Atlas on the Primary Care of Adults with Developmental Disabilities in Ontario

Download: Atlas on the Primary Care of Adults with Developmental Disabilities in Ontario

Source: ICES

Lunsky Y, Klein-Geltink JE, Yates EA, editors. December 2013

The Issue

Ontario’s Action Plan for Health Care focuses on becoming healthier, with improved access to integrated family/primary care and a major emphasis on the provision of the right care at the right time and in the right place. These priorities are particularly relevant to individuals with developmental disabilities: research from other jurisdictions would suggest that they have higher rates of preventable diseases, greater challenges obtaining guideline-recommended primary care3 and higher associated health care costs.4 However, the health status and

health care of adults with developmental disabilities have not been well studied in Ontario, due to the absence of population-based data. The work of the Health Care Access Research and Developmental Disabilities (H-CARDD) Program is in direct response to Ontario’s call to action through addressing this data gap. The first H-CARDD project, conducted in partnership with decision makers and clinicians from the health and social services sectors, has focused on primary care.

The Study

The Atlas on the Primary Care of Adults with Developmental Disabilities in Ontario provides, for the first time in Canada, descriptive information on the health of adults with developmental disabilities in Ontario and examines the quality of their primary care relative to adults without developmental disabilities. Findings have relevance in Ontario and in other jurisdictions where there is interest in improving health care and the health status of those with developmental disabilities.

Revised ACA Repeal and Replace Bill Likely to Increase the Uninsured Rate and Health Insurance Costs for Many

House Republicans are close to agreeing on an amended version of the American Health Care Act, their proposed repeal and replacement of the Affordable Care Act. David Blumenthal, M.D., and Sara Collins say that, based on the summaries circulated by the media, the revised bill will significantly increase the numbers of uninsured Americans while raising insurance costs for many of the nation’s most vulnerable citizens. At the same time, the bill’s restructuring of the Medicaid program is likely to hurt state economies and enrollees.

Source: Revised ACA Repeal and Replace Bill Likely to Increase the Uninsured Rate and Health Insurance Costs for Many – The Commonwealth Fund

News outlets report that House Republicans are close to agreeing on an amended version of the American Health Care Act (AHCA), their proposed repeal and replacement of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The all-important legislative language for the revised bill is not yet available, nor are Congressional Budget Office (CBO) projections of its effects on coverage and the budget, so any analyses are necessarily tentative.

Nevertheless, the summaries leaked to the media offer insight on the amended bill. If accurate, those summaries suggest that the revised AHCA will significantly increase the numbers of uninsured Americans, raise the cost of insurance for many of the nation’s most vulnerable citizens, and, as originally proposed in the AHCA, cut and reconfigure the Medicaid program. The new amendment specifically allows states to weaken consumer protections by, for example, permitting insurers to charge people with preexisting conditions higher premiums.

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CompareMaine

CompareMaine shows the average cost of common healthcare procedures at different facilities in Maine. You can also see patient experience ratings and how Maine hospitals compare on patient safety.

Source: CompareMaine

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Compare Costs of Healthcare Procedures and Quality of Care Across Maine

The Maine Health Data Organization, in collaboration with the Maine Quality Forum, is required by law to promote the transparency of healthcare cost and quality information via a publicly accessible website. The cost and quality of healthcare procedures can vary widely among providers. You have a choice in where you receive care. CompareMaine shows the average cost of common healthcare procedures at different facilities in Maine. You can also see patient experience ratings and how Maine hospitals compare on patient safety.

The cost estimates on CompareMaine are median payments. They are meant to serve as a reference point for comparison. In order to find out your actual payment, please contact your insurance company. If you do not have insurance, please contact the facility that you are interested in. When contacted directly, facilities often report their charges which may be higher than the actual payments they receive from insurance companies and patients.

Mainstream health professionals’ stigmatising attitudes towards people with ID: a systematic review

Source: Pelleboer-Gunnink – 2017 – Journal of Intellectual Disability Research – Wiley Online Library

Abstract

Background

Equal access to mainstream healthcare services for people with intellectual disabilities (ID) still requires attention. Although recent studies suggest that health professionals hold positive attitudes towards people with ID, stigmatising attitudes may influence their efforts to serve people with ID in community healthcare practice. To stimulate inclusion in mainstream healthcare services, this systematic review focussed on barriers in attitudes of mainstream health professionals towards people with ID.

Method

Five electronic databases were systematically searched and references in full text articles were checked for studies published in the English language between January 1994 and January 2016. A social–psychological triad of cognitive, affective and behavioural dimensions of stigmatising attitudes is used to structure and discuss the results.

Results

The literature search generated 2190 records with 30 studies that passed our exclusion criteria. Studies were mostly cross-sectional and of moderate quality. With respect to stigma, a lack of familiarity with and knowledge about people with ID was found. ID was considered as a stable condition not under personal control. Moreover, mainstream health professionals had either low or high expectations of the capabilities of people with ID. Professionals reported stress, lack of confidence, fear and anxiety, a tendency to treat people with ID differently and a lack of supporting autonomy.

Conclusions

Stigmatising attitudes towards people with ID appeared to be present among mainstream health professionals. This might affect the ongoing challenges regarding inclusion in mainstream healthcare services. To facilitate inclusion in mainstream healthcare services, it is recommended to include contact and collaboration with experts-by-experience in education programs of health professionals. Future research should progress beyond descriptive accounts of stigma towards exploring relationships between cognitive, affective and behavioural dimensions as pointers for intervention. Finally, inclusion would benefit from an understanding of ‘equal’ treatment that means reasonable adjustments instead of undifferentiated treatment.

Primary health care for people with an ID: an exploration of consultations, problems identified, and their management in Australia

Source: Primary health care for people with an intellectual disability: an exploration of consultations, problems identified, and their management in Australia

Abstract

Background

People with an intellectual disability (ID) have more complex and different patterns of health care needs than the general population. They experience a greater burden of multi-morbidity, high levels of undetected and unmanaged health issues, and premature mortality than the general population. Primary care has a key role in the health care of people with an ID. Currently, very little is known about the consultation type and length, problems managed, and how general practitioners (GPs) manage these problems for people with an ID compared with the general population. This information would provide valuable insights into how GPs are achieving the health guidelines and facilitating people with an ID to achieve the highest attainable standard of health.

Methods

A secondary analysis of data was collected from January 2003 to December 2012 from the Bettering the Evaluation and Care of Health (BEACH) programme. Consultation type, consultation length in minutes, problem(s) managed during the consultation, medications, treatments provided, and referrals made, pre and post age–sex standardisation, at all GP encounters with people identified in the encounter record as having an ID (‘ID’ encounters, n = 690) were compared with those at ‘non-ID’ encounters (n = 970 641). Statistical significance was tested with 95% confidence intervals.

Results

This study identified significant differences in consultation types, consultation length, problem(s) managed during the consultation, medications, treatments provided, and referrals made at ‘ID’ encounters compared with ‘non-ID’ encounters. ‘ID’ encounters had more indirect encounters, longer consultations, more problems managed, but an under management of common health conditions in people with an ID. Administrative rather than medically related actions dominated clinical treatments for people at ‘ID’ encounters, and they received fewer procedural treatments, referrals to specialists, and medications compared with those at ‘non-ID’ encounters.

Conclusion

The significant differences in consultations, problems identified and managed suggest that GPs may require additional support to (1) identify and manage common medical conditions experienced by people with an ID; (2) manage the increased time required for consultations; and (3) directly consult with people with an ID. Further research is required to determine why GPs managed problems in a significantly different way for people with an ID.

 

Who Gains Under Expanded Health Savings Accounts? – The Commonwealth Fund

The U.S. House of Representatives leadership’s bill to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA) would have significantly expanded the use of health savings accounts (HSAs), which people can use to save tax-free money to pay for certain medical expenses. This effort isn’t new and it’s not likely to go away just because a vote on the House bill, the American Health Care Act (AHCA), has been tabled. Amendments to the tax code to encourage HSAs have been a staple of Republican health care proposals, and the HSA provisions in the House legislation were introduced as a standalone bill last year.

Source: Who Gains Under Expanded Health Savings Accounts? – The Commonwealth Fund

The U.S. House of Representatives leadership’s bill to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA) would have significantly expanded the use of health savings accounts (HSAs), which people can use to save tax-free money to pay for certain medical expenses. This effort isn’t new and it’s not likely to go away just because a vote on the House bill, the American Health Care Act (AHCA), has been tabled. Amendments to the tax code to encourage HSAs have been a staple of Republican health care proposals, and the HSA provisions in the House legislation were introduced as a standalone bill last year.

Why all the interest? HSA proponents suggest the accounts offer cost savings and give consumers freedom to spend their money how they see fit. An HSA must be paired with a high-deductible health plan (HDHP), and there is evidence that the combination of an HDHP and HSA does reduce health care spending—by leading consumers to skip care, both needed and unneeded. Yet there is little basis to conclude that HSAs expand access to care, or that the tax benefits these accounts promise reach most Americans. In practice, most financial advantages have accrued to the top 5 percent of earners, who can afford to contribute to the accounts during the year and reap larger gains at tax time.

HSAs: The Basics

HSAs were created in 2003 in legislation establishing a Medicare prescription drug benefit. They are tax-preferred savings accounts funded by consumers and sometimes their employers. Consumers can contribute to an HSA only if they are enrolled in an HDHP, which in 2017 is an individual or group health plan that has a deductible of at least $1,300 ($2,600 for a family plan). Unlike other savings vehicles established under federal law, HSAs provide what amounts to triple tax benefits: contributions are tax-deductible; account funds are invested and grow tax-free; and withdrawals are tax-exempt (if they are used for qualified medical expenses).

HSAs are far more attractive to higher-income individuals, who are more likely to have sufficient income to fund the accounts and gain a greater tax benefit than are lower-income individuals subject to lower tax rates. In 2013, tax filers with income above $200,000 were 10 times more likely to claim a tax deduction for HSA contributions than those with incomes below $50,000, and the tax-advantaged contributions these high earners made were, on average, more than twice as large. A study of HSA take-up in the group market from 2005 to 2012 found similar results and observed, perhaps unsurprisingly, that high-income households were substantially more likely to fund their HSAs fully (with their own dollars and contributions from employers) than were middle- and lower-income filers.

Enhanced HSAs on the Horizon?

The AHCA would have expanded use of HSAs by authorizing higher tax-free contributions (increasing the amount from $3,400 to $6,550 for an individual plan) and more tax-free uses for funds. The AHCA also would have cut in half the penalty for withdrawals for nonmedical expenses.

Other proposals would provide similar and sometimes greater benefits to account holders. Legislation previously authored by Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price would increase HSA contribution limits while also making it easier to shelter those funds and other retirement savings from taxes when they are transferred to heirs. Senator Rand Paul’s (R–Ky.) ACA replacement bill would go still further, erasing the requirement that HSAs be linked to a high-deductible plan and eliminating contribution limits altogether.

There is little doubt these expansions would encourage HSA take-up. Likewise, the proposals would make HSAs even more attractive as savings and estate planning vehicles for high-income households—particularly those who earn too much to contribute to other tax-advantaged retirement accounts and those who have maxed out such contributions. At the same time, the financial services companies that manage these accounts would reap substantial benefits, too.

Looking Ahead

HSAs are already growing under current law: by 2017, nearly 21 million accounts held more than $41 billion in assets, while the cost of the program to taxpayers has steadily increased and will nearly double by 2020. The AHCA would have dramatically accelerated this trend, causing federal spending to shoot up nearly 50 percent over the first three years following enactment and by a total of more than $19 billion by 2026.

The Congressional Budget Office estimated that the AHCA would have reduced insurance coverage dramatically, especially among Americans with low incomes. Moreover, the people most likely to need assistance paying for coverage and out-of-pocket costs—those with incomes under 200 percent of poverty, or around $24,000 for a single person—are the least likely to benefit from the bill’s approach to making coverage more affordable: HSAs. Given an ACA replacement’s potential impact on federal spending and coverage, spending billions of dollars on a program that primarily helps those least likely to need assistance purchasing coverage and paying out-of-pocket costs warrants scrutiny.

High Physician Turnover May Partly Explain ACOs’ Limited Success

Substantial Physician Turnover and Beneficiary “Churn” in a Large Medicare Pioneer ACO

Source: Physician Turnover Beneficiary Churn Medicare ACO – The Commonwealth Fund

Synopsis

A study of one of the nation’s largest Medicare accountable care organizations (ACOs) found that participating physicians see a relatively small number of patients who are actually part of the ACO population: less than 5 percent of a typical patient panel consists of ACO patients. The ACO also experiences substantial physician turnover. And when physicians leave the ACO, most of their attributed beneficiaries leave as well.

The Issue

“Physicians play a central role in the delivery of medical care and, not surprisingly, also are critical players in Medicare payment reform.”

To increase provider accountability for the cost and quality of patient care, health care systems, including the Medicare and Medicaid programs, have begun to move away from fee-for-service and toward ACOs and other alternative payment models that encourage more efficient and effective care delivery. With the ongoing implementation of the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015, the numbers of physicians and provider organizations entering alternative payment models such as ACOs is likely to accelerate rapidly. Evidence to date, however, indicates that ACOs have achieved limited success in attaining their goals. Even though physicians play a decisive role in whether ACOs are able to deliver on their promise, there has been limited research on the physicians who work in ACOs and their experiences with patients. Commonwealth Fund–supported researchers studied a large Medicare Pioneer ACO to learn about the stability of physician participation and beneficiary enrollment.

Key Findings

  • The ACO experienced substantial turnover among physicians: only 52 percent were affiliated over the entire three-year contract period.
  • Most (88%) physicians had at least some beneficiaries attributed to them, but these patients accounted for just a small part of their panels, which averaged 1,700 patients per panel. Half (50%) of physicians had just 70 or fewer attributed beneficiaries. ACO enrollees accounted for less than 5 percent of the median physician’s patient panel.
  • About half (49%) of beneficiaries who joined the ACO in contract year 2 or 3 did so because their physician had joined the ACO. When physicians left the ACO in year 2 or 3, 90 percent of their assigned beneficiaries also left.

The Big Picture

The study’s findings suggest that two factors can dampen an ACO’s potential to hit its financial targets: a relatively low number of enrollees attributed to participating physicians, and the loss of patients when physicians leave the ACO. To the extent that there is patient turnover, the ACO’s incentives also are dampened with respect to investments that require more than a few months to achieve any payoff. The authors conclude that the financial incentives provided by ACOs to provide better, more efficient care may not be sufficient to attract physicians, given the small numbers of ACO beneficiaries they tend to serve. Physicians, they say, might instead repond better to comparable incentives that are linked to having a larger number of patients on their panels. This, however, would require standardizing incentives across payers. Standardization also reduces the potential cacophony associated with having a large number of incentives. Health systems also could reconsider how they link beneficiaries to primary care physicians to concentrate care among a smaller number of physicians, creating a critical mass of patients that might encourage and facilitate practice pattern changes.

The authors also note that having the ability to select participating physicians each year creates a temptation for ACOs to improve their risk profile—and thereby increase their opportunity for shared savings—by dropping the small number of physicians whose patients have the most unfavorable risk mix (e.g., those with very high treatment costs). The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services could put policies in place that would reduce the incentive to game the risk pool.

About the Study

The researchers used the following data sources for their analysis: a list of beneficiaries aligned to Partners HealthCare’s ACO; a list of physicians affiliated with the ACO during that period; databases that captured the number of years a physician was affiliated with the ACO, physician specialty, and other factors; and Medicare claims data.

The Bottom Line

A low number of attributed enrollees per physician and substantial physician turnover may help explain the muted impact that accountable care organizations have had thus far.

“I’m still here”: Exploring what matters to people with intellectual disability during advance care planning – McKenzie

Source: “I’m still here”: Exploring what matters to people with intellectual disability during advance care planning – McKenzie – 2017 – Journal of Applied Research in Intellectual Disabilities – Wiley Online Library

Abstract

Background

This study sought to identify, from the perspective of people with intellectual disabilities and life limiting conditions, the factors that strengthened and inhibited their Advance Care Planning.

Methods

This in depth qualitative study explored the experiences of four people with intellectual disability and life limiting conditions, through interviews and documentation reviews.

Results

There was strong agreement across all participants about what positively influenced Advance Care Planning, namely; going at my pace; supporting me to make my own choices; adapting the process to suit me, and, most importantly; continuing to support and plan the life I’m still living. With the exception of being comfortable/skilled in end-of-life support, the skills required of facilitators were similar to those required for all forms of person-centred planning.

Conclusion

The findings are encouraging and demonstrate that Advance Care Planning is a useful tool in ensuring that people with intellectual disability have control and choice over their lives, right to the end.

Improving hospital care of patients with intellectual and developmental disabilities – Disability and Health Journal

People with intellectual disabilities and developmental disabilities (IDD) face poorer care and outcomes when hospitalized than patients without IDD. A panel discussion “Hospital care for individuals with IDD: The Issues and Challenges” was held at the Annual Conference of the American Academy of Developmental Medicine and Dentistry, held in Chicago July 8–10, 2016. Among the panelists were representatives from Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, IL and Saint Barnabas Medical Center in Livingston, NJ who discussed efforts to improve hospital care of patients with IDD at their institutions.

Source: Improving hospital care of patients with intellectual and developmental disabilities – Disability and Health Journal

Sarah H. Ailey, PhD RN, Paula J. Brown, MBA, Caitlin M. Ridge, BA, CCLS
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