health-care system

Humana has again been named one of America’s most JUST companies, ranking No. 1 in the Health Care Providers industry on JUST Capital and Forbes magazine’s JUST 100 List.

The JUST 100 measures publicly traded U.S. companies against the American public’s definition of just corporate behavior, and then ranks the companies based on the results. The list shares information on issues Americans care most about – worker compensation and well-being, customer treatment, product impacts, environmental impact, strong communities, job generation, ethical sourcing and supply chains, transparency and more.

“Our responsibility is to leave the communities we serve and the planet in a better place,” said Bruce Broussard, Humana President and Chief Executive Officer. “We’re fortunate that the decisions we made in the past have allowed Humana to have a great brand, recruit a great group of individuals, have customers join us, and to have a great value proposition for society and the people we serve.”

Humana’s CEO was invited to participate in a panel discussion about what makes a JUST company at an event in New York when Just Capital and Forbes unveiled this year’s Just 100 rankings.

Humana ranked No. 1 out of 18 companies within the Health Care Providers industry, which includes health insurers, hospitals, clinics, dentists, opticians, nursing homes, rehabilitation and retirement centers. Within the Health Care Providers industry, Humana ranks first in issues related to workers and communities, thanks to programs such as Volunteer Time Off (VTO), charitable giving matching, paid paternity leave, the Humana Communities Benefit program, as well as detailed reporting on inclusion and diversity efforts.

The 2017 JUST 100 List will appear in the Dec. 23, 2017, print issue of Forbes.

To learn more about Humana’s corporate citizenship efforts, read Humana’s 2017 Corporate Social Responsibility Progress Report.

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Fifty-four percent of family physicians indicate their practices participate in value-based payment models and half believe value-based payment models will encourage greater collaboration between primary care physicians and specialists, according to a recent study on physician acceptance of value-based payment. The results were shared by the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) and Humana in a congressional briefing this week.

The results are from a follow-up study conducted by the AAFP and sponsored by Humana. The study found that more and more family physicians are embracing value-based payment models, which is reflected in IT, care coordination and other investments. According to the study, family physicians are:

  • Acknowledging a connection between quality and payment. Thirty-seven percent of value-based payments distributed within a family physician’s practice are based on achieving quality and/or outcome measures, an increase from 18 percent as reported in 2015.
  • Investing in care coordination as part of their approach to value-based payment models. Thirty-two percent of family physicians report that they provide ongoing care management/coordination services to all high-risk patients, an increase of 23 percent from 2015. Forty-three percent cite hiring/hired care management and care coordinators, compared to 33 percent in 2015.
  • Earmarking more practice resources for value-based payment. Fifty-four percent of family physicians are in a practice that is updating or adding health IT infrastructure for data management and analysis to participate in value-based payment.

But the same barriers to navigating and implementing value-based payment models that the AAFP and Humana identified two years ago are still prevalent:

  • Lack of staff time (90 percent).
  • Lack of transparency between payors and providers (78 percent).
  • Lack of standardization of performance measures (78 percent).
  • No uniform insurance company reports on performance (75 percent).

Additionally, only 8 percent of family physicians agree with the statement “quality expectations are easy to meet in VBP models,” down from 13 percent in 2015.

The 2017 Value-based Payment Study was sent to 5,000 active members of the AAFP. A total of 482 surveys were returned, and 386 were evaluated after a screening process. For a more detailed review, click here.

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Bruce BroussardIn a series of LinkedIn Influencer blog posts, Humana President and CEO Bruce Broussard shares insights and ideas about the future of health care and discusses the importance of working together to improve the health-care system as well as our own health and well-being. His latest — Who are the forgotten soldiers of health care? — is reprinted below. To see all of his blog posts, click here.

If I were to ask you about the forgotten soldiers of health care, you might think about hard-working nurses and clinicians, or the ER staff that works diligently through the night. While these professions are absolutely critical to our nation’s health care system, my thoughts go closer to home, to family.

Think about how difficult it is to care for someone who is over 65 and needs assistance at home. Whether it’s managing multiple medications or monitoring blood-sugar levels, in-home care for an older person living with chronic conditions takes a team approach.

Primary care physicians can quarterback care and coordinate among specialists, and nurses can make sure care is efficient and consistent.

But beyond the traditional doctor/patient relationship, there is a forgotten soldier. This person is not a doctor or a nurse or a licensed care professional. Many times the person does not work in the health care industry. But they have the most unbreakable bond with the patient: They are family. That person is the caregiver.

And this was reinforced for me during a recent visit to Houston.

Meet “George”

While I was in Houston, I was fortunate enough to participate in an in-home visit with one of our members, “George.” I also met his wife, “Mary,” their daughter, “Beth,” and several members of George’s clinical team.

George is 71 years old and is in a Medicare Advantage PPO plan. He lives with multiple chronic conditions, including coronary artery disease and hypertension, and he has undergone a coronary artery bypass.

Living with these multiple chronic conditions is not easy for George, and it also takes a toll on Mary and Beth. Treating these conditions requires a holistic approach.

For example, Humana and our partners — physicians, nurses and clinical care experts — help care for George in a number of ways. He receives occupational therapy to strengthen his upper extremities and fine motor muscles, and physical therapy, primarily for his lower extremities and gross motor muscles. Under the direction of a care professional, George also receives support for personal care and activities of daily living, like feeding, showering, dressing, etc.

The Sit Down

Both George’s nurse and his therapist led the visit. His wife and daughter were there, too.

From the start, it was evident that the nurse and therapist had a strong, personal bond with George, Mary and Beth. The nurse and therapist, both of whom I could see were an unofficial extension of the family, understood the critical care and emotional support that Mary and Beth provided to George.

At the end of the 30-minute visit, I asked George what was most important about the care he received. He said he appreciated help from people with a positive attitude; he liked the quality of the interaction and not being “rushed;” and he noted the dependability of the team members, who always show up and follow through.

The care team benefitted too, enhancing their already deep, holistic understanding of George and reinforcing the bond of trust. It was clear to me that this care team – family and clinical – had been making a difference in George’s life, and that he was thankful.

The Importance of Caregivers

November is National Family Caregivers Month, a time to recognize the critical care provided by approximately 43.5 million caregivers. Their work had an estimated economic value of $470 billion in unpaid services in 2013. And with the senior population growing, many of us are going to find ourselves in the shoes of Mary and Beth – as caregivers.

These forgotten soldiers of health care will help determine how well America copes with the rising tide of chronic conditions. I’m encouraged, having seen firsthand how Humana’s Caregivers Network Resource Group is providing resources for our employees caring for family members and other loved ones.

While George has a very strong clinical team and family support network, there are many members who are not as fortunate. They are socially isolated and don’t have family to turn to for care. Their children may live in different cities. They might not have close relatives or friends.

This is the challenge, and we must be prepared.

It’s only going to become more common

In the caregiving world, relationships matter. Technology can help, maybe by building caregiver networks to identify people who have the time to help. But it’s not going to change health.

Technology is not a substitute for trust between two people. Basic human interactions can’t be replaced with a robot, an app or some other form of technology. It’s the low-tech and human efforts that are most impactful.

Our front-line associates know they can have an impact on the health, well-being and experience of our members. They are in this together, and they know it takes a team built on trust, empathy and emotion to make life better.

Mary and Beth are the unsung heroes, the forgotten soldiers of health care. They have an amazing impact on the people they care for, and on our health care system. You may also get the call – as a wife, daughter, husband or son – to be a caregiver. We need to ensure that we’re all prepared to receive this call, and to act on it.

 

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Forbes.com has reported on Humana’s value-based care report, noting that “As Humana Moves Doctors To Value-Based Pay, Medicare Costs Fall.”

“Humana’s shift from fee-for-service medicine to value-based payments for doctors is reducing costs and improving quality of care for seniors enrolled in Medicare Advantage plans,” the story said, citing the study.

The study found that “medical costs were 15% lower in Humana Medicare Advantage plans that paid physicians via value-based models last year compared to costs of those in traditional fee-for service Medicare,” the story noted.

Other highlights of the study include the fact that providers in value-based reimbursement model agreements with Humana had 26 percent higher Healthcare Effectiveness Data and Information Set (HEDIS®) scores compared to providers in standard Medicare Advantage settings based on an internal attribution method. Also, Humana Medicare Advantage members affiliated with providers in value-based reimbursement model agreements experienced 6 percent fewer hospital inpatient admissions and 7 percent fewer emergency department visits than members in standard Medicare Advantage settings. The number of preventive screenings was 8 percent higher for breast cancer and 13 percent higher for colorectal cancer.

“The Humana study is the latest evidence of the potential value-based models have at slowing or reducing spending on Medicare,” Forbes wrote.

Read the full Forbes.com story here.

You can access the full value-based care report here.

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HealthLeaders Media recently wrote about Humana’s Bold Goal and the company’s efforts to improve health and well-being and help communities make better use of their own powerful resources.

Dr. Roy Beveridge, Humana’s Chief Medical Officer, noted that members usually stay with Humana for seven to eight years, giving the company a chance to improve their health.

“The more we improve their health, their lives improve. But also, the better it is for us financially,” he told the publication. “We learned years ago that we have these phenomenally, wonderfully aligned interests. The healthier we make our population, the better off we are financially and obviously the better it is for the patient.”

Dr. Beveridge and Pattie Dale Tye, segment vice president at Humana and leader of the Bold Goal initiative, spoke about the importance of local partners.

The article noted that “the Bold Goal program incorporates grocery stores, pharmacies, local governments, gyms, transportation sources, and other factors that can affect an individual’s health.”

Read the full article here.

 

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