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New Research: When Integrated Data Meets HR Solutions

New Research: When Integrated Data Meets HR Solutions


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Leveraging data has surpassed the scope it once covered, with emerging technology in our work, businesses, homes, and beyond. At HCMS Group, we believe in mastering the art of integrated analytics to show how data can be used to improve health and cost outcomes for both employers and employees for a healthier, more productive workforce. But is there any evidence to back this up? Since we’re a data company at heart, of course the answer is yes.

In a recent study shared with the Disability Management Employer Coalition (DMEC), our team broke down the modern workplace and how organizational systems and processes can improve a business.

Here is some of what we found:

  • The majority of a business’s claim spending comes from the top 5 percent of cases when absenteeism, disability, and workers’ compensation are involved.
  • Our clinical prevention model helps identify individuals who will become high risk and high cost to a business.By using HCMS and its systems, users were demonstrably more likely to feel empowered, take charge of their health, and improve the quality of their lives.

Read the full article in @Work Magazine’s Technology and Integration edition.

HCMS and WorkPartners brings together the power of integrated health and productivity solutions, advanced health analytics, and individualized clinical prevention services to further complement and strengthen WorkPartners’ current service offerings.


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Introducing Behavioral Economics to Healthcare

Introducing Behavioral Economics to Healthcare


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Dr. Hank Gardner discusses the origins of HCMS Group’s revolutionary approach to healthcare.

What sets HCMS Group’s approach to healthcare apart is the combination of behavioral economics concepts with the holistic bio-psycho-social model for medical practice, Dr. Hank Gardner said in the introductory installment of the periodic HCMS Innovation Vlog.

He described three economic tenets on which the healthcare information company’s work with employers and health organizations is built. They are that there’s no free lunch, so there are trade-offs in costs and priorities; that consumers/patients need to determine priorities in healthcare; and that it’s necessary to keep score by capturing data and analyzing outcomes.

“As benefit costs go up – particularly in the component of healthcare cost that is represented by healthcare waste – resources to pay wages go down,” Dr. Gardner said. “It’s one of the very critical issues American businesses face these days. As benefit costs increase, resources for wages diminish.”

Click here to view the Innovation Vlog.


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

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


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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!”


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Foster Teen Research Series – Part 1

Foster Teen Research Series – Part 1


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Foster Teen Research Blog Series

Why Are 18-Year-Olds in Foster Care 20 Times More Likely to Have a Child?

Research by HCMS and the Wyoming Department of Family Services shows sharply higher teen pregnancy rates among foster children than previously estimated.

In the year they turn 18, girls in foster care are 20 times more likely to have a child than teens living with their families.

Recently published, peer-reviewed research by HCMS Group and the Wyoming Department of Family Services explores the dimensions of the problem and identifies a surprising new correlation that may help explain it. The study will appear soon in Child Welfare, the research journal of the Child Welfare League of America.

HCMS first looked into this issue three years ago and found that teen pregnancy rates were significantly higher for girls in foster care than previous research suggested. Our initial analysis didn’t identify causes, though other experts have cited unstable living situations, adolescence, and exposure to sexual abuse.

Working with the state DFS, our data analysts Justin Schaneman and Pamela Pendleton subsequently designed a more rigorous study following 5,326 Wyoming girls from the time they were 15 until they turned 19. The analysis, covering more than 11 years, compared foster teens with two groups of girls living at home. One group’s healthcare was covered by Medicaid – as was that of the foster-care group – and a second group had private health insurance.

Here’s what the data showed year by year:

Why were the differences so stark, especially between the foster teens and girls with private health insurance? Based on published research, we suspected a correlation between the pregnancy rates and substantially higher prescribing rates of narcotic, psychotropic, and other drugs for foster children.

We’ll have more on what we discovered in our next post. But here’s a hint: Our research showed that foster teens were four to six times as likely to have a mental health diagnosis as girls living at home and covered by private medical insurance.


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Press Release – May 23, 2017


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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, bob_simison@hcmsgroup.com, or 202-210-7981.


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HCMS Unveils Purple Solution for Obamacare


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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: http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/we-need-a-purple-solution-for-americas-healthcare-conundrum-300389869.html. 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.


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Wasteful Medical Spending — January 2017

Wasteful Medical Spending — January 2017


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Is There Anything You Can Do?

It is widely documented that the U.S. spends more on healthcare per person than any other country, yet much research shows that Americans are not healthier as a result. Wasteful spending accounts for 30 percent of the $3.2 trillion spent on healthcare each year. That’s $960 billion of waste per year! While this may seem like a challenge too large, there are ways to do your part to reduce wasteful spending.

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All in a Night’s Sleep — December 2016


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Recognizing and Treating Insomnia

Does it take more than 30 minutes to fall asleep? Do you wake more than 3 times a night? Do you get less than 6 hours of sleep? If you answered yes to these questions, you may suffer from insomnia.

Having trouble sleeping can happen to anyone but it is more common among women, middle-aged or older adults, shift workers, and those with medical conditions.

Insomnia can be acute or chronic. Lasting up to a month, acute insomnia is usually related to a stressful situation, such as an upcoming presentation or the start of a new job. Once the presentation has been given and the new job becomes more familiar, the insomnia often resolves. Chronic insomnia, occurring more than 3 nights a week for at least 3 months, can be caused by:

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