The first grand slam of 2017 has come and gone. It was a tournament filled with disappointment and excitement. The grand slam took place at Melbourne Park from 16th – 29th January. If you couldn’t watch every single match, worry not. Here’s a brief summary of everything that happened during […]
Healthcare costs. They make headlines. They cause concern. And companies struggle to manage them. But in the quest to control healthcare expenses, many employers are unaware of additional “hidden” costs.
The hidden or indirect costs of poor health—including absenteeism, disability and reduced productivity—may actually be several times higher than direct medical costs, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Productivity losses related to personal and family health problems cost U.S. employers roughly $1,685 per employee each year, or $225.8 billion annually. Ultimately, these losses negatively impact an employer’s bottom line.
Chronic disease is one big culprit, and it runs rampant in employee populations nationwide. It makes a huge impact on the health of individuals, resulting in decreased productivity. In fact, about half of U.S. adults (117 million people) have at least one chronic condition, and about one quarter of adults have two or more chronic diseases, the CDC reports. When it comes to healthcare expenditures, 84 percent are attributed to individuals with chronic conditions, totaling more than $1 trillion annually.
To combat these costs and productivity losses, a proactive strategy is needed—one that focuses on keeping “at-risk” employees from developing costly chronic conditions.
Increase Productivity with a Health and Wellness Strategy
With high costs, productivity losses and people’s health at stake, it makes sense for employers to consider a health and wellness strategy focused on risk reduction.
For example: When an individual quits smoking for just one year, the risk of heart disease is reduced to about half of that of a smoker, reports the World Health Organization (WHO).
Health and wellness programs typically start by using biometric screenings and data analytics to segment the workforce into three primary categories: “well/healthy,” “at-risk” or “chronically ill.” Appropriate wellness education and support programs are provided to promote positive behavior changes, reduce risks and maintain health.
To make wellness programs more engaging and effective, many employers are adding on-site health clinics. Staffed with nurses or other clinicians, these clinics can provide employees with convenient access to services such as primary care, regular flu shots, biometric screenings, prescriptions for generic drugs (depending on local law) and lab work.
As a result of these wellness strategies, employers typically see improved employee health, increased productivity and a healthier bottom line—illustrated by the fact that 87 percent of employers plan to continue to focus on wellness and care management, according to a recent Price Waterhouse Coopers survey.
To learn more about productivity-enhancing and cost-saving health strategies, read our latest white paper, Boost Profits by Reducing Smoking, Obesity & Hypertension.
INDIANAPOLIS – Indiana University Health has hired an information technology veteran to be its new chief information officer.
Mark Lantzy recently joined IU Health as senior vice president and CIO. In his new role, Lantzy will have overall responsibility for information services (IS), including strategic planning, operations and project delivery, for IU Health’s 16-hospital system, health plans and physicians network.
“I am very pleased to join an organization so important to the lives of our patients and Hoosiers,” Lantzy said. “There is a rapidly growing technology sector in Indianapolis and the opportunity to bring innovation and new approaches to our health information technology capability is exciting.”
Lantzy, who has a 20-year career in health information services, comes to IU Health after serving as chief operations officer and CIO for Gateway Health, a Pittsburgh-based managed care organization for Medicaid and Medicare members. Previously Lantzy held leadership positions for WellCare Health Plans, Aetna, and Accenture.
“Mark is a dynamic, accomplished leader who will help recruit top talent to our 600-person information technology team and leverage IU Health’s IT infrastructure to benefit patients and providers,” said Ryan Kitchell, executive vice president and chief administrative officer.
Lantzy takes over from Bill McConnell, who is headed for retirement. As CIO, McConnell led statewide IS integration projects, built IU Health’s data warehouse and decision support and analytics capabilities, stabilized IS infrastructure and systems performance, and worked to expand research systems capabilities with IU School of Medicine and associated institutes.
McConnell is staying on for several months to serve in a human relations role at IU Health.
Healthcare costs keep employers up at night. Yet considering some of the costs employers face, it’s easy to understand why.
Average healthcare costs were projected to be $11,304 per employee in 2015 by an Aon-Hewitt analysis, for example. For 2016, employers anticipate a 6.4 percent cost increase.
To combat rising costs plus improve employee health, a proactive strategy is needed—one that focuses on keeping “at-risk” employees from developing costly chronic conditions.
Understanding the Risks
“There are three key risk factors that every employer should be aware of—tobacco use, body mass index (BMI) and high blood pressure,” says Dr. Geraldine Darroca, Medical Director at Indiana University Health Business Solutions. The reason why is simple: These risks are precursors to the top four chronic conditions leading to morbidity and mortality—cancer, diabetes, cardiovascular disease and respiratory illnesses. Take a look at the tremendous impact they can have on employee health and costs:
Tobacco use – This contributes to lung and cardiovascular disease because it effects oxygenation of the blood and impacts the cholesterol profile, explains Dr. Darroca. The CDC reports that tobacco use remains the single largest preventable cause of death and disease.
BMI – Having a BMI over 30 can lead to cardiovascular disease, multiple cancers, obesity, diabetes, back pain and osteoarthritis. Osteoarthritis often leads to knee replacement surgery, which is one of the highest claims costs for many employers.
Blood pressure – High blood pressure (<150 over 90) contributes to heart disease and stroke. Roughly one in three people have it. With no warning signs, it’s often referred to as the “silent killer.”
The Link to Chronic Disease
These three risk factors are important to monitor since they can lead to costly chronic conditions. People with chronic conditions are the most frequent users of healthcare services, according to the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, accounting for:
81 percent of hospital admissions
91 percent of all prescriptions filled
76 percent of all physician visits
As a result, 84 percent of healthcare expenditures are attributed to chronic conditions, totaling more than $1 trillion annually in the U.S.
Why Population Health is the Solution
With high costs and people’s health at stake, it makes sense for employers to consider a population health strategy focused on risk reduction. After all, many chronic conditions are preventable or could be managed through behavior and lifestyle modifications.
For example, increasing physical activity by just 2.5 hours each week can help individuals lose 5-7 percent of their weight and reduce the risk for diabetes by 58 percent, reports the U.S. Surgeon General.
In a population health program, an employer’s workforce is segmented into categories through screenings and data analytics. Employees fall into either a “well/healthy,” “at-risk” or “chronically ill” category. Then, support services such as wellness or care management are applied to help maintain health, reduce risks and minimize disease progression.
As a result, employers typically see improved health and reduced costs—illustrated by the fact that 87 percent of employers plan to continue to focus on wellness and care management, according to a recent Price Waterhouse Coopers survey.
To learn more about cost-saving population health strategies, read our latest white paper, Boost Profits by Reducing Smoking, Obesity & Hypertension.
The same Indiana University Health doctors who will perform cardiovascular tests on each of the more than 300 collegiate prospects traveling to Indianapolis to participate in this week's NFL Scouting Combine (Feb. 23rd -29th) have opened a new, year-round program to examine the heart health of athletes of all ages and stages.
As Indiana’s first full-time sports cardiology program, the newly launched IU Health Center for Cardiovascular Care in Athletics, based at IU Health Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis, offers a full range of services fine-tuned for active individuals of all levels – from high school students in need of a physical to adults needing further examination following a concerning cardiovascular event on or off the track or field.
The comprehensive program was created to help prevent athlete deaths caused by undiagnosed heart disease – one of the deadliest issues in sports today. Hundreds of American athletes of all ages, sports and skill levels die each year from heart problems that weren’t detected or treated in time.
It’s a complicated issue to tackle, partly because an athlete’s heart tends to look and function differently than the heart of the average individual. In fact, recent studies show that approximately 25 percent of athletes actually experience adaptations in the size and function of their hearts in response to consistent exercise and intense training.
While these adaptations aren’t necessarily harmful, continued news coverage of athletes suffering sudden cardiac death has prompted heart specialists to take a closer look at athletic hearts and the ways they can differ from the average heart and to develop athlete-specific criteria for interpreting test results. But the number of clinical programs with experienced specialists trained to understand athlete-specific heart issues are few and far between.
“An athlete’s heart is a high-performance machine with unique needs, but only a handful of cardiology programs throughout the country are dedicated to evaluating these active individuals,” said Michael Emery, M.D., a sports cardiologist at IU Health and medical director of the IU Health Center for Cardiovascular Care in Athletics. “Now, with this program, we’re going to use every tool in our toolbox to determine which athletes might have a serious heart problem so we can intervene to help keep preventable tragedies from happening."
While the new program will use a variety of diagnostic tools including heart scans and echocardiograms, its centerpiece is its Sports Cardiology Performance Lab, which allows clinicians to recreate the physical demands of intense competition and perform functional cardiovascular assessments so they can analyze the impact such activities could have on an athlete’s heart. The lab features advanced technologies such as industrial-level treadmills—with longer, wider and more durable belts to accommodate athletic individuals—high-end sport bike ergometers and the latest equipment for wireless electrocardiograms (EKGs) and VO2 max testing to measure an individual’s cardio-pulmonary fitness.
“The idea is to use the lab setting to recreate the stresses of athletic performance that may have triggered heart-related symptoms in active individuals and study them to see if we find anything worthy of concern,” said Dr. Emery, who also has a Master's degree in Exercise Physiology and Human Performance and serves as the national co-chair of the Sports and Exercise Cardiology section for the American College of Cardiology. “We can create customized tests for every athlete and any sport and incorporate their performance data into our clinical assessments. This level of examination gives us far more reliable information about a player’s physical limitations and helps to guide our medical treatment so we can hopefully return them to a safe level of activity, which is our ultimate goal.”
Although its Center for Cardiovascular Care in Athletics is new, IU Health already has a long track record of experience when it comes to caring for athletes’ hearts. For nearly three decades, IU Health cardiologists and clinicians have used their expertise to perform medical evaluations on NFL hopefuls – all of whom must pass a series of exams at IU Health Methodist Hospital before they can showcase their physical skills and 40-yard-dash times at the annual NFL Combine.
"IU Health has performed heart exams on NFL Combine athletes for nearly 30 years and has a great playbook for how to do it effectively," said Dr. Emery, who along with fellow IU Health cardiologist Richard Kovacs, M.D. will use the capabilities of the new program to continue the tradition of testing athletes coming to town for this year’s NFL Combine and share that same level of expertise with athletes of all levels who can now present their hearts for closer examination year-round.
To schedule an appointment with the IU Health Center for Cardiovascular Care in Athletics, contact 317.962.9455.
About Indiana University HealthNamed among the "Best Hospitals in America" by U.S.News & World Report for 18 consecutive years, Indiana University Health is dedicated to providing a unified standard of preeminent, patient-centered care. A unique partnership with Indiana University School of Medicine – one of the nation's leading medical schools – gives our highly skilled physicians access to innovative treatments using the latest research and technology. Learn more at www.iuhealth.org.
With the national spotlight pointed toward Indiana for the 100th Running of the Indianapolis 500, Indiana University Health will take to the skies above the Indianapolis Motor Speedway to recognize some of the state’s most heroic Hoosiers during this year’s IU Health LifeLine Fly-In, which will take place on Race Day, Sunday, May 29, shortly after 10 a.m.The IU Health LifeLine Fly-In is an annual event where an IU Health LifeLine medical helicopter, on its way to provide on-site care at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, transports a special group of honorees who will present the green flag at the starting line for the world-famous 500-mile race.
This year’s flight will pay tribute to ‘Hoosier Heroes’—the thousands of unsung public safety professionals across the state who have dedicated their lives to keeping the people of Indiana safe and helping them in times of need. The heroes participating in this year’s flight were chosen to represent all of the law enforcement officers, firefighters and emergency medical service providers throughout Indiana that work together every day to protect and save the lives of Hoosiers.“Every day, our city’s public safety professionals dedicate themselves to the health and wellbeing of Indianapolis. It is a very simple, but incredibly remarkable thing – literally thousands of our community’s men and women willing to offer everything they have for the people of this city. For that, we owe them our gratitude,” explains Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett. “I am grateful for IU Health’s dedication to these exceptional men and women and for giving all of us the chance to celebrate the outstanding work they do.”
“This flight is a show of our appreciation for all of the Hoosier Heroes in public safety agencies that often go unrecognized,” says Teri Grau, director of IU Health LifeLine. “We couldn’t save as many lives if it wasn’t for their teamwork and partnership. We want everyone to join us in recognizing their dedication to the people of Indiana.”
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Make sure you're following IU Health on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for real-time coverage of the Hoosier Heroes Fly-in. The official hashtag for the flight is #HoosierHeroes500.
The IU Health LifeLine Fly-In participants representing ‘Hoosier Heroes’ across the state will include:
Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department (IMPD) Chief Troy RiggsTroy Riggs is the Chief of the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department (IMPD). Riggs, who brings more than 26 years of public safety experience to IMPD, leads a department of approximately 1,700 law enforcement officers and 250 civilian employees. IMPD is dedicated to protecting and serving the people of Indianapolis and Marion County. In addition to patrolling and investigating, IMPD works to engage the community in positive ways to ensure every citizen is offered an opportunity to live in a safe neighborhood and free from the fear of crime.
Indianapolis Fire Department (IFD) Chief Ernest MaloneErnest Malone is the Chief of the Indianapolis Fire Department (IFD). Since joining IFD 30 years ago, Malone has risen through the ranks of the department, having served as a firefighter, lieutenant, captain and battalion chief. As the Chief of IFD, Malone oversees the activities of 44 fire stations, more than 1,200 sworn firefighters and nearly 70 civilian staff members who provide services for Hoosiers living within the 278 square-mile district of downtown Indianapolis and surrounding areas.
Indianapolis Emergency Medical Services (IEMS) Chief Charles Miramonti, MDCharles Miramonti, MD, a trained emergency medicine physician, has been the Chief of Indianapolis Emergency Medical Services (IEMS) and the Chief of EMS for the City of Indianapolis since 2011. Under the direction of Dr. Miramonti, IEMS stands as the largest provider of emergency pre-hospital medical care in the state, responding to over 100,000 calls to 9-1-1 each year. IEMS strives to provide the best pre-hospital medical services to the community through the endless pursuit of excellence in patient-centered care, education, efficiency, efficacy, safety, and quality of service.
IU Health Methodist Hospital senior trauma surgeon Timothy Pohlman, MDTimothy Pohlman, MD, is the senior trauma surgeon at IU Health Methodist Hospital, the state’s largest and busiest Level I trauma center, which treats approximately 3,600 patients with traumatic injuries annually. Dr. Pohlman, who also treats patients at the IU Health Emergency Medical Center located at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, was the same trauma surgeon who operated on IndyCar driver James Hinchcliffe after he sustained life-threatening injuries during a practice-related crash at the track last May.
IU Health LifeLine veteran critical care transport nurse Barbara CoffelBarbara Coffel, RN, MSN, CNS, CCRN, is a 27-year veteran critical care transport nurse with IU Health LifeLine, which provides specialized care and transport services for the most critically ill and injured patients, anytime, anywhere. Since becoming Indiana’s first air medical transportation provider in 1979, IU Health LifeLine has grown into one of the nation’s largest hospital-based providers. IU Health LifeLine has five bases strategically located across Indiana and an expansive fleet of some of the industry’s most advanced medical transport vehicles, including the latest medical helicopters and mobile intensive care units as well as a fixed wing aircraft.
Previous LifeLine Indy 500 Fly-in Guests
In previous years, the IU Health LifeLine Fly-In to the Indianapolis 500 has featured patients and some of Indiana’s most well-known sports figures, including Indianapolis Colts Coach Chuck Pagano, Quarterback Andrew Luck and Punter Pat McAfee as well as three-time NBA All-Star Paul George of the Indiana Pacers.
Today, U.S.News & World Report released its 2016-2017 ‘Best Hospitals’ rankings and ‘Best Hospitals for Common Care’ ratings, naming Indiana University Health among the nation’s top hospitals for the 19th consecutive year. IU Health is the No. 1 ranked health system in Indiana and Indianapolis and has more nationally ranked clinical specialty programs than any other hospital in Indiana, according to the U.S.News rankings.
“IU Health is honored to once again be recognized as the state’s top destination for care,” said Dennis Murphy, president and chief executive officer of IU Health. “These rankings provide clear information for those seeking complex care. Our highly skilled team members are providing the top level of medical care to patients every day.”
This year, IU Health received high ratings in nine out of nine procedures and conditions included in the U.S.News 'Best Hospitals for Common Care' ratings. Hospitals were evaluated in seven common surgical procedures—heart bypass, aortic valve surgery, abdominal aortic aneurysm repair, hip replacement, knee replacement, lung cancer surgery and colon cancer surgery—and two common chronic conditions—congestive heart failure and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, or COPD.
For their 'Best Hospitals' rankings, U.S.News evaluates nearly 5,000 hospitals nationwide. Only three percent of the evaluated hospitals emerged with at least one nationally ranked clinical specialty program. IU Health stands among an elite group of only 38 hospitals—less than 1 percent of the 5,000 evaluated hospitals—to earn national rankings in eight or more clinical specialties.
For 2016-17, IU Health achieved national rankings in the following eight clinical specialty areas for adults (with respective ranking out of 50):
Cardiology & Heart Surgery—44thGastroenterology—25thGeriatrics—23rdNephrology—16th Neurology & Neurosurgery—29thOrthopedics—47thPulmonology—23rdUrology—35th
“Achieving these national accolades demonstrates our team’s strong commitment to delivering the best care possible to every patient we see,” said Jonathan Gottlieb, MD, executive vice president and chief medical executive of IU Health. “Patients, families and other healthcare professionals face many choices when deciding where to go for care or consultation. Respected rankings provide one potential source to help inform these important decisions.”
The U.S.News 'Best Hospitals' rankings, now in their 27th year, help guide patients to hospitals that deliver outstanding care for multiple specialties, procedures and conditions. Scoring for 'Best Hospitals' rankings is based on four components: outcomes, structure, process, and patient safety.
The full list of the U.S.News 'Best Hospitals' rankings is available at health.usnews.com/best-hospitals. This year’s rankings, produced by U.S. News with North Carolina-based research organization RTI International, will also be published in the U.S. News “Best Hospitals 2017” guidebook.
About Indiana University HealthNamed among the "Best Hospitals in America" by U.S. News & World Report for 19 consecutive years, Indiana University Health is dedicated to providing a unified standard of preeminent, patient-centered care. A unique partnership with Indiana University School of Medicine – one of the nation's leading medical schools – gives our highly skilled physicians access to innovative treatments using the latest research and technology. Learn more at www.iuhealth.org.
INDIANAPOLIS—Indiana University Health announces the opening of an urgent care clinic in Plainfield. The new clinic, located at 2455 East Main St., Suite 194, is the fifth IU Health urgent care clinic in Central Indiana and is part of an ongoing initiative to provide Hoosiers with immediate, affordable access to expert treatment.
IU Health opened three Central Indiana clinics in Greenwood, Lawrence and Brownsburg (located at 90 E. Garner Road, Suite A) in 2015, and one in Zionsville earlier this year. A Broad Ripple location is slated to open later this year.
“We are proud to open an IU Health urgent care center to serve the Plainfield community and provide an alternative to unnecessary trips to the emergency room,” said Ron Stiver, president of Indiana University Health system clinical services. “Our existing urgent care centers offer convenient access to our team of highly skilled physicians. We look forward to bringing the same level of accessibility and expertise to the residents of Plainfield.”
The Plainfield urgent care clinic will be staffed by a board certified physician skilled in treating the kinds of minor injuries and illnesses seen in an urgent care setting, including everything from ear aches and allergies to sprains, strains and fractures.
On-site care will be available Monday through Friday, 8 a.m. – 8 p.m.; Saturday and Sunday, 8 a.m. – 6 p.m. Conditions treated range from severe sore throat, flu, cold, cough, ear infections or fever to minor cuts. On-site digital x-ray services are also available for simple fractures or sprains. Preventative services such as flu shots and physicals will also be offered. No appointment is necessary.
IU Health’s urgent care clinics are not intended for major emergencies. If you are experiencing a life- or limb-threatening situation, please dial 911 or go to the nearest hospital emergency room.
Visit www.iuhealth.org/urgent-care for more information.
INDIANAPOLIS—Beginning July 1, Indiana University Health is offering expanded access to health care through its telemedicine program, Video Visits. Recent legislation adopted by the State of Indiana opens great opportunity for IU Health to extend Video Visits from its pilot program to anyone in the state. Patients connect via live video with a highly skilled IU Health or IU Health affiliated physician to diagnose low-intensity complaints such as bronchitis, flu, pink eye and similar ailments.
“Through Video Visits, our goal is to provide Hoosiers greater access to affordable, nationally recognized healthcare,” said Ron Stiver, president of IU Health System Clinical Services. “Our pilot program generated overwhelmingly positive feedback. Patients enjoy the flexibility of seeing an Indiana University Health doctor at a time and location of their convenience.”
Most visits take less than 20 minutes, including registration and wait times. Patients enroll through the app, available for both Apple and Android devices, or via http://iuhealth.org/videovisits and are then able to see a doctor via a live conversation on their tablet, smartphone or computer from 8 a.m.- 8 p.m. daily (holiday hours may vary). The doctor asks questions, provides a diagnosis and is able to fill a prescription online. Cost of a Video Visit is $49 or less, depending upon your insurance coverage.
To sign up and learn more, visit http://iuhealth.org/videovisits or download the app via iTunes or Google Play.
INDIANAPOLIS — Indiana University Health Plans made a $1.7 million “grant” to the Metropolitan School District of Wayne Township this spring in the form of money saved on the district’s health insurance.
By working with IU Health Plans, the Indianapolis school district saw claims in its self-insured plan fall to $10 million last year from a projected $11.7 million.
At a time when health insurance claims are rising at many large employers in Indiana and elsewhere, the 14.5 percent reduction in health plan expenses at MSD Wayne was a welcome outcome, district Superintendent Dr. Jeffrey Butts said. The savings were especially helpful, he noted, because the district has faced a multi-million-dollar gap in property tax funding caused by a drop in assessed valuation in the township following the recent recession.
“The insurance savings were significant and have really helped,” Butts said. “It was a good experience working with IU Health, especially at a time when health insurance is so volatile. It is critical to have somebody you can work alongside.”
MSD Wayne will use the savings gained under the IU Health Plans contract to help reduce future insurance premiums for the district’s 2,150 covered teachers and other employees and their dependents, Butts said.
IU Health Plans achieved the savings for its client primarily by working closely with employees and dependents, especially those with high-cost chronic illnesses, to better manage their health, said Cathy Collins, leader of IU Health Plans’ commercial business.
“A big part of the savings was in patient management, using population health measures,” Collins said. IU Health Plans operates a wellness clinic in Wayne Township for school district employees and dependents, who also have convenient access to IU Health West Hospital in nearby Avon.
Collins said IU Health Plans is hardly done finding ways to save money for its school district client, even while improving care to employees. “It’s amazing what’s been accomplished there,” she said. “I think this year is going to be even better.”
ABOUT THE IU HEALTH PLANS/MSD WAYNE CONTRACT:
After using another insurance benefits company for many years, the school district solicited bids in 2014 to run its self-insured health plan. IU Health Plans won the contract to be administrator and health provider starting January 2015.
Approximately 1,400 school district employees and 750 dependents are covered under the district’s plan by IU Health Plans.
Savings totaled $1.7 million in 2015 in the form of reduced claims and expenses. Original expected claims were $13 million, projected claims after figuring savings from a new high-deductible plan were $11.7 million, and actual claims were $10 million. (Savings included $160,000 in reduced plan administrative expenses.) The first-year savings under the contract were verified recently by IU Health Plans and the district after all 2015 claims were reconciled.
About Indiana University Health Plans
Founded in 2013, IU Health Plans is part of the Indiana University Health system. It offers health plans covering about 200,000 members in Indiana, including IU Health employees. It has plans geared to individuals, families, the Medicare-eligible, and employer groups and their employees and families. For more information: http://iuhealth.org/healthplans/
About Metropolitan School District of Wayne Township
Established in 1962, MSD Wayne Township serves much of the Westside and Southwestside of Indianapolis. It has about 16,000 enrolled students and 2,300 teachers and other employees.