Here's to a Healthier "U.S."

With the passing of the Obama administration’s Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, the delivery of medical services in the United States is expected to include a broad range of providers that will operate under the umbrella of accountable care organizations (ACOs). Developed as a new model for delivering healthcare in a less fragmented, wasteful, duplicative, and costly manner, the initiative has the 3-part goal of providing better overall care for individuals, providing better care for the entire population, and slowing growth in costs.

Critical to the language and spirit of the legislation is a fundamental belief that the focus of our healthcare system in the United States needs to be more patient-centric and less reactive. As such, organizations of physicians, hospitals, and other institutions adopting this model are expected to reach out to patients regularly to support preventative and long-term healthcare goals. Prior to expanding the program nationally, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) will be piloting several models of the initiative with individuals receiving healthcare benefits under the current program.

Some of the fundamental highlights of the program are designed to address previous gaps and create better coordination of care, improve quality of care, and enhance efficiencies. These include initiatives to:

  • Provide coverage for demographic groups that often “fell through the cracks”
  • Gradually increase policy limits to better accommodate the unpredictable nature of catastrophic accidents or illness
  • Expand primary care funding to include services provided by nurses, nurse practitioners, and physician assistants, as well as primary care physicians
  • Offer more free preventative care services for everyone, such as vaccinations and cancer screenings, to leverage early detection and prevention as a strategy for reducing the incidence of more expensive and serious conditions
  • Decrease the “donut hole” gap in prescription drug coverage plans to provide greater discounts to seniors who rely on expensive medications for chronic conditions

As CMS and other commercial, private providers evaluate better models for future success, they will have to look beyond restricted, narrow, and smaller populations in order to guarantee that scalability to a national level is feasible and successful for all.

Conversely, prioritizing the areas in the current system that are most broken will be critical because evaluation of various models that attempt to address all aspects of the system is an overwhelming task that has the potential to demonstrate lack of success in all areas targeted for improvement. The charter will require strong leadership who can effectively partner with Congress and key interest groups to properly assess pilot program outcomes and provide recommendations for strategically refining the program and expanding it for the future. The lessons from the past should serve as an appropriate benchmark for success.

 

About Havas Worldwide Health
Havas Worldwide Health owns the Euro RSCG Life and Health4Brands (H4B) networks. The Havas Worldwide Health network has a uniquely unified model, with all disciplines—medical, strategy, managed markets, medical education, digital, DTP/DTC, advertising, and PR—inside one agency, with one P&L. This allows us to deliver channel-agnostic solutions that are right for our clients’ brands without the traditional silos and intra-agency complexities. Also, with more than 2000 employees in 60 agencies in over 50 countries, Havas Worldwide Health has a presence in all the major regions and markets. Havas Worldwide Health is the global health holding company within Havas Worldwide (Euronext Paris: HAV.PA), a global advertising and communications services group headquartered in Paris.