As millions of Americans scramble to fill out their March Madness brackets, those of us in healthcare get to experience our own version.
Online PR News – 18-March-2015 – Jackson, MI – March Madness is a nickname forever fixed to the single elimination National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division I college basketball tournament that occurs each spring in the United States. As millions of Americans scramble to fill out their March Madness brackets, those of us in healthcare get to experience our own version. With another deadline fast approaching for eligible individuals to enroll in the Affordable Care Act (ACA), the White House’s March Madness campaign is a chance to get the attention of young people, especially young men to sign up for healthcare before the March 31 deadline. Anyone in need of affordable coverage should head over to HealthCare.gov and #GetCoveredNow. Anyone that is already covered can help spread the word by voting for your favorite reason to get covered. While you are at you can check out President’s Obama bracket picks at https://www.whitehouse.gov/acabracket.
Marketing promotions around March Madness are common and there is no reason that healthcare organizations should not join in. Why not brand your own type of healthcare promotion? Across Utah many women have been supplying their husbands and boyfriends a bracket selection printed on the backside of a promotional flyer from the University of Utah Health Care campaign “Vas Madness” aimed at men to undergo a vasectomy during the NCAA tournament. The idea is, since their recovery would coincide with the vast number of basketball games being televised, men may be more willing to undergo the procedure.
Corporate team building exercises are also a big favorite during the tournament season. It is a great time to harness the energy, the excitement and the esprit de corps that are characteristic of the tournament. Hospital executives are known for taking a quick break from the corner office and patient floors to weigh in on which team they think will win this year's NCAA tournament. With the growing emphasis on quality, following the coaching philosophy of many leaders on and off the court, hospitals could gain a lot by adopting the adage, “Don’t practice until you get it right. Practice until you can’t get it wrong.” Legendary Coach Bobby Knight was well known for the extreme preparation he put into each game and practice. He was often quoted as saying, "Most people have the will to win, few have the will to prepare to win."1 Now is a great time for hospital executives to put a full-court press on their teams to practice and prepare to win top honors with healthcare’s “Triple Aim”:
• Improving the patient experience of care (including quality and satisfaction);
• Improving the health of populations; and
• Reducing the per capita cost of health care.
Unfortunately for providers and consumers, there is a lot of madness surrounding healthcare this March.
Kicking off the madness on March 4, 2015, the United States Supreme Court heard oral arguments in King vs. Burwell, in which the plaintiffs are challenging the Internal Revenue Service’s (IRS) interpretation of certain statutory language in the ACA regarding the availability of tax subsidies to purchase insurance coverage on federally-facilitated insurance marketplaces/exchanges. The plaintiffs are arguing that the statutory language limits the availability of tax subsidies only to insurance marketplaces established by states, not those established by or run in partnership with the federal government. Over 30 states have insurance marketplaces that are either maintained entirely by the federal government or run in partnership between the state and federal government. If the Supreme Court rules in favor of the plaintiffs, millions of individuals would no longer be eligible for tax subsidies to purchase marketplace coverage. This could have an enormous impact on the health insurance markets in those states with federal marketplaces. If the court strikes down the federal exchange subsidies, the ruling would eliminate about $28.8 billion in subsidies to 9.3 million individuals in 34 states in 2016, according to an Urban Institute analysis.2 The outcome of this case is, therefore, of critical importance to healthcare providers and consumers. The Court’s decision is expected in late June.
The March 2014 Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) Madness may have a repeat performance again this March as proponents of ICD-10-CM/PCS's implementation on October 1 are watching Washington closely. According to the March 13 The Hill article, House leaders are closing in on a deal to permanently avert cuts in payments to physicians under Medicare, two House aides confirmed Friday. The deal would offset only about $70 billion of the more than $200 billion cost of making the permanent fix, however. This would likely draw opposition from conservatives over budget concerns. Democrats would be widely expected to back the deal, and their votes would be key to getting the vehicle passed in the House and Senate.
The proposal also includes a two-year extension of the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), aides confirmed, which is a priority for Democrats. The deal would be a compromise for Democrats, who hoped for a four-year extension of the program. Including the children’s program would drive the bill’s total cost to over $200 billion. The so-called “doc fix” portion would cost an estimated $174 billion over ten years, according to the Congressional Budget Office.
As lawmakers prepare to vote on a permanent repeal (or another temporary patch) to the Medicare SGR formula, time is running out on the March 31 deadline that would impose a cut of more than 20 percent on Medicare providers' reimbursement. In March of last year, the SGR bill included the delay of ICD-10 to October 1, 2015, and there are concerns a delay could again be linked to this year's vote.
The NCAA tournament is known for emotional highs and lows, an element of unpredictability, the rousing performance of the underdog and the single-minded determination to win. Without a doubt healthcare providers and consumers are sure to experience all of that and more as March Madness plays out again this year.
1.)Kasakove, Evan (13 April 2011). "The legacy of Bob Knight". The Muhlenberg Weekly. Retrieved 27 April 2012.