Publisher’s Letter: New Terminology

Edition: September 2013 - Vol 21 Number 09
Article#: 4315
Author: Repertoire

It’s fitting this year’s HIDA conference is taking place within shouting distance of the nation’s capital, the birthplace of the Affordable Care Act. The sessions offered at this year’s meeting are focused on dealing with the change happening in healthcare and how it impacts the way we do business. This version of reform will require a different set of skills, but will first require a basic understanding of the new landscape. Many will remember terms like DRGs, capitation, per patient per month (PMPM), covered lives, and many more from the 1990s when managed care was all the rage.

Well, with “Healthcare Reform 2013,” there is a new set of terminology and acronyms on the street – ACA, ACOs, PCMH, VPB – as well as triple aim focus, to name just a few. We need not just memorize them, but understand their meaning if we hope to be successful going forward. The train has left the station on reform regardless of the continued political infighting. We may have a second iteration of reform in the next few years, but for now we need to get our collective arms around what today’s changes mean for our customers, which will enable us to better understand how we can better serve them.

Recently, we were gathering material for a story on ACOs and in the course of one of the interviews with a self-proclaimed ACO, the respondent indicated that they didn’t know what an ACO was. Now we know that a lot of people in the industry don’t fully understand what one is, but when an ACO itself doesn’t know what it is, that’s a problem. It screamed to us that there is a need for information on nearly

every aspect of reform. As a result, in October, we will launch the Healthcare Reform Navigation Series, an online learning curriculum consisting of modules and webinars focused on the key elements surrounding reform. Topics like ACOs, PCMH, pay for performance, comparative effectiveness, healthcare insurance exchanges, and value-based purchasing will be explained in modules and supported with monthly webinars /interviews with subject-matter experts on each topic.

Our objective is to make people comfortable with the changes, and to be in position to educate and guide their customers on how they can also be successful in this era of reform. I promise you that they are even more in the dark then we all are.

These are exciting and dramatic times in healthcare. Not necessarily for the faint of heart. But gaining an understanding of the elements that are central to reform will go a long way to increasing your value to your customers.

Brian Taylor