Think Whole Person Healthcare is committed to pushing the boundaries of healthcare for the benefit of its patients. One significant stride in this journey was the establishment of Think ACO, LLC—an Accountable Care Organization (ACO). The ACO model aligns seamlessly with think’s values, reflecting a dedication to providing high-quality whole person healthcare at lower costs. It also cleanly integrates into think’s focus on preventive care, keeping costs in check by focusing on long-term outcomes.
Unpacking Think’s ACO
A New Frontier in Collaborative Healthcare
Think ACO, LLC embodies a collaborative network of dedicated physicians and specialists. Their mission is to share both the financial and medical responsibilities of patients, prioritizing high-quality care and cost savings. The ACO model, introduced by the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services (CMS), serves as a response to the escalating healthcare spending within the Baby Boomer population.
Setting the Standards: Quality and Cost Savings
ACOs like think are held to strict quality standards in care and cost savings. Being held to those standards means achieving excellence in patient care not only in terms of medical outcomes but also in terms of financial prudence. When think meets these standards, the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services rewards the ACO with gainsharing payments, a testament to their commitment to quality and efficiency.
Whole Person Health in Action
Think ACO, LLC isn’t just a structural innovation; it represents the organization’s commitment to whole person healthcare. The coordinated care approach fosters an environment beneficial for patients dealing with multiple chronic illnesses. The ACO model aligns seamlessly with think’s values, reflecting a dedication to providing high-quality healthcare at lower costs.
The Interplay with Preventive Care
Preventive Healthcare: A Pillar of Well-Being
As think embraces the ACO model, it also champions preventive healthcare. This becomes particularly significant in light of Dr. Bill Engle’s insights into the importance of preventive care in averting serious health issues in his article Does Preventive Healthcare Really Matter?
A Stitch in Time: The Essence of Preventive Healthcare
Dr. Engle’s experience with a patient diagnosed with congestive heart failure emphasizes the relevance of preventive healthcare. The patient’s journey underscores the truth that preventive care is like a ‘stitch in time,’ averting potentially life-threatening conditions by addressing health issues long before they escalate through regular doctor visits and screenings. Counter to this tale, preventive care in the previous decades may have improved both the health and economic outcomes of this situation, and it is here that the goals of an accountable care organization and preventive care intersect. The tale also serves as a reminder that your engagement with preventive care now can prevent potential health concerns down the road.
The Think Approach to Preventive Healthcare
Navigating Preventive Healthcare at Think Whole Person Healthcare
Preventive healthcare is a cornerstone of Think Whole Person Healthcare’s practice. We recognize the challenges individuals encounter in seeking preventive care, from unawareness of recommended services to concerns about cost or provider availability.
A Comprehensive Approach
Our approach to preventive care encompasses a comprehensive array of services. From routine screenings to vaccinations to counseling, patients can benefit from early health concern detection. The think Comprehensive Care Management system, including Chronic Care Management and Remote Patient Management, offers a holistic approach to patient well-being.
The Economic Impact of Preventive Care
Saving Lives, Saving Costs
Preventive care isn’t just about health outcomes—it’s also a significant cost-saving strategy. Dr. Engle illustrates the financial implications of neglecting preventive care, from expensive ER visits to hospitalization costs.
He states, “It may come as no surprise, but emergency room (ER) visits are expensive. According to government and medical statistics, the average emergency room visit costs $2,200 on average. While insurance and Medicare does pay a percentage of your emergent care, you are still responsible for the remaining costs. Total ER expenses typically include fees for triage, facility/room use, medications, medical supplies, plus the attending physician and professional fees.
If your condition warrants a hospital stay, be prepared for even more sticker shock. Healthcare.gov finds that the average three-day hospital stay costs around $30,000. If you need surgery, say for heart valve replacement, it may cost more than $200,000. One medical relief debt agency notes that 60% – 65% of bankruptcies in the country are related to medical expenses.”
At think, our emphasis on preventive healthcare aims to mitigate these financial burdens for patients.
Empowering Individuals Through Preventive Care
Your Health, Your Timeline
Dr. Engle emphasizes the individualized nature of preventive care, acknowledging that the right time for screenings depends on various factors. Think encourages patients to take a proactive stance, encouraging regular check-ups and timely interventions.
Beyond Annual Physicals
Dr. Engle promotes a ‘time out’ approach rather than a conventional ‘annual physical.’ This encourages patients to engage in meaningful conversations about their health, minimizing the tendency to overlook seemingly minor concerns.
“Rather than referring to an ‘annual physical’ for my patients, I say let’s take a “time out” and go over everything and make sure we’re not missing something important. This gives me an opportunity to ask my patients questions and gives them an opportunity to bring up anything they’ve been thinking about with their health.” Bill Engle, DO
Dr. Engle believes that preventive medicine is about statistics and at think we strive to shift the statistics in favor of better health outcomes.
ACOs and Preventive Care – Aligning for Life Long Health
As Think Whole Person Healthcare continues to pave the way for elevated healthcare through its ACO model, the integration with preventive care emerges as a powerful synergy. By fostering a culture of proactive health management, Think not only ensures better patient outcomes but also contributes to a more sustainable and cost-effective healthcare landscape. The ACO model stands as a testament to Think’s commitment to Whole Person Health, and its alignment with preventive care is a significant step towards a healthier and more resilient community.
You can read Dr. Bill Engle’s Article Does Preventive Healthcare Really Matter here: https://thinkhealthcare.org/does-preventive-healthcare-really-matter/