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Practice Transformation

Practices with a team-based care infrastructure are better at patient engagement initiatives than those without, according to research published in the Annals of Family Medicine. “Collectively, our findings suggest that strengthening the foundation of the medical home by promoting full staffing of primary care teams, clearly defined roles of team members, effective leadership, and a practice culture of performance improvement may increase adoption and use of patient engagement practices,” the researchers conclude. In particular, clear staffing roles matters: “Working in a chaotic clinic environment with vague team boundaries is associated with higher barriers to providing patient-centered care,” they note. (Annals of Family MedicinePatientEngagementHIT)

Evidence & Innovation

Health and Human Services recently released a five-year federal health IT strategic plan. It outlines four goals: promote health and wellness; enhance care delivery; build a data-driven ecosystem to accelerate research and innovation; and better connect health care services with health data. Among the strategies for achieving this: Encourage new HIT developers to compete in the market by reducing financial and regulatory barriers; promote trustworthiness of health IT products by enforcing privacy and security regulations; and support competition among developers by making it easier to transmit health data from one product to another. (Modern Healthcare*; Federal Health IT Strategic Plan)
Falsehoods about the COVID-19 vaccine—and vaccines in general—threaten the impact of a coronavirus vaccine, sowing doubt and mistrust among millions of Facebook users, according to a new analysis by NewsGuard. It identified 34 Facebook pages that are “super-spreaders” of misinformation about the development of a COVID-19 vaccine. For most of the false or misleading posts identified, Facebook provided no warning, fact-checking language or links to more credible sources. The sites have large Facebook audiences, most with more than 100,000 likes per page and more than 14.1 million likes. (NewsGuard report)
President Trump’s tenure gave states more authority to run their own health insurance markets and develop strategies for COVID-19 testing. A Biden administration may try to reverse that trend. Much depends on what happens in the Senate. Some of Biden’s plans—investing in the ACA, creating a public option and pouring trillions into a unified coronavirus strategy—will likely encounter strong opposition. But when it comes to controlling drug and health care costs, there’s potential for bipartisan agreement—especially when it comes to ending surprise medical billing and lowering prescription drug prices. (NPR)

Policy Solutions

CMS has issued its final rule mandating that all nearly all health insurers and self-insured plans disclose pricing and cost-sharing information. The Transparency in Coverage Act requires them to post in-network and out-of-network rates they negotiate with providers. It also requires insurers to develop online price transparency tools to give patients cost-sharing information. Insurers and hospital groups and even some experts argued it would confuse patients and do little to lower costs. Payers will have to make available a list of 500 shoppable services through an online tool by Jan. 1, 2023. (Modern Healthcare*; CMS fact sheet)
What does Biden’s victory mean for the Affordable Care Act? Much depends on who controls the Senate, but a Health Affairs Blog post offers some “tentative” insights. A Biden administration could announce an immediate special enrollment period and increase outreach to spread the word that coverage is available. This would benefit the newly uninsured who may be unfamiliar how Marketplace enrollment works. It could reverse other Trump era changes through rulemaking, although that would take time. Unilateral options include providing temporary relief from premium tax credit reconciliation requirements and promoting standardized plans. (Health Affairs)
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Register Now! Member Feedback Needed: Medication Management Reform: 4 Key Drivers

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TODAY November 17 – from 1:00-1:30 pm EST
Payment and Policy: Demonstrating Value
November 19 – from 1:00-2:00 pm EST
Practice Transformation: CMM Adoption Across the Care Continuum?
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