To The Point

Easy access to disease-specific food is not always the answer

Human behavior can be a major hurdle to eating healthier, even when food is free There is a great deal on information concerning the lack of both understanding and access to food that is specific for certain disease states. We talk about specific diets being beneficial for certain diseases, but we know that access and understanding are deficient in many instances, especially in populations where access to any healthy food is an issue. MissionPoint Health Partners designed an intervention where disease-specific meals (low salt, low fat) would be delivered to those in need with a specific diagnosis (hypertension and congestive heart failure). We were able to provide one prepared meal a day. Even though there was an average of 7… read more

The hidden cost of depression

People with depression cost 3 times more to treat We all know that mental and behavioral health play a critical role in not only the cost of healthcare, but also in how well a person can function both at work and at home. We looked at the higher costs of care associated with depression, despite a person’s underlying medical condition. One reason why this is so important is that we have historically focused on a person’s chronic disease first, and then looked at their behavioral health issues as a secondary focus. In reality, our data supports looking at the situation from the exact opposite point of view. We should be addressing the behavioral health needs of those we serve first,… read more

SNF liaisons are an important tool in value-based care

Embedding a liaison to help transition people from SNFs to home lowers costs Whether you are an accountable care organization (ACO) or operate under a bundled payment, or any type of value-based payment model, skilled nursing facility utilization and cost are a major area of focus. Not only is it a major source of healthcare expenditure, but people would much rather reside at home. Aiming to drive satisfaction, savings, and health outcomes for patients, MissionPoint Health Partners sought to measure the impact of a clinical liaison for patients at skilled nursing facilities (SNFs). Traditionally, many patients struggle with the SNF-to-home transition, and the lack of adequate coordination is thought to increase their stay and cost. MissionPoint set out to ease… read more

Treating medical issues in non-traditional ways: Mindful meditation

Care for those in need and improving their health status requires us to think differently if we truly want to see meaningful changes. As MissionPoint Health Partners seeks to ensure all aspects of our member’s lives work together toward better health, lower costs, and greater satisfaction, we continuously look for models of care that will result in positive outcomes. These models are not always viewed as traditional. One such model that we have implemented and tested is Mindful Meditation, which is the practice of cultivating an enhanced awareness of one’s thoughts, feelings, bodily sensations and surroundings. This practice has been shown to reduce stress, with the potential to also decrease risks for cardiovascular diseases. Aiming to counter the harms of… read more

The value of ambulatory palliative care

Inpatient palliative care is costly and removes patients from their home A simple, straight-forward definition of palliative care is a multidisciplinary approach working with those that have serious illnesses. It focuses on improving the quality of life of people by not only focusing on symptom relief, but also the psychosocial issues that are present in those with such illnesses. Historically palliative care has been focused on inpatient treatment, which is wonderful, but really not where the focus needs to be. Since most of those with serious, chronic conditions want to spend their time outside of the inpatient setting, ambulatory palliative care is a model that is embraced by MissionPoint Health Partners for both improving the quality of care and lowering… read more

Today’s network sizes determined by value

Unfortunately, many of us remember the late 1990s and early 2000s when we used the term “narrow” networks, which were designed to be very narrow to decrease cost by decreasing utilization and trading volume for pricing. They worked. We saw a reduction in spend, but many argued this model withheld needed services. Those of us in these narrow networks as providers also felt the pressure to decrease utilization, without consideration of what was right for our patients. Whether true or not, patient advocacy groups began to accuse the industry of preventing patients from getting the care they needed by restricting access to providers. Very few narrow networks that only focused on utilization survived. Historically where networks were designed to only… read more

The Health Partner: What Self-insured Employers Need to Know [Infographic]

Care guides can play a vital part in keeping healthcare costs down, and MissionPoint takes them to the next level with its Health Partners. Health Partners are care guides that work one-on-one with high-cost, high-risk medical plan members to help lower costs. This unique partnership can translate into less money spent on healthcare, while members get added services to help them stay well, ultimately helping both a self-insured employer’s bottom line and its associates’ well-being. Health Partners are not utilization managers – they are nurses, social workers, and other health experts who work directly with members as an extension of physicians (they don’t just make phone calls from remote locations). They connect members to local resources and remove the barriers… read more

Diseases of life: Life situations act as barriers to care

Healthcare today has become disease-centric. We not only focus heavily on the biomedical needs of our patients, but we do it from a disease-defining perspective. We have pathways and guidelines that are disease specific, we have specialty clinics that are disease specific, and our treatments are very focused on treating a disease. Working from this disease-based paradigm has caused us to even view those we serve through this disease lens. You hear the words “my diabetic patient,” or “my heart failure patient.” This perspective causes issues for many reasons. First and foremost, those we serve do not view themselves that way. Our patients view themselves as human beings that happen to have a disease or illness. Second, rarely does a… read more