Sunday, August 8, 2010

MBGH Blog Posts After July 13, 2010 Now on Our New Website!

MBGH's new website is now live at

As of July 14, 2010, our Blog is fully integrated into our new website, so all new posts are on the website. You can continue to visit our old Blog on this blogspot for posts prior to July 13, 2010.

We look forward to having you visit our new site. Let us know what you think!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

MBGH Update: Methodist Healthcare Quality Report Cards Now On-line

Memphis Business Group on Health (MBGH) applauds Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare (Methodist) for making their quality of care report card public on their websites. Specifically, MBGH is pleased with this initiative for the following reasons:

• MBGH has been working with Memphis-area hospitals since 1997 to improve transparency. As advocates for our member employers, we’ve consistently pressured hospitals to measure and publicly report their performance and to use this information to improve the quality of care they provide.

• MBGH has been asking Methodist to report quality information separately for their adult hospitals since 2002. In response to our request for Methodist to participate in our Leapfrog initiative, they have responded to The Leapfrog Group Annual Hospital Survey separately for each adult hospital. Until now, other publicly available quality reports have only been at the system level, essentially reporting average performance across the system. System-level reporting has not been useful to employers as they try to educate their employees about selecting hospitals that provide higher quality care. In this new initiative, Methodist is reporting quality information by facility which is a significant advancement.

• MBGH has asked Memphis-area hospitals to report their performance on a regular basis, which allows employer purchasers and employees to track performance over time, including whether hospitals improve performance or if there is lack of improvement. Methodist has committed to reporting this information regardless of whether it shows they are providing quality care or if they need to improve, thereby providing the good news and the not-so-good news.

This initiative is an excellent first step in increasing transparency with area employer purchasers and employees/potential patients. MBGH asks that all Memphis-area hospitals look to this as a local transparency standard they should try to meet and exceed.

As this initiative takes root, MBGH asks all Memphis-area hospitals, including Methodist, to add additional critical information to their online information. Information on outcomes, such as survival rates/mortality rates; structure measures such as staffing in ICUs and computerized physician order entry; and hospital acquired conditions, such as falls, pressure ulcers, and infections is already available and would not require significant work to add to the reports.

Gary Shorb, President and CEO of Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare, emphasizes their commitment to working with MBGH and purchaser employers to provide additional information that is useful to employers and their employees. MBGH is meeting with Gary and senior Methodist staff to work out the specifics and timeline. We will keep you up-to-date as details are finalized.

We welcome the opportunity to work with other Memphis-area hospitals, as well, as they develop their transparency strategies.

In the meantime, we encourage you to access and use the Methodist Healthcare information by clicking below:

Methodist Healthcare Adult Quality

Le Bohneur Children’s Hospital Quality

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

DOL FAQ on Mental Health Parity Offers Guidance for Grandfathered Plans

Click here to read Buck Consultants' summary of how recently released DOL FAQ (click here to read) on mental health parity impacts grandfathered status under health reform.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

J.D. Power 2010 Employer Health Insurance Plan Study Shows Low Satisfaction Rates

According to J.D. Power, there are overall low employer satisfaction rates (61%) with health plans. Service outranks cost & benefits as satisfaction driver. Employee plan servicing ranked #1, with account servicing and product offering/design ranking 2nd & 3rd. Go to  for the press release re: major study findings.

The LA Times reports that health plans are ramping up customer service to compete post-health reform. Guess the JD Power employer survey was right!


MBGH Participating in TN's All Claims Database Development

 MBGH is a member of the Tennessee Health Information Committee which oversees the development of TN's all claims database in terms of information that is collected and information that is publicly reported.

Click here to read a report which summarizes why states are creating these all claims databases. Examples of how information from these databases can be used include:
  • Employers can begin to understand the variation in cost and utilization by geographic area within a state;
  • The value equation (cost & quality) of new health care services can be assessed;
  • The design and implementation of health reforms can be informed by data and data can be tracked to determine impact;
  • Compare prevalence of disease across populations;
  • Determine payer competitiveness;
  • Report on the cost and quality of individual providers. 
TN's all claims database is currently in the data collection process and the first public reports are expected in 2011. MBGH will keep your members informed as information becomes available.

PWC Report Forecasts 2011 Employer Health Benefit Trends

PricewaterhouseCoopers’ Health Research Institute surveyed 700 U.S.-based companies, small through jumbo sized, to gauge their perspectives on health care costs and benefits program priorities for 2011. Interviews were conducted in the first quarter of 2010. Click here for a copy of the report.

Major findings include:
  • Medical costs are projected to increase 9% in 2011.
  • More employers will move away from co-payments & toward co-insurance at the point of care.
  • Hospitals, getting less from Medicare, will cost-shift to employers/commercial to make it up.
  • Providers will merge and consolidate, creating greater leverage in negotiations with health plans.
  • Employers plan to add more worksite wellness & health promotion programs.

MBGH Worksite Wellness Project with Health Department Gets National Recognition

Click here to see the article on this project in the Memphis Business Journal.

The Memphis Business Group on Health (MBGH) received one of seven national Community Health Partnerships (CHP) Population Health Seed Grants. The $12,911 grant was awarded by the National Business Coalition on Health through the Community Coalitions Health Institute (CCHI).

The grant will fund a joint program between the Memphis Business Group on Health (MBGH) and the Memphis Shelby County Health Department (MSCHD) to study the effectiveness of the Move More, Eat Better…It All Works Together Fitness Challenge in the workplace.

The MSCHD has been offering the Move More, Eat Better…It All Works Together Fitness Challenge through churches and community centers. The program is funded by the State of Tennessee Department of Health. Despite the fact that the program is free to employers, The MSCHD has had a difficult time getting employers to offer it at worksites.

Memphis Business Group on Health is a coalition of member employers sharing solutions and providing tools to manage the cost and quality of health benefits. As part of the grant, MBGH has secured participation of four member employers, including the Memphis Shelby County Airport Authority and Merck. The employers will enroll approximately 120 employees in the challenge, which lasts six weeks.

Health department staff will record the employee’s blood pressure, weight and Body Mass Index (BMI) at the beginning of the challenge and compare it to the employee’s final numbers six weeks later. During that period, MSCHD staff will provide weekly educational programs to employees on topics such as nutrition and exercise.
Incentives for participants include pedometers, waist circumference tape measure, hand sanitizer, jar grips, pens, notepads. The grand prize, a George Foreman grill, is awarded to the participant making the most significant progress toward better health.

The Memphis Business Group on Health will track the initiative from an employer’s perspective, measuring employee engagement, realized benefits, and employer satisfaction. As part of the grant, MBGH will recommend how the program may be modified to make it more successful in the workplace in the future. Results will be published in a white paper and made available to employers and other communities.

“In Memphis, employers have historically perceived the Health Department as an organization that helps the uninsured and the under-insured and not employers,” said Cristie Upshaw Travis, Chief Executive Officer of The Memphis Business Group on Health. “The department is an underutilized resource that we can tap to help deliver better value to our member organizations. For example, we worked with the MSCHD to help our employers implement H1N1 Flu shot programs.”