Entries in Thayer, Claire (129)

Tuesday
Jun072016

Insurance spending on behavioral health: Up for Mental Health / Down for Substance Use

By Claire Thayer, June 7, 2016

The June 2016 issue of Health Affairs takes a deep dive into behavioral health from several different vantage points, including public and private health spending, veteran’s mental health service use, quality measurement, mental illness and gun violence, drug monitoring, suicide prevention, along with trends in media coverage.

Here are a few highlights of several of the articles in the June 2016 issue:

On the health spending spectrum, a long-term longitudinal Health Affairs study finds a increase in the total mental health treatment expenditures financed by private insurance, Medicare, and Medicaid increased from 44 percent in 1986 to 68 percent in 2014. While the share of spending for substance use disorder treatment financed by private insurance, Medicare, and Medicaid showed almost no increase, was 45 percent in 1986 and 46 percent in 2014.

Another article in the June 2016 issue examines gun violence, gun-related suicide and violent crime in people with serious mental illnesses, and whether legal restrictions on firearm sales to people with a history of mental health adjudication are effective in preventing gun violence.

State prescription drug monitoring programs were reviewed based on findings from a national survey to assess the effects of these programs on the prescribing of opioid analgesics and other pain medications in ambulatory care settings. In this study overview, researchers found that the implementation of a prescription drug monitoring program was associated with more than a 30 percent reduction in the rate of prescribing of Schedule II opioids.

Tuesday
May312016

Blue Shield of California Releases Executive Pay Report

By Claire Thayer, May 31, 2016

This week, Blue Shield of California released its first report on executive pay, thanks in part to a state audit that raised questions on the amount of executive pay and large cash reserves, along with mounting public pressure to be more transparent on executive compensation.  It pays to meet incentive plan goals - the CEO’s compensation jumped 40% in less than two years in doing so. 

The report includes components of the executive compensation program –including base salary and incentives tied to short and long term goals. Compensation paid to their top ten executives is listed, details on the CEO's individual pay package, along with comparison of how their exec pay ranks compared to their peers (Centene, Aetna, United, Anthem, Humana and Kaiser).

For further reading:

Blue Shield of California 2015 Executive Compensation Summary [May 2016]

Blue Shield ‘Lifts The Veil’ On Executive Pay [Kaiser Health News, May 26, 2016]

Blue Shield reveals executive compensation [BenefitsPro, May 27, 2016]

Monday
May232016

How are health plans meeting behavioral health needs of members?

By Claire Thayer, May 23, 2016

There’s been a lot of awareness about mental health lately, especially during the month of May – officially recognized as Mental Health Month, via Mental Health America .  In the spirit of this awareness, AHIP recently released a new 28-page issue brief on behavioral health benefits and mental health coverage from collective case studies of 11 member health plans. This new issue brief, Ensuring Access to Quality Behavioral Health Care: Health Plan Examples, identifies innovative approaches to these key areas:

  • Awareness and Education
  • Identification and Outreach
  • Timely access to care
  • Quality measurement
  • Evidence-based clinical criteria
  • Care Coordination and integration
  • Programs targeting opioid use

Health Plans profiled in the report include:

  • Anthem
  • Beacon Health Options
  • Blue Shield of California
  • CareFirst
  • Cigna
  • Health Care Service Corporation
  • Health Partners
  • Highmark
  • Humana
  • Kaiser Permanente
  • Wellcare

To read this complete Issue Brief: Ensuring Access to Quality Behavioral Health Care: Health Plan Examples

Tuesday
May102016

Walgreens raising awareness on mental health with online screening tools and telehealth services

By Claire Thayer, May 10, 2016

Walgreens and Mental Health America have forged an ambitious initiative to screen 3 million people for mental issue, by the end of 2017. Walgreens is well positioned to step up to expand mental health services and treatment options and has announced it will offer access to 1,000 therapists and psychiatrists via MDLive’s subsidiary, Breakthrough.

Walgreens new dedicated mental health “answer center” is designed to help connect people to Mental Health American’s Online Screening Program— free, scientifically-based online screenings for a number of conditions including depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder, PTSD and others.

The National Alliance on Mental Illness reports that getting access to services for treatment of mental health illness continues to be a concern:

  • Approximately 60 percent of adults, and almost 50% of youth ages 8 to 15 with a mental illness received no mental health services in the previous year.
  • African American and Hispanic Americans used mental health services at about one-half the rate of whites in the past year and Asian Americans at about one-third the rate.
  • One-half of all chronic mental illness begins by the age of 14; three-quarters by age 24.
  • Despite effective treatment, there are long delays−sometimes decades−between the first appearance of symptoms and when people get help.

Further reading:

Wednesday
Apr202016

Cyber attacks – a new reality for health care organizations

By Claire Thayer, April 20, 2016

The healthcare industry as a whole is at a critical juncture in its efforts to curb medical identity theft, data breaches and health care fraud. More than any other industry, health care is now leading the way for the highest number of records breached - 84.4 million alone in the first half of 2015. Hospitals, health plans, health systems and provider organizations are all doubling down on efforts to address vulnerabilities related to cyber attacks. And, the sooner the better – as consumers are starting to take notice - about 50% say they wouldn’t hesitate to find another healthcare provider if they were concerned about the security of their medical records.

Cyber threats now have the full attention of the c-suite. A recent HIMSS Cybersecurity Survey finds:

  • 87% of healthcare leaders indicated that information security had become a critical business priority
  • 66% of healthcare organizations experienced a significant security incident
  • 57% of healthcare organizations have allocated a full-time resource to address cybersecurity
  • 81% of respondents believe more innovative and advanced tools are needed to combat security threats

These and issues pertaining to identity management in health care are the focus of a recent MCOL infographoid, co-sponsored by LexisNexis Healthcare, highlighted below:

MCOL’s weekly infoGraphoid is a benefit for MCOL Basic members and released each Wednesday as part of the MCOL Daily Factoid e-newsletter distribution service – find out more here.