Employers: Frustrated with your Inability to Control Your Medical Costs?

December 29, 2010

You’ve no doubt heard the version of “The Golden Rule” that says: he who has the gold makes the rules.

Well, there’s often a lot of truth to that.  But unfortunately, that version of “the rule” doesn’t apply to you employers regarding your ability to control your rising costs, nor the quality, of your employees’ health care…….just because you are paying for it!!! Your costs keep increasing with little, if any, evidence you are getting any better quality for your money.  You have the gold but you have very little control over the rules.

Well, times are changing, at least in one big area of healthcare.  There’s some light at the end of this tunnel……and some very good news for your bottom line.  While the care of back and neck pain and other musculoskeletal conditions (including painful shoulder and arm conditions, as well as hip, knee, ankle and foot problems) keeps skyrocketing, you not only can stop that increase, but employers are starting to substantially lower their costs for care of these conditions. Learning about and then implementing some enormously valuable innovations in the care of these spine and musculoskeletal conditions is what will enable you to gain considerable control over your local health care marketplace, that will in turn greatly improve both your employees’ welfare and your bottom line.

To begin to take control of all this expensive care, I’d recommend doing four simple things:

1 – ask those who currently care for your employees to show you their data as to their short- and long-term outcomes/recoveries for treating these specific conditions. Unfortunately, most don’t even have this data. You see, most are too busy discovering new ways to deliver more care for your employees, to generate more income for themselves, without great concern about its quality.

2 – inquire about the same data for those using Mechanical Diagnosis & Therapy (MDT) methods of care for these same conditions. Much of these data can be found in some of these blogs or in my two books, both found at www.selfcarefirst.com. Unfortunately, many of those clinicians aren’t tracking their outcomes either, BUT, many are.  For example, in just their care of back and neck pain alone, one network of high-quality MDT clinics saved one payer millions by providing such good long-term results that back and neck pain recurrences were reduced by more than 80%, which reduced the need for MRIs by more than 70% and spine surgeries by 45%, all with patient satisfaction of 97%.  And we all know that satisfying employees with their health care these days is not easy. To do that, coupled with the huge cost savings, is an unbeatable combination for the employer.

3 – Consider spending a little more upfront to reward and therefore motivate clinicians to deliver and monitor excellent short and long-term recoveries that will then help you save lots of money in unneeded, expensive, additional care. That means transitioning away from paying and rewarding providers for simply prescribing more treatments, so often useless, called volume-based reimbursement, and instead pay a bit more upfront to reward and motivate the delivery of high quality outcomes, or value-based reimbursement.

4 – conduct a small pilot study to determine the extent to which this value-based reimbursement model and the utilization of high-quality MDT clinicians can bring you substantial long-term savings.

Through SelfCare First, I would by happy to help you review and implement these steps with the intent of significantly lowering your costs of caring for these very common and currently very expensive musculoskeletal problems. It is now possible to escape being at the mercy of so many well-meaning, but often ineffective and expensive, clinicians in your community from whom your workers are seeking care.

To learn more about this, “Leave a Comment” to me below and visit www.selfcarefirst.com and follow the “Employers” pathway.

Dr. Ron

Ronald Donelson, MD, MS

SelfCare First, LLC
Blog: blog.selfcarefirst.com


One Response to “Employers: Frustrated with your Inability to Control Your Medical Costs?”

  1. […] diagnostic technology truly satisfies Christiansen’s definition of a precision diagnosis. Why waste so much money on MRIs looking for an anatomic diagnosis that can only be confidently found in less than 10% of low back […]

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