November, 2018, Vol. 1 - In This Issue:
Prices are the latest evil in our healthcare system, and yet we've been here before. It seems we prefer to distract ourselves with the latest bad actor(s), profiteers and outlandish examples of over-priced and low-quality services. Meanwhile, there's more evidence that we're treating mental illnesses in the wrong setting (and too late), that patient-centered care is often a marketing tagline rather than a philosophy of caregiving, and patients (still) can't get access to the data about themselves. Real change in these areas is possible, if we refocus and get back to basics: access first, prevention first, patient first.

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Choosing My Care on My Terms

Just one year after celebrating my 50th birthday, I was walking down a New York City street with my mother on a misty, gray November day when my phone rang. My life was wonderful up to that point, but looking back, I can see that the weather was an appropriate backdrop for the news I was about to receive.

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Health plans, providers and policymakers have finally come around to thinking about how "social determinants" impact individuals' healthcare. This somewhat academic terminology refers to the notion that social factors such as housing, food, transportation, education, income, wealth, zip code and race-all indicators of social status-are fundamental determinants of one's health. 

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Mental health patients, with nowhere else to go, are overwhelming emergency departments
  

When I walk through my hospital's emergency department, I'm sometimes overwhelmed by the number of people languishing there as they wait for help with a mental health issue, like the woman clutching her chest as if she's having a heart attack but is really suffering from a panic attack. It's her third time here in a week.

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Price transparency's day of reckoning

The Trump administration perennially has threatened to pull "levers" that would push the healthcare industry to become more transparent and lower overall costs.
Why would an industry that so often references value need a shove? Because hospitals and drugmakers still shy away from revealing what patients will pay for their services and products despite the near-deafening chorus from consumers begging for financial relief.


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In Days Of Data Galore, Patients Have Trouble Getting Own Medical Records

Medical records can be hard for patients to get, even in this digital information age. But they shouldn't be: Federal law guarantees that people have a right to see and obtain a copy of their medical records.

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It's not just providers. Payers, too, have wide gap in prices, report finds

Healthcare prices vary widely depending on the geographic market and even among providers in the same area. NBER found negotiated prices may differ across payers too. Those variations lead to more out-of-pocket spending, especially with more high-deductible health plans, and higher employer costs.

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To Innovate on Controlling Health Care Costs: Follow the Money

The annual fall open-enrollment period is just around the corner for many employers. Workers who receive health coverage through their jobs will choose a new health insurance plan or will re-enroll in existing coverage for the year ahead. For the 2019 plan year, annual coverage costs are expected to increase to nearly $15,000 per employee, according to estimates from the National Business Group on Health.


Passion + Quality = Change That Matters
  
I embrace the powerful opportunities in our evolving health care landscape. I founded Momentum Health Strategies to be a catalyst for change through continuous learning, diverse engagement and thoughtful policy and practice initiatives. I deliver innovative, strategic thinking and a passion for improving the patient experience. My personal drive and dedication to high-quality results will help you navigate the competitive terrain you face and convert your vision to action.

Momentum Health Strategies

Jennifer L Bright, MPA
(703) 628 - 0534
jennifer@momentumhealthstrategies.com