Healthcare Issues & Trends

Advice & Insights for healthcare's Leaders & HR Professionals


Providers: Deliver Quality Service to Get Quality Reviews

Posted on September 30, 2014 by Gallagher Integrated

In the technology-driven world we live in, consumers are used to looking up information on their smartphones or tablets and getting immediate answers to their questions. They have become accustomed to comparison-shopping online for hotels, airfares, and all kinds of consumer goods. They check Angie’s List to find out who’s the best plumber in their area and order paper towels from Amazon for delivery in 48 hours.

Healthcare is far from immune to these societal trends. In fact, similar to how they may search for online ratings and reviews of hotels and handymen, today’s healthcare consumers have tools at their fingertips that make it easier to search, compare, and review healthcare providers. Healthgrades and Yelp, two well-known and popular user-review websites, offer consumers the opportunity to share their experience, satisfaction, and the quality of individual providers and their facilities. And in today’s evolving healthcare environment, presenting people with the opportunity to comparison-shop for health services creates a new and essential level of transparency.

So, as consumers are making their voices heard, how can a system of providers with hospitals at its core succeed?

  • By shifting the focus from hospital-centric definitions of “value” to consumer-centric definitions of “value”
  • By making information about price and quality readily available and easy to understand
  • By meeting the consumer at the place where he or she makes healthcare decisions
  • By recognizing that the means of delivering care is perceived by patients as important as the care itself 

To get an epic behind-the-scenes look into the role of providers in this trend, download our free e-book: Healthcare Consumerism 3D: Rise of the Consumer. We’re here to help you better plan your organization’s approach to succeed in the consumer-driven world.

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Healthcare Consumerism 3D: Rise of the Consumer

Posted on September 18, 2014 by Gallagher Integrated

Gone are the days of healthcare systems in the United States being fairly one-dimensional; a single line between providers and their patients can no longer be clearly drawn. Today, critics agree that healthcare has shifted to a 3D era starring a new partner: consumers.

As employers began to offer a High-Deductible Health Plan (HDHP) with a savings option and the use of such insurance programs grew, the rise of healthcare consumerism was born and employers transitioned into their new, more prominent role as payors. Likewise, as patients began to pay out-of-pocket for smaller healthcare expenses, they demanded transparency and more information from their providers—and began shopping around to get it. From the Internet to mobile apps, patients have more access than ever before to a wealth of knowledge about their health and wellness, and they want to take a leading role in their own treatment.

Red and blue glasses aren’t necessary to see the three-dimensional trend proving to be this year’s blockbuster:

  • Educated consumers will demand transparency on price and quality of services—and they will want it fast
  • Payors will seek to find ways to cut healthcare expenses and economize on the cost of employee benefits
  • Providers will no longer have unchallenged top-billing in the healthcare discussion and will need to adjust to a customer-oriented mindset

To help your organization succeed in the new normal of healthcare consumerism, take a behind-the-scenes look at this trend with our e-book: Healthcare Consumerism 3D: Rise of the Consumer

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Physicians as Employees: Boost Engagement to Maintain an Effective Health System

Posted on September 4, 2014 by David Rowlee

In today's healthcare industry, many physicians are making the transition from smaller practices with one or two partners to becoming a practitioner within a hospital where they are managed as part of a much larger organization. To shed light on this issue, I shared my insight and advice in an interview for a blog post for PreCheck, a provider of background screening and employment qualification services for the healthcare industry, on how organizations can develop highly engaged physicians. 

A few vital pieces of information from the post:

  • Healthcare organizations should run engagement surveys on a regular basis. Physician engagement can be measured with a wide variety of metrics that will depend on the organization's survey firm.
  • Perceived competitiveness and quality of leadership are frequently key engagement drivers for physicians. In today's healthcare climate, there's a certain level of apprehension toward the direction of the industry, so physicians tend to be more or less engaged depending on their organization's leadership and rank. 
  • Healthcare organizations should examine their communication strategies. It's critical for an organization to find ways to ensure employees are aware of the competitive projects they're involved in and prevent miscommunication.

Click here to read the full post titled, "How Healthcare HR Can Develop Highly Engaged Physicians."

At INTEGRATED Healthcare Strategies, we know the performance of your organization hinges on the engagement of key groups and how they impact your business. Our team of dedicated consultants provides measurement solutions for key members of your organization--the people who influence the patient experience and long-term success. Invite one of our senior consultants to give you a call--no obligation--at 800.821.8481.  

Navigating Section 83 Regulations

Posted on September 3, 2014 by Gallagher Integrated

Earlier this year, the IRS finalized proposed regulations under Section 83, which means programs relying on Section 83 should be reviewed and modified as necessary. The new regulations could result in some organizations having non-compliant benefit plans, and non-compliance can result in tax penalties.

Additionally, many not-for-profit organizations use non-qualified deferred compensation programs to enhance executive retirement benefits. Some of these programs utilize the transfer of property provisions under IRS Section 83 to defer taxation. Deferred compensation within life insurance policies is one of the most common programs using this structure.

With the IRS finalizing the proposed regulations under Section 83 in late February 2014, programs relying on Section 83 should be reviewed and modified as necessary. 

Section 83 Changes

Section 83 governs taxation when an employer transfers property to an employee. For taxable employers, Section 83 often governs stock-based compensation. For non-profit healthcare employers, Section 83 applies where, for example, the employer pays premiums on a life insurance policy owned by the employee, and the employee forfeits the policy by competing with the employer. 

The old noncompete standard was fairly easy to meet; the new standard is not: 

  • Old Standard—A noncompete will defer taxes if the employer is likely to enforce the forfeiture if the executive competes
  • New Standard—A noncompete will defer taxes only if the employee is likely to compete

For more details and to learn whether or not your organization qualifies for deferral under the new standard, visit our Knowledge Center to download the summary document. If you need assistance navigating current and expected law changes for your plans, contact our Total Compensation & Rewards team at 800.327.9335.  

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