Dashboard Template for Bootstrap

Navigating CMS’ Five Star Rating System: Secrets of Success for Medicare Advantage Plans

By Robert Bonhag | Blog | No Comments

Rarely does a Medical Advantage plan provider achieve a five star rating from the CMS (Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services) by chance.

There is a specific set of performance metrics that get you there, and Chase Group, Ltd. can help you identify each metric and equip you and your team with the tools and techniques to meet them. It starts with the right dataset.

Are you capturing how well each of your reps addresses every member inquiry and complaint? Are you measuring attrition? Are you analyzing how your team is helping members manage chronic long-term conditions? Are you collecting data on how well members adhere to programs and prescriptions?

With Chase Group, Ltd., working alongside you and your team, you’ll quickly uncover ways you can innovate to improve the member experience and achieve a five star rating. A dedicated consultant will craft a custom plan with measurable outcomes (for you AND your members) helping you create a data-driven culture based on improving performance, always.

Five stars are closer than you think. Contact Chase Group, Ltd.for a free consultation.

,...
Read More


Medicare Advantage: One path to a five star plan

By Robert Bonhag | Blog | No Comments

The CMS (Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services) released its star ratings list for Medicare Advantage plans for 2020. And as roughly 80% of all Medicare members choose plans with four or more stars, these ratings are foundational to a plan’s success. If your program didn’t yet make the cut, don’t despair. There are specialists, such as the Chase Group, Ltd., to help you earn your stars. And here’s one easy rule to follow from Chase…

Empower patients to take part. CMS ratings are fueled by member experience.

Did members get both the care AND the information they needed? Was the information understood and acted upon? Were they keeping track of their own progress? As any healthcare professional knows, ensuring patients “stick with the program” is critical to both success and satisfaction. Equipping members with technology — such as mobile or web apps to review results, fulfill pre-enrollment requirements, access resources, and communicate their needs — creates an easy way to help ensure engagement. And an engaged patient is a more satisfied patient, and essential to a successful healthcare plan. Five stars are closer than you think. Contact Chase Group, Ltd.for a free consultation. Click here to set up a time to talk.

,...
Read More


Cross-Functional Team Finds Efficiency: A Chase Group Ltd. Case Study

By Robert Bonhag | Blog | No Comments

Case Studies are particularly useful in the healthcare industry for a number of reasons. One may wish to improve efficiency, cut down costs, increase the health status of patients, provide better care in every aspect; and reading firsthand case studies of other healthcare executives experiences in trying to do these things will help your planned project avoid mistakes while achieving better results all the same. Here at Chase Group Ltd., we have helped healthcare leaders all across the market achieve success in implementing many wholly different and unique strategic projects. Therefore, we wish to share with you one specific story of success Chase Group Ltd helped achieve to give you an idea of what a Case Study looks like, and how to use ours to help you grow as a worker. Chase Group Ltd took on a project in Chicago for Mercy Health Center. Mercy is a 425-bed hospital, a large sized hospital by bed count, located right in South Chicago with around 2300 employees. The hospital was facing a lot of issues: increasing expenditures, heavy competition from other providers in the area, employees who were not focused or motivated in achieving growth and/or goals for the hospital, and most notably patients were being held for too long! All these problems combined leave you with one general problem, efficiency. The longer your patients are being held in the hospital due to low efficiency, the more money you are needlessly spending. When your hospital is inefficient, employees lose motivation and vision. This left Mercy Hospital executives with a couple of questions: why is this happening? And how do we solve it? When Chase Group Ltd. entered into business with Mercy to help their new CEO solve these issues, three goals for the new year were decided on; improving employee culture, improve efficiency, and standardizing processes. In essence, she wanted the hospital to become agile and quick to move. The goal was to identify the core cause of the problem… why are patients staying longer than they should be? One of the issues acknowledged was in returning patient lab test results. Patients were spending at times a whole extra day just waiting for lab results! Obviously, this is not beneficial to the hospital or patient satisfaction; and it was determined that this was where we must focus. This is quite the tall order, Lab Testing as a process begins with many different departments, people, and processes all working together to get a test delivered and done. Physicians aren’t able to discharge patients without knowing and reading the results of the test, so patients were basically forced to wait for the slow processes in place to conclude. The key to solving this, then, lies in outside-the-box thinking. How do you make a system more efficient when it is to be assumed everyone is already operating as efficiently as they can? You must change the system. And so, everyone involved in the lab process from start to finish was put in a room together to construct a project plan, a plan that would improve the lab process and its efficiency metrics. It wasn’t that these employees weren’t working as hard as they can, its that this hard work was being wasted on a system that wasn’t delivering. Chase Group founder Robert Bonhag consulted with his friend Dr. Edward Deming, who revolutionized the world of manufacturing through his statistical processes and theories. Deming applied something called “Statistical Process Control” to Japanese industries rebuilding with American help after World War Two. Deming’s teachings and work in Japan are credited as being largely responsible for the Japanese economic miracle that took place in the latter half of the 20th century. Deming’s ideas of Statistical Process Control and Process Improvement are what we decided must be implemented, and that it would solve the issues at hand. It employs sampling and data analysis techniques to analyze a system in real-time, which allows implementers to find a stable output value and find out where variations in the system are coming from. Using this technology, we developed the necessary measures and metrics that we use to measure the impact of new improvements to the lab system. In doing so, we were able to determine which ideas to improve the system were especially effective, and which were not. What our team learned, however, is that STAT blood tests typically only take around 1-2 hours’ time to get results, compared to Routine Testing. This still presents a new challenge, though, as now every test needed to be processed and ready in 1-2 hours. However, to get STAT tests done, an entirely new process needed to be developed and implemented. As you can see, solutions are never that simple. STAT tests need to be moved down to the lab from different floors in large volumes, delivered, and the tests themselves need to be handled quickly so as to deliver the intended results. Once again, cross-department teamwork was needed in coming up with various solutions and figuring out how to measure them. We facilitated this creative process, and ultimately a solution was identified. The next step for this project would be the development of a pneumatic tube system, which would quickly deliver blood samples directly to the lab. Special carriers were designed to keep the samples safe from breaking on the way to the lab, and this was a success. Now that the system was changed, addressing lab employee procedures was next. A routine was established for technicians to follow, that provided maximum efficiency for developing samples. In a time before integrated computer records, everything had to be printed. Chase Group and Mercy were able to develop a method to get results printed on the unit, in order to get results to the doctor as fast as possible. Overall, things were running smoother, more efficiently, and to a statistical tee that allowed for any variation to be rectified immediately. Deming would be ecstatic. Aside from normal variations, the time to get results back to doctors was just around 2 hours. So, what are the outcomes of this project? Well firstly, Mercy learned that cross-functional/cross-departmental teams are able to accomplish things that benefit the whole hospital, as well as think creatively to solve a problem. This led to better departmental communication, teamwork, and motivation. Secondly, patients weren’t staying in Mercy Hospital as long! Efficiency was up, patient satisfaction was heightened, health outcomes were improved, and in the first year of implementing this new system, Mercy Hospital saved $4.2 Million. To further drive home the success of this project, in year two Mercy saved an additional $5.5 Million. This leads well into another major outcome and lesson learned, that you must always be measuring the results of your system before, during and after you implement a new project. How can you know where to focus efforts without measurement before? How can you see progress without measuring during? How can you gauge success without measuring after? In general, Chase Group Ltd.’s work at Mercy highlights what’s necessary for finding success in solving a problem facing any business, and what is required of employees to innovate and improve.

,...
Read More


Tips And Strategies For Strategic Project Success!

By Robert Bonhag | Blog | No Comments

Have you been struggling to put together a new strategic project? Are you just beginning to start one? Do you not even know where to start but need to accomplish a strategic initiative in the healthcare industry?

Look no further. Here at Chase Group, we have put together a short video with 9 tips you need to know for implementing any type of strategic project in healthcare. Watch below as our founder Robert Bonhag lays out these tips he’s learned from years of experience in implementing strategic projects for a multitude of healthcare providers.

To go along with the video, we have attached 3 documents that you as an executive can download and use for free! The first document is a free Project Charter template we here at Chase Group have developed to help you plan out your next project. The second document is all about Health Status (let us call it a Health Status Cheat Sheet if you will), and alternative ways to track it. If you want to check out more on health status, take a look at my last blog that explored, in-depth, the topic here. The third and final document we have attached for you contains a more detailed and informative list of all the tips we discuss in the video. No need to take notes, just download all the documents for free directly below!

Project Charter Template PDF      Health Status Cheat Sheet       Tips for Strategic Project Success!

We hope you have enjoyed the content we provided with you, and we hope you are able to make great use out of it. We wish you the best in implementing your next project!

Written By:

Shane Andrews

Chase Group Ltd.

,...
Read More


What Is Health Status: An Overarching View.

By Robert Bonhag | Blog | No Comments

What is Health Status?

The healthcare industry is one that is no stranger to jargon; possessing so many specialized terms and acronyms it can almost be said the industry has its own vernacular. So, when an industry outsider hears the term “health status” for the first time, it can be difficult to understand exactly what is being referred to despite the deceptively simplistic nature of the expression. This is not anything extraordinary, though, as many in the industry itself get mixed up over the true definition of the term. This is due to the fact that simply put, it’s a complex and ever-evolving topic. It is used in two contexts: for potentially fatal acute illnesses, and for chronic illnesses. When discussed in the context of the former, the term is easy to understand; it refers to the expected length of life for a patient who has developed a sudden, severe, acute illness. When discussed in the latter, things get complicated.

Health status for chronic illnesses, in general, is designed as a means to measure the overall wellbeing and welfare of hospital patients. The issue in defining health status arises when you must include measurement domains other than the length of life for these chronic illnesses that are long-lasting and recurring. This begs the question, then, “well how do you measure it?” Before we expand further, this chart below should help you visualize such a concept.

How do you Measure Health Status?

Depending on what professionals you ask, and what hospitals you ask at, you’re likely to get a hundred different answers. This is merely because experts disagree on what factors weigh more in defining a patient’s overall health status. A psychologist would weigh mental status more in a health status measurement than say a physician. Furthermore, a dietician might give a patient’s overall nutrition more weight in a measurement than say a surgeon. Even in closely related healthcare positions disagreements surface frequently. A pediatrician may delegate more weight to social factors in determining a patient’s health status than an adult primary care physician would. These disagreements are what make it difficult to measure the health status of large populations, as you can imagine.

Any decently clever person immediately would say the easy solution to this problem is standardization of the term health status; “why not just create a standardized measurement for every hospital to base off of?” While such a solution sounds textbook, the same issues arise once again. You must now get industry experts and academia to all agree, and such a task is insurmountable… especially when academia can’t even agree on why we sleep, why we yawn, or how many planets there really are in our solar system. What instead has occurred in lieu of an academician enlightenment, is hospitals and health organizations have created their own systems for measurement; and the industry has found some are better than others. Johns Hopkins health status measurement system has come to be frequently cited as best-in-class and is often emulated by other healthcare institutions.

Johns Hopkins University was the United States’ first-ever research university, and today spends a whopping $2.5 billion in research expenditure annually. Circa 1989 Johns Hopkins University created a clinician view of health status, including predictability, when it launched its ACG health status model. This model was created by clinicians, for clinicians, and has been highly effective in achieving the goals any health status system seeks to achieve; as well as being rated one of the top health systems in the world. Top clinicians throughout the USA, UK, and many other high-tier Western healthcare systems all emulate or directly use this model, allowing providers to properly and quickly identify an illnesses root causes; and also assists providers in giving proper diagnoses and being able to more accurately predict patient outcomes. The exact needs of a patient are now able to be met once root causes are determined; and the ACG model developed by Johns Hopkins immensely limits the influence of subjectivity and the bickerings of academia. But in considering how you measure and what’s the best way to do so, you are once again led down a thought path that begs another question, why do you measure health status in the first place? Before we touch on that, this graphic below provides a visualization of the Johns Hopkins Health Status Model.

 

Why Measure?

While many answers are available to choose from, no answer is as absolute and all-encompassing as this: to offer healthcare providers a degree of predictability, however volatile it may be. If a hospital can look at past patient outcomes with the same diagnosis codes that resulted in improvements in health status, it is now able to determine the absolute best method of treatment for said current patient; with the ultimate goal of keeping that patient out of the hospital. It’s an inimitable measurement tool that identifies patients risk level, identifies the proper resources needed, and is a good way of analyzing health-providers altogether performance. In simpler terms it accomplishes many useful things: it increases treatment effectiveness leading to better patient wellbeing and outcomes, saves hospitals and insurers money due to fewer admits; and it increases hospital efficiency as patients are being more speedily and proficiently treated, ultimately leaving everyone more satisfied with the healthcare system. So, the key then, is that health status must be used first and foremost as a tool to predict patient outcomes with the data available from tracking past patient’s health status. It’s a concept that by now you must see is indispensable, and it is important it gets implemented into as many systems possible, as standardized and efficiently as possible. This has never been easier in today’s world with the advent of ever-improving complex and valuable computer software. But, once again a clever thinker might be left with another question just begging to be answered: “well what if you as an institution has never tracked health status before and don’t have past data to point to?”

You Don’t Have the Data, So What do you Do?

The first logical error is in thinking you don’t have the necessary data to either point to past health statuses or to start tracking health status. One thing a hospital always has, barring any freak circumstances, is visit records. From such data, one could see how many times a patient was admitted, what they were treated for each visit, and for what conditions. From there you can now logically determine what treatment was given and if the results were desirable. Moreover, hospitals can contact their regional HIE (Health Information’s Exchange) to acquire more useful and relevant information if they are truly starting from nothing data-wise. HIE’s allow healthcare data and records to be moved across different systems and locations, to the healthcare providers benefit; it allows for hospitals to see what testing and treatment has already been administered, what diagnostic codes a patient has already received, important information regarding allergies and past conditions, et. al. By taking such action, efficiency is once again increased, and patient outcomes are by extension more likely to be positive. Health status can now begin to be tracked from this starting point, or it can be more easily implemented within a system already beginning to track health statuses.

In finality, it can be said health status tracking should be, if not already, a top priority for any healthcare provider. It saves money, it saves time and resources, increases patient’s overall health, and generally puts less strain on the system as a whole. So, for any clever thinkers, this is your cue to take health status tracking seriously.

Written By:

Shane Andrews

Chase Group Ltd.

,...
Read More