Patient Engagement HIT: (10/13 ) – A new analysis of telehealth in primary care in JAMA reported that the insurgence of telehealth as a key primary care modality has changed the scope of primary care, as wellness checks, like those that track cardiovascular disease risk, are not normally conducted via telehealth. However, the researchers also noted that while telehealth may fill in some of these gaps in care, primary care visits in the first two quarters of 2020 had a stark decrease in assessments for cardiovascular disease risk factors, with a 50 percent decline in blood pressure assessments and a 37 percent drop in cholesterol assessment during quarter two of 2020 compared to the same quarter in previous years.
Washington Post: (10/12) – In the Washington Post Live’s recent episode on primary care in the time of COVID-19, Dr. Mike Varshavski, a primary care physician, and Dr. Patrice Harris, the past president of the AMA discussed how COVID-19 has changed primary care practice workflows, including using telehealth and placed pressure on primary care providers, leading to increased burnout.
Health Affairs: (10/9) – The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted several inequities within the health care system. While Congress has provided financial support to providers during the pandemic to make up for lost revenue, there is an opportunity to target funding toward providers facing the greatest unanticipated costs and to support financially weaker providers to create a more efficient, equitable system.
Pediatric Annals: (10/9) – Mental health screening is a recommended process within pediatric primary care, but implementing an effective screening program can be challenging. This article outlines barriers to screening in pediatric settings, tools that can be incorporated into practice, and strategies for implementing accurate screenings within pediatric primary care.
AJMC: (10/9) – This study evaluated the association between regional market factors and experience with patient-provider communication in primary care services of safety net hospitals. The findings suggest that safety net hospitals could be unfairly penalized by value-based payment programs and Medical Hospital Compare, with the proposal that policies and programs should improve resource allocation by accounting for regional market factors before acting on quality of care measures.
Health Affairs: (10/8) – COVID-19 has resulted in a significant drop in elective health services between the months of February and July. If patient demand for elective services continues to be weak following the availability of a vaccine, independent providers will not have many options for recouping lost revenue, with small physician practices likely facing an especially high financial risk.
Medical Economics: (10/8) – A survey of 225 ACOs at the beginning of the pandemic revealed that 80 percent were “very concerned” about financial performance in 2020. A recent report by the Commonwealth Fund found that ACO providers have faced cumulative deficits in both practice revenues and patient visits, with many providers still reporting the number of office visits remaining under 10 percent below pre-pandemic levels, with many patients still delaying care.
Business Wire: (10/7) – Humana released its annual Value-based Care Report on October 7. Compared to beneficiaries in a FFS model, Medicare Advantage beneficiaries receiving care from primary care physicians in a value-based payment model experienced better health outcomes, more preventive care, and lower costs, saving an estimated $4 billion in reduced costs through value-based care.
Medical Economics: (10/7) – COVID-19 has emphasized the need for providers to diversify by augmenting FFS with value-based care revenue streams. Providers that stay in VBC contracts but opt out of the risk associated with COVID-19 patients will likely fare better than those who did not.
Healthcare Dive: (10/7) – According to a new report, COVID-19 may be speeding up mergers and acquisitions (M&A), meaning that the COVID-19 pandemic has not produced a dramatic decline in deals. The third quarter had 19 transactions announced, increasing from 14 transactions in the second quarter. Financial pressures may cause struggling hospitals to turn to M&A and will strengthen the need for partnerships moving forward.