During the past year and a half, almost every single preventive care service took a backseat to more pressing pandemic-related concerns, from wellness checks to vaccines. Breast and cervical cancer screenings dropped by 95% and colon cancer screenings tumbled by 86%. Even 32% of existing cancer patients delayed treatment for a variety of reasons, ranging from finances, to concerns about contracting COVID-19, to a hesitancy to take up valuable medical resources.
Regardless of the reasons for skipping wellness checks or delaying medical treatments, the result is that medical providers have seen a 56% increase in health issues due to these decisions. Now, as a medical provider, you are at the forefront of encouraging patients to resume preventive screenings and regular care for chronic conditions to mitigate the higher costs associated with more serious medical conditions. Some call it healthcare cost containment. These three strategies can help.
1 – Virtual Visits for the Win
Virtual physician visits almost universally cost less for both you and your patients, and they’re more convenient as well. Increasing the use of remote technology is critical for getting patients back into their preventive care routine and for healthcare cost containment.
Notify patients who haven’t been into your office for their annual wellness checks that they have the option of meeting with a doctor through a secure video conference platform for their visit rather than having to deal with the hassle of coming to the office. Be sure to mention that these visits are typically covered by health insurance and supplemental health care policies and often have a lower copay as well.
Of course, not all preventive visits can be virtual, especially if blood work or other tests are required, but the more virtual visits you can conduct at least for initial screenings, the more conditions can be diagnosed before they progress into costly chronic diseases.
2 – Incentivize Preventive Care
Major health plans and supplemental health care insurance companies want to have the healthiest subscriber bases possible for healthcare cost containment reasons. To this end, many healthcare insurers offer incentives to their customers who pursue wellness checks. Some are offering rebates to patients who see their primary care physicians each year and others are sending members a reward card to spend on healthcare-related expenses like prescriptions following their annual exam.
As a healthcare provider, take the time to familiarize yourself with the various incentives that insurance companies offer their subscribers and inform your patients about these rewards. By advertising these incentives, your patients are more likely to visit your office or schedule a telemedicine appointment to earn their perks. This will allow you to intervene early if a potential medical condition arises.
3 – Emphasize the Urgency
In your communications with your patients, it’s imperative that you stress the urgency of wellness checks. As fall arrives, reach out to them with vaccination clinic announcements or provide them with walk-in hours when they can come into your office to get flu or pneumonia vaccines. Explain that it’s critical they be protected from these seasonal afflictions to keep their immune system strong in the face of COVID-19 variants.
Emphasize the need to get even minor ailments checked out to make sure they aren’t symptoms of larger issues, particularly for higher risk populations or for patients already managing one or more chronic conditions. Don’t be afraid to be candid about the increased costs associated with delayed detection and treatment. Sometimes, people need to hear the truth to take action.
Proactive Solutions for Healthcare Cost Containment
Just like their patients, healthcare providers must be proactive about returning their practices to normal without drastically increasing costs. If you need an insurance broker who can assist you in this volatile business landscape, contact Roger today.