USFHP

US Family Health Plan—A Model of High Quality Care and High Patient Satisfaction

This week, Defense Secretary Ash Carter announced a series of initiatives to strengthen the U.S. military’s employee benefits package to ensure that our military community members receive health and family benefits comparable to those found in the private sector. As the Department of Defense aims to provide high-quality health benefits, it should look to the Uniformed Services Family Health Plan as a model program that already leads the way in patient satisfaction, better health outcomes and cost effective health care.

The US Family Health Plan’s six regional nonprofit care providers are unique in TRICARE for their capitated care model and proactive approach to medicine focused on improved patient wellness, disease management and predictive modeling to ensure that the care received is the most appropriate to the patient’s medical condition. US Family Health Plan beneficiaries are among the country’s most satisfied patients with a 91.5-percent aggregate satisfaction rating, according to the 2015 Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (CAHPS®) survey.

This rating, more than 25 percentage points higher than the national average for commercial health plans, is driven by a culture and value-based care model that helps patients live healthier lives and which, in turn, reduces the frequency of costly emergency room visits and inpatient care. As healthcare in the private sector becomes more innovative and patient-centric, the US Family Health Plan serves as a model for the Department of Defense in its pursuit of top-of-the-line care, higher patient satisfaction and cost effective care delivery.

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Congress Learns about Military’s Only Capitated Healthcare model

Members of Congress have been looking for solutions to curb the rising cost of military healthcare, and on Nov. 3 representatives of US Family Health Plan briefed congressional officials about key features of the only fixed price, value-based capitated care program in the Military Health System.

U.S. Rep. Adam Smith (D-Washington), Ranking member of the House Armed Services Committee, introduces US Family Health Plan executives Linda Marzano (left) and David Chicoine (right) at a Nov. 3 Capitol Hill briefing on population health management.

U.S. Rep. Adam Smith (D-Washington), Ranking member of the House Armed Services Committee, introduces US Family Health Plan executives Linda Marzano (left) and David Chicoine (right) at a Nov. 3 Capitol Hill briefing on population health management.

“The US Family Health Plan is the alternative model of care that the country is striving for,” said Linda Marzano, chair of the US Family Health Plan Alliance’s board of directors and CEO of Pacific Medical Centers, located in Seattle. “We have high quality, high patient satisfaction and a lower cost of care. We are achieving what the entire country is trying to move toward.”

Patient-Centered Healthcare Leads to Member Satisfaction

Marzano’s remarks on Capitol Hill come after the Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (CAHPS®) survey confirmed that US Family Health Plan patients are some of the most satisfied in the country. The CAHPS report this year showed that the US Family Health Plan’s aggregate member satisfaction rating in 2014 was 91.5 percent—more than 25 points higher on a 100-point scale than the national average for commercial health plans.

(Left to right) US Family Health Plan executives Linda Marzano (Pacific Medical Centers), David Chicoine (Brighton Marine Health Center) and David Howes (Martin’s Point Healthcare) discuss the high-quality, patient-centered healthcare that has been provided to military families for more than 30 years.

(Left to right) US Family Health Plan executives Linda Marzano (Pacific Medical Centers), David Chicoine (Brighton Marine Health Center) and David Howes (Martin’s Point Healthcare) discuss the high-quality, patient-centered healthcare that has been provided to military families for more than 30 years.

The six designated provider organizations that make up the US Family Health Plan operate a capitated-care model in which they are reimbursed at a fixed rate for the cost all patient services, and they are at risk if the cost of care exceeds that rate. This arrangement incentivizes investment in population health and disease management programs that help people live healthier lives and avoid expensive episodes of inpatient care.

“Each year, we’ve been able to offer great care at an affordable cost,” explained Dr. David Howes, president and CEO of Martin’s Point HealthCare. “Because people enroll with us, we know the people for whom we are responsible. We establish their preventive care needs, risks and chronic diseases, so we can help them to optimize their care, minimize hospitalizations and complications and remain healthy for as long as possible.”

David Chicoine, senior vice president and plan CEO for Brighton Marine Health Center, explained that each US Family Health Plan enrollee has an assigned primary care provider to coordinate care based on population models, health screenings and the patient’s previous medical history.

“Delivering very patient-specific healthcare is critical to achieving the high patient outcomes that we do,” Chicoine said.

“The Level of Care is Extraordinary”

Two US Family Health Plan members, retired Navy Rear Adm. Bill Center and retired Air

US Family Health Plan members—retired Navy Rear Adm. Bill Center (second from right) and retired Air Force Chief Master Sergeant Michael Tedford (far right) explain why the US Family Health Plan is the best option for their families’ healthcare.

US Family Health Plan members—retired Navy Rear Adm. Bill Center (second from right) and retired Air Force Chief Master Sergeant Michael Tedford (far right) explain why the US Family Health Plan is the best option for their families’ healthcare.

Force Chief Master Sergeant Michael Tedford, explained why they chose the US Family Health Plan from among the TRICARE choices for health care. Tedford discussed how, after retiring from the U.S. Air Force, he and his family moved between various health providers before settling on the US Family Health Plan, and noted how the preventive care approach helped catch a significant illness at a very early stage.

“The plan’s focus on preventive care is high, and I think it’s really instituted in the culture of all the care providers,” Tedford explained. “It sort of mimics that old cliché—an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. I’ve had nothing but good things to say about [the US Family Health Plan], and I plan on staying in it until I’m kicked out.”

Rear Admiral Center, who served the U.S. Navy for 35 years, noted the high quality care and personal respect he and his wife receive through the US Family Health Plan at Pacific Medical Center, which he touted as a model for future of the Military Healthcare System.

“The quality of care we’ve received is extraordinary,” he said. “I’m grateful we have this plan, and if it were up to me, I would want a plan like this for all military retirees. Our medical benefit is the most important of all of our retirement benefits, and when I talk to other retirees I get the same sentiment, especially as we grow older. [The US Family Health Plan’s] model lends itself to a true partnership between the military and retiree healthcare providers, and I think a seamless partnership is really important as we go forward in the future.”

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The Doctor Will See You Now

When you’re not feeling well, the last thing you want to hear is “Sorry, we have no appointments available until…” That’s why the US Family Health Plan makes it a priority to connect members with a doctor as soon as possible, in most cases that same day.

The US Family Health Plan participating organizations have developed programs that make it easier for military families we serve to access their healthcare—like a 24-hour tele-health line or the prescription delivery service that brings the pharmacy to the doorstep.

According to the 2015 Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (CAHPS®) Survey, 91.4 percent of our beneficiaries were able to make an appointment with a doctor as soon as they needed, compared to the national average of 83.1 percent.

Robin Crane, a US Family Health Plan member with six children, loves being a part of our Johns Hopkins network. According to Robin, “When we’ve needed our children to be seen—numerous times—they’ve bent over backwards to get them in.”

The non-profit organizations providing care under the US Family Health Plan program are among the most highly-rated health plans in the nation for quality of care and overall patient satisfaction.

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Diabetes: Know the Warning Signs

World Diabetes Day is dedicated to increasing awareness and education about the escalating health threat posed by diabetes. Knowing the warning signs and risk factors associated with diabetes is important in preventing this disease which affects more than 380 million people worldwide.

Early detection and ongoing disease management can make a real difference for a patient’s quality of life.  That’s why US Family Health Plan (USFHP) is committed to providing our members with the resources and information they need to maintain healthy lifestyles and help prevent the development of costly chronic diseases like diabetes.

USFHP offers a comprehensive network of health education and care management programs, as well as chronic disease programs that can help members manage and improve their health. For instance, Diabetes at Work—a National Diabetes Education Program created by the Department of Health and Human Services—is a customized five-week program that helps patients develop a better understanding of what diabetes is, while teaching them how to stay healthy through physical activity and proper nutrition. USFHP members can also take advantage of the Diabetes Conversation Mapping Program, a four-week interactive course designed to engage small groups of people with diabetes in an open discussion about their condition.

USFHP member Linda Gallentine believed she could manage her diabetes without the help of a doctor. But when a physical exam and blood test revealed that Gallentine’s blood sugar had spiked, and she also had high cholesterol, she started on medication and enrolled in a diabetes education class that would change her life.  Today, Gallentine has fully embraced the lessons taught in her diabetes education classes at Johns Hopkins Community Physicians.  By changing her family’s diet and exercise habits, she has lost about 50 pounds and lowered her blood sugar significantly.

“Dr. Feeser keeps me accountable,” said Gallentine. “Without him keeping such good track of my care, I would not have been as successful.”

USFHP is proud to offer America’s military families the best doctors, many of whom are recognized by the National Committee on Quality Assurance (NCQA) for Excellence in Diabetes Care.  By working collaboratively with our members and providing leading programs, we are committed to preventing and reducing episodes of expensive chronic care.  Click here to learn more about the network of wellness programs available to our beneficiaries.

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Veterans Day Message from the US Family Health Plan

On this Veterans Day, the US Family Health Plan salutes the millions of men and women who have served in the United States Armed Forces. America’s current service men and women, and our veterans embody the ideals of selfless service and patriotism upon which America was founded more than 230 years ago.

The 22 million veterans alive today have served in all branches of the uniformed services and in conflicts large and small around the globe. Our veterans have shown the selflessness, made personal and family sacrifices, and have consistently displayed the kind courage and commitment that have kept our nation free and allowed the United States to become the greatest country in the world. America’s veterans have fought our wars, stood ready during peacetime and responded to disasters at home and abroad when called upon. While we can never truly repay the debt we owe these heroes, the least we should do for them is ensure that they have full access to the services and benefits they have earned, including health care.

The member organizations and staff of the US Family Health Plan program are truly grateful for the service and sacrifice of America’s service members, veterans and their families. Today, and every day, we are committed to honoring their service through the delivery of the highest quality health care in support of our men and women in uniform, their families, and retirees and their families.

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Happy Birthday to the U.S. Marine Corps! USFHP Thanks You for Your Service

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Happy Birthday to the U.S. Marine Corps! USFHP Thanks You for Your Service

As the U.S. Marine Corps celebrates its 240th anniversary, we want to emphasize how thankful we are to all of the brave men and women who have served our country, including US Family Health Plan member Salvatore Falletti.

USFHP has been a trusted partner of the Military Healthcare System for more than 30 years and we look forward to many more years of providing quality care to military families nationwide.

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US Family Health Plan Supports the 2015 Warrior-Family Symposium

U.S. military personnel are facing mental health challenges on and off the battlefield.  According to the Army’s Study to Assess Risk and Resilience in Service Members (the Army STARRS Report), almost 25 percent of nearly 5,500 active-duty, non-deployed Army soldiers who were surveyed reported that they are facing a mental health challenge.  Service member mental health challenges also inevitably impact military families.

For the fourth straight year the US Family Health Plan Alliance helped sponsor the 2015 Warrior-Family Symposium.  The 2015 Warrior-Family Symposium was conducted jointly by the Military Officers Association of America and Wounded Warrior Project. Participants discussed government and nongovernment organizations aligning and acting to improve the overall mental wellness of the nation’s service members, veterans and their families—specifically looking at our individual and collective responsibilities and commitments to taking care of our own, as citizens and as the nation at-large.  The event brought together government leaders, caregivers and supporting organizations to discuss mental wellness programs and treatment options available to our nation’s service members and their families.

The US Family Health Plan participating organizations welcome opportunities to increase awareness and discover new ways to support the mental wellness of our nation’s service members, veterans and their families.  As a trusted partner in the Military Healthcare System for more than 30 years, we are committed to providing comprehensive care that supports the long-term wellness of all military family members, include mental wellness.

 

 

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Care Shouldn’t Start in the Emergency Room

An emergency room is too often the first choice for medical care, even when alternative care options are available. According to a 2015 survey by the American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP), 75 percent of ER doctors reported an increase in patient visits since January 2014, with nearly 90 percent reporting either stagnation or worsening in their patients’ conditions. However, this is not an irreversible trend. There are steps healthcare providers can take to reduce the number of emergency room visits and, in turn, lower healthcare costs.

One of the most effective approaches is population health management because it improves patients’ overall health and wellbeing and provides tools so that they can take greater control of their healthcare. The numbers prove population health management is making a difference for US Family Health Plan members. Our beneficiaries under age 65 make 40 percent fewer trips to the emergency room than non-USHFP beneficiaries while spending 50 percent fewer nights in the hospital, according to the consulting firm Milliman. Care for our patients does not start in the emergency room—it starts at home. USFHP members are encouraged and empowered to invest in their own health through wellness initiatives. Programs like health literacy training, flu outreach reminders and weight management and smoking cessation programs help our members get healthy and stay healthy. When they do need medical attention, USFHP members enjoy an integrated care network in which providers share patient information seamlessly.

Another key USFHP approach that helps reduce ER visits is making sure patients have access to care. A 24-hour nurse help line, the use of a primary care manager, the availability of urgent care centers for immediate but non-emergency care, and in-home patient monitoring are quality alternatives to the emergency room. Improved wellness combined with quality, coordinated care results in healthier patients who, in the long term, save money by avoiding hospital visits and receiving less frequent medical attention. They are also proving to remain highly satisfied with their care: nearly 93 percent of USFHP beneficiaries rate their health plan above-average according to the National Committee for Quality Assurance, compared to only 66 percent for similar plans.

We’re glad to see our patients happy and healthy, not in the emergency room.

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Patient-Centered Care Leads to 91.5% Member Satisfaction Rate for US Family Health Plan

Arlington, VA — While America continues to seek solutions to the need for low-cost, high-quality healthcare, the US Family Health Plan—a Department of Defense program with history of delivering high quality, patient-centered care to uniformed services families— has again garnered exemplary member satisfaction ratings, according to the final report of the Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems (CAHPS®) Survey.  The US Family Health Plan, the only fixed price, value-based capitated care program in the Military Health System, has achieved a 2015 aggregate member satisfaction rating of 91.5 percent:  over 25 points higher on a 100-point scale than the national average for satisfaction with commercial health plans.  That’s when compared to the 201 plans documented in the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA) 2015 Quality Compass Report.

Based on the report, 66.1 percent of health plan members nationally report high satisfaction with their plans (rating them an 8, 9 or 10 on a scale of 1-10). By contrast, a whopping 91.5 percent of US Family Health Plan members report high satisfaction with their plan.  The overall objective of the CAHPS® study is to capture accurate and complete information about consumer-reported experiences with health care.

The independent CAHPS® assessment of 4,782 US Family Health Plan members employed the most widely used set of performance metrics in the managed care industry to measure performance on important dimensions of care and service.   It assesses member satisfaction in areas such as claims processing, customer service and getting needed care quickly.

“The US Family Health Plan’s national member satisfaction scores once again exceed the benchmark in all rating areas for the core population, including survey respondents of all ages,” said Debbie Vereb, Executive Vice President, Operations at SPH Analytics, an NCQA-certified HEDIS survey vendor that administered the study of the health plan members.  “US Family Health Plan members report significantly higher satisfaction with customer service, getting needed care, getting care quickly, coordination of care, and how well their doctors communicate with them.”

The US Family Health Plan, a comprehensive healthcare plan, offers the full TRICARE Prime benefit to more than 145,000 military beneficiaries, including active-duty family members, activated National Guard and Reserve family members, and military retirees and their family members.

Linda Marzano, Chief Executive Officer of Pacific Medical Centers and chairman of the US Family Health Plan Alliance board of directors, said, “We are committed to delivering high value to military beneficiaries and to the Department of Defense by focusing on the needs of our members and engaging them in programs to keep them healthy.  Through the use of population health and disease management programs, our goal is to help our members to live healthy lifestyles and minimize their chances of developing chronic conditions.  Our fixed price contracts ensure that DOD and the taxpayers pay no more than any other source of care while beneficiaries are protected from high co-pays and deductibles though medical management.  For us, it’s about the people. We believe our military families deserve the best care we can provide — it’s that simple.”

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About the US Family Health Plan:

An integral part of health care provided to uniformed services dependents and retirees since 1981, the US Family Health Plan program is part of the Military Health System, offering the TRICARE Prime benefit in 16 states and the District of Columbia.  The US Family Health Plan was the first and remains the only true population health/value-based care model in the Military Health System.   The six fully accredited, community-based health care systems, known as designated providers, include Brighton Marine Health Center, CHRISTUS Health, Johns Hopkins Health Care, Martin’s Point Health Care, Pacific Medical Centers, and St. Vincent Catholic Medical Centers.

Note to Editors:  CAHPS® is a registered trademark of the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ).

Happy Birthday to the U.S. Navy! USFHP Celebrates You Every Day

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We are grateful to the U.S. Navy and our members like Vince Marion and his wife for their service and dedication. US Family Health Plan exists for one reason: to provide high quality care to our nation’s greatest heroes – our military members and their families. Happy Birthday to the U.S. Navy!