Health policy researchers at Mayo Clinic recently found that only 12% of patients who sought a second opinion for a complex medical condition at Mayo Clinic received confirmation that their initial diagnosis was correct and complete. This should be reason enough to begin educating employees about the benefits of second opinions and how to get them. Common concerns expressed by patients include a fear of offending their physician, a feeling of urgency to begin treatment and of course, concern that their health plan may not cover the cost of a second opinion.
Whether you use employee newsletters, printed handouts and posters or a lunch and learn, it is important to let employees know that most doctors welcome a second opinion and they should never be afraid to ask their physician how much time they can take to obtain a second opinion before making a decision on treatment. Make sure members know if they have a second opinion benefit and consider offering an incentive for taking an active role in health management.
Even though we still hear political rumblings of repeal, the smart money seems to be on finding ways to boost accountability and engagement as full implementation of the law nears. While a strong majority of employers remain committed to maintaining their health benefit programs, there is plenty of concern about all the new regulations coming their way. Continue reading
There is nothing as constant as change and based upon seven pages of provisions (out of almost 3000 pages) in the new Health Reform Legislation (PPACA), our entire healthcare delivery system will begin to significantly change for Medicare patients between 1/1/2012 and 1/1/2014. These changes will not be due to the issues of mandated benefits and the possibility of the elimination of the current employer based system of providing benefits, but rather because of the legislation, which created Accountable Care Organizations (ACO). But is it really a change or more like the old philosopher, and great Yankee catcher says, “It’s déjà u all over again”? You be the judge after we more carefully examine ACO’s and how they are expected to work along with how your healthcare will be impacted. Now that Health and Human Services (HHS) has issued the final ACO regulations, we have much more clarity.