What’s Wrong With This Picture?

September 9th, 2010 by Nick Jacobs Leave a reply »

American Healthcare Magazine - September 6, 2010 - Nick Jacobs, FACHE - HealingHospitals.comThe Modern Healthcare edition of September 6, 2010 has a cover headline that reads: “Passing the Buck,” and the descriptor goes on to explain that “Yet a new report says workers’ share of benefit costs is skyrocketing.”  The actual opening line of the article starts with “Workers are shouldering more of the costs of health coverage than ever before amid stagnant wages and a weak economy”…

A few weeks ago, I wrote about Patient Advocacy, a subject about which I am passionate. So, this blog is about patient and employee advocacy that also provides additional resources for hospitals to help them address the current economic challenges.

Every year when we looked at our medical insurance costs at my hospital, a politically incorrect friend would jokingly suggest that we begin an annual, required participation August Tennis Tournament for our high-utilization employees, but only after the temperatures reached at least 95 degrees.  “It would be a thinning of the herd,” he would jokingly say with an elf-like smile on his face.  We would then get serious and dig into a long list of creative ideas aimed at helping contain these costs so that we would not have to lower benefits or pass the charges on to the employees.

Included in these lists were some rather simple ideas such as offering, in a structured manner, the wellness options covered under our health insurance umbrella and generally rewarding our employees for taking better care of themselves.  We significantly reduced fees for the workout facility (1/3 of the regular cost ), provided personalized counseling from our dietitians, had a weight loss contest and gave rewards for taking classes on stress management, smoking cessation, diabetes control and exercise.

We offered psychological counseling for our employees who were suffering from stress related issues.  Our food service vendor, CURA, made sure that “no transfats” were a part of the hospital’s meals, that there were always low-fat vegetarian choices on every menu, that snacks were reasonable and that our vending machines had healthy choices. We also celebrated life and work on a regular basis.   We had cook-outs, off-stage break rooms, massage, aroma, Reiki, pet and music therapy.  We provided drum circles, non-denominational spiritual services and meditation classes; kick boxing, Pilates, pool therapy, and employee parties.

So, short of forced tennis matches, how else can we control these costs?  The following is a summary of a program that SunStone Consulting is currently offering with two other business partners, CBIZ and InforMed.

Over the past 6 years, the average annual health insurance cost increase for InforMed-supported patient advocacy programs has run at 4.5%, compared to the 10-12% trend for all employers.  In the case where a hospital with 1,500 employees is paying out about $10,000,000 a year for employee health insurance, a 5% savings over a three year period would generate $3.3 million in savings.  Let me repeat that:  By lowering those  premium increases by 5%, there would be over three million extra dollars available for hospital financial needs and co-pays and deductibles for the employees would not have to continue to escalate by 13 to 15% annually.

The Patient Advocate logo (California) - Nick Jacobs, FACHEThe care management “engagement” rate of all the major insurance companies is about 30%. That means that the insurance company-based “help programs” are about 1/3 effective in even reaching the employees.  This non-insurance company based program, however, has a 70% engagement rate of identified large claimants, more than double the insurance company’s rate, and with over 1 million employees in this program, they produce a 98% patient satisfaction rate.

By employing local, trained, patient advocacy nurses, paying physicians a monthly stipend out of the savings to help manage these patient/employees, and then helping those high utilization patients legitimately navigate through the nine to fifteen physicians with whom they interact on an annual basis, health systems are seeing tremendous savings.  (Kind of the Best of Managed Care scenario.)

These are clear, actionable items that will positively change a bottom line quickly and permanently without having to increase the financial burden on the employees.

Why not try it?  It works.



  1. Searching in bing I found this great web site, the info provided is very good and maybe could provide you tips and recommendations to treat your gestational diabetes. Thanks for everything.

  2. Excellent Post,

    The information provided is interesting to help to treat this disease so delicate, like gestational diabetes

    Thanks for the Info…

  3. Hi!… I’m enjoing your post it is fantastic, the information provided helped me to add some recommendations on my list to try the malaria. Thanks.

  4. Howdy! I really enjoy perusing your blog. I recently started my own blog related with many kind of topics, for example health problems like ovarian cancer and I was wondering if you would be interested in exchanging links? Till next time!

  5. Hi, I found this site when I was searching topics about healthy eating I would like share some tips for a healthy diet:

    Don’t eat too much of any one thing
    Start your day with breakfast
    Eat less salt
    Eat lots of fruit and veg

    I hope my information can help you to control your eating habits. Thanks!!!!

  6. mbt shoes says:

    Apple now has Rhapsody as an app, which is a great start, but it is currently hampered by the inability to store locally on your iPod, and has a dismal 64kbps bit rate. If this changes, then it will somewhat negate this advantage for the Zune, but the 10 songs per month will still be a big plus in Zune Pass’ favor.

  7. yeah that was well said, I think your a good writer

  8. A fascinating subject will be worth opinion. There’s no doubt that you simply create much more concerning this kind of matter, it may possibly not turn into a taboo issue , however men and women are interested in talking about such subjects.

  9. custom tutus says:

    I really like this weblog, fantastic content material and I am going to bookmark this website for future updates.

  10. Gail13105 says:

    I have been examinating out many of your articles and i can claim pretty nice stuff. I will definitely bookmark your site.

  11. Hamster Pet says:

    Pretty good post. I just now came across your website in addition to planned to point out that I have got genuinely experienced surfing around your web site content. In any event My business is opting-in with your give with this particular intending you write yet again before long!

  12. Grazie articolo molto interessante complimenti

  13. Jovita says:

    However, the tips provided in this app are of serious nature and sometimes turn out to be plain relationship
    advice, which can be helpful for women. You can compose it
    to present yourself in the best light but it’s far
    better that the photo doesn’t look too staged.
    Those bonds only grow stronger over time, so the longer you were together, the more difficult they are to

  14. ???? says:


  15. dr-pet says:

    Ihre Artikel sind immer von sehr hoher Qualität. Hoffentlich schaue ich mir diese großartigen Artikel auf Ihrer einzigartigen Website an.

Trackbacks /

  1. facebook.com
  2. Datomg. dating tips

Leave a Reply