The impact of chronic disease on our population and our healthcare system is undeniable.
Nearly two in three older Americans suffer from multiple chronic conditions– making it increasingly difficult for healthcare providers and caregivers to provide enough care to those who need it. Health issues go undetected, leading to increased hospitalizations for the patient – and lowering their quality of life.
While chronic care management programs have shown a positive impact on the outcomes of chronically ill patients, some practices are slow to take advantage of the financial incentives being offered by Medicare for providing the additional time and proactive support these patients require.
It isn’t a lack of interest.
According to a recent survey, 93% of physicians wish they had help ensuring patients with multiple chronic conditions were adhering to their care plans. Physicians want to provide the best care to all their patients, but, in an era where we are consistently asked to ‘do more with less’, new initiatives and good intentions can easily fall through the cracks.
To ensure everyone has access to the care they need to be well, chronic care management must be made easier for practices to provide.
Overcoming the Two Most Common Barriers
DIY CCM – It takes a tremendous amount of time and energy to meet the standards of care required by Medicare. To bill Medicare for CCM, practices must develop a care management plan, followed by at least 20 minutes of non-visit-based chronic care services per patient, per month. That means, if a practice has 1,000 CCM patients they will need at least two dedicated nurses who care for these patients only. Additional costs to the practice could include equipment, materials, salaries, benefits and associated overhead such as office space for the additional staff. When faced with that kind of undertaking, it’s easy to understand why adoption is low.
- An Easier Path – Many physicians are finding a CCM partner that can act as a true extension of their practice, providing comprehensive care on their behalf, without upfront costs and practice disruption.
Patient Skepticism and Engagement – While there is initial evidence that a single 20-minute call can make a difference for patients dealing with chronic diseases, patients accustomed to traditional in-office care might not yet understand or see the value in telehealth communications. They might think that the care they are receiving is “good enough” or that, given their medical issues, there is no potential for a higher quality of life. Additionally, patients have their own lives and schedules and don’t always want to commit to spending 20-minutes every month with a healthcare provider.
- An Easier Path – Proactive patient education can help communicate the value of CCM. One of the biggest worries among patients with chronic conditions is “getting another medical condition”. CCM can help address health concerns before they become major medical problems—which then decreases hospitalizations and increases overall wellness. Maximizing patient engagement is important— and the industry-leading care model provided by Wellbox Care Management Services has been proven, through third-party analysis to enhance clinical outcomes. The Wellbox model strives to maximize patient engagement by using a blend of personalized patient education derived from the physician’s EMR, provided by RN’s via mail, with bi-monthly phone calls to discuss and explain the mailing. This method helps to educate patients on managing their health in an easy-to-handle, focused way—ensuring they get the most out of every interaction.
Being more proactive with a patient’s health brings both clinical and fiscal benefits to all parties involved. With CCM partners ready and willing to take on the costs and risks associated with implementing the program – what do you have to lose?