Yesterday afternoon, I listened to a great webinar that was put on by Medical Economics magazine titled “Prepare for Payment Reform and Increase Your Income Today”.
The expert panel fielded a number of questions about payment reform topics including bundled payments, accountable care organizations, and value-based payments. But my favorite portion of the webinar was when the moderator asked the panel a simple, but important question. What can primary care practices do now to prepare for payment reform? Panelists Jay Sultan, Associate Vice President and General Manager for Payment Reform for The TriZetto Group, and Rosemarie Nelson, MS from MBMA Healthcare Consulting Group listed some great suggestions.
- Reach out to insurance providers. In many ways, primary care providers are at the center of payment reform initiatives, so they need to be proactive in the planning process. Without input from primary care providers, insurance companies will likely make mistakes.
- Be educated and informed. Read healthcare blogs, subscribe to healthcare magazines, follow reporters on social media. The more informed primary care providers are the better participants they can be in the planning process.
- Invest in technology. ACOs will require primary care physicians to communicate with hospitals, nursing homes, and other providers. Investing in a robust electronic records system will make sharing patient information easy and efficient.
- Understand patients. Payment reform initiatives are going to reward providers who can keep patients healthy and out of the hospital. However, some of the audience expressed concern that they can only do so much due to noncompliant patients. If that is the case, providers should take a close look at which patients are noncompliant and perhaps presenting to the emergency department unnecessarily. Once identified, providers should aggressively engage those patients (e.g., follow-up phone calls).
These are just a few of the suggestions offered by the panel. I really enjoyed the free webinar and look forward to listening to the next one, which is about Meaningful Use Stage 1.