By Andrew Haig, MD
I was extremely pleased that Haig Consulting was featured in a recent article on how doctors are trying to help healthcare consumers (In Focus: Physician-Led Efforts to Promote Value). The Commonwealth Fund is a foundation that promotes “a high-performing health care system that achieves better access, improved quality, and greater efficiency, particularly for society’s most vulnerable, including low-income people, the uninsured, minority Americans, young children, and elderly adults.”
The article mentions our work with the Michigan insurer Priority Health to assure that patients who were referred by their primary care physician to a surgeon for back pain were first required to see a physiatrist. The 25 percent reduction in spine surgery and 12 percent reduction in overall spine-related costs per member per month – along with continued member satisfaction – is a goal we’re trying to replicate in Vermont.
The keys are consistency and communications. When everyone is on board, including administrative staff, physical therapists and physicians, it’s clear to the patients we are all in this together. Certainly, we’re focused on reducing costs. But more importantly, we’re improving outcomes, working to reduce opioids and getting people back on their feet sooner.