HMOs, by their stated purpose and nature, have a necessary and central involvement with health education. The specific characteristics of any HMO determine the extent and quality of health education. An HMO has the responsibility to identify its educational objectives, as well as the educational components of any of its other objectives. The more professional the educational guidance, the better it is integrated into the organization, and the greater its financial and administrative support, the more likely will be the success in achieving objectives. In brief, every HMO has the need and potential for a health education effort. The extent and quality of that effort will reflect the mix of administrative philosophy, organizational characteristics, the degree to which professional educators are involved, and the amount and stability of financial support. (+info)
Implementation of the diagnosis procedure combination in specific-function hospitals.
A Nobel medical payment system, the Diagnosis Procedure Combination (DPC), was implemented in Nippon Medical School Hospital and 81 other specific-function hospitals in 2003. This payment system depends on the length of hospital stay and diagnosis and medical procedures, and differs from the existing payment system, which depends on a piece rate. The daily payment differs for among almost 2,500 groups of DPC defined by the International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems (ICD-10), and procedures, such as operations (K and J codes of the existing payment system). One of the most important outcomes may be a decrease in lengths of hospital stay, because the range of mean lengths of stay in specific-function hospitals has been officially stated to be 14 to 30 days, and the difference between the longest and shortest mean is almost double. The new medical payment system should stimulate competition among hospitals. In order to decrease the length of stay, we developed clinical pathways for patients undergoing surgery, such as laparoscopic cholecystectomy, gastrectomy, and inguinal hernia operations, as well as clinical protocols for the surgical procedures, such as percutaneous transhepatic cholangiodrainage (PTCD) and percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy (PEG). Health care is undergoing a challenging transition, and we must improve patient care and clinical practice. (+info)
Are California's large employers moving to catastrophic health insurance coverage?
Large employers in California are experimenting with new health benefit and insurance options as premium rates continue to escalate. This study examines the offer and penetration rates of catastrophic coverage insurance products, including high-deductible PPO and consumer-driven health plans, among large California employers before the Medicare Prescription Drug, Improvement, and Modernization Act of 2003 was passed. Only a few employers offered these plans, and they did not provide adequate incentives for their workers to accept. California employers, like the rest of the nation, implemented these plans as alternatives rather than replacements to their current plan choices. (+info)
Indian community health insurance schemes provide partial protection against catastrophic health expenditure.
BACKGROUND: More than 72% of health expenditure in India is financed by individual households at the time of illness through out-of-pocket payments. This is a highly regressive way of financing health care and sometimes leads to impoverishment. Health insurance is recommended as a measure to protect households from such catastrophic health expenditure (CHE). We studied two Indian community health insurance (CHI) schemes, ACCORD and SEWA, to determine whether insured households are protected from CHE. METHODS: ACCORD provides health insurance cover for the indigenous population, living in Gudalur, Tamil Nadu. SEWA provides insurance cover for self employed women in the state of Gujarat. Both cover hospitalisation expenses, but only upto a maximum limit of US$23 and US$45, respectively. We reviewed the insurance claims registers in both schemes and identified patients who were hospitalised during the period 01/04/2003 to 31/03/2004. Details of their diagnoses, places and costs of treatment and self-reported annual incomes were obtained. There is no single definition of CHE and none of these have been validated. For this research, we used the following definition; "annual hospital expenditure greater than 10% of annual income," to identify those who experienced CHE. RESULTS: There were a total of 683 and 3152 hospital admissions at ACCORD and SEWA, respectively. In the absence of the CHI scheme, all of the patients at ACCORD and SEWA would have had to pay OOP for their hospitalisation. With the CHI scheme, 67% and 34% of patients did not have to make any out-of-pocket (OOP) payment for their hospital expenses at ACCORD and SEWA, respectively. Both CHI schemes halved the number of households that would have experienced CHE by covering hospital costs. However, despite this, 4% and 23% of households with admissions still experienced CHE at ACCORD and SEWA, respectively. This was related to the following conditions: low annual income, benefit packages with low maximum limits, exclusion of some conditions from the benefit package, and use of the private sector for admissions. CONCLUSION: CHI appears to be effective at halving the incidence of CHE among hospitalised patients. This protection could be further enhanced by improving the design of the CHI schemes, especially by increasing the upper limits of benefit packages, minimising exclusions and controlling costs. (+info)
Care needs of pregnant women with a private health insurance: a comprehensive social phenomenology approach.
This study aimed to understand the meanings women who possess health plans hold regarding pregnancy and get to know their care needs in this phase of the vital cycle. It was based on the qualitative research of phenomenological inspiration. The discourses analysis was based on the sociologist and fenomenologist Alfred Schutz's thought. Having health plans and being attended in private institutions were defined as inclusion criteria. The following categories emerged from the discourses: having new responsibilities; experiencing a special situation; experiencing insecurity, anxiety and expectations; feeling limited; trusting the health professional. It was found, through the analysis of categories, that the experience of the pregnant women who participated in the study is similar to those who do not possess health plans. However, in the category "trusting the health professional" it was possible to perceive the importance of possessing health plan, which allows the intersubjectivity between the woman and the health professional. (+info)
Value-based benefit design: using a predictive modeling approach to improve compliance.
BACKGROUND: Increased medication compliance rates have been demonstrated to result in improved clinical outcomes and reduced overall medical expenditures. As such, managed care stakeholders should take the total value approach to benefit design and consider total medical costs beyond the cost of pharmacotherapy alone. OBJECTIVES: To describe the value-based benefit design employed by Pitney Bowes (specifically, the predictive modeling approach), to improve medication compliance, and to report the results of this intervention. SUMMARY: Despite significant skepticism surrounding value-based benefit design, there is growing evidence that these plans can be used in conjunction with careful pharmacy management. In fact, value-based design provides a different lever on pharmacy management and allows for the appropriate drug to be channeled to the appropriate person. Studies demonstrating the adverse impact of high coinsurance levels further augment the argument for value-based benefit design. Value-based benefit design was employed at Pitney Bowes, a $6.1-billion global provider of integrated mailstream solutions, with noticeable success. Patients were either placed in a disease management program or in a secondary program promoting preventive care. The company selectively cut copays to achieve that end, and this total value approach translated into significant savings. CONCLUSION: To develop a successful value-based benefit design, stakeholders cannot simply cut costs or cut copays. Action must be taken as part of a concerted program, coupled with disease management or similar interventions. "Value based" means that positive outcomes are the ultimate goal, and barriers to those positive outcomes must be addressed. (+info)
Which households are at risk of catastrophic health spending: experience in Thailand after universal coverage.