Category Archives: News

Self-Insured Nonprofit Employer Credits HCMS in Health Plan’s Turnaround

Self-Insured Nonprofit Employer Credits HCMS in Health Plan’s Turnaround


The Christian and Missionary Alliance’s health benefits program made a dramatic swing from red ink to black after consolidating plans and deploying clinical prevention service.

 Colorado Springs, Colorado (June 20, 2017) – The Christian and Missionary Alliance’s health benefits program swung from losing money in the first quarter of 2016 to posting a surplus in the 2017 first quarter, according to Ken Baldes, the church organization’s vice president of operations and treasurer. He credited the health information company HCMS Group and the consulting firm Benefit Dynamics Co.

The C&MA, a 2,000-church denomination which also sponsors missionaries abroad, engaged the services of HCMS in 2015 after a series of costly illnesses wiped out the benefit program’s financial reserves and caused a deficit.

“HCMS has been instrumental in the turnaround of the C&MA’s self-funded health plan,” Baldes said. “Their ability to bring data, analytics and clinical services together was key for us – and something we hadn’t seen in the market. Their approach to plan design and analytics was critical to our ability to interpret the story behind the numbers.

“The plan design HCMS proposed required consolidation of four plans into one – a high deductible with an employer funded Health Savings Account. Transitioning to this new plan helped our members understand the real cost of their health insurance which we believe will lead to better decisions and help contain annual premium increases. Having an employer funded HSA (50 percent of deducible) helps temper the cost of services while provides an incentive to save.

“The clinical intervention service of KnovaSolutions and the predictive modeling HCMS developed to identify those in need, helped improve the experience of our members with complex health issues. It has also been key to improving our situation with our high cost individuals and as a result, has begun to bend the cost curve.

“HCMS’s partnership and excellent working relationship with our health plan consultant, Benefit Dynamics, has leveraged the strengths of each organization and together we’re better!”


Press Release – May 23, 2017


Teen Pregnancies Linked to Multiple Drug Prescriptions

The more medications are given to teens, the greater the likelihood of pregnancies, study by Wyoming and HCMS Group shows.

Cheyenne, Wyo., May 23, 2017 /PR Newswire/ — Multiple drug prescriptions given to teenage girls correlate with more teen pregnancies, according to a study by the Wyoming Department of Family Services and HCMS Group, a health information company.

Researchers found that girls ages 15 through 18 in the foster care system were often prescribed more than a dozen medications, including powerful narcotics and psychotropics. The simultaneous use of multiple drugs is known as polypharmacy. For teens taking 20 medications or more, the pregnancy rates topped 20 percent, almost 10 times the rate for all girls of those ages, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The findings “for the first time suggest a correlation between the use of multiple prescription medications and the results of adolescent decision-making leading to underage pregnancies,” the researchers write. “There is ample research showing the life-altering effects of teen pregnancies for young mothers and their children, spanning multiple generations. This study suggests that polypharmacy increases the risks for foster teens.”

The study, soon to be published in Child Welfare, the research journal of the Child Welfare League of America, spotlights the risk of pregnancy associated with multiple prescription drugs for the almost 40,000 girls ages 15 to 18 in U.S. foster care, according to lead author Dr. Hank Gardner, the CEO and principal partner of HCMS Group. While teen pregnancy rates have declined in recent years, polypharmacy has climbed and opioid use has soared.

The researchers compared a group of girls in foster care covered by Medicaid with other girls over 11 years starting in 2003. The foster teens were prescribed many more medications than girls living with their families. Among the foster-care girls, more than 60% had mental-health diagnoses in the 15, 16, and 17 age groups, five times the rate for girls with private health care.

“The findings add to a growing body of evidence that polypharmacy intended to help manage troubled children can instead add a layer of abuse,” the authors conclude. Other investigators were Dr. Steve Corsi and Dr. Marty Nelson of the Wyoming Department of Family Services; and Justin Schaneman, Pamela Pendleton, and Bob Simison of HCMS.

For more information, contact Bob Simison at HCMS,, or 202-210-7981.


HCMS Unveils Purple Solution for Obamacare


HCMS Group today unveiled our Purple Solution for the fight over Obamacare between Democrats and Republicans in Washington. We outlined it in a news release: Click here for research findings supporting our position, and here to see the elements of the plan.

Our point is that there is a simple, proven solution to the challenges created by the Affordable Care Act. We test-drove and refined it in the state of Wyoming, and we advocate it every day for self-insured employers. We’ve shown that it works to reduce healthcare waste while protecting health.

For more news from HCMS, click here.


Connecting the Dots on STAT: Surging Health Care Costs, Stagnant Economy, Flat Wages


Cheyenne, Wyo., Oct. 10, 2016 – Dr. Hank Gardner, CEO and managing partner of HCMS Group, pointed out the link from healthcare waste to flat wages to economic stagnation in an op-ed column published on the healthcare news website STATLink to downloadable PDF.

He defined healthcare waste as over-treatment by providers, in the form of excessive testing and prescribing, and over-consumption by patients, such as taking and often demanding too many tests and drugs.

The column cited a recent HCMS study of wages and healthcare costs based on 140,000 people in the company’s research reference database. The findings showed how healthcare costs rising at 10 percent or more a year help hold wage increases to 2 percent or less.

“Taking money out of the pockets of consumers is deadly for growth in a consumer-driven economy,” Gardner wrote.

Don’t count on a government fix, he argued. Instead, private, non-government employers can carry out do-it-yourself, market-based healthcare reform. Gardner outlined the HCMS approach involving integrated data, advanced data analytics, incentive alignment, and the 5|50 Solution.

To drive real health care reform, look to what employers are doing


HCMS Group Introduces Waste-Reducing Healthcare Reform Solution


CHEYENNE, Wyo., April 21, 2016 /PRNewswire/ — HCMS Group has introduced a new healthcare reform solution for employers and healthcare providers that is designed to address one of the biggest contributors to soaring medical costs: over-treatment by the health industry and risky over-consumption by patients.

Part of the problem with healthcare waste – over-treatment and over-utilization – is that it’s a $1 trillion elephant in the room that nobody wants to talk about. It’s a touchy subject, because who’s to say what waste is when we’re talking about someone’s health?

HCMS health analytics help answer that question. Focusing on waste is the best way to lower cost while improving health, as 30% of the nation’s $3.2 trillion in annual healthcare spending is wasted on over-consumption and over-treatment, with dangerous narcotic medications topping the list. Waste accounts for 30% to 40% of healthcare costs for many employers, based on HCMS research.

“Most healthcare providers know they over-treat people,” said Dr. Hank Gardner, CEO of HCMS Group, a health information services company based in Cheyenne. “They do it because that’s what patients expect – lots of tests and procedures and prescriptions – and the providers have to worry about customer satisfaction scores.”

Healthcare waste threatens business profitability and puts patients at risk, Dr. Gardner said. The HCMS healthcare reform solution targeting healthcare waste and has been proven effective in bending the healthcare cost curve, with reductions of 10% to 15%.

The 5|50 Solution, HCMS’s solution for healthcare reform, is built on a robust integrated data warehouse assembled for each employer. HCMS provides patent-pending predictive health analytics as an early alert system, health plan overhaul and high-touch clinical prevention focusing on the 5% of the population who account for more than half of medical costs.

Over the past five years, HCMS clients have recorded healthcare cost increases less than half as much as those of other companies in the same industries. HCMS is marketing its healthcare reform solution, and the centerpiece of the campaign is a “Know Your Numbers” explanation of healthcare waste:

  • 5 – The percentage of people who account for more than half of medical spending.
  • 50 – The percentage of healthcare cost that comes from business policy design incentives rather than from disease.
  • 30 – The percentage of spending that is waste and can be reduced while improving health.