1221 SW 4th Ave. Suite 210, Portland, OR 97204
First year results of an innovative new program to help City employees and their families live healthier were presented to City Council. Reported by City of Portland Human Resources staff and Moda Health, promising results of the Healthy Foundations program - such as a 50% reduction in Emergency Room visits - highlight a model that other employers could adopt to empower their employees to take steps to improve their health while reducing future health care trends.
For most health plans, a small percentage of enrollees require a lot of health care. This means spending on care for less than 5% of individuals accounts for about half of the total amount spent on all health plan participants. Moreover, the individuals in this group are often grappling with multiple chronic diseases. Chronic diseases are increasingly pervasive and expensive, but managing them with simple and consistent steps can yield significant health improvements and cost savings. Identifying those individuals with chronic diseases is a strategy health insurers and providers are calling “hotspotting,” and the “hotspotters” approach one of the models used for the City’s Healthy Foundations program.
In the City of Portland’s CityCore plan administered by Moda Health, almost 48% of the total dollars spent in the last five years has been for individuals with claims over $20,000. The exact number of people with these very large claims varies, but the percentage ranged from 3.4% to 4.1% of those covered by the plan. Healthy Foundations seeks to improve the health of this relatively small group of people by offering comprehensive mobile chronic care management and personalized prevention and wellness goals.
The first year results are very encouraging. In addition to a 50% reduction in ER visits, 59% of people in the program lowered their prospective risk score. This is a positive outcome not just because participants have reduced their risk scores but because a person’s risk score tends to increase over time as they age. Participants of the program also increased their use of preventive care methods, including the number of prescriptions. This makes sense since provider interventions had failed prior to participants’ enrollment in Healthy Foundations. Overall, two-thirds of the active group in the program used less benefit dollars than in the prior plan year. All participants felt their health and quality of life had improved.
I’m thrilled the City is taking an innovative approach to employee wellness, and I’m grateful to the Moda Health team for their enthusiastic collaboration on the Healthy Foundations program. I look forward to continuing to work with my colleagues to identify other ways the City can get more from the health benefits we provide our employees. Good ideas are worth sharing, and I hope other local employers will take note of the City’s innovations and actively engage in driving changes that reduce their own health care trends, leaving more money in their employees’ paychecks and improving the overall health and vitality of our community.
For more information on the City of Portland’s Healthy Foundations program and to read the first year report to Council here.
Lincoln Families HEALTH ACTION NETWORK presents a “Courageous Conversation” - What parents need to know about the RESPONSE program
Wednesday, November 20th
6 p.m. – 7:30 p.m.
Lincoln High School Cafeteria
Presented by School Psychologist Jim Hanson and
Vicki Crow, Lincoln Parent
Our students have high expectations for themselves, and so do teachers and parents. Research shows that 86% of parents are unaware when stress, anxiety, or depression causes their children to think about hurting themselves. Hear from Lincoln parents and staff about what you can do to help your own child or other Lincoln children.
Because our Lincoln community has experienced suicide, the Lincoln staff and the Parent Health Action Network introduced RESPONSE: A Comprehensive High School-based Suicide Awareness Program. RESPONSE is listed as a National Best Practice by the American Society of Suicide Prevention and the Suicide Prevention Resource Center. Vicki Crow will tell her story as a Lincoln parent about losing her son and what parents should know. Know what to say and do if someone might be thinking about it, and they learn where to go for help. With RESPONSE, you can learn what you as a parent or community member can do when you feel in your heart that something just isn’t going right.
It might be your child, another parent’s child, or a spouse or co-worker. Come to discuss and learn. Leave prepared.
Card Act Cleared Up Credit Cards' Hidden Costs by Floyd Norris
November 7, 2013 | New York Times-- Four years ago, Congress decided to force down the hidden fees that credit card companies collect from their customers. It passed a law called the 2009 Credit Card Accountability Responsibility and Disclosure Act — a name chosen so the law would be known as the Card Act.
When Neale Mahoney, an economist at the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business, set out to evaluate the effect of that law, he was confident he knew what he and his colleagues would find: It didn’t work.
“I went into the project with this sort of conventional wisdom that well-intentioned regulators would force down fees and that other fees and charges would increase in response,” he told me this week, comparing hapless rule makers to the carnival visitors playing the game known as Whac-a-Mole, where a mole springs up somewhere else as soon as one is knocked down.
But his expectation was wrong. The study came to a conclusion that surprised Mr. Mahoney and his colleagues: The regulation worked. It cut down the costs of credit cards, particularly for borrowers with poor credit. And, the researchers concluded, “we find no evidence of an increase in interest charges or a reduction to access to credit.”
The study, whose other authors are Sumit Agarwal of the National University of Singapore, Souphala Chomsisengphet of the Office of READ FULL ARTICLE
One of my favorite books on American history is “The American Political Tradition,” by Richard Hofstadter. I was re-reading parts of it recently (I’m a big re-reader of books), including the chapter on the late 19th century “Gilded Age,” when politics (in both parties) was as corrupt as all get out. And I noticed something delightful.
If you like looking up name origins, you know that the cityofGreshamwas named after Walter Q. Gresham, a Civil War general and then Postmaster General. If you know Commissioner Nick Fish, you know that he is descended from a long line ofNew Yorkpoliticians, most of whom were named Hamilton Fish. Well, on page 221 of the book, here’s what Hofstadter had to say about Gresham:
Little wonder that an honest Republican of the old school like Walter Q. Gresham could describe his party as “an infernally corrupt machine.”
And here’s another line, from page 222:
There were, of course, untainted politicians, and they were esteemed. Grant was happy to have Hamilton Fish in his Cabinet, a man of conspicuous rectitude who adorned the group like a jewel in the head of a toad.
So there you have it. Our neighboring city and my colleague were named after / descended from two of the very few political figures in the late 19th century who weren’t part of the prevailing culture of graft and corruption.