Taking Action Express: Health Care Costs to Jump in 2015; Dir. Comp & Bens Wanted; Member Meeting Alerts; Obesity in the Workplace

July 1, 2014

reportThe Weekly Buzz: Bracing for 2015 Health Care Cost Increases

“Health care spending will rise 6.8 percent in 2015, effectively reversing the five-year contraction in costs in that category,” according to a study from PricewaterhouseCooper’s Health Research Institute released last Tuesday. “The growth projection is primarily based on increasing costs for specialty drugs to treat infections like hepatitis C, which affects about 3.2 million Americans, as well as an improved economy and more confident consumers, who may choose not to delay care as much.” The Action Group’s next Employer Purchaser’s Guide will address the high cost of specialty drugs and how employers can keep overuse or inappropriate use in check.

purchasersguideTotal Joint Replacement: Why Cost May Not Equal Quality

At its next member meeting, The Action Group will release its Purchaser’s Guide for Total Joint Replacement, which will be available to all members. This Guide will help employers increase the value of supply-sensitive care1 that is subject to overuse or inappropriate use. With joint replacement surgery in the U.S. ranging from $30,000 to $160,000, we turn the spotlight on issues driving the enormous disparities.

Your employees may benefit from this related Choosing Wisely® tip sheet from the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons: Five Things Physicians and Patients Should Ask.

1Supply-sensitive care includes services that are overused because of the area’s supply of providers such as hospital beds, physician specialists, imaging equipment etc. It varies widely across the U.S. according to the Dartmouth Atlas Project.

193Minnesota Health Care Clinics Shine!

Minnesota Bridges to Excellence (MNBTE), a purchaser-led pay-for-performance program introduced by The Action Group in 2006, advances both care delivery and outcomes by rewarding clinics for meeting or exceeding a strict set of care standards for patients with diabetes, depression and vascular disease.

The Action Group and the MNBTE Champions of Change will be hosting a reception on July 29 to recognize clinics that qualified for incentive payments from MNBTE and the State of Minnesota Quality Incentive Payment System. Champions of Change, the participating purchasers, will be providing more than $700,000 in performance incentives —- the highest annual amount since the program was implemented. More clinics are being rewarded in the categories of achievement and improvement this year in each of the three conditions included in the program.

logo_uofmUniversity of Minnesota Seeks Accomplished Benefits and Compensation Director

The University of Minnesota, an Action Group member, seeks a Director of Benefits and Compensation responsible for designing and overseeing a new and integrated total rewards strategy that is market competitive; successful in attracting, retaining and motivating a highly skilled, diverse workforce; and vital to driving and incenting innovation, commitment, engagement, and overall organizational performance.

factsheetWondering Why Addressing Obesity in the Workplace Matters?

The predicted cost increase if the incidence of obesity is not reduced by 2013 is a whopping $550 billion. This fact sheet is an at-a-glance view of the crisis facing employers today and in the future. A second infographic fact sheet depicts a 166% increase in U.S. obesity rates since the ’60s: From 13.4% in 1960 to 35.7% in 2012.

A variety of materials, including an Employer Action Plan Worksheet, became available following the recent member-exclusive webinar,“Closing the Gap in Obesity Management Solutions.” Because the prevalence of diabetes correlates to the obesity epidemic, The Action Group offers members and non-members complimentary access to the Cornerstones4Care diabetes website, designed to improve condition management and medication and preventive care compliance.

187What’s Your Reason?

“I enjoy belonging to The Action Group because I can call or email a peer when I am facing a difficult benefit or human resources issue. I’ve even called a colleague from a competing organization when I needed an industry-specific perspective.” Share your reason!