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Not using the Medicare wellness visit is making people sick

October 8th, 2015

by Anthony Cirillo

Ask most healthcare CEOs the utilization rate for the Medicare Annual Wellness Visit (AWV) and they will probably not know it. While it is reimbursable, the cost/benefit ratio favors practices sticking to what makes them money. They need to see the bigger picture.

The AWV reimburses on average $117 per visit, and to capture all of the documentation necessary to financially benefit the practice, it requires approximately 45 minutes. And if you don’t code properly, well, that’s another story.

Most find the AWV time-consuming, tedious and a financial burden.

There is a marketing term called loss leader. It’s the idea that you provide a product or service that is an enticement to help grow the number of customers you have. You may break even or lose money. But that is the cost to introduce new people to you.

For healthcare organizations, the gamble is that once they have experienced the care you offer they will come back and tell others.

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Does population health management really account for dementia patients?

April 8th, 2015

by Anthony Cirillo

There were many presentations at the March conference of the American College of Healthcare Executives regarding population health management. With value-based purchasing heating up, accountable care organizations forming fast, and readmissions a big hot button, it's only natural that keeping people well and out of the hospital would be a part of the conversation.

I am not a clinician, but I know enough to understand that population health management has been focused on the chronic conditions that eat up cost, challenge access and could be controlled--heart disease, diabetes or cancer, for example.

But is dementia, including Alzheimer's, really being addressed in current population health management models? I would contend no.

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3 ways to cultivate a value-based mindset

March 5th, 2015

by Anthony Cirillo

I have contended that hospitals are going kicking and screaming into value-based purchasing and have surmised that when the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services moves, private insurers will follow. That's why I find it utterly fascinating that one of our local health systems is in a heated battle with a large insurer that wants to introduce pay-for-performance into future pricing scenarios. The insurer took out multiple full-page ads in the daily newspaper. It's currently a he-said, she-said debate. Stay tuned.

As we move into bundled-payment scenarios and accountable care organizations (ACOs), I think one of the biggest hurdles we face is changing our mindset. Believe me, most of my clients are still in a fee-for-service mentality, knowing, but not quite acting on, the shift in healthcare. It's a juggling act, and real money is involved. But guess what: It is the inevitable future and all payers will follow.

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The safety impact of caregiver-patient feedback

February 11th, 2015

by Anthony Cirillo

Superficially, many people look at the intense focus on patient experience as an effort to keep patients satisfied (however that is defined) and worse, making them happy. Happy people do not always make for happy outcomes even if your Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers scores mislead you otherwise.

Patient experience is about four things in this priority order: patient safety, clinical quality, patient satisfaction and value received. Get the first two right and chances are you will achieve the third, while scoring where you want in retrospective data.

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Healthcare lessons from a bucket-list experience

January 8th, 2015

by Anthony Cirillo

Let's face it: As people make New Year's resolutions, they may be including bucket-list items to accomplish in 2015. Being a patient in a hospital will not be one of them. I had a bucket-list item happen to me in December, and what I learned from it might just contain a lesson or two for healthcare professionals.

Many of you know that in addition to being a healthcare professional, I have been a life-long performer, musician and singer. Thanks to a music-loving mother and father, I grew up like most of my south Philly Italian brethren on the Great American Songbook, the classics sang by Sinatra, Martin, Crosby and so many more. I sang those songs in my house and now sing them for assisted living and nursing home residents.

In bands however, I was a rock and roller, and when I gear up as a solo act outside the long-term care settings, I still am. But I have always dreamed of singing the great songs with a big band. My wish came true Dec. 15.

I discovered the Lake Norman Big Band last September when I took my wife and mom to see them for mom's 93rd birthday. Wow, who knew this 27-piece orchestra existed, let alone played every third Monday in a bowling alley in Mooresville, North Carolina. I saw that they had two female vocalists and at the time no male vocalist. So after the concert I sent the band president a few of my vocal tracks and imposed myself on them so to speak by suggesting that just maybe I could sing with them in the future.

Well, next thing I knew I was rehearsing with them in early December and performed with them twice, singing four songs in their holiday program. Major bucket-list item and honor. Here is what I learned.

=> Read more!

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