Musculoskeletal versus Non-Musculoskeletal Risk Stratification

Figure 3 below illustrates the cost and the unique Human Capital Risk Index® (HUI) score for the musculoskeletal cohort as compared to the non-musculoskeletal cohort for large employers in the HCMS Research Reference Database (RRDb). In all four risk groups (50%, 30%, 15%, 5%), the musculoskeletal cohort has a significantly higher HUI score. The difference is most predominant in the 5% and 15% groups. As previously stated, much of this cost and risk is associated with the co-morbidities in the musucoskeletal cohort.

Figure 3: Musculoskeletal versus Non-Musculoskeletal Cohort Risk Stratification

Musculoskeltal vs Non Musculoskeletal Cohort Risk Stratification

 

These findings enforce the need for a person-centric holistic primary, and preventive, health care intervention that identifies and engages the high-risk individuals.

Any questions? Leave a comment below and we’d be happy to reply.

 

Healthcare Reform Webinar Series: Video 3

The third video in our healthcare reform webinar series, The Pathway to Implementing a Single “Aligned Incentives” Health Plan, reviews why having this single health plan delivers the best results.

Watch this live webinar recording as Dr. Hank Gardner, Justin Schaneman, and Neil Sullivan discuss, analyze, and evaluate population risk, actuarial versus econometric modeling, the health insurance exchanges, and health risk assessments.

For HD viewing, please click on the video and then click on “HD” in the bottom right of the pop-up window. The HD button will be blue when it is turned on.

Have any questions or comments? Leave a comment and we’ll be sure to get back to you.

Musculoskeletal Costs Nearly Twice that of Condition-Specific Costs

The figure below shows total musculoskeletal costs in comparison to other major chronic conditions for a collection of large employers in the HCMS Group Research Reference Database (RRDb). Musculoskeletal costs rank among the highest with respect to co-morbidities and disability costs, with co-morbidity costs nearly twice that of condition-specific costs.

Top Condition Co-Morbidity Analysis

The co-morbidity analysis emphasizes the need to treat the individual, not a specific condition. In the case of musculoskeletal conditions, common co-morbidities include obesity, diabetes, and hypertension. Treating theses diseases individually is therefore inefficient; an effective treatment plan needs to address the individual.

Musculoskeletal: Top Contributor to Total Claim Costs

Our next Health as Human Capital research blog entries will focus on people with musculoskeletal conditions. Using Major Diagnostic Category (MDC) disease classification, figure 1 illustrates the aggregate cost of musculoskeletal diseases compared to other common disease conditions. Musculoskeletal claim costs consistently contribute to over 20% of all medical spending, costing nearly twice as much as the next leading category. Musculoskeletal conditions are comprised of several conditions ranging from medically well-defined arthritis to medically poor-defined repetitive-motion injuries. Each circumstance represents a different treatment challenge.

 

Figure 1: Percent of Total Medical Spending by Major Diagnostic Category

Percent of Total Medical Spending by Major Diagnostic Category

 

Optimal Number of Primary Care Visits?

Optimal Number of Primary Care VisitsIntroduction

With the increasing interest in learning how to improve the use of primary care, we have modeled the optimal number of annual primary care visits related to Health Plan Costs as shown in the graph below. Increasing primary care is a key element in the HCMS Aligned Incentives Health Plan as described in our webinar series (please click on these links to view the first and second webinar recordings in our healthcare reform series).

Healthcare Reform Webinar Series: Video 2

In the second webinar in our healthcare reform series, HCMS Group CEO Dr. Hank Gardner and VP of Data Analytics Justin Schaneman discuss the Data Analytics used in the successful implementation of effective healthcare reform.

Watch this live webinar recording and listen to a detailed analytic discussion on health plan selection bias, primary care, econometric modeling, population risk analysis, and more.

For HD viewing, click on the video and then click on “HD” in the bottom right of the video. The HD button will be blue when it is turned on.

Advantages of a Bundled Paid-Time-Off (PTO) Plan

Advantages of a Bundled PTO PlanBackground

High instances of sick leave and vacation leave are significant contributing factors to high employer benefit costs and low employee productivity. Various HCMS Group studies have shown that bundled paid-time-off (PTO) plans, as opposed to plans with separate banks for sick and vacation time, are associated with reduced absences, lower health plan costs, and increased employee productivity.

Isn’t It Time You Knew… How Employee Tenure Status Drives the Use of Health Benefits?

Hourglass

The Analysis

When an employee is about to be terminated, their consumption of health benefits increases by over 50%. Previous HCMS Group research indicates that the difference in cost for terminating employees is largely due to the incentives generated by their pending change in benefits coverage (55%). The rest of the cost disparity is explained by differences in health status (roughly 30%) and demographics (roughly 15%). Figure 1 below illustrates the annual cost of employees in each population cohort: new hires, steady population, and terminated. The employee costs for terminated employees are calculated in the year prior to termination.

Isn’t it Time You Knew… How Employee Compensation Impacts Human Capital Risk?

Hourglass

The Analysis

Figure 1 illustrates the relationship between the HCMS Human Capital Risk Index® (HUI) and employee compensation. The HUI uses a broad set of person-centric integrated medical, pharmacy, and lost time metrics (including disability data) to produce the HUI risk score. The HUI score adjusts for most demographic variables such as age and gender.

Isn’t it Time You Knew… How Health Plan Design Impacts Employee Work Performance?

Hourglass

Introduction

Health plan design not only impacts employee engagement and lost time, but also how well year-end productivity goals are met (or not met). When it comes to the three health plan types featured below, high-deductible health plans produce the most engaged and highest-performing employees.

Most Likely to Exceed Year-End Goals

Employees that choose a high-deductible health plan (HDHP) show increased engagement at work, are on the job the most and, as shown in Figure 1 below, also exceed year-end work goals more than employees who choose an Health Maintenance Organization (HMO) or Preferred Provider Organization (PPO) health plan. More than twice as many HDHP employees exceed year-end goals than HMO employees.

Isn’t it Time You Knew… How Health Plan Type Affects Employee Engagement?

Hourglass

Introduction
In our previous research post, we described the relationship between health plan type and worker lost time (disability and workers’ compensation benefits). Similar to lost time, health plan design is also significantly associated with employee engagement.

Healthcare Reform Webinar Series: Video 1

HCMS Group CEO Dr. Hank Gardner and CCO Shawn Petrini, MSN discuss “big data,” current trends in healthcare reform, the 5% of a population that is driving over 50% of health benefit costs, and an effective healthcare reform model in HCMS Group’s first webinar in the Healthcare Reform Series.

Discover how multiple health plans drive employee decisions, why specialty care utilization and employee lost time costs remain incredibly high, and what can be done to curb these negative trends.

For HD viewing, click on the video and then click on “HD” in the bottom right of the video. The HD button will be blue when it is turned on.

Isn’t it Time You Knew… How Health Plan Type Affects Worker Lost Time?

Hourglass

As part of HCMS Group Healthcare Reform research, HCMS has explored the relationship between health plan type and worker lost time from disability and workers’ compensation benefits.

Key Finding
Employees enrolled in a PPO (Preferred Provider Organization) health plan had 41% more lost time when compared to employees enrolled in an HDHP (high-deductible health plan). Employees enrolled in an HMO (Health Maintenance Organization) health plan had 21% more lost time than those enrolled in an HDHP.

Important Components of Health Care Cost Variation

There have been several articles published recently about the wide variation in pricing from one hospital to another. Having this information open and available will help providers begin to think about competing on price and quality and will help control the runaway health care costs in the US.

As we examine the variation in costs from one provider to another, it is good to keep in mind that there are at least three important components of cost variation:

  1. Price per service
  2. Number of services per person or per episode
  3. Actual types of services performed

For example, let’s say identical twins with the exact same health problem enter two different hospitals (Hospitals A and B). These two people could face vastly different health care charges after leaving the hospital, but the difference could be due to any (or all) of the three components mentioned above:

Video 5 of Hank Gardner’s Series: Human Capital Risk Index — Population Risk Stratification

In order to manage risk, you need to be able to predict it. Health benefit costs continue to rise at an unsustainable rate. Thirty to forty percent of costs are driven by over-utilization and waste. This waste cannot be analyzed with reactive cost reports and analytics; you need a comprehensive, predictive risk assessment.

HCMS Group’s Human Capital Risk Index® (HUI) is the only leading risk score that predicts and measures human capital health and job performance risk (not just disease).

Built from our diverse research reference database of over 3.2 million individuals from over 100 distinct populations, the HUI takes various data types into account; it utilizes lost-time, medical, pharmacy, and compensation data in order to provide the best assessment of risk and predict high-risk/cost cases.

Our HUI is unique in the fact that it incorporates lost time data and enables our evaluation of a full spectrum of risk. Using lost time data allows us to predict progressive HUI scores before claims cost even come in. This foretelling risk index allows us to provide the right service at the right time without delaying cost-saving and risk-prevention opportunities due to a lag in claims data.

Learn more about HUI by watching the video below.

Video 4 of Hank Gardner’s Series: The 5% of employees driving over 50% of benefit costs

Population Turnover in the “5% Group”

Earlier videos have demonstrated how 5% of an employee population is driving over 50% of benefit costs. Hank Gardner’s fourth video focuses on the management opportunity of understanding that people migrate in and out of this 5% high-risk/cost group.

This video answers the following questions:

  • How is “the 5%” population dynamic?
  • How often is there turnover in this group?
  • How is our healthcare system a reactive system?
  • What does the migration in and out of the 5% group help indicate?

Have a question or comment? Leave a response below and Dr. Gardner will reply.

Video 3 of Hank Gardner’s Series: Which benefits are driving your company’s cost waste?

Employee Population Risk Stratification with an Integrated Benefits View

As we have presented in earlier videos, we know that 5% of employees drive over 50% of a company’s health benefit costs, but which benefits are driving the most cost and waste?

Watch the third video in Dr. Hank Gardner’s “New Thinking Paradigm” Series to hear his discussion on how lost time (short & long-term disability and workers’ compensation), prescription drug, and health plan policies are contributing to the waste.

Learn the answers to these questions:

  • How does the design of benefits drive cost and waste in the different employee risk groups?
  • What are the costs incurred by “the 5% group” broken down by benefit type?
  • What behaviors are predictors for employee migration into “the 5%”?
  • What is an integrated benefit management strategy and why is it important?
Have a question or comment? Leave a response below and Dr. Gardner will reply. 

 

 

Video 2 of Hank Gardner’s New Thinking Paradigm Series

 

 

Dr. Harold (Hank) Gardner is the founder and CEO of HCMS Group. His 40+ years of experience in healthcare delivery, health economics, and health professions education coupled with the use of HCMS’s unmatched Research Reference Database (RRDb) fuels his “new thinking” disruptive solutions for the healthcare cost and quality problem.

Dr. Gardner’s second video of this new series addresses Population Risk Stratification as he discusses how employee risk groups differ in terms of benefit use. Just 5% of an employee population drives more than 50% of benefit costs.

 

Have a question or comment? Please leave your response below and Dr. Gardner will reply.

 

Hank Gardner’s New Thinking Paradigm Series – Video 1

 

 

Dr. Harold (Hank) Gardner is the founder and CEO of HCMS Group. His 40+ years of experience in healthcare delivery, health economics, and health professions education coupled with the use of HCMS’s unmatched Research Reference Database (RRDb) fuels his “new thinking” disruptive solutions for the healthcare cost and quality problem.

Dr. Gardner’s first video of this new series addresses HCMS Group’s RRDb (with de-identified information on over 3.2 million individuals) and “Big Picture” Data Model as he discusses the importance of comprehensive person-centric data in human capital risk management.

Health Risks and Cost Risks are not the same

The weak association between health risks and near-term health care utilization

There is a widely-held belief that companies can reduce healthcare costs by encouraging healthy behaviors. This presumption is based on decades of research showing that:

a) Health risks (such as smoking, inactivity, and obesity) increase the chances of chronic disease      over time

b) Health risks are associated with higher costs. This body of evidence fuels the multi-billion   dollar wellness industry and dictates the types of programs offered to employees.

But how strong is the relationship? And can it help with short-term cost management?