If everything goes as Health and Human Services (HHS) has planned for the next three years, a major share of Medicare spending could be moving toward accountable healthcare, instead of the traditional or fee-for-service care that we are familiar with. A recent article published on MobiHealthNews.com has discussed the implications of this move in the context of the growing popularity of digital healthcare.
HHS Secretary Sylvia M. Burwell has recently announced a goal to tie “30 percent of traditional, or fee-for-service, Medicare payments to quality or value through alternative payment models, such as Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs) or bundled payment arrangements by the end of 2016, and tying 50 percent of payments to these models by the end of 2018.”
With the general trend gradually shifting towards value-based care, medical caregivers across the country are striving to provide digital health programs, such as those based on remote monitoring and telemedicine, to support new care delivery models. Bloomberg has reported that Philadelphia’s Thomas Jefferson University Hospital, a 1,000 bed facility with $2.1 billion in operating revenue, and allegedly one of the most expensive places for medical care, is investing $20 million to open two new urgent-care centers, and to create a virtual consultation program using video apps so that patients with routine medical needs can stay in touch with their doctors and caregivers from the comfort of their home.
The first-of-its-kind video program, which was rolled out for testing late last year, already includes 100 Jefferson staff working as a team. In the next step of the program, the hospital’s providers will be able to collaborate with patients’ primary care providers post-discharge. Jefferson’s long-term plan is to build a “virtual emergency department” that would eliminate the need for patients to come to the ER. Dr. Judd Hollander, an ER doctor at Jefferson, said that the success of the program will truly arrive “when the ERs start closing.”
Talking about the program, Jefferson CEO Steve Klasko told Bloomberg: “The best way to save the system lots of money is to keep [patients] out of the hospital.” Even doctors and economists believe that this approach is not only better for patients but is also necessary to control medical expenditure in the U.S., which is higher than anywhere else in the world. However, the idea is not so great for hospitals that drive added revenue through “more tests, fancier treatments, and longer hospital stays.”
It will be interesting to watch the developments in Medicare spending. How do you think the impact will play out across the industry? We would love to hear your thoughts.
About Bob Higginbotham
Bob Higginbotham, CTS-I, CTS-D, is the Avidex National Manager of Healthcare AV. Bob has spent his 30 year career in leadership positions in the AV industry including extensive design and build work in healthcare facilities. He owned and operated a successful AV business in Texas with multiple offices in several cities where he managed a staff of over 100 employees. Bob has served as a technical consultant for a major AV manufacturer, led the technical sales team for a national video conferencing provider and provided technology auditing services for several private education facilities. He has a unique working knowledge of audiovisual technology as well as multiple certifications in audio engineering, acoustics, AV design, CQT system commissioning and video transmission systems. Bob holds a BA in communications and has recently served as board chair for a large private school. He brings his years of technical knowledge and leadership experience to Avidex where he leads the national healthcare AV team. Contact Bob at firstname.lastname@example.org