Healthcare News of Note: Telehealth aids outcomes for Medicare beneficiaries with opioid-use disorder
- Improved retention in care and reduced odds of medically treated overdose were significant outcomes of a recent study of telehealth use during the pandemic by Medicare beneficiaries initiating new episodes of care related to opioid-use disorder.
- Results of a supply chain survey by McKinsey & Company indicate most companies, including those in the healthcare sector, are planning significant changes to their inventory management strategies over the next three years.
- The impact of the pandemic on healthcare-associated infections was more significant in smaller-sized and community hospitals, according to results of a study.
Over the last few weeks, I have found these industry news stories that should be of interest to healthcare finance professionals.
1. Telehealth during the pandemic has improved care for Medicare beneficiaries with opioid-use disorder, says study
Use of telehealth during the pandemic by Medicare beneficiaries initiating new episodes of care for opioid-use disorder (OUD) “improved retention in care and reduced odds of medically treated overdose, providing support for permanent adoption,” according to results of a study published Aug. 31 in JAMA Psychiatry.
The researchers used CMS data from September 2018 to February 2021 to examine “receipt of telehealth services, MOUD [medications for opioid-use disorder, referring to methadone, buprenorphine and extended-release naltrexone] receipt and retention, and medically treated overdose before and during the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Additional results from the study include:
- The percentage experiencing a medically treated overdose during the study period was similar for the pre-pandemic cohort (18.5%) and the in-pandemic cohort (18.4%).
- Receipt of OUD-related telehealth services in the pandemic cohort was associated with increased odds of MOUD retention and lower odds of medically treated overdose.
- There’s a continued need for a well-coordinated and comprehensive health system that integrates physical and behavioral healthcare, given that beneficiaries in both cohorts had many challenging diagnoses and chronic medical conditions, including a large majority with chronic pain.
- Non-Hispanic African-American individuals had lower odds of receiving telehealth services for OUD or behavioral health and lower odds for MOUD retention.
- Higher odds of medically treated overdose were seen among non-Hispanic African American, American Indian or Alaska Native, and Asian or Pacific Islander individuals.
In the context of an escalating overdose crisis, “strategies to expand provision of MOUD, increase retention in care, and address co-occurring physical and behavioral health conditions are urgently needed,” wrote the authors.
2. McKinsey survey: Significant revisions to inventory management strategies for pharma and medical devices expected through 2025
Results of a supply chain survey by McKinsey & Company indicates most companies, including those in the healthcare sector, are planning significant changes to their inventory management strategies over the next three years, according to an article published Aug. 26 on the company’s website.
In each sector, the majority of respondents indicated revisions to inventory management strategy:
- Advanced electronics/high tech: 90%
- Chemicals/advanced materials: 86%
- Construction/engineering/infrastructure: 80%
- Commodities (oil, gas, etc.): 71%
- Healthcare (specifically pharma and medical devices): 67%
- Automotive/aerospace/defense: 55%
- Consumer packaged goods, food and beverage/retail: 52%
Additional responses in the healthcare sector included:
- 15% plan to return to pre-COVID-19 inventory management plans and targets
- 11% plan to decrease inventory below pre-COVID levels
- 7% have no changes planned for inventory levels
Prevalent strategic changes across sectors include implementing dual sourcing of raw materials (81%) and increasing inventory along the supply chain (80%), while the share of respondents incorporating regionalization strategies increased from 25% to 44% between 2021 and 2022.
3. The COVID-19 pandemic had a disproportionate impact on healthcare-associated infections in community hospitals
“The impact of the pandemic on healthcare-associated infections was more significant in smaller sized and community hospitals,” according to results of a study of infectious diseases at 53 hospitals in the southeastern United States published Aug. 23 in the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases.
“CLABSIs [central-line-associated bloodstream infections], VAEs [ventilator-associated events], and CDIs [C. difficile infections] increased significantly during the pandemic, especially in smaller community hospitals, most of which lack ID [infectious disease] physician expertise,” the authors wrote.
Notably, CLABSI and VAE rates both increased by more than 40% at community hospitals during the first three months of the pandemic but did not change significantly at academic hospitals.
“Future efforts should focus on better understanding challenges faced by community hospitals, strengthening infection prevention infrastructure, and expanding the ID workforce, particularly to community hospitals,” the authors wrote.
The data also showed:
- CLABSIs and VAEs increased by 24% and 34%, respectively, during the first year of the pandemic.
- VAEs increased throughout the first year, while CLABSIs increased later in the year.
- CDIs increased by 4.2% per month during the first year.
- Catheter-associated urinary tract infection rates did not change significantly during the pandemic.
HFMA bonus content
Read the September issue of hfm magazine, including the column, “Cost effectiveness of health: What is your role?” by HMFA President & CEO Joseph J. Fifer.
Read “Financial and operational challenges still hamper hospitals 2.5 years into the pandemic” by Nick Hut, senior editor with HFMA.