integrations?” @Jeb_Dunk discusses #valuebased #clinicalworkflows in this week's #healthcarepodcast. #healthcare #podcast #vbc #valuebasedcare #ffs “Changing the behavior of a provider is an absolute art and science.” @Jeb_Dunk discusses #valuebased #clinicalworkflows in this week's #healthcarepodcast. #healthcare #podcast #vbc #valuebasedcare #ffs “We have to do more.” @Jeb_Dunk discusses #valuebased #clinicalworkflows in this week's #healthcarepodcast. #healthcare #podcast #vbc #valuebasedcare #ffs “That administrative headache … doesn't just end with the insurer.” @Jeb_Dunk discusses #valuebased #clinicalworkflows in this week's #healthcarepodcast. #healthcare #podcast #vbc #valuebasedcare #ffs Recent past interviews: Click a guest's name for their latest RHV episode! Dan O'Neill, Dr Wayne Jenkins, Liliana Petrova, Ge Bai, Nikhil Krishnan, Shawn Rhodes, Pramod John (EP353), Pramod John (EP352), Dr Eric Bricker, Katy Talento, Stacey Richter (INBW33), Stacey Richter (INBW32), Dr Steve Schutzer (Encore! EP294), Lisa Trumble, Jeb Dunkelberger, Dr Ian Tong, Mike Schneider, Peter Hayes, Paul Simms, Dr Steven Quimby, Dr David Carmouche (EP343), Christin Deacon, Gary Campbell, Kristin Begley, David Contorno (AEE17), David Contorno (EP339), Nikki King, Olivia Webb  

    EP359: Value-Based Payments—You Get What You Pay For, With Dan O'Neill

    Play Episode Listen Later Mar 17, 2022 34:42

    Last week's show was with Wayne Jenkins, MD, from Centivo; and we talked about how insurance design, when not done well, can lead, in a nutshell, to mental and physical health problems for employees. This is a great lead-in to the conversation in this healthcare podcast with Dan O'Neill. And before I get into why it's a great lead-in, let me just start here—and don't roll your eyes. What is value-based care? Consider this delineation: There's value-based payments, and then there's the type of care that these payments incentivize. You would hope that a value-based payment would result in care that was of value (ie, great patient outcomes and patient satisfaction at a fair total cost of care). But those are two distinct things—the payment and the care. If we change the payment model but the provider behavior doesn't change in a way that actually improves patient outcomes and care, then what are we doing here? Or the converse: If we do not change the payment model, then how does anyone expect the care paid for is going to change? Employers or carriers who just meander along with the broad PPO network happily paying as much for low-value care as for high-value care and happily paying centers of excellence as much as non–centers of excellence … how is a provider who wants to spend time and money building out a practice to deliver better patient outcomes, how can they do that without overcoming some pretty fundamental business model challenges? This whole concept is one that my guest today, Dan O'Neill, has talked about and will talk about in this episode. Dan says the first step is for insurers, IPAs, managed care organizations to take an absolute chainsaw to their network management bureaucracy. There must be a clear door to a value-based payment model. It must be that if you're a provider or you're a physician practice (primary care practice, in particular), and you want to go down a value-based care path, there has to be a clear door and a pathway for you. I think I have a non-perfect litmus test for anybody with a value-based payment program who wants a heuristic to check if their value-based payment program is actually meaningfully impacting models of care in the marketplace: If most of the provider organizations who are part of that value-based program still incentivize and pay their doctors using FFS incentives like RVUs (relative value units), I'd step back and think about that for a piece. Contemplate that doctors, who are responsible for care decisions, still have every incentive to do everything that they would have done had the provider organization just been paid FFS. What's the point of value-based payments that extract exactly zero behavior change? And that is not a rhetorical question. So, back to the conversation from last week with Dr. Wayne Jenkins citing all of the things that can go horribly wrong when an employer's benefit designs are misaligned with the financial realities of their workforce. You get what you pay for, and I don't just mean that in terms of the dollars outlaid, since we all know in healthcare prices and quality have nothing to do with each other—I mean, in terms of what you choose to pay for and how you choose to pay for it. That's the macro of this whole thing, but indulge me as I get into the micro for just one sec. Let me just remind everybody about Goodhart's Law: “When a measure becomes a target, it ceases to be a good measure.” More on the why of this in the interview with Rishi Wadhera, MD, MPP, on the hospital readmission reduction program (EP326) and also what happens when we don't adhere to Goodhart's Law as we evaluate PCPs, which Rebecca Etz, PhD, talks about in EP295.   In this episode with Dan O'Neill, we go through where we're at on the continuum of value-based payments and how those payments are impacting the care, value-based or otherwise, that is incentivized by those payments. We tick through four gradations of value-based payments: A pure volume contract (otherwise known as FFS [fee for service]) A clinician bonus for achieving quality measures A piece of the savings (ie, MSSP [Medicare Shared Savings Program]) Global risk My guest, Dan O'Neill, is chief commercial officer over at Pine Park Health. Besides over a decade in healthcare tech and services, he was a policy fellow at the National Academy of Medicine and worked in the Senate on the Senate Health Committee. You can learn more at dponeill.com or connect with Dan on LinkedIn. Daniel O'Neill, MA, MS, currently serves as chief commercial officer for Pine Park Health, a value-based primary care group that delivers on-site care in senior living communities. Prior to that, Dan was a health policy fellow at the National Academy of Medicine, working primarily in the US Senate on legislation focused on surprise billing, anti-competitive contracting practices in the commercial market, and price transparency. Dan has also worked as a senior vice president with Change Healthcare and as an advisor to venture-stage healthcare services and technology firms. At Pine Park, Dan is responsible for risk-based contracting with IPAs and insurers and for the group's participation in CMS value-based care models, including direct contracting. Dan's research is available in NEJM Catalyst and on the Health Affairs blog, and he holds graduate degrees from Johns Hopkins University and Stanford University.   05:06 What is the spectrum of value-based contracts? 07:24 Why don't value-based contracts at the organizational level always trickle down to the provider level? 11:25 What are the two things that need to happen to drive outcomes in value-based healthcare? 15:24 How do insurers play into improving value-based contracts? 19:46 “There's a strong case to actually clamp down on prices.” 23:47 “Right now, we're still in a place where if you want to do something other than fee for service … you have to fight like hell.” 24:03 What's the first step to making value-based contracts more accessible? 24:27 What's the second step to making value-based contracts accessible? 25:23 Why are the incentives to change American healthcare pretty weak? 27:10 “Organizational change is just exceedingly difficult.” 28:45 What should you do if you want to start pushing organizations toward value-based contracts? 32:42 EP351 with Eric Bricker, MD.  You can learn more at dponeill.com or connect with Dan on LinkedIn. @dp_oneill discusses #vbc on our #healthcarepodcast. #healthcare #podcast #valuebasedpayments #digitalhealth What is the spectrum of value-based contracts? @dp_oneill discusses #vbc on our #healthcarepodcast. #healthcare #podcast #valuebasedpayments #digitalhealth Why don't value-based contracts at the organizational level always trickle down to the provider level? @dp_oneill discusses #vbc on our #healthcarepodcast. #healthcare #podcast #valuebasedpayments #digitalhealth What are the two things that need to happen to drive outcomes in value-based healthcare? @dp_oneill discusses #vbc on our #healthcarepodcast. #healthcare #podcast #valuebasedpayments #digitalhealth How do insurers play into improving value-based contracts? @dp_oneill discusses #vbc on our #healthcarepodcast. #healthcare #podcast #valuebasedpayments #digitalhealth “There's a strong case to actually clamp down on prices.” @dp_oneill discusses #vbc on our #healthcarepodcast. #healthcare #podcast #valuebasedpayments #digitalhealth “Right now, we're still in a place where if you want to do something other than fee for service … you have to fight like hell.” @dp_oneill discusses #vbc on our #healthcarepodcast. #healthcare #podcast #valuebasedpayments #digitalhealth What's the first step to making value-based contracts more accessible? @dp_oneill discusses #vbc on our #healthcarepodcast. #healthcare #podcast #valuebasedpayments #digitalhealth What's the second step to making value-based contracts accessible? @dp_oneill discusses #vbc on our #healthcarepodcast. #healthcare #podcast #valuebasedpayments #digitalhealth Why are the incentives to change American healthcare pretty weak? @dp_oneill discusses #vbc on our #healthcarepodcast. #healthcare #podcast #valuebasedpayments #digitalhealth “Organizational change is just exceedingly difficult.” @dp_oneill discusses #vbc on our #healthcarepodcast. #healthcare #podcast #valuebasedpayments #digitalhealth What should you do if you want to start pushing organizations toward value-based contracts? @dp_oneill discusses #vbc on our #healthcarepodcast. #healthcare #podcast #valuebasedpayments #digitalhealth   Recent past interviews: Click a guest's name for their latest RHV episode! Dr Wayne Jenkins, Liliana Petrova, Ge Bai, Nikhil Krishnan, Shawn Rhodes, Pramod John (EP353), Pramod John (EP352), Dr Eric Bricker, Katy Talento, Stacey Richter (INBW33), Stacey Richter (INBW32), Dr Steve Schutzer (Encore! EP294), Lisa Trumble, Jeb Dunkelberger, Dr Ian Tong, Mike Schneider, Peter Hayes, Paul Simms, Dr Steven Quimby, Dr David Carmouche (EP343), Christin Deacon, Gary Campbell, Kristin Begley, David Contorno (AEE17), David Contorno (EP339), Nikki King, Olivia Webb, Brandon Weber  

    EP358: How Health Insurance Plan Design Can Lead to Patients Sacrificing Needed Care, Their Mental Health, and (Sometimes) Buying Groceries, With Wayne Jenkins, MD

    Play Episode Listen Later Mar 10, 2022 33:51

    First of all, anybody who thinks that your average citizen in the United States today is unaware of the financial double jeopardy of going to a doctor, going to an emergency room, getting a procedure is sorely mistaken. Americans today are well aware of the financial risk that they are taking by seeking healthcare in this country. To illustrate this point, let me read the first couple of sentences from a New York Times best-selling book review: “The illness narrative, ending in financial ruin and decreased quality of life, has become one of the classic 21st-century American stories. In her debut essay collection, Emily Maloney documents the … intersections of money, illness and medicine. For Maloney, the primary experience of receiving health care is not merely a bodily or spiritual event but always … a financial one. She understands … the relationship of money to being ill, … to managing an unfathomable amount of debt.” This is a New York Times best-selling book in the beginning of 2022.  Add to this something I saw Pete Scruggs write on LinkedIn a while back, which I found actionable. He said:   “Patients selling personal items or taking on credit card debt after medical procedures is a failure of creativity in providing healthcare. It is possible to build creative health plans that reduce costs for patients with expensive procedures by giving wise guidance at the time patients need it the most. “It is not enough for insurance to provide access to a wide range of health providers but effectively leave the patient in debt … after the procedures are done. It is possible to buy healthcare so well in the local community that employers can reduce cost dramatically at the time most needed by those using health services.” And lastly, let me quote from a recent article in JAMA by David Scheinker, PhD; Arnold Milstein, MD; and Kevin Schulman, MD, which says, “The financial consequences of an underperforming health insurance market (one that is not holding down … cost … ) diminishes the quality of life affordable to US employees and their families and the financial viability of employers not in the health care industry.”  So, in this healthcare podcast, I am speaking with Wayne Jenkins, MD, who is chief medical officer over at Centivo. Before his move into value-based healthcare about 10 years ago, Dr. Jenkins started his career as a radiation oncologist. He has also served as the chief clinician at a bunch of large health systems. I wanted to have Dr. Jenkins on the show to discuss a recent report which was published by Centivo that methodically dissects how financial toxicity is affecting patients. This includes how it affects choices that employees/patients/members are making both in terms of the care they decide they are willing to pay for or, more likely, the financial risks they're willing to take.  In short, the three key findings of the report are as follows: Workers face mounting healthcare affordability issues, and health plan cost sharing features such as high deductibles are an underlying cause. Just a quick spoiler here: Do you know the percentage of employees who are forgoing buying groceries in order to afford medical expenses left on their shoulders by their high-deductible health plan or by their health plan with excessive premiums? Going hungry isn't just for minimum wage workers. Medical expenses are a significant cause of mental health and well-being issues for both individuals and also families. The conventional wisdom that health plan members will never “trade off” certain offerings for greater savings is simply false. The big takeaway here, though, is that the situation that we have in this country today is not a secret among your average regular American civilian. They do fully understand that by entering a healthcare setting, they are very well trading off, in their attempt to be healthy and going to the doctor in pursuit of that aim, they are trading off their financial well-being. And that financial toxicity actually has health implications. If you can't afford groceries, for example, or your mental health suffers, we get ourselves rather rapidly into a downward spiral, as you may be able to see. Other episodes dedicated to the impact of financial toxicity and possible solutions are in the show notes. I'm just gonna mention here quickly, we talked to Marty Makary, MD, about his book called The Price We Pay (EP242). There's an interview with Marshall Allen (EP328) and then also a very interesting conversation with Mark Fendrick, MD (EP308).   You can learn more at centivo.com.   Wayne Jenkins, MD, is the chief medical officer at Centivo. He is an accomplished physician and executive with a proven track record of patient-centered, revenue-driven results. Over the course of his career, he has consistently transformed large, complex healthcare systems into market leaders that deliver quality and value in a dynamically changing environment. Prior to Centivo, he was the chief clinical officer for population health at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, where he provided clinical oversight of value-based care delivery and completed the formation of Medicare accountable care organizations (ACOs). Before his time at Vanderbilt University Medical Center, he served as the senior vice president and chief strategy officer of Orlando Health, as well as president of Orlando Health Physician Partners. Previously, Wayne was the chief of radiation oncology and then subsequently the medical director for the Florida affiliate of M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, a subsidiary of Orlando Health, Inc. Wayne holds a bachelor's degree from the University of Tennessee, an MD from Vanderbilt University School of Medicine, and a master's of health policy and administration from Johns Hopkins University. He is board certified in radiation oncology and was recognized in Best Doctors in America annually from 1994 to 2015. He has published 18 scientific articles and is often sought out to speak at state and national conferences. 05:23 How is financial toxicity in healthcare affecting patients? 07:02 How do we define a “normal” deductible in today's healthcare? 08:14 What's the point of having a deductible? What does a plan gain from a high deductible? 10:43 How does the cost of a patient's deductible correlate with their use of their health insurance? 12:51 EP308 with Mark Fendrick, MD.15:18 How is health insurance actually sometimes reducing patients' health? 16:24 What is the defining characteristic of those who are more adversely affected by high deductibles? 17:04 Why should CFOs consider plans with lower deductibles for their employees? 18:26 “Are there other ways to approach this in a marketplace, to get more value for what you're paying for so this problem can be addressed?” 21:56 How should employers contemplate health plans moving forward? 22:24 “Having the health plan choice gives more financial viability in addition to that open access.” 22:58 “In some sense, [that] can be a zero-sum game. Do you get it in the premium, or is it paid in the higher deductible?” 23:45 “I think there are value choices in the market that may help negate some of the problems that we were just discussing.” 25:33 “I think conventional wisdom may be left over from the '90s.” 26:49 Why does building these narrow networks have to be a science? 28:38 Does a narrow network adversely affect mental health? 32:20 “Narrow and excellent is not a bad choice for people.” You can learn more at centivo.com.  Wayne Jenkins, MD, of @Centivo_Health discusses health insurance plan design on our #healthcarepodcast. #healthcare #podcast #digitalhealth #healthcarecosts How is financial toxicity in healthcare affecting patients? Wayne Jenkins, MD, of @Centivo_Health discusses on our #healthcarepodcast. #healthcare #podcast #digitalhealth #healthcarecosts How do we define a “normal” deductible in today's healthcare? Wayne Jenkins, MD, of @Centivo_Health discusses on our #healthcarepodcast. #healthcare #podcast #digitalhealth #healthcarecosts What's the point of having a deductible? What does a plan gain from a high deductible? Wayne Jenkins, MD, of @Centivo_Health discusses on our #healthcarepodcast. #healthcare #podcast #digitalhealth #healthcarecosts How does the cost of a patient's deductible correlate with their use of their health insurance? Wayne Jenkins, MD, of @Centivo_Health discusses on our #healthcarepodcast. #healthcare #podcast #digitalhealth #healthcarecosts How is health insurance actually sometimes reducing patients' health? Wayne Jenkins, MD, of @Centivo_Health discusses on our #healthcarepodcast. #healthcare #podcast #digitalhealth #healthcarecosts What is the defining characteristic of those who are more adversely affected by high deductibles? Wayne Jenkins, MD, of @Centivo_Health discusses on our #healthcarepodcast. #healthcare #podcast #digitalhealth #healthcarecosts Why should CFOs consider plans with lower deductibles for their employees? Wayne Jenkins, MD, of @Centivo_Health discusses on our #healthcarepodcast. #healthcare #podcast #digitalhealth #healthcarecosts “Are there other ways to approach this in a marketplace, to get more value for what you're paying for so this problem can be addressed?” Wayne Jenkins, MD, of @Centivo_Health discusses on our #healthcarepodcast. #healthcare #podcast #digitalhealth #healthcarecosts How should employers contemplate health plans moving forward? Wayne Jenkins, MD, of @Centivo_Health discusses on our #healthcarepodcast. #healthcare #podcast #digitalhealth #healthcarecosts “Having the health plan choice gives more financial viability in addition to that open access.” Wayne Jenkins, MD, of @Centivo_Health discusses on our #healthcarepodcast. #healthcare #podcast #digitalhealth #healthcarecosts “In some sense, [that] can be a zero-sum game. Do you get it in the premium, or is it paid in the higher deductible?” Wayne Jenkins, MD, of @Centivo_Health discusses on our #healthcarepodcast. #healthcare #podcast #digitalhealth #healthcarecosts “I think there are value choices in the market that may help negate some of the problems that we were just discussing.” Wayne Jenkins, MD, of @Centivo_Health discusses on our #healthcarepodcast. #healthcare #podcast #digitalhealth #healthcarecosts “I think conventional wisdom may be left over from the '90s.” Wayne Jenkins, MD, of @Centivo_Health discusses on our #healthcarepodcast. #healthcare #podcast #digitalhealth #healthcarecosts Why does building these narrow networks have to be a science? Wayne Jenkins, MD, of @Centivo_Health discusses on our #healthcarepodcast. #healthcare #podcast #digitalhealth #healthcarecosts Does a narrow network adversely affect mental health? Wayne Jenkins, MD, of @Centivo_Health discusses on our #healthcarepodcast. #healthcare #podcast #digitalhealth #healthcarecosts “Narrow and excellent is not a bad choice for people.” Wayne Jenkins, MD, of @Centivo_Health discusses on our #healthcarepodcast. #healthcare #podcast #digitalhealth #healthcarecosts Recent past interviews: Click a guest's name for their latest RHV episode! Liliana Petrova, Ge Bai, Nikhil Krishnan, Shawn Rhodes, Pramod John (EP353), Pramod John (EP352), Dr Eric Bricker, Katy Talento, Stacey Richter (INBW33), Stacey Richter (INBW32), Dr Steve Schutzer (Encore! EP294), Lisa Trumble, Jeb Dunkelberger, Dr Ian Tong, Mike Schneider, Peter Hayes, Paul Simms, Dr Steven Quimby, Dr David Carmouche (EP343), Christin Deacon, Gary Campbell, Kristin Begley, David Contorno (AEE17), David Contorno (EP339), Nikki King, Olivia Webb, Brandon Weber, Stacey Richter (INBW30)  

    EP357: Standing Up Telehealth That Actually Advances Providers' Core Business, With Liliana Petrova

    Play Episode Listen Later Mar 3, 2022 34:36

    Here's the biggest problem with a lot of telehealth endeavors: Someone decides that they need to be doing telehealth, for whatever reason. Maybe there's a pandemic, for example. And the basic plan is this: Install some technology, give everyone a username and password and a link for patients, check that box, and move on to the next thing. My guest in this healthcare podcast, Liliana Petrova, has seen and talked about how, far too many times, the whole concept of telehealth is narrowed down to the exact moment where a patient and a doctor have a visit together. That's it … that transaction. There's little effort, if any effort, made to integrate telehealth into the existing clinical workflow, into the existing patient/customer experience, into the core business, into anything longitudinal. Telehealth becomes a weird island of a service only used by intrepid clinicians willing to put in the time and effort required to deal with its vagaries and inconveniences. Only used also by patients who manage to find the telehealth link buried on some Web site somewhere and then figure out how to schedule their telehealth appointments within a scheduling system mostly unable to accommodate virtual visits without a party-sized amount of technical expertise and, probably, chutzpah. There are consequences to this narrow and pretty slapdash thinking. One of them is that you have very few clinicians and patients willing to brave the organization's telehealth experience or lack thereof, so they don't use it. And then at some point the organization does a survey of how much telehealth is going on—and wow! Surprising news: Incredibly few are using telehealth. So, the conclusion is drawn that patients and/or clinicians don't want telehealth. What happens then? Further funding is withdrawn and/or the whole telehealth thing goes down on the chopping block. It reminds me of a cartoon I saw the other day. It was a picture of a bar chart showing some survey results. One of the bars in the bar chart was huge, and then the other one was, like, zero. It was a poll. There were two questions in the poll. Here are the two questions: Do you respond to polls, or don't you respond to polls? And as per the poll results in the bar chart in the cartoon, turns out, 100% of people respond to polls. Funny but, at the same time, true. Many organizations don't really think through the provenance of the “data” they're using to make really important decisions, and when it comes to telehealth, there's a lot of dirty data flying around. This dirty data, though, might be one explanation for the delta between the conclusions of all those studies showing that three out of four patients, always a comfortable majority of patients, intend to use telehealth versus the many health systems and/or provider organizations or even some doctors themselves sniffing and turning up their noses and saying that none of their patients are interested in using telehealth because no one is using telehealth in their office. Right. The only thing that's being anecdotally determined by these anecdotal conclusions is that patients don't like and/or even know about that office's telehealth solution. It says nothing of the larger trend. When organizations make decisions to not do telehealth well or at all because they didn't do it well and no one could figure out how to use it, then the value that telehealth could bring to both patients and clinicians is forfeit. Sad. Also, considering the X on the backs of some specialists and health systems in general these days, this could have longer-term consequences. Some good clinicians could find themselves way behind the curve after making what amounts to a very poor strategic decision. In this episode, I am speaking with Liliana Petrova, CEO of The Petrova Experience. Liliana is an expert on customer and patient experience. She hails originally from the aviation industry, where she was director of customer experience at JetBlue, where she built and maintained customer centricity across organizations. Today we're talking about telehealth. Last time Liliana was on the show (EP236), we talked about customer centricity—so go back and listen to that one if you're interested. In that show, we talked about, as one aspect, lobby design—the impact of having front desk people and clinicians literally barricaded behind cement and glass like they work in some bodega in a bad part of town that gets held up every other day. I never really thought about that and the message that it sends before.   Liliana served this past year on the NODE patient committee and did a whole lot of work exploring telehealth and its potential and challenges. NODE stands for the Network of Digital Evidence.  In this show, we go through the essentials to pull off a telehealth program that is actually going to deliver returns. In short, here's the ingredients: A telehealth “board” comprised of all the cross-disciplinary folks needed to pull this off: clinicians, IT, and also administrative peeps for a few very critical reasons that we talk about. Having executives on this board with enough power in the organization to define long-term goals that supersede all the short-term ones that usually define and plague organizations, especially public ones, is also very essential here. Redefining IT and the role of IT. This is an interesting one. Liliana talks about how the legacy role of IT is changing. IT leaders can no longer just be the help desk or maintainer of computers or manager of outsource contracts for the place far away that you call when you can't get on the portal. Today's IT teams need to think like they're a vital part of supporting the needs of patients and clinicians. After all, you can't have technology-augmented care when the IT group is shacked up in the basement doing their own thing. Identifying a physician ambassador for the telehealth internally (the telehealth program). Getting patient feedback. I was shocked, literally shocked, to discover that some of the most vocally “patient-centric” health systems do not collect patient feedback systemically. WTH, really? Liliana gets granular here. What might be the silver bullet? Patient navigation. We talk about this at some length. Map the end-to-end patient visit. Continuous improvement—you're never done. Also, March 8, 2022, is International Women's Day, by the way. This episode honors women in healthcare doing great things. You can learn more at thepetrovaexperience.com or join the patient NODE group by emailing Liliana at liliana@thepetrovaexperience.com. Liliana Petrova, CCXP, is a visionary and a proven leader in the field of customer experience and innovation. She pioneered a new customer-centric culture, energizing the more than 15,000 JetBlue employees with her vision. She has been recognized for her JFK Lobby redesign and facial recognition program with awards from Future Travel Experience and Popular Science. Liliana is committed to creating seamless, successful experiences for customers and delivering greater value for brands. In 2019, she founded an international customer experience consulting firm that helps brands improve their customer experience. The Petrova Experience focuses on three pillars of customer experience: organizational culture that inspires employees to be brand ambassadors, design and implementation of customer centric journeys, and technology implementations with customer experience value in mind. 06:59 Who should be on the telehealth board to incorporate telehealth successfully? 08:44 What is the population that you're serving, and how does telehealth serve that population? 09:45 “When they think of this as a project versus a program or a strategic imperative, then there is no business case.” 11:49 “How do you integrate telehealth in your core business?” 12:32 What does a CIO need to do to be best equipped to serve their organization? 14:05 Why are CIOs and CFOs naturally in conflict these days? 15:30 Why is it important to have a physician be an ambassador for telehealth implementation? 17:05 Why is it important to utilize patient feedback properly? 18:37 Why must the patient own their own health? 20:29 “The key is, if you start at the strategic level with cross-functional leaders, then the working team will also be cross-functional.” 21:49 “You won't have a successful telehealth experience if you don't think through the end-to-end experience.” 21:55 EP332 with Tony DiGioia, MD.23:40 Who is the digital navigator in implementing telehealth? 24:55 What is a digital navigator, and how does it show up in the telehealth journey? 30:55 Why is it important to have continuous growth in telehealth? You can learn more at thepetrovaexperience.com or join the patient NODE group by emailing Liliana at liliana@thepetrovaexperience.com. @LilianaPetrova discusses #telehealth on our #healthcarepodcast. #healthcare #podcast #digitalhealth Who should be on the telehealth board to incorporate telehealth successfully? @LilianaPetrova discusses #telehealth on our #healthcarepodcast. #healthcare #podcast #digitalhealth What is the population that you're serving, and how does telehealth serve that population? @LilianaPetrova discusses #telehealth on our #healthcarepodcast. #healthcare #podcast #digitalhealth “When they think of this as a project versus a program or a strategic imperative, then there is no business case.” @LilianaPetrova discusses #telehealth on our #healthcarepodcast. #healthcare #podcast #digitalhealth “How do you integrate telehealth in your core business?” @LilianaPetrova discusses #telehealth on our #healthcarepodcast. #healthcare #podcast #digitalhealth What does a CIO need to do to be best equipped to serve their organization? @LilianaPetrova discusses #telehealth on our #healthcarepodcast. #healthcare #podcast #digitalhealth Why is it important to have a physician be an ambassador for telehealth implementation? @LilianaPetrova discusses #telehealth on our #healthcarepodcast. #healthcare #podcast #digitalhealth Why is it important to utilize patient feedback properly? @LilianaPetrova discusses #telehealth on our #healthcarepodcast. #healthcare #podcast #digitalhealth Why must the patient own their own health? @LilianaPetrova discusses #telehealth on our #healthcarepodcast. #healthcare #podcast #digitalhealth “The key is, if you start at the strategic level with cross-functional leaders, then the working team will also be cross-functional.” @LilianaPetrova discusses #telehealth on our #healthcarepodcast. #healthcare #podcast #digitalhealth “You won't have a successful telehealth experience if you don't think through the end-to-end experience.” @LilianaPetrova discusses #telehealth on our #healthcarepodcast. #healthcare #podcast #digitalhealth Who is the digital navigator in implementing telehealth? @LilianaPetrova discusses #telehealth on our #healthcarepodcast. #healthcare #podcast #digitalhealth What is a digital navigator, and how does it show up in the telehealth journey? @LilianaPetrova discusses #telehealth on our #healthcarepodcast. #healthcare #podcast #digitalhealth Why is it important to have continuous growth in telehealth? @LilianaPetrova discusses #telehealth on our #healthcarepodcast. #healthcare #podcast #digitalhealth   Recent past interviews: Click a guest's name for their latest RHV episode! Ge Bai, Nikhil Krishnan, Shawn Rhodes, Pramod John (EP353), Pramod John (EP352), Dr Eric Bricker, Katy Talento, Stacey Richter (INBW33), Stacey Richter (INBW32), Dr Steve Schutzer (Encore! EP294), Lisa Trumble, Jeb Dunkelberger, Dr Ian Tong, Mike Schneider, Peter Hayes, Paul Simms, Dr Steven Quimby, Dr David Carmouche (EP343), Christin Deacon, Gary Campbell, Kristin Begley, David Contorno (AEE17), David Contorno (EP339), Nikki King, Olivia Webb, Brandon Weber, Stacey Richter (INBW30), Brian Klepper (AEE16)  

    EP356: PBMs React to GoodRx, Mark Cuban, and Amazon Pharmacy, With Ge Bai, PhD, CPA

    Play Episode Listen Later Feb 24, 2022 36:17

    So … let's start here. Mostly this whole episode is about the so-called “Big Three” PBMs that provide between the three of them pharmacy benefit services for 95% of insured Americans. PBM stands for pharmacy benefit manager, and the Big Three PBMs being ESI, otherwise known as Express Scripts; OptumRx, which is a part (a big profitable part) of United Health Group; and then also CVS. Yes, CVS is not just for your retail pharmacy needs; they are also a huge pharmacy benefit manager. Now, we get to the GoodRx part of our story. If you don't know how GoodRx works, I would strongly encourage you to go back and listen to “An Expert Explains” with Dr. Ge Bai from last year (AEE13). That said, here's the super short semi-reductive version to keep us all level set here. If you already know how GoodRx works, you can skip forward about four minutes.  So, first of all, let's all understand that GoodRx's business model only exists because the pharmacy supply chain dominated by these three big PBMs that we just talked about is such a cluster. GoodRx profits from that dysfunction. So, as I said, here's the short version of how they do that. It all hinges on so-called spread pricing, and this is what I mean by that. Patient goes into pharmacy with a prescription for generic drug X. The patient has insurance—good news! Pharmacist checks the computer and sees that this patient should be charged, I don't know, $50 for drug X. The patient's insurance carrier picks up, say, $30 of the $50 cost; and the patient is left with, say, a co-pay of $20. Who did that little math there in the computer? The PBM (the pharmacy benefit manager) did that math. That's their thing, these PBMs. They adjudicate claims. That's what this math is called. Anybody who goes into a pharmacy with a prescription, it's the PBM on the back end who figures out how much the patient owes and how much their insurance will pay and what the patient responsibility is, etc. Goodness, you might say. How much are the PBMs being paid to perform this useful service? Turns out, it's free. That's right … the Big Three PBMs do all this adjudication for free. No charge to plan sponsors. Isn't that nice? Except it's actually not free if you dig into it. The PBM is certainly getting paid by means of arbitrage. They're taking a little something something out of the middle of every single transaction. Here's what that looks like in the example aforementioned. Recall the patient's insurance paid $30, and the patient themselves paid $20. The question is, how much did that drug cost the PBM? Remember, that's commerce: Buy low, sell high, and all that. You buy something, and then you sell it for more than you bought it for. OK, so we're talking about a generic drug here. They're cheap (usually). So, let's just say drug X costs, I don't know, $5. The PBM pays the pharmacy $5 for that generic script—and you can see how much money the PBM just made right there. The patient and their plan sponsor got charged $50, and the PBM's cost of goods was $5. Multiply that profit margin by the billions of generic prescriptions in this country that run through insurance, and you have a tidy little business model there. UHG, the parent company of OptumRx, made $24 billion in profit in 2021. Not all of that was from generic drug arbitrage (ie, taking advantage of spread pricing), but some of it was. And $24 billion is an awfully big amount when you consider whose paychecks all those pennies were lifted from. PBM services are anything but free. PBMs are collecting massive windfalls in the so-called spread between what the patient and the plan pay and what the PBM is actually buying those drugs for. Here's another wrinkle: When a PBM contracts with a pharmacy, part of their contractual terms is that the pharmacy's list price for drugs cannot be lower than a certain amount usually having something to do with the PBM's rates. So, pharmacy list prices become artificially high as a result, meaning that cash-pay patients who just wander into a pharmacy and try to pay cash pay an artificially high price. Into this mess swoops GoodRx with a killer idea. They see all that money on the table that PBMs are cleaning up in that spread. They want a piece of that action. And in the beginning, PBMs were fully on board with this. They were fully on board because the market GoodRx was going after was the uninsured market, meaning untapped turf for PBMs. And because PBMs make so much money off of each transaction, PBMs are always hungry for more transactions (the Big Three PBMs, anyway). They love more transactions. The more more more with the transactions, the more more more with the money. So, GoodRx goes to the PBMs and says, “Hey … if a cash-pay patient shows up in a pharmacy, what price would you charge them for you to adjudicate that claim? You know how much money you have to pay the pharmacy, so what can the patient price be? What spread are you willing to accept? GoodRx will take a little off the top, but you can keep your spread on this new frontier of patients that you haven't historically had access to because … uninsured. Oh, by the way, we, GoodRx … we're gonna go around to all your competitors, too (just saying)—the other two PBMs—and we're gonna show their prices, too, in our GoodRx app at different pharmacies. So, you're gonna have to compete with other PBMs in this model.” This is why GoodRx cash prices for generics are so very very often less than what the patient will pay if they use their insurance. In the GoodRx app, PBMs have competition. So, by not using their insurance, patients often pay less for generic drugs—which, by the way, are 90% of the scripts written in this country—and also, as an added bonus, patients don't have to jump through all the weird and arduous prior auths or step therapies or other hurdles that a PBM might toss in the mix. So, from a patient perspective, using GoodRx could save money, save time, and you could get your drugs faster because you don't have to wait around for some prior auth to go through. But this was not what PBMs had originally thought they were signing up for. They were working with GoodRx to gain new market share from the uninsured market, not lose market share to more and more patients forgoing their insurance, meaning forgoing shelling out to the PBM their spread on the transaction. Cue my conversation today with Dr. Ge Bai. Ge Bai, PhD, CPA, is a professor of accounting at Johns Hopkins Carey Business School and a professor of health policy and management at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. In this healthcare podcast, Ge Bai and I discuss the reactions of the Big Three PBMs to consumers getting all consumer-y when it comes to buying their generic drugs—despite the fact that, in my interview with Dr. Sunita Desai (EP334), she said that studies have shown that 67% of patients are unaware that they might be able to get a better price by not using their insurance and shopping around on GoodRx or Amazon or at a cost-plus pharmacy like Blueberry in Pittsburgh or Mark Cuban's new thing. Despite that, it means 33% (one-third) of patients are aware that they can price shop and potentially get a better price not using their insurance on generic drugs; and apparently, it's making some people at some PBMs nervous.   Check the ESI (Express Scripts) blog post about their new prescription benefit that automatically applies discounts. Hmmm … sounds like a defensive play to me? What do we make of this? That's my first question to Dr. Ge Bai in this episode.   Also, if you're really intrigued by generic drug goings-on, go back and listen to the show with Dr. Steven Quimby (EP344) when you have a chance. It's about the high cost of generic drugs, and we go deep into supply chain machinations.    You can learn more on Ge's Web site at Johns Hopkins University. You can also connect with her on LinkedIn. Ge Bai, PhD, CPA, is professor of accounting at the Johns Hopkins Carey Business School and professor of health policy and management at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. She is an expert on healthcare pricing, policy, and management. Dr. Bai has testified before the House Ways and Means Committee, written for the Wall Street Journal, and published her studies in leading academic journals such as the New England Journal of Medicine, JAMA, JAMA Internal Medicine, Annals of Internal Medicine, and Health Affairs. Her work has been widely featured on ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox News, CNN, and NPR and in the Los Angeles Times, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, and other media outlets and used in government regulations and congressional testimonies. 08:45 What is ESI doing by automatically applying discounts to generic drugs? 10:00 Why are PBMs losing money when consumers don't use their benefit? 10:46 “GoodRx disrupted the ongoing game.” 11:04 How are PBMs using the Amazon discount card to discourage their patients from moving away from using their benefits? 12:13 Amazon pricing versus GoodRx pricing. 12:50 How much money is a PBM really making? 14:00 EP344 with Steven Quimby, MD.14:29 EP334 with Sunita Desai, PhD.14:43 How is future fear playing into the PBM business model? 16:55 Is there a negative consequence to subtracting from the bottom line in a PBM model? 17:50 “I think to have strong PBMs does not mean necessarily bad things for patients.” 19:39 What happens if everyone uses Amazon for drugs? 22:40 If every PBM gets their own discount cards, what will happen? 25:38 “We are actually witnessing a potential sea change.” 26:25 How do cost-plus pharmacies factor into the current market? 29:16 Is a profit shortfall inevitable? 29:35 “PBMs have to give a slice of their profit back to consumers. That's just reality.” 30:11 Can anything be done on the PBM side to generate a higher margin in the generic space? 31:41 “Naive plan sponsors are a big problem.” You can learn more on Ge's Web site at Johns Hopkins University. You can also connect with her on LinkedIn. @GeBaiDC of @JohnsHopkins discusses #PBMs on our #healthcarepodcast. #healthcare #podcast #healthcarepricing What is ESI doing by automatically applying discounts to generic drugs? @GeBaiDC of @JohnsHopkins discusses #PBMs on our #healthcarepodcast. #healthcare #podcast #healthcarepricing Why are PBMs losing money when consumers don't use their benefit? @GeBaiDC of @JohnsHopkins discusses #PBMs on our #healthcarepodcast. #healthcare #podcast #healthcarepricing “GoodRx disrupted the ongoing game.” @GeBaiDC of @JohnsHopkins discusses #PBMs on our #healthcarepodcast. #healthcare #podcast #healthcarepricing How are PBMs using the Amazon discount card to discourage their patients from moving away from using their benefits? @GeBaiDC of @JohnsHopkins discusses #PBMs on our #healthcarepodcast. #healthcare #podcast #healthcarepricing Amazon pricing versus GoodRx pricing. @GeBaiDC of @JohnsHopkins discusses #PBMs on our #healthcarepodcast. #healthcare #podcast #healthcarepricing How much money is a PBM really making? @GeBaiDC of @JohnsHopkins discusses #PBMs on our #healthcarepodcast. #healthcare #podcast #healthcarepricing How is future fear playing into the PBM business model? @GeBaiDC of @JohnsHopkins discusses #PBMs on our #healthcarepodcast. #healthcare #podcast #healthcarepricing Is there a negative consequence to subtracting from the bottom line in a PBM model? @GeBaiDC of @JohnsHopkins discusses #PBMs on our #healthcarepodcast. #healthcare #podcast #healthcarepricing “I think to have strong PBMs does not mean necessarily bad things for patients.” @GeBaiDC of @JohnsHopkins discusses #PBMs on our #healthcarepodcast. #healthcare #podcast #healthcarepricing What happens if everyone uses Amazon for drugs? @GeBaiDC of @JohnsHopkins discusses #PBMs on our #healthcarepodcast. #healthcare #podcast #healthcarepricing If every PBM gets their own discount cards, what will happen? @GeBaiDC of @JohnsHopkins discusses #PBMs on our #healthcarepodcast. #healthcare #podcast #healthcarepricing “We are actually witnessing a potential sea change.” @GeBaiDC of @JohnsHopkins discusses #PBMs on our #healthcarepodcast. #healthcare #podcast #healthcarepricing How do cost-plus pharmacies factor into the current market? @GeBaiDC of @JohnsHopkins discusses #PBMs on our #healthcarepodcast. #healthcare #podcast #healthcarepricing Is a profit shortfall inevitable? @GeBaiDC of @JohnsHopkins discusses #PBMs on our #healthcarepodcast. #healthcare #podcast #healthcarepricing “PBMs have to give a slice of their profit back to consumers. That's just reality.” @GeBaiDC of @JohnsHopkins discusses #PBMs on our #healthcarepodcast. #healthcare #podcast #healthcarepricing Can anything be done on the PBM side to generate a higher margin in the generic space? @GeBaiDC of @JohnsHopkins discusses #PBMs on our #healthcarepodcast. #healthcare #podcast #healthcarepricing “Naive plan sponsors are a big problem.” @GeBaiDC of @JohnsHopkins discusses #PBMs on our #healthcarepodcast. #healthcare #podcast #healthcarepricing Recent past interviews: Click a guest's name for their latest RHV episode! Nikhil Krishnan, Shawn Rhodes, Pramod John (EP353), Pramod John (EP352), Dr Eric Bricker, Katy Talento, Stacey Richter (INBW33), Stacey Richter (INBW32), Dr Steve Schutzer (Encore! EP294), Lisa Trumble, Jeb Dunkelberger, Dr Ian Tong, Mike Schneider, Peter Hayes, Paul Simms, Dr Steven Quimby, Dr David Carmouche (EP343), Christin Deacon, Gary Campbell, Kristin Begley, David Contorno (AEE17), David Contorno (EP339), Nikki King, Olivia Webb, Brandon Weber, Stacey Richter (INBW30), Brian Klepper (AEE16), Brian Klepper (EP335)  

    EP355: The 5 Business Models of Digital Health Companies, With Nikhil Krishnan

    Play Episode Listen Later Feb 17, 2022 35:09

    My guest in this healthcare podcast is Nikhil Krishnan, who is the founder of the Out-Of-Pocket newsletter. I was talking with Nikhil, and we identified—or, more accurately, he identified—five business models of digital health. What makes each model distinct is a few factors. If you weren't in the healthcare industry, you'd probably expect that I'm going to say that the biggest factor a business model must hinge on must have something to do with patient outcomes or care or something that has something to do with the hopes and lives of patients. Except no. Mostly, our models do not define themselves by attributes of their patients, except on one dimension: who is paying their bills. Who is paying has enormous downstream consequences that I don't think people outside of healthcare, or even people inside of healthcare, sometimes really appreciate. It's because of all of the perverse incentives. It's a tangled web we weave. For example, let's just say you're a start-up founder trying to cook up your unique selling proposition. You can't just decide you're gonna lower costs and improve patient care as general constructs. Because let's just say you do that—that's your USP (lower costs and improve patient care)—and then you try to sell your thing to Medicare Advantage plans or large provider organizations. Oh, right … Medicare Advantage plans or even commercial ones—they don't care about the total cost of care. Neither do provider organizations unless they take on sufficient risk to care, and many do not. In fact, as came out in that JAMA article the other day, it could be construed that entities such as these carrier health plans have a perverse incentive to see total costs of care go up. So right, you naively (you're the start-up founder again in this case study, don't forget) trot into some administrator's office with a great something or other to reduce total costs of care—and you'll get cast out upon your petard on the quick.  Every single day of the year in my world, I see people make this same mistake over and over again: not tailoring their product market fit to any particular market, with the recognition that some in this healthcare industry have a vested interest to see costs going up and some have a vested interest in costs going down. Either way, if we're talking about large organizations here and even some small ones, the money wins over patient care. So sad to have to say that, but listen to EP351 with Dr. Eric Bricker and you'll get all the context you need on that point.   Here's the thing, though. I don't know about you, but I can't tell you how many digital health start-ups I run across where I look at their decks or have a conversation with a founder, and I ask who their customer is. Is it employers or health plans or … ? And they don't know. They're gonna figure this out later. I don't get how to successfully do that. I'm indubitably wrong here given all of the pivots I hear about that seem to go OK, but the prospect of completely redefining my operational goals and operations and market positioning at some point in the future seems like a daunting and avoidable prospect. I would be remiss not to mention, however, the number of really good mission-driven healthcare companies out there really trying hard to figure out how to create a sustainable business, a fair profit, while at the same time serving patients really well. There are companies adding value commensurate with the dollars that they come by, and I certainly applaud everything that they are doing. At the same time, given all this, here's a message for all of you VCs and private equity etc—people with money—out there. Let me quote Dr. Vivek Garg here (@vgargMD on Twitter): “If you're financing care delivery without board-level focus on clinical outcomes, you're part of the problem.”   So, let's talk about these five business models that health and healthcare start-ups eventually settle themselves into after they figure out who their customer is. Nikhil Krishnan, my guest today, and I discuss how they can be financially viable and if we think they'll actually be able to provide superior patient outcomes. [Trumpets play here] In no particular order, this is what we've got for our five business models: Completely avoiding incumbents, creating a cash-pay ecosystem Better middleware (being the pipes, as I've heard so many times these past couple of weeks) Companies serving incumbents either by being a virtual front door for them or disrupting the competitive landscape somehow Joint ventures Old-school digital health who are now incumbents in their own space My guest in this episode, Nikhil Krishnan, has a bunch of things going on. He might be best known for his newsletter, Out-Of-Pocket Health, which you should certainly subscribe to. He's also working on a healthcare 101 crash course to teach newcomers about the Wild West we call American healthcare. Besides all of this, Nikhil does some early-stage investing.  You can learn more at outofpocket.health and with Nikhil's upcoming course.  Nikhil Krishnan is the founder/thinkboi at Out-Of-Pocket, where he's trying to make the business of healthcare more easily understandable and (hopefully) entertaining. He runs a newsletter (yes, yet another one) and an online healthcare community and does some digital health investing on the side. He's “extremely online,” and you can find him firing off obscure healthcare memes plus the occasional insight on Twitter at @nikillinit.     05:31 What are the different models of digital health? 07:17 What are the different motives for cash-pay digital health models? 13:08 “One of healthcare's original sins is that every solution deployed has been a custom solution for the end user.” 13:31 How willing will these companies be to share their data with third parties? 17:20 “I don't think selling tech to large incumbents is going to move the needle.” 20:27 “These companies, most of them are actually getting extra money for the more expensive stuff.” 22:11 How did joint-venture digital health business models come about? 25:50 Why do you see partnerships more on the payer/provider side? 26:41 Who are the old-school digital health companies that could be considered incumbents? 28:48 Why do so many digital health start-ups have a hard time pinpointing who will pay for their services? 31:22 “The ability to go through the idea maze is way faster now.” 34:08 “The field is wide open to help teach people how healthcare works.” You can learn more at outofpocket.health and with Nikhil's upcoming course.  @nikillinit discusses #digitalhealth on our #healthcarepodcast. #healthcare #podcast What are the different models of digital health? @nikillinit discusses #digitalhealth on our #healthcarepodcast. #healthcare #podcast What are the different motives for cash pay digital health models? @nikillinit discusses #digitalhealth on our #healthcarepodcast. #healthcare #podcast “One of healthcare's original sins is that every solution deployed has been a custom solution for the end user.” @nikillinit discusses #digitalhealth on our #healthcarepodcast. #healthcare #podcast How willing will these companies be to share their data with third parties? @nikillinit discusses #digitalhealth on our #healthcarepodcast. #healthcare #podcast “I don't think selling tech to large incumbents is going to move the needle.” @nikillinit discusses #digitalhealth on our #healthcarepodcast. #healthcare #podcast “These companies, most of them are actually getting extra money for the more expensive stuff.” @nikillinit discusses #digitalhealth on our #healthcarepodcast. #healthcare #podcast How did joint-venture digital health business models come about? @nikillinit discusses #digitalhealth on our #healthcarepodcast. #healthcare #podcast Why do you see partnerships more on the payer/provider side? @nikillinit discusses #digitalhealth on our #healthcarepodcast. #healthcare #podcast Who are the old-school digital health companies that could be considered incumbents? @nikillinit discusses #digitalhealth on our #healthcarepodcast. #healthcare #podcast Why do so many digital health start-ups have a hard time pinpointing who will pay for their services? @nikillinit discusses #digitalhealth on our #healthcarepodcast. #healthcare #podcast “The ability to go through the idea maze is way faster now.” @nikillinit discusses #digitalhealth on our #healthcarepodcast. #healthcare #podcast “The field is wide open to help teach people how healthcare works.” @nikillinit discusses #digitalhealth on our #healthcarepodcast. #healthcare #podcast   Recent past interviews: Click a guest's name for their latest RHV episode! Shawn Rhodes, Pramod John (EP353), Pramod John (EP352), Dr Eric Bricker, Katy Talento, Stacey Richter (INBW33), Stacey Richter (INBW32), Dr Steve Schutzer (Encore! EP294), Lisa Trumble, Jeb Dunkelberger, Dr Ian Tong, Mike Schneider, Peter Hayes, Paul Simms, Dr Steven Quimby, Dr David Carmouche (EP343), Christin Deacon, Gary Campbell, Kristin Begley, David Contorno (AEE17), David Contorno (EP339), Nikki King, Olivia Webb, Brandon Weber, Stacey Richter (INBW30), Brian Klepper (AEE16), Brian Klepper (EP335), Sunita Desai  

    EP354: 7 Vital Success Factors to Stand Up a CIN (Clinically Integrated Network), With Shawn Rhodes

    Play Episode Listen Later Feb 10, 2022 32:44

    In this healthcare podcast, we're gonna talk about the realities of setting up a clinically integrated network, otherwise known as a CIN. If only the whole process was unicorns and rainbows, but—as you likely suspected—it's not. Setting up a clinically integrated network is hard work, but the payoff for patients and clinicians alike can be worth fighting for. First of all, what is a clinically integrated network? It is a kind of ACO (accountable care organization). It is a legal entity that is a form of an ACO. So, every CIN is an ACO. But not all—in fact, most—ACOs are not CINs.  CINs enable coordinated care. Everybody in the network gets together to figure out how to enable clinicians to (for reals) follow their patients through multiple care settings and plan for an entire care journey. It can really help the patients navigate our crazy healthcare industry by giving them a trusted team that plots out a proactive path toward better healthcare outcomes and then make sure the patient stays on that path. It can be a really beautiful thing. Listen to EP349 with Lisa Trumble for real-world examples of the patient outcomes and experience a CIN can generate. All this for the patient while, at the same time, the total cost of care for Medicare patients goes down, I've heard, about 10% on average; but it can be more, as Lisa Trumble also talks about in episode 349 as aforementioned.  Alright … as we all know in healthcare, what's best for the patient doesn't, in so many cases, mean higher reimbursements. Sadly. So, what financial advantages does going through the time and trouble to create a CIN bring? There are basically four financial opportunities that can be realized with a CIN. I learned some of this from my guest today, Shawn Rhodes, who called strategically managing these four possible financial incentives “a delicate balance”; and as I get into some of them, you will see why. CIN Financial Opportunity #1: Similar to an ACO, if you're a CIN (because you are an ACO), you can participate in the Medicare Shared Savings Program, otherwise known as MSSP. The Medicare Shared Savings Program (MSSP) is the way that ACOs get paid a little something extra if they achieve savings goals for Medicare. The provider shares in the savings. Get it? And CINs are generally well equipped to realize these shared savings goals because to obtain the quality that you have to to pull off the shared savings, being clinically integrated really helps. CIN Financial Opportunity #2: Getting a gang of providers (doctors) together, you can do collective bargaining. So, back to basics with this one. You get a bunch of docs together in a region, then you all go to the big BUCAH plan—meaning the Blue Cross, the Cigna, the Aetna, Anthem, Humana—you go to them together and make your contracting demands, as opposed to each little doc practice going in all by yourself and trying to negotiate David and Goliath style. Now, what the payer might want from your collective crew there, the payer might insist on some kind of value-based agreement. Even if it's an FFS (fee-for-service) contract chassis, they'll attach some kind of quality or outcome component. So again, being organized in a CIN is a bonus either way. CIN Financial Opportunity #3: Your CIN can try to do direct contracting with local employers. Check out EP350 with Katy Talento for more on direct contracting. Actually, Lisa Trumble also mentions this in EP349.   CIN Financial Opportunity #4: Lastly, you can work with local hospitals' quality and efficiency programs. From a hospital financial perspective, they might be interested in the care that happens after an inpatient stay. If the outpatient care at an integrated skilled nursing facility, for example, is good, then the hospital could, for example, reduce readmissions. Now, caveat: I asked (maybe grilled is a better word) our guest in this episode, Shawn Rhodes, about this whole “prevent a readmission” business. Because on one hand, oh wow, you get a couple points back from having lower readmissions—which you can game all day long, by the way. Listen to the show with Dr. Rishi Wadhera (EP326) for more on how to not get dinged for readmissions even if you effectively have readmissions.   So, said another way, the crafty, albeit dubious, power move here if you're a hospital to maximize revenue is to let patients come back to the hospital after discharge but just don't call it a readmission. Call it, I don't know, observational. Then bill fee for service for the whole thing and get the reducing readmission financial incentives. At this point in the time-space continuum, everybody knows this stuff. This is not some kind of secret that I'm spilling here. Anyway, I bring this up because don't forget what I just said: The #4 CIN financial opportunity that Shawn Rhodes had mentioned is hooking up with a local hospital as part of their quality and efficiency program and the hospital looking to the CIN to reduce readmissions. Given the open secret on hospitals and readmissions, my Spidey sense just got really curious. So, when I pressed on this point, Shawn didn't talk about the CIN sharing any financial gains from the reducing readmission incentive program like I might have expected. Instead, he mentioned that having lower readmissions is a way for hospitals to get some negotiating leverage with payers. The next time your hospital's payer contract comes up, you can point to lower readmissions and then demand higher FFS fees. You also might be able to improve throughput of profitable service lines by reducing the number of patients who turn back up after their earlier procedure—which is another way, again, to increase FFS revenues, since the more patients you put through, the more revenue. This is why I like talking to people with a touchstone to the real world. You find out what the actual deal is. Now, I say all this to say that if patients get better care and their care journey is non-fragmented, it's a win-win. And CINs, like most ACOs, have been shown to trim the cost of care with great patient feedback. That's amazing. Just a quick spoiler here, but the seven parameters that Shawn Rhodes and I discuss in this episode which are essential for anyone who is looking to stand up a CIN or basically achieve success—and, I would guess, almost any value-based model—you gotta have an infrastructure that takes into account the following seven things: Patient-first and agile culture Interoperability Patient-centered processes Actionable information (not just data) Clinical integration Strategic planning and alignment of all stakeholders in the CIN Strong leadership My guest in this episode, Shawn Rhodes, has worked in performance and quality improvement for many years. He has worked at a CIN in Bowling Green, Kentucky; and he has overseen multiple value-based programs. Shawn currently serves as regional VP at Caravan Health. You can learn more at caravanhealth.com or connect with Shawn on LinkedIn.   Shawn Rhodes serves as regional vice president at Caravan Health, a services and technology company that helps hospitals and physicians who care for underserved population succeed in value-based care. Shawn collaborates with clients to develop tailored population health strategies and support their efforts to deliver the highest-quality, patient-focused care at the lowest cost. Prior to Caravan Health, Shawn served as the director of clinical integration for a clinically integrated network, Med Center Health Partners, where he oversaw value-based agreements (commercial, Medicare Advantage, Medicaid, BPCI, and employer health plans) with various payers along with ACO activities and quality improvement initiatives within the network. Before his work in value-based care, Shawn served as director of education and organizational development at Baptist Health Hardin, focusing on leadership development and cultural change through Studer Group initiatives. The early part of Shawn's career was spent in industrial equipment design and progressed into the automotive manufacturing industry working with Toyota and Honda on quality and process improvement. He then transitioned to the healthcare industry where he worked for eight years as a consultant specializing in coaching and mentoring hospitals to achieve improved quality, efficiency, and financial performance through process improvement, LEAN techniques, and reengineering. Shawn has a bachelor's degree in mechanical engineering and a master's degree in business administration from Western Kentucky University. He resides in Bowling Green, Kentucky. 08:08 What are the seven parameters to consider when standing up a CIN? 08:25 “Culture trumps strategy.” 09:10 “Communication and education are key components to starting that … process.” 09:26 “How do you get the information to the right person at the right time and the right place?” 09:36 What does interoperability need to look like in a CIN? 10:29 How do organizations communicate with the patient in a CIN? 11:07 Can a clinically integrated network work if it's not patient-centric? 11:37 EP332 with Tony DiGioia, MD.11:49 What's a must-have for a clinically integrated network to be successful? 13:41 “What does that data mean?” 15:34 EP315 with Bob Matthews.15:52 “You really need a go-to person.” 18:57 “The thing with team-based care is, you also have to have team-based accountability.” 20:54 “You've got to build some infrastructure around what you want to do.” 24:37 “Alignment is not an easy task by any means.” 25:15 “There has to be a group decision-making process.” 25:34 EP343 with David Carmouche, MD.25:41 EP341 with Gary Campbell.26:18 How do you define leadership? 27:49 “Start small, get some successes, and it will build as you go.” You can learn more at caravanhealth.com or connect with Shawn on LinkedIn.   Shawn Rhodes, regional VP at @CaravanHealth, discusses #CINs on our #healthcarepodcast. #healthcare #podcast #clinicallyintegratednetwork What are the seven parameters to consider when standing up a CIN? Shawn Rhodes, regional VP at @CaravanHealth, discusses #CINs on our #healthcarepodcast. #healthcare #podcast #clinicallyintegratednetwork “Culture trumps strategy.” Shawn Rhodes, regional VP at @CaravanHealth, discusses #CINs on our #healthcarepodcast. #healthcare #podcast #clinicallyintegratednetwork “Communication and education are key components to starting that … process.” Shawn Rhodes, regional VP at @CaravanHealth, discusses #CINs on our #healthcarepodcast. #healthcare #podcast #clinicallyintegratednetwork “How do you get the information to the right person at the right time and the right place?” Shawn Rhodes, regional VP at @CaravanHealth, discusses #CINs on our #healthcarepodcast. #healthcare #podcast #clinicallyintegratednetwork What does interoperability need to look like in a CIN? Shawn Rhodes, regional VP at @CaravanHealth, discusses #CINs on our #healthcarepodcast. #healthcare #podcast #clinicallyintegratednetwork How do organizations communicate with the patient in a CIN? Shawn Rhodes, regional VP at @CaravanHealth, discusses #CINs on our #healthcarepodcast. #healthcare #podcast #clinicallyintegratednetwork Can a clinically integrated network work if it's not patient-centric? Shawn Rhodes, regional VP at @CaravanHealth, discusses #CINs on our #healthcarepodcast. #healthcare #podcast #clinicallyintegratednetwork What's a must-have for a clinically integrated network to be successful? Shawn Rhodes, regional VP at @CaravanHealth, discusses #CINs on our #healthcarepodcast. #healthcare #podcast #clinicallyintegratednetwork “What does that data mean?” Shawn Rhodes, regional VP at @CaravanHealth, discusses #CINs on our #healthcarepodcast. #healthcare #podcast #clinicallyintegratednetwork “You really need a go-to person.” Shawn Rhodes, regional VP at @CaravanHealth, discusses #CINs on our #healthcarepodcast. #healthcare #podcast #clinicallyintegratednetwork “The thing with team-based care is, you also have to have team-based accountability.” Shawn Rhodes, regional VP at @CaravanHealth, discusses #CINs on our #healthcarepodcast. #healthcare #podcast #clinicallyintegratednetwork “You've got to build some infrastructure around what you want to do.” Shawn Rhodes, regional VP at @CaravanHealth, discusses #CINs on our #healthcarepodcast. #healthcare #podcast #clinicallyintegratednetwork “Alignment is not an easy task by any means.” Shawn Rhodes, regional VP at @CaravanHealth, discusses #CINs on our #healthcarepodcast. #healthcare #podcast #clinicallyintegratednetwork “There has to be a group decision-making process.” Shawn Rhodes, regional VP at @CaravanHealth, discusses #CINs on our #healthcarepodcast. #healthcare #podcast #clinicallyintegratednetwork How do you define leadership? Shawn Rhodes, regional VP at @CaravanHealth, discusses #CINs on our #healthcarepodcast. #healthcare #podcast #clinicallyintegratednetwork “Start small, get some successes, and it will build as you go.” Shawn Rhodes, regional VP at @CaravanHealth, discusses #CINs on our #healthcarepodcast. #healthcare #podcast #clinicallyintegratednetwork   Recent past interviews: Click a guest's name for their latest RHV episode! Pramod John (EP353), Pramod John (EP352), Dr Eric Bricker, Katy Talento, Stacey Richter (INBW33), Stacey Richter (INBW32), Dr Steve Schutzer (Encore! EP294), Lisa Trumble, Jeb Dunkelberger, Dr Ian Tong, Mike Schneider, Peter Hayes, Paul Simms, Dr Steven Quimby, Dr David Carmouche (EP343), Christin Deacon, Gary Campbell, Kristin Begley, David Contorno (AEE17), David Contorno (EP339), Nikki King, Olivia Webb, Brandon Weber, Stacey Richter (INBW30), Brian Klepper (AEE16), Brian Klepper (EP335), Sunita Desai, Care Plans vs Real World (EP333)

    EP353: What You Need to Know About Specialty Pharmacy Formularies and Rebating, With Pramod John, PhD

    Play Episode Listen Later Feb 3, 2022 30:47

    This episode is probably a 400-level class in specialty pharmacy rebating. If you want a 45-minute conversation on rebates in all their glory, go back and listen to the conversation with Chris Sloan (Encore! EP216).   But if you're still with me, what's gonna follow is about an eight-minute overview of pharmaceutical rebating, just to make sure we're all on the same page before we get into the show itself. So, if you know all there is to know about pharmaceutical rebating, you can jump ahead about eight minutes and get to the part where I talk with Pramod John.

    EP352: Some Big Actionable Surprises About the Efficacy and Effectiveness of Specialty Pharmaceuticals, With Pramod John, PhD

    Play Episode Listen Later Jan 27, 2022 28:22

    As a country, we spend approximately $500 billion on prescription drugs. Specialty drugs account for less than 2% of prescriptions but will cost us over $250 billion (that's in 2021)—so, 2% of prescriptions but half the spend. Specialty is the fastest-growing segment of healthcare spend and is a dominant issue that self-funded employers and other purchasers face. But let's dig into that $250 billion being spent on specialty drugs, shall we? I have to say, personally, that if we spent $250 billion but saved more than that in medical costs or if the patient quality of life went up measurably or if life expectancy or overall survival or whatever metric you used to assess quality … if that big spend produced even bigger returns/results, I for one would be like, “OK, trade-offs. Let's discuss.” But the thing is, clinical trials and real-world evidence alike suggest that there's a lot of patients who don't really benefit from the expensive drugs that they are taking or were prescribed, and even those who benefit might not get the results that they're hoping for or even de minimis expecting. In this healthcare podcast, I am talking with Pramod John, CEO of VIVIO Health; and he makes a couple of great points about all of this that I'll repeat here and then he's gonna say them again later in this episode but in context—and probably better. There was some research done that showed for a really popular, really expensive drug, only 2% of patients who took it got the expected, maybe promised, benefits. But 100% of the patients who took that drug got bad, in some cases dangerously bad, diarrhea. This situation is really kind of typical. A drug will work great for some people, mediocre for other people/patients, and not at all for, say, the remaining what might be majority of patients. So, you'll have 2 patients where the results are out of the park, 23 patients where results are pretty darn good, 25 patients reporting meh results but something you can actually still point to, and then maybe 50 patients who see absolutely no improvement in anything. So, here's an important point: Maybe there's, let's just say, 3 drugs or 10 drugs in this therapeutic category, and that same patient distribution is true for all of them—except different drugs may work for different people. So, by enabling access to all the drugs, you can see that patients have a better chance of being in one of those first groups where they actually get results because there's more drugs that they can try and different drugs work differently in different people. But now, let's consider the way that we pay for specialty drugs: One or two of them get on formulary typically, and then all the others are excluded. That said, the purchaser, patient, and/or taxpayer is gonna pay a whole lot of money for those drugs regardless of how well they do or do not work. And with fewer drugs on formulary, there's less of a chance that results gold will be struck. But we're gonna pay a whole lot of money, also in terms of human life, to deal with the direct and cascading side effects of drugs whether they do or don't work. I have to admit, I kind of have a new appreciation for so-called me-too drugs after this conversation. Let me just add that here for the record. My guest today and next week is Pramod John, who is the founder and CEO over at VIVIO Health. VIVIO contracts with self-insured employers and helps their employees/members/patients (whatever you call them) get the right drug. They actually expand access, and the employer saves money. After what I just said, you might be cottoning on to why. The show this week concerns the reality of specialty drugs and what the terms efficacy and effectiveness really mean because they might not mean what you think they mean. As inconceivable as that might feel, I learned something. You might, too. And there are implications—big implications—for all of this for patients/members/employees. Or you and your family. In this episode, we also define and discuss the terms NNT (number needed to treat) and NNH (number needed to harm), which are really important and, in my humble opinion, do not get discussed enough—especially with patients who need to know these things to make informed choices. Next week's show is also with Pramod John, and we get into how what we talk about here intersects with rebates and formularies. Come back for that. It's probably a 400-level class in specialty pharmacy rebating, but some of you will appreciate it. You can learn more at viviohealth.com or by emailing Pramod at pramod@viviohealth.com.   Pramod John, PhD, is the team leader of VIVIO, a public benefit corporation whose mission is to ensure that drugs work in the real world for the people on them and that their costs reflect the value provided. VIVIO's model has improved health outcomes and generated 35% to 40% savings on drug acquisition costs. It accomplishes this by answering three simple questions: (1) Is this the right drug? (2) Is it a fair price? and (3) Is it working for the patient? Before VIVIO, Pramod was founder of Oration PBC (acquired by PokitDok), which gave consumers control over their drug purchasing by capturing the prescription in the physician's office and providing real-time pricing options and automatic routing capabilities. Pramod was also vice president of strategy and innovation at McKesson, the world's largest healthcare company. At McKesson, Pramod helped develop solutions that leveraged advanced technologies and business process improvements to optimize healthcare delivery systems, infrastructure, and supply chains. Earlier, Pramod founded and served as CEO of PacketMotion, Inc, a venture-funded startup in the enterprise network information and policy management industry. VMware later acquired the company. In addition, Pramod founded netExaminer.com, a managed-vulnerability assessment company acquired by SonicWALL. Pramod earned his PhD in electrical engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. He serves on the board of Wycliffe USA. He also serves on the advisory board of Folia Water and as a mentor at StartX. 05:34 What does a good response mean in pharmaceutical products? 06:06 “Different people get different utility out of something.” 06:31 Why doesn't efficacy mean what you think it means in terms of pharmaceutical products? 08:40 What is the difference between efficacy and effectiveness in Pharma? 09:10 Why aren't drugs' major side effects factored into a drug's efficacy and effectiveness? 10:14 “What's the benefit of this versus what's the harm in this?” 13:35 “Clearly as consumers, we all feel that we're special. But what about physicians?” 14:14 “The benefit itself—what does it have to be?” 15:18 EP334 with Sunita Desai, PhD.17:11 “We tend to think of things as a binary distribution—it works or it doesn't.” 18:22 “The default choice that we start with is often the wrong one.” 20:54 “It doesn't matter why if we can't fix the reason.” 22:02 “At some point, the question becomes, ‘Do we have any information?'” 22:36 Why do other developed countries pay less for their drugs? 24:21 How do we end up with crappy drugs on the market that don't really move the dial? 25:57 EP303 with Anna Kaltenboeck. 27:22 “We can build a better system. And that's what we do every day.” You can learn more at viviohealth.com or by emailing Pramod at pramod@viviohealth.com.   Pramod John discusses #specialtydrugpricing on our #healthcarepodcast. #healthcare #podcast #pharma #specialtypharma #specialtydrugs What does a good response mean in pharmaceutical products? Pramod John discusses #specialtydrugpricing on our #healthcarepodcast. #healthcare #podcast #pharma #specialtypharma #specialtydrugs “Different people get different utility out of something.” Pramod John discusses #specialtydrugpricing on our #healthcarepodcast. #healthcare #podcast #pharma #specialtypharma #specialtydrugs Why doesn't efficacy mean what you think it means in terms of pharmaceutical products? Pramod John discusses #specialtydrugpricing on our #healthcarepodcast. #healthcare #podcast #pharma #specialtypharma #specialtydrugs What is the difference between efficacy and effectiveness in Pharma? Pramod John discusses #specialtydrugpricing on our #healthcarepodcast. #healthcare #podcast #pharma #specialtypharma #specialtydrugs Why aren't drugs' major side effects factored into a drug's efficacy and effectiveness? Pramod John discusses #specialtydrugpricing on our #healthcarepodcast. #healthcare #podcast #pharma #specialtypharma #specialtydrugs “What's the benefit of this versus what's the harm in this?” Pramod John discusses #specialtydrugpricing on our #healthcarepodcast. #healthcare #podcast #pharma #specialtypharma #specialtydrugs “Clearly as consumers, we all feel that we're special. But what about physicians?” Pramod John discusses #specialtydrugpricing on our #healthcarepodcast. #healthcare #podcast #pharma #specialtypharma #specialtydrugs “The benefit itself—what does it have to be?” Pramod John discusses #specialtydrugpricing on our #healthcarepodcast. #healthcare #podcast #pharma #specialtypharma #specialtydrugs “We tend to think of things as a binary distribution—it works or it doesn't.” Pramod John discusses #specialtydrugpricing on our #healthcarepodcast. #healthcare #podcast #pharma #specialtypharma #specialtydrugs “The default choice that we start with is often the wrong one.” Pramod John discusses #specialtydrugpricing on our #healthcarepodcast. #healthcare #podcast #pharma #specialtypharma #specialtydrugs “It doesn't matter why if we can't fix the reason.” Pramod John discusses #specialtydrugpricing on our #healthcarepodcast. #healthcare #podcast #pharma #specialtypharma #specialtydrugs “At some point, the question becomes, ‘Do we have any information?'” Pramod John discusses #specialtydrugpricing on our #healthcarepodcast. #healthcare #podcast #pharma #specialtypharma #specialtydrugs Why do other developed countries pay less for their drugs? Pramod John discusses #specialtydrugpricing on our #healthcarepodcast. #healthcare #podcast #pharma #specialtypharma #specialtydrugs How do we end up with crappy drugs on the market that don't really move the dial? Pramod John discusses #specialtydrugpricing on our #healthcarepodcast. #healthcare #podcast #pharma #specialtypharma #specialtydrugs   Recent past interviews: Click a guest's name for their latest RHV episode! Dr Eric Bricker, Katy Talento, Stacey Richter (INBW33), Stacey Richter (INBW32), Dr Steve Schutzer (Encore! EP294), Lisa Trumble, Jeb Dunkelberger, Dr Ian Tong, Mike Schneider, Peter Hayes, Paul Simms, Dr Steven Quimby, Dr David Carmouche (EP343), Christin Deacon, Gary Campbell, Kristin Begley, David Contorno (AEE17), David Contorno (EP339), Nikki King, Olivia Webb, Brandon Weber, Stacey Richter (INBW30), Brian Klepper (AEE16), Brian Klepper (EP335), Sunita Desai, Care Plans vs Real World (EP333), Dr Tony DiGioia, Al Lewis

    EP351: Everybody in the Healthcare Industry Getting Up in Everyone Else's Business, With Eric Bricker, MD, From AHealthcareZ

    Play Episode Listen Later Jan 20, 2022 36:00

    In this healthcare podcast, I'm speaking with Eric Bricker, MD, about how so many entities in healthcare are getting up in other people's business and swimming in other people's traditional lanes. Consider last week's show with Katy Talento, for example. She mentions employers who are not only doing their own direct contracting (ie, cutting out the traditional carriers and negotiating directly with provider organizations) but also employee benefit consultants who are working on setting up their own hospital—an employer-owned hospital. That was episode 350, and while this hospital idea is a little future oriented, right now today, across the country, we have employers and also unions who are owning their own primary care clinics, which I discussed at some length with Mark Blum from America's Agenda (EP248).   In this episode with Dr. Bricker, we start from the beginning. We kick off the conversation talking about the payer, PBM, and hospital system horizontal consolidation that has transpired over the past decades (that's plural). Horizontal consolidation is pretty much the easiest way to decimate all competition in your own swim lane so that you can charge more and not worry so much about patient/customer/member experience because the patients/customers/members have no better alternative. They effectively have nowhere, or few other places at best, to go if they leave you. So, what's the impact of horizontal consolidation? We get into this in the podcast, but subsequent to this recording, there was a study that came out in JAMA: “The Dysfunctional Health Benefits Market and Implications for US Employers and Employees.” This was by David Scheinker, PhD; Arnold Milstein, MD; and Kevin Schulman, MD. This study showed that commercial insurance costs have gone up 4x the rate of other benchmark goods and services. Bottom line, “It is assumed that insurers compete intensely to improve the value received by employers and employees by negotiating to keep prices down and advocating for employers and employees.” Ha ha … NOT.   With peak horizontal consolidation, there is little meaningful competition—so ixnay on that premise. By the way, if anyone knows any of those authors that I just cited in that study, hit me up. I'd love to get one of them on the show. But let's spend a moment, shall we, on the human impact of all this extreme consolidation. The impact is your sister, your neighbor, your son, your friend. So many feel so much pressure financially in our country today because of healthcare costs. Even families earning significantly more than median household income are forgoing care because of costs. Again, this was in a recent paper. (The authors are Alyce S. Adams, Raymond Kluender, Neale Mahoney, Jinglin Wang, Francis Wong, and Wesley Yin.)   But the direct observable financial toxicity resulting from high healthcare patient costs is really only the tip of the iceberg here. As Dave Chase from Health Rosetta has said a million times already, high healthcare costs have a multitude of effects on employers, big and small. One big one is, if healthcare costs more, then there's less money for salaries. Dave, citing lots of evidence, has long attributed wage stagnation in this country to accelerating healthcare costs, which became even more rampant during periods of industry consolidation. Dave Chase leads Health Rosetta, by the way. Here's another human toxicity: Listen to episode 337 with Oliva Webb on the impact on her life as a result of the undeniably and unquestionably common non-excellent treatment by the PBMs and SPPs that she has to deal with. Because, as Dr. Bricker also says, no competition means basically not a whole lot of concern about patient experience. Why should a for-profit business spend money to improve something when there's nothing really to be gained for them financially to do so? I mean, the best a patient can do most of the time is hop from the frying pan into the fire. That's what happens when there's no competition or no real competition. Also consider the burned-out clinicians who have to get stuck in the middle of this nobody-really-cares-at-the-monopoly customer service paperwork quagmire.  By the way, here's a sidebar that might come as a surprise to some people, but please take this in the spirit with which it's intended. All of us innovators and lifelong learners, we want to update our beliefs when the facts show us an updated conclusion. So, I have learned that all of this consolidation was going on long before the ACA (Affordable Care Act). My point here is to please look into this well-documented trend line before reflexively tweeting that the ACA drove consolidation. Dr. Bricker and others like Dr. Mai Pham have told me that, in their opinion, low interest rates, cheap debt, and a desire to eliminate competition are wildly powerful drivers of consolidation. Anyway, about nine minutes into the interview with Dr. Bricker, if you're one of the ones who knows all you care to know about horizontal consolidation, we get into vertical integration, vertical consolidation—and this is where things get interesting. And when I say interesting, I mean it in a “we live in interesting times” kind of way. The vertical consolidation conversation segues into whose swim lane that the digital health and other innovators or, dare I say, disrupters are diving into and whose lunch they are aiming to eat. Dr. Bricker probably needs no introduction. He is the force behind AHealthcareZ, which you can find online, on Twitter, YouTube, and LinkedIn. He has worked as a clinician, in healthcare finance, and currently serves as a chief medical officer. If that weren't enough, he's also been an entrepreneur—a very successful entrepreneur, I might add. He started one of the first healthcare navigation firms called Compass Professional Health Services. Compass had something like 2000 employer clients serving about 1.8 million people when it was purchased in, I believe, 2018.   You can connect with Dr. Bricker on Twitter at @DrEricB and on LinkedIn.  Eric Bricker, MD, is an internal medicine physician and former cofounder and chief medical officer of Compass Professional Health Services. Compass is a healthcare navigation service that grew to 2000+ clients, including T-Mobile, Southwest Airlines, and Chili's/Maggiano's restaurants. Compass was acquired by Alight Solutions in July 2018. Alight is a 10,000-person employee benefits and HR outsourcing company that separated from Aon in 2017. Dr. Bricker has since started AHealthcareZ.com, with 170+ healthcare finance videos with approximately 90,000 views per month across all platforms. He is also the author of Healthcare Money Campfire Stories.  06:30 What is this “megatrend” happening in healthcare right now? 07:52 How has consolidation changed the healthcare landscape? 10:22 What is vertical integration within healthcare? 11:48 Why doesn't inorganic growth benefit patients? 13:33 “What is best for the patient does not necessarily make the most money.” 14:43 “It's not that it's above the law … it is just intentionally obscured.” 18:58 “Healthcare is glacial. It is slow.” 23:23 “The largest source of healthcare costs is hospitals.” 25:48 EP330 with John Marchica.29:17 “What have the historical priorities been of the administrators of those hospitals?” 29:32 “Every hospital CFO knows that they need sick people.” 30:18 EP343 with David Carmouche.30:59 “The payment change has to come first.” 32:17 “The money wins.” 34:12 “You've got to put the financial incentives in place … to make people actually behave the way that they should.” You can connect with Dr. Bricker on Twitter at @DrEricB and on LinkedIn. @DrEricB discusses #healthcare's changing landscape on our #healthcarepodcast. #podcast #digitalhealth What is this “megatrend” happening in healthcare right now? @DrEricB discusses #healthcare's changing landscape on our #healthcarepodcast. #podcast #digitalhealth How has consolidation changed the healthcare landscape? @DrEricB discusses #healthcare's changing landscape on our #healthcarepodcast. #podcast #digitalhealth What is vertical integration within healthcare? @DrEricB discusses #healthcare's changing landscape on our #healthcarepodcast. #podcast #digitalhealth Why doesn't inorganic growth benefit patients? @DrEricB discusses #healthcare's changing landscape on our #healthcarepodcast. #podcast #digitalhealth “What is best for the patient does not necessarily make the most money.” @DrEricB discusses #healthcare's changing landscape on our #healthcarepodcast. #podcast #digitalhealth “It's not that it's above the law … it is just intentionally obscured.” @DrEricB discusses #healthcare's changing landscape on our #healthcarepodcast. #podcast #digitalhealth “Healthcare is glacial. It is slow.” @DrEricB discusses #healthcare's changing landscape on our #healthcarepodcast. #podcast #digitalhealth “The largest source of healthcare costs is hospitals.” @DrEricB discusses #healthcare's changing landscape on our #healthcarepodcast. #podcast #digitalhealth “What have the historical priorities been of the administrators of those hospitals?” @DrEricB discusses #healthcare's changing landscape on our #healthcarepodcast. #podcast #digitalhealth “Every hospital CFO knows that they need sick people.” @DrEricB discusses #healthcare's changing landscape on our #healthcarepodcast. #podcast #digitalhealth “The payment change has to come first.” @DrEricB discusses #healthcare's changing landscape on our #healthcarepodcast. #podcast #digitalhealth “The money wins.” @DrEricB discusses #healthcare's changing landscape on our #healthcarepodcast. #podcast #digitalhealth “You've got to put the financial incentives in place … to make people actually behave the way that they should.” @DrEricB discusses #healthcare's changing landscape on our #healthcarepodcast. #podcast #digitalhealth   Recent past interviews: Click a guest's name for their latest RHV episode! Katy Talento, Stacey Richter (INBW33), Stacey Richter (INBW32), Dr Steve Schutzer (Encore! EP294), Lisa Trumble, Jeb Dunkelberger, Dr Ian Tong, Mike Schneider, Peter Hayes, Paul Simms, Dr Steven Quimby, Dr David Carmouche (EP343), Christin Deacon, Gary Campbell, Kristin Begley, David Contorno (AEE17), David Contorno (EP339), Nikki King, Olivia Webb, Brandon Weber, Stacey Richter (INBW30), Brian Klepper (AEE16), Brian Klepper (EP335), Sunita Desai, Care Plans vs Real World (EP333), Dr Tony DiGioia, Al Lewis, John Marchica  

    EP350: Employers Direct Contracting With Hospitals, in Real Life, With Katy Talento

    Play Episode Listen Later Jan 13, 2022 35:31

    In this healthcare podcast, I'm talking about direct contracting IRL (in real life) with Katy Talento. This is a conversation that's more about the reality of direct contracting than the theory of direct contracting, and this was not an accident. So much of healthcare transformation is really easy to say and much harder to actually do. So … direct contracting. In the context we discuss in this episode, generally direct contracting means when an employer or their benefits consultant, more likely, hooks up with a provider organization, lots of times a hospital or a health system. Moving forward here, I'm just gonna say employer when I sort of really mean the employer and their TPA and their repricer, the constellation of consultants and other vendors that are working with the employer. So, just for simplicity, the employer says to the provider organization, “Hey, let's cut out the middleman here” (middleman likely being some insurance carrier). “I will just pay you directly, and it will be a win-win because no one is sucking out up to 15% to 20% right out of the middle, and also I'll steer my employees/patients/members your direction, which is great for us as a self-insured plan because money saved and also because I've done some quality analytics and I think you're relatively good at delivering care … so I'm happy to help my members find you.” The employer will, in general broad strokes, pay the provider organization some percentage over the Medicare rate for procedures or codes or bundles. By the way, the dollar amount over Medicare for the bundles or procedures or codes can vary depending on factors like what service line it is because, unlike RBP (reference-based pricing), direct contracting is a negotiation. It's a two-way deal. RBP, a lot of times, is the payer/employer deciding what they're gonna pay and then paying it—without sitting around a table with the provider figuring all this out together. So, if only from this one dimension, direct contracting is something that you'd think that hospitals/health systems/provid