By Emma Court | MarketWatch

After his daughter was born, Ted Phillips wasn’t expecting to get slapped with a $3,500 bill from the hospital’s anesthesiologist.

Phillips, who works in health care in Boston, Mass., soon found out that while the hospital was in-network, the anesthesiologist was not. The hospital’s billing office told Phillips he’d have to pay it.

Undeterred, he kept making calls — to the hospital, the anesthesiologist and the insurer — and was eventually able to resolve the issue.

Still, the back-and-forth did cost Phillips, albeit in a different way: he spent about five to seven hours making the phone calls, mostly while at work. Most of the offices involved “are open 9 to 5, which is difficult,” he said.

“I work in this industry, I’ve dealt with this back-and-forth, I’ve dealt with insurance for this long now,” he said. “How many people just pay that bill because they don’t press it?”

The problem, one many consumers face, has gotten a lot easier for Phillips since then. Now, through his health benefits at work, he has access to a medical bill advocate, that helps individuals navigate their medical bills and the complex terminology of health insurance plans.

Medical bill advocates and other such third-party businesses have sprung up in the gaps and blind spots of America’s complicated, fragmented health care system. These services make sense of health bills for consumers and even fix errors in them.

In the process, these businesses can reduce wasteful health-care spending and possibly even improve health outcomes. Their numbers have exploded. And they’ve become even more important as high-deductible health plans — which put employees on the line for thousands of dollars in out-of-pocket expenses — have increased in popularity.

But these services face a persistent challenge: many employees don’t know that they have access to them.

Though confusing medical bills are pervasive, utilization rates for professional help remains low. The ultimate success of these businesses will hinge on how well they use technology to change awareness and access, according to many in the sector.

The business of medical bill advocacy

For decades, advocates have warned consumers that their medical bills could be rife with errors.

That would appear to be a consumer issue, but it’s also a problem for employers, since they provide health insurance to a majority of Americans and pay the lion’s share of the cost.

“Smart employers who want to save their money and their employees money know the best way to slash health-care costs is to improve benefits,” said David Chase, a health-care entrepreneur who now runs a nonprofit institute. Medical advocacy services are “one piece of that,” he said.

Advocates like Pat Palmer, who has been working on medical billing issues for 24 years, encourage individuals to request an itemized bill and search for clear mistakes, such as being charged for more time in the hospital than you actually spent there, or for a drug that you never got.

But for other, more-complex errors, most consumers find the experience of making calls to the health insurer and medical provider overwhelming. Often, the task requires specialized understanding about the health-care system and how it works, the nuances of an individual’s health plan and even a level of medical knowledge.

Then there are the logistics. It can be hard to even find a time during the workday, or a place at work, to make these calls.

“You’re in the hallway, on the phone with the biller, the insurance company. Before you know it, an hour has gone by,” said Dr. Raffi Terzian, senior vice president of clinical operations and senior medical director at Health Advocate, a leading company that works with employees to navigate health care and insurance problems. “It’s a time sink. It’s a time robber.”

Moreover, insurance brokers and human resources departments don’t have the ability — or the bandwidth — to answer all of peoples’ questions, especially as high-deductible health plans increase the number of questions asked, said Jason Dzurka, director of marketplace solutions at Maxwell Health, a benefits platform for small- and medium-sized businesses that is also Phillips’ employer.

Hospitals are trying to make medical billing better and more affordable, said Tom Nickels, executive vice president of government relations and public policy at the American Hospital Association. He said they’re working on tools for better price transparency and that they “pledge to work with patients” on billing issues.

But in the meantime, others have picked up the slack — and are paying for it. In the individual health insurance market, services from health technology company HealthJoy come at an additional cost to the consumer.

When it comes to employer-sponsored plans, the employer or even the insurance broker may pay, since “they see it as a valuable service for the cost,” said Dzurka. “And when you compare it to the cost of health care, it’s substantially lower — a very small percentage.”

Confusing medical bills pose a problem both to worker productivity and to employee benefits more generally, said Brian Marcotte, chief executive officer of the nonprofit National Business Group on Health, which represents large employers on health policy issues in Washington, D.C.

In other words: If workers don’t understand their benefits, they probably aren’t benefiting from them.

“Employers are recognizing that the system is too complex for employees to be sophisticated enough to navigate this,” he said.

Beyond medical bills

Tricia Taylor’s 13-year-old daughter uses an insulin pump to manage her Type 1 diabetes. That can mean testing her sugar levels as many as 10 to 12 times a day using a FreeStyle test strip, the only kind her insulin pump works with.

But Taylor’s insurance company wanted her daughter to use a different type, and wouldn’t cover the FreeStyle strips. The expense was adding up, costing Taylor about $180 a month, she said.

After working with the health-care technology company Accolade, which is offered as a benefit at the propane company she works for, Taylor was able to get the strips covered. The trick turned out to be a letter from her daughter’s doctor, explaining that the FreeStyle strips were the only ones that worked.

“It was a big, big blessing,” Taylor said. With some time, she might have been able to figure it out on her own. But “it was time that, as a working parent, I did not have.”

Now, Accolade is helping Taylor with something new: finding an in-network facility for her daughter.

Help with chronic diseases is just one of the many services these businesses now offer.

Health Advocate, which works with nearly 12,000 employers and health insurers to serve more than 40 million members, can answer “nearly any question related to health care that you can think of,” Terzian said, from coordinating care to helping with medical decisions, finding doctors and second opinions, providing wellness services and more.

These are available not just to the employee but also typically to their spouse, dependents and parents or parents-in-law, he said.

Folding in so many services makes these businesses more attractive to employers. And increasingly, the scope of companies with access to health advocacy services is growing beyond large employers to companies of all sizes.

It’s also a way to engage more people, who call in about one issue — often, about their medical benefits or understanding a medical bill — and can then find out about the other services offered.

“A client will call us for often a simple question related to their bill or benefits plan — is this doctor in network, what’s my deductible,” said Samantha Steinwinder, Accolade’s vice president of marketing. “In most cases the health plan will answer the question and send them on their way. We use the call to find out what’s going on in the individual’s life… it helps us uncover what’s happening with the health-care system with that individual.”

How it all hinges on technology

Unlike a lot of other services and technology platforms people use, customers can go months or years without interacting with a health advocacy service.

This creates an “out of sight, out of mind” effect that is one of the industry’s biggest problems, Marcotte said: “If I don’t need it, I don’t think about it. And when I do need it, I forget that it’s available.”

The mission of these businesses will hinge on data and technology, and how well they’re used to communicate with and engage consumers.

For example, “if I’m contemplating surgery, there may be indications in my claim data that triggers a flag,” and sends a push notification to the patient about decision support services, Marcotte said. Other data triggers could prompt similarly personalized information and resources, he said.

We’re “at the tip of the spear of a lot of this. It’s growing and it’s growing rapidly,” he said.

Health Advocate says that of those who have access to their service, 40% have used it at least once, with the figure rising to 90% under “best practices.”

Technology may also provide a lift. Maxwell Health says it sees higher utilization of Health Advocate through its platform than Health Advocate does alone, which it attributes to its technology.

Since these services work best when they’re both convenient and immediate, many health advocacy businesses have structured themselves for the smartphone era.

HealthJoy, which aims to be the “Siri for health care,” is mainly a mobile application, with emails and push notifications structured to move customers into the app (although there is the option to call in). The company works with about 15,000 members from the individual market, and recently started contracting with employers, of which it now has 100.

“It’s really hard to be top of mind as a point solution. So we really focus on trying to say ‘we’re help for anything,’” said Chief Executive Officer Justin Holland. “We’re trying to be air-traffic control.”

The company has focused more on cost-cutting moves like telemedicine and prescription drug savings than medical billing, at least for now, said Holland. That, paired with a recent move to work with employers, is reflected in the low utilization rates for its medical bill service, or about 8% of its employer membership, he said.

“You’re not going to use an app like ours like Candy Crush,” Holland said. But “80% of people just pay [a medical bill] and they remember after, ‘Oh, I have this service I could use.’”

Opioids in the workplace

By Harold Brubaker & Jane M. Von Bergen | Philadelphia Inquirer

Former Phillies pitcher Dickie Noles had a 1980 World Series ring on his finger and trouble in his heart.

“I had been drinking and messing around most of my life,” he said.

Opioids were not Noles’ addiction of choice. Alcohol was.

But because he nearly lost his life, his job, and his career to booze, Noles, who now handles employee-assistance programs for the Phillies, helping ball players with addictions, gambling, marital woes, and any other problem, knows what it means to struggle with an addiction.

And he also knows how help from the workplace can make all the difference, as it did for him.

At Caron Treatment Centers, a large addiction-treatment provider based in Berks County, it is evident that opioids are a major workplace issue because the vast majority of patients are employed when they arrive, officials said.

Between 2012 and 2016, the number of Caron patients reporting the use of opioids climbed 50 percent, and about one quarter of Caron’s patients in 2016 reported using heroin, said Douglas Tieman, Caron’s president and chief executive. Heroin use was negligible among Caron patients four years ago, he said.

“Opioid addiction is a public health crisis in America,” Tieman said. “It affects businesses every day — productivity of the workforce as well as the well-being of the individual employees and their families.”

While inpatient treatment is a key part of recovery from opioid addiction, experts said, employee assistance programs, or EAPs, such as the one headed by Noles, provide a crucial front door to treatment.

“EAPs have always been front and center in addiction, but this has brought a whole new level to what we do,” said Sharon O’Brien, director of FirstCall, an EAP owned by Main Line Health. “We’ve been doing more manager training geared toward helping the managers identify someone who’s impaired because you have to be really careful with all the HR and legal issues involved.”

That is especially true because opioid addiction often starts with a prescription. “There are plenty of people taking pain medications that need to, but there are also many people taking opiates that are not yet on heroin, but they are headed in that direction,” O’Brien said.

Tina Bruckner, a Main Line Health employee, used FirstCall for help with a family member.

“When it started four years ago, I didn’t know where to turn,” said Bruckner, a senior executive assistant at Paoli Hospital. FirstCall helped her access inpatient and outpatient services for her family member at Mirmont Treatment Center in Media. With the blessing of top Main Line Health executives, Bruckner later formed a support group for Main Line Health employees going through similar crises.

In addition to EAPs, another strategy for employers is the use of tighter controls on prescriptions paid for by employer-sponsored insurance, though it is too soon to say how much that is helping, said Joe DiBella, executive vice president and managing director for the health and benefits practice at Conner Strong & Buckelew, an insurance broker with dual headquarters in Philadelphia and Marlton.

“This is a new and emerging phenomenon. The crisis has become so unprecedented that it is only in the last year or so that employers and [pharmacy benefit managers] have begun to put tighter controls and mechanisms around the prescribing patterns with respect to narcotics,” DiBella said.

EAPs, by contrast, have been around for decades and are rooted in helping employees with alcoholism.

But there is a big difference between helping employees with alcoholism and helping them with opioid addictions, said Gregory P. DeLapp, chief executive of the Employee Assistance Professionals Association, a trade group in Arlington, Va.

One difference is the change in the drug and the other is the change in the workplace. Both changes make it less effective for companies to use the threat of being fired to persuade opioid addicts to undergo treatment.

People are changing jobs more often, DeLapp said, making both the employer and the employee less willing to invest in job retention. “If you take away the fact that your job may be [at stake], you’ve lost a significant leverage point,” he said.

Traditionally, the last thing addicts give up is their job, long after they lost their families.

The second big difference has to do with the drug.

“With alcohol and most other drugs,” DeLapp said, “problems develop over time.”

What also develops over time is a work history of bad performance, absenteeism, safety violations, insubordination — all of which could point the employee to an assistance program or lead to their dismissal.

“With the opioids, it is so rapid that you aren’t going to have the reams of documentation of job-performance issues,” DeLapp said. “The person is going from injury to addiction to near-death in months to a year instead of in decades.”

Still, the rules for the manager who sees early warning signs that an employee may have a substance abuse — increased absenteeism, absences on Mondays and Fridays, long lunch hours, concentration problems — have not changed, said Bert Alicea, executive vice president of the work life division of West’s Health Advocate Solutions in Plymouth Meeting.

The manager, who should have received training on how to detect suspicious signs, should say to the employee, Alicea advised: “Because of what I am observing right now, I am medically concerned about you. Based on my observation, I need to have an evaluation done, which includes a drug and alcohol test.”

By no means should the manager informally diagnose the employee as an alcoholic or a drug addict, Alicea said.

Alicea also said employees should receive training, not just how to avoid dangerous use of addictive prescription drugs themselves, but also on how to deal with coworkers who are abusing drugs and could threaten workplace safety.

Trade unions have pushed to educate members.

Last year, the Allied Trade Assistance Program, a nonprofit created by 23 Philadelphia-area trade unions to provide help for drug, alcohol, and mental-health issues, landed a $482,000 government grant to create an online drug and alcohol education program aimed at the unions’ 14,000 apprentices as well as high school students who might enter the building trades.

So far, 2,500 young people have taken the eight-hour training, offered in chunks adaptable to smartphones, iPads, and computers, said Kenneth Serviss, executive director of the assistance program. Quizzed beforehand, the students see scores rising 60 percent in a follow-up test to determine whether they absorbed the material.

Serviss said that changing the culture of the construction site presents a challenge, but it’s possible to influence the behavior of the future building trades workforce. “We create this tough persona,” Serviss said. “If a problem comes up, they are unwilling to get help, and they hold things in. People need to be able to come forward without having the stigma attached to it.”

But there is an urgency to the work. “There’s a genetic component,” since susceptibility to addiction can be inherited and many unions include grandfathers, fathers, sons, and nephews. “We are a brotherhood.”

Episode 6 – Translating Healthcare Analytics with Dan Shields

Click to view this on Vimeo

Data analytics can be used to uncover key insights about the health of employees and provide information that shapes workplace health and benefits program. In this episode of Health Advocate’s Ask the Expert series, Dan Shields, Vice President and Product Specialist with West’s Health Advocate Solutions, discusses how organizations can translate and utilize data analytics to improve the health of their workforce.

Partners Connected Health Expands Services, Improves Patient and Provider Convenience, for Online Second Opinion Service

Boston, April 26, 2017 — Partners Connected Health today announced it signed a new agreement with West’s Health Advocate Solutions, expanding the services of its Online Second Opinions Service to include the collection of medical records and diagnostic test results (radiology and pathology). Health Advocate is a leading independent clinical healthcare advocacy provider. Partners Online Second Opinions Service (POSO), managed by Partners Connected Health, provides access to world-class hospitals affiliated with Partners HealthCare, offering patients and their physicians, all over the world, easier access to expert medical specialists.

“With the addition of Health Advocate’s services, we are removing any additional burden on the patient to collect their medical records, better helping patients access quality care from anywhere in the world,” said Joseph C. Kvedar, MD, Vice President, Connected Health, Partners HealthCare. “POSO now offers a comprehensive and highly competitive online second opinion program, delivering expert medical opinions from some of the world’s leading healthcare specialists at Partners-affiliated hospitals, and a more convenient experience for both patients and providers.”

Health Advocate has extensive clinical advocacy expertise helping individuals navigate the complexities of healthcare to get the care they need, including obtaining second opinions. Health Advocate’s experienced clinical team of Personal Health Advocates, registered nurses, and medical directors will provide confidential support to patients seeking second opinions via POSO and coordinate the collection and submission of medical records for physician review, simplifying a typically challenging process for patients.

Partners Online Second Opinions service has provided thousands of patients and physicians remote access to the many specialists in the Partners HealthCare network, a Harvard Medical School-affiliated healthcare delivery system, including Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Massachusetts General Hospital, Dana Farber Cancer Institute and Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital.

A recent review of POSO consultations found that in 90% of the medical cases reviewed, Partners HealthCare specialists recommended a complete change in the treatment plan, suggesting profound implications for clinical care. In addition, in 5% of cases, the consulting specialist recommended a new diagnosis.

“Health Advocate’s goal is to make healthcare easier, and we’re proud to work with Partners Connected Health to have our Personal Health Advocates provide expert support to these patients,” said Abbie Leibowitz, M.D., F.A.A.P., Chief Medical Officer, Founder and President Emeritus of West’s Health Advocate Solutions. “By connecting our personalized support with Partners Online Second Opinions Service, patients will have the help and resources needed to make informed decisions about their health.”

West’s Health Advocate Solutions

West’s Health Advocate Solutions makes healthcare easier for over 11,500 organizations and their employees and members nationwide. Our solutions leverage a unique combination of personalized, compassionate support from healthcare experts using powerful predictive data analytics and a proprietary technology platform including mobile solutions to provide clinical support and engage members in their health and well-being. Our members enjoy a best-in-class, personalized concierge service that addresses nearly every clinical, administrative, wellness or behavioral health need. Our clients benefit from high levels of engagement, improved employee productivity and health, and reduced medical costs, while simultaneously simplifying and upgrading their health benefits offerings. For more information, visit us at www.HealthAdvocate.com

Partners Connected Health

Partners Connected Health is leveraging information technology – mobile phones, tablets, wearables, sensors and remote health monitoring tools – to deliver quality patient care outside of traditional medical settings. Partners Connected Health programs are also helping providers and patients better manage chronic conditions, maintain health and wellness and improve adherence, engagement and clinical outcomes. The Connected Health team creates and deploys mobile technologies in a number of patient populations and care settings, and is conducting innovative clinical studies to test the effectiveness of mobile health technologies in various clinical applications, including medication adherence, care coordination, chronic disease management, prevention and wellness. Please visit www.partners.org/connectedhealth.

Partners HealthCare

Partners HealthCare is an integrated health system founded by Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Massachusetts General Hospital. In addition to its two academic medical centers, the Partners system includes community and specialty hospitals, a managed care organization, community health centers, a physician network, home health and long-term care services, and other health care entities. Partners HealthCare is committed to patient care, research, teaching, and service to the community. Partners is one of the nation’s leading biomedical research organizations and a principal teaching affiliate of Harvard Medical School. Partners HealthCare is a non-profit organization. Please visit www.partners.org.

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Barbara Kiviat | Consumer Reports

You may be able to lower the amount you owe significantly

Many consumers facing a big medical bill don’t consider one possible remedy: negotiating a lower price. Insurance companies pay nowhere near posted rates, so why should you?

Many Americans already struggle to pay their medical expenses. A full 20 percent of working-age adults with health insurance report having problems, according to a Kaiser Family Foundation/New York Times survey. Among the uninsured, more than half do.

So if you’re already having difficulty, it can be especially daunting if you’re on the hook for a huge medical bill because of a high deductible, an out-of-network charge, a procedure that isn’t covered, or being uninsured.

If you know your insurance won’t cover a procedure, it’s best to negotiate the price beforehand. “You can discuss it before you go in,” says Adria Gross, a medical billing advocate and CEO of MedWise Insurance Advocacy. “What the fee is going to be and if you can bring it down.”

If your doctor can’t reduce the price, you might want to reconsider the procedure or have the doctor suggest alternatives that are cheaper or that are covered by insurance.

But if it’s a medical necessity, or an emergency, you may end up having to negotiate after the bill arrives. It may feel odd to bargain with a hospital or doctor, but doing so could reduce what you owe by up to 50 percent.

“The first step that most people don’t take is to ask,” says John Jackson, executive director of CareCounsel, an outfit that provides health advocacy services through employer-sponsored health plans.

How do you go about doing that?

The billing office is a good place to start, but don’t expect the person who picks up the phone to cut a deal. “The first response will be no, I can’t do anything,” says Abbie Leibowitz, chief medical officer of Health Advocate, an advocacy and health assistance company. “You have to be persistent. Figure out who in the organization has the authority.”

Keep asking for the manager of the person you’re talking to—even if that takes you all the way up to the chief financial officer, Gross says. Then use these tips to help you:

Frame your request around your ability to pay. This may work if you’re in a health plan that comes with a high deductible, as a growing number are, or if you’re uninsured. “If you owe $10,000 and you’re telling me that it’s going to be impossible for you to pay, then I’m more likely to negotiate—to make sure I get paid at all,” Jackson says. Just be prepared to provide documentation showing that you really don’t have the money.

Talk about wanting to pay a fair price. Medical pricing is a system built on discounts: No insurance company would ever pay sticker price, yet that’s what’s on the bill you receive. Pricing transparency websites such as Healthcare Bluebook can give you an idea of what health plans actually pay medical providers, often a fraction of the amount charged. “You should not feel guilty about asking for a fair and reasonable price,” says Pat Palmer, president and founder of Medical Billing Advocates of America. “When there is a 50 percent or 100 percent markup, that’s not fair and reasonable.”

Research the prices insurers pay. One strong case for getting a discount after the fact is if you are billed for the services of an out-of-network provider you didn’t agree to see, like when an in-network hospital uses an out-of-network anesthesiologist in the operating room. In fact, many states are working to pass laws to reduce patients’ liability in such situations. The best negotiating tactic there is to ask to be charged what your insurance company would have paid for an in-network provider.

Offer to pay the balance in full. More generally, a good move (if you can afford it) is to offer to immediately pay off the balance of the bill. Medical providers get stiffed for about 20 percent of what they bill individuals, says Leibowitz, so there’s an incentive for them to take less money if getting paid is a sure thing. Medical advocates find that they can often get a 15 percent to 20 percent “prompt pay” discount.

Turn to a medical billing advocate. Last, if you can’t get far on your own, a medical billing advocate can help. Employers sometimes offer access to advocates as a benefit, so check on that first. Hiring an advocate on your own can be expensive—some take a flat fee and others charge a percentage of the money they save you (25 percent is typical). Just make sure to thoroughly investigate the qualifications of an advocate ahead of time. With so many Americans struggling to pay their medical bills, there are a lot of people out there who are quick to say they can help.

Episode 4: The Value of Clinical Advocacy

Beyond the standard support of administrative issues like claims and billing, clinical advocacy helps employees make more informed, value-based decisions for their health, reducing costs and improving outcomes. In this episode of Health Advocate’s Ask the Expert, Dr. Abbie Leibowitz, Chief Medical Officer, Founder and President Emeritus at West’s Health Advocate Solutions, discusses the value of clinical advocacy.

By Bruce Shutan | Employee Benefit Adviser

In the era of smartphones, tablets, apps and wearable devices, employees appreciate technology platforms. However, they still value a human touch from experts when making decisions about their workplace benefit programs, according to a new report by Health Advocate.

In fact, 73% prefer a phone conversation as their No. 1 communication preference to discuss healthcare cost and administrative information, 71% say the same about personal or emotional wellness issues (71% also mention a website or portal) and 66% cited a phone call when managing chronic conditions.

Other key findings show a strong preference for face-to-face conversations. Sixty-five percent rank this method for discussing personal or emotional wellness issues and 61% said the same for managing chronic conditions. In addition, 56% apiece cited the in-person communication channel for physical wellness benefits as well as healthcare cost and administrative information.

As part of Health Advocate’s “Striking a Healthy Balance: What Employees Really Want Out Of Workplace Wellness Communication” study, more than 500 full-time U.S. employees and 150 HR leaders were surveyed.

In the middle of the discussion

Abbie Leibowitz, M.D., the company’s founder, chief medical officer and president emeritus, believes industry producers are ideally positioned to suggest the right communication balance. “We work very collaboratively with benefit brokers and consultants,” whom he describes as “a very important part of our distribution channel.

“We always bring the broker or the consultant into the middle of the discussion,” he continues. “When we provide our data information dashboards, the broker can become consultative in the relationship by being in touch real-time with what the data shows.”

As healthcare benefits became more complicated from an administrative standpoint, Leibowitz says brokers realized that they just weren’t able to handle the sheer volume or complexity of problems that arose. Instead, he believes their focus should be on helping employers design programs that best match with their strategic healthcare priorities “and provide the best possible access to care at the lowest reasonable cost.”

Given the nation’s preoccupation with texting and social media, he was surprised by the preference for human interaction and expected much higher reliance on technology platforms across the population.

But upon closer examination, the desire for greater assistance made perfect sense. “At this point, everybody’s in a high-deductible health plan and has greater responsibility for managing the financial responsibility for their healthcare,” Leibowitz observes, adding that “the benefit structure inside companies has become much more complicated.”

Leibowitz has seen several shifts in outsourcing healthcare assistance — from bundling services from a single carrier to a best-in-breed approach that carves out disease management, pharmacy benefits, behavioral health or wellness.

The industry is now at a point of adding to that fragmentation with programs that focus on second opinion, decision support, pricing and transparency, he says.

While every company sets its own health and wellness priorities, Leibowitz says the common thread is better communication helps dramatically elevate the level of employee engagement, and as a result, overall program success.

Experts will share strategies to engage employees, improve outcomes and reduce costs

Plymouth Meeting, PA, January 24, 2017 — West’s Health Advocate Solutions, the nation’s leading clinical healthcare advocacy company, announced today that its annual Solutions Series of webinars will start January 31 with a session about understanding healthcare ROI. The series will feature industry thought leaders discussing a number of current health and benefits topics, including employee engagement, pricing transparency, population health and wellness, and data analytics, among others.

“Healthcare is complicated and ever-changing, but by simplifying the experience, it’s possible to make it easier for employees to take charge of their health and for organizations to realize the potential positive impact,” said Abbie Leibowitz, M.D., Chief Medical Officer, Founder and President Emeritus, West’s Health Advocate Solutions. “Our Solutions Series offers organizations the opportunity to hear the latest about key industry topics and issues from leading experts in their field, gleaning useful strategies they can apply within their programs.”

Sessions occur on the following Tuesdays at 2 PM ET:

  • January 31: Bending the Curve. Evaluating the true return on investments of health benefits programs.
  • February 7: Total Population Wellness. Leveraging the power of prevention and intervention.
  • February 14: A New Generation of EAP+Work/Life Services. Lowering stress and healthcare costs.
  • February 21: Beyond Navigation to Integration. Multi-faceted clinical advocacy to encourage value-based health decisions.
  • February 28: Boosting Participation. The importance of incentives to drive engagement.
  • March 7: Targeted employee Engagement. New personalized ways to drive empowered action.
  • March 14: Analytics for Better Outcomes. Integrating employer data to uncover trends, risk drivers, and opportunities for targeted interventions.
  • March 21: Empowered Health. The power of a one-call solution for better outcomes and lower costs.
  • March 28: Taking Engagement to the Next Level. Putting healthcare in the palm of your hand.
  • April 4: Biometrics. A proven way to impact outcomes and improve wellness programs.

How to Register

To register for individual webinar events or the entire Solutions Series, visit www.HealthAdvocate.com or call 866.799.2655.

About West’s Health Advocate Solutions

West’s Health Advocate Solutions makes healthcare easier for over 11,500 organizations and their employees and members nationwide.

Our solutions leverage a unique combination of personalized, compassionate support from healthcare experts using powerful predictive medical data analytics and a proprietary technology platform including mobile solutions to provide clinical support and engage members in their health and well-being.

Our members enjoy a best-in-class, personalized concierge service that addresses almost any clinical, administrative, wellness or behavioral health need. Our clients benefit from high levels of engagement, improved employee productivity and health, and reduced medical costs while simultaneously simplifying and upgrading their health benefits offerings.

For more information, visit us at www.HealthAdvocate.com

 

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Episode 1: Best Practices for a Successful Open Enrollment

Healthcare is constantly changing and evolving. To help you stay on top of the latest news and information, tune into Health Advocate’s Ask the Expert video series, a monthly show about trending topics in healthcare. In this episode, Dr. Raffi Terzian, Health Advocate’s Senior Medical Director, shares tips and insights for a successful open enrollment that can be put into place now or as planning starts for next year.