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Link Round Up

Today’s link round up covers national initiatives focused on increasing value over volume and data sharing as a key player in alternative payment methods.

The Health Care Payment Learning and Action Network, made up of the Department of Health and Human Services and partners in the private, public and non-profit sectors, is working towards a transition to value based payment. This collaboration between payers, providers, consumers and other key stakeholders will align efforts and lay the groundwork for payment reform. The network’s work is linked to increasing the percentage of Medicare fee-for-service payments linked to quality. Read more in this press release and this article from Health IT Outcomes.

An article over on Health Leaders Media discussed the need for more “accurate, actionable and timely information” for physicians. While physicians are interested in alternative payment models, they’re also overwhelmed by the required metrics and reporting required by payers. This is an area that’s been heavily discussed within the APM pilot clinics here in Oregon.  The article highlights a study by RAND researchers that found practices are collaborating with others to support the upfront investment required by alternative payment models, but challenges arise when payment models conflict with one another.

However, at the same time alternative payment models have prompted more health data sharing,  as the New York Times published: “the economic incentives for data-sharing, some medical experts say, are beginning to fall into place.” The article discusses sharing data with patients, in particular, to improve health outcomes.


Today’s Healthcare Team and the Growing Medical Assistant Role

By Jen Coury

As we’ve highlighted in prior posts , the Alternative Payment Methodology (APM) has freed up health systems to dive into alternative ways of providing care. Many of these health systems were already experimenting with new approaches, and APM was designed to bring payment more in line with this kind of care innovation. For many health systems, part of this shift in practice management involves more team-based care including increased responsibilities for Medical Assistants (MAs).  In fact, the Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates the employment of Medical Assistants will grow 29% from 2012 to 2022.

MAs are finding themselves with more to do, specifically related to panel management and health maintenance activities for patients. An MA has always had a broad role in medical practices. They perform a wide variety of tasks such as: reception, medical chart filing, escorting patients to rooms, getting medical history and vital signs, basic lab tests, patient instructions, and telephone calls to patients. Under the new model in many practices, the MAs are now “scrubbing” or reviewing a patient’s medical chart when they come in for an appointment to make sure the clinical staff cover preventive health needs. Continue reading Today’s Healthcare Team and the Growing Medical Assistant Role