For the fourth consecutive year, MissionPoint Health Partners held down costs for Saint Thomas Health.
The news comes at a time when many employers have seen healthcare costs rise steeply. Last month, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services released an analysis of national health expenditure data that projected 2016 to be the first time health spending would exceed $10,000 per person.
As an accountable care organization (ACO), Nashville-based MissionPoint Health Partners is bucking the trend by fostering collaborative engagement between doctors, hospitals and other healthcare providers to improve the health of both individuals and communities while reducing costs.
"Companies like Saint Thomas Health experienced an average 8.9 percent increase in healthcare expenses this year," said MissionPoint Chief Clinical and Innovation Officer Jordan Asher, MD. "We saved almost $750,000 for Saint Thomas in 2015 - our fourth year of working with the organization - and have saved the organization $11.2 million total over our four year engagement."
He continued, "While the 2015 number is smaller than our prior year's performance, population health management strategies are meant to be a long-term investment in controlling costs while improving the health of populations. This number represents our ability to help Saint Thomas keep costs relatively flat and avoid annual trends."
Asher pointed out that because there are hard costs involved in delivering evidence-based, quality healthcare to members, an organization would never get to a place where healthcare costs move to zero. Instead, the goal for population health models is to improve health while actively managing costs to maximize savings downstream.
"Our model works for a number of reasons," Asher continued. "First, we work directly with both members and their providers who are currently in the most need, and we work with members that our robust analytics determine are the most likely to have significant issues in the future. This means we are working with members and their providers who are at high risk of a major health event in the next six-18 months. Our goal is to work with both of these groups to return them to the best possible health.
"Second, we address not just the clinical elements of health but also the complex barriers that can get in the way of health and healing. We work with members to solve transportation challenges, affording medication, managing stressful family dynamics, dealing with food or housing insecurity, and getting connected to local support groups. If you don't manage the barriers that are standing between your patient and their health, you cannot fully help the patient," he said.
"Lastly, we work directly with providers, supporting the care plans providers develop for their patients and helping support the non-clinical needs of patients," Asher added. "Like most ACOs, we also incent providers to better coordinate care and improve quality outcomes, while also driving down costs."
MissionPoint has operations in seven states, serves more than 250,000 members and has more than 9,200 providers. In 2015, MissionPoint drove healthcare savings in excess of $8.5 million for employers across its markets. In Nashville, its network includes the facilities and providers of Saint Thomas Health, Vanderbilt Children's Hospital, and a number of other leading providers and facilities in the region.