Diverse Scholars Initiative Forum Empowers Students to Make a Difference in Health Care

diverse scholars forum

100 students from across the nation gathered at the United Health Foundation’s Diverse Scholars Initiative Forum in Washington, D.C., to discuss the importance of culturally competent health care and how they can make a difference in the patient experience.

With goals of improving health care delivery, particularly for underserved communities, participants in the United Health Foundation Diverse Scholars Initiative traveled to Washington, D.C., for the annual Diverse Scholars Initiative Forum. Nearly 100 students from across the nation gathered to discuss the importance of culturally competent health care and how they can make a difference in the patient experience.

Since 2007, the Diverse Scholars Initiative has provided more than $20 million to fund nearly 2,600 scholarships for undergraduate and graduate students pursuing careers as primary care health professionals – particularly in underserved communities.

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UnitedHealth Group Brief Examines Price Variation in Health Care

savings opportunities

A new research brief from UnitedHealth Group examines price variation in health care and calculates the savings potential between what is currently paid and what could be paid if certain high-priced services were each re-priced to a lower level already available for that same service.

The details: The brief illustrates the issue of price variation by addressing seven types of common diagnostic tests. The data show that if the price variation of these diagnostic tests was reduced, consumers would have saved $18.5 billion in 2017.

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UnitedHealth Group Brief Reveals Key Drivers of Health Care Premium Increases

home-based care for seniors

Prescription drugs, outpatient services, and taxes on health insurance are key drivers of premium increases, according to a recently released UnitedHealth Group brief.

The details:

Over 80 cents of each premium dollar is spent on medical benefits for members and their families.

Prescription drugs and outpatient services are the main drivers of medical spending, which averaged 5.5% annual growth from 2013 to 2018.

  • 8% annual growth in outpatient services
  • 7% annual growth in prescription drugs

High and increasing taxes, including the ACA Health Insurance Tax, are driving up the cost of premiums.

  • 5.9 cents of each premium dollar goes to pay for federal, state, and local taxes on health insurance.
  • Taxes on health insurance increased nearly 20% from 2017 to 2018 due to the reinstatement of the ACA Health Insurance Tax.

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America’s Health Rankings Reports Increasing Availability of Home-Based Care for Seniors

home-based care for seniors

Seniors have increasing access to home-based care and support services that may help them continue to live at home, according to the 2019 America’s Health Rankings® Senior Report.

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Out-of-Network Emergency Physicians Increase Health Care Prices for Consumers by $6 Billion Each Year

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Individuals with private health coverage in the United States who seek emergency care from in-network hospital emergency departments (EDs) are often treated by out-of-network (OON) emergency physicians. A new UnitedHealth Group report reveals that inflated charges by OON emergency physicians treating patients at in-network EDs total an estimated $6 billion each year. The balance bills that often result from these charges are a key reason tens of millions of privately insured individuals struggle with high out-of-pocket costs.

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High-Performing Physicians Can Save Consumers Over $700 Billion in Health Care Costs

A new UnitedHealth Group report shows the health care system could save $710 billion over 10 years, including $57 billion in 2019, if all the U.S. physicians caring for commercially-insured patients and meeting established quality criteria were to also meet established cost-efficiency criteria. The report reflects UnitedHealth Group’s focus on achieving better health outcomes, lower costs, and better experiences for those we serve.

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New Moms Taking Healthy First Steps

Mom Baby

UnitedHealthcare Community & State’s Healthy First Steps program helped support over 13,000 high-risk members in 2018, including individuals like Laney*, a 31-year-old mother-to-be in Florida. She previously had two stillbirths after pre-term labor, as well as an ectopic pregnancy.

The Big Picture: Maternal mortality has increased by 27 percent in the United States since 1990, while falling by 44 percent in other developed countries during the same period. Hypertensive disorders such as high blood pressure during pregnancy have been rising, as well as rates of diabetes during pregnancy.

What’s more, stark racial disparities exist for the rate of infant mortality. Studies have shown a link between black women reporting racial discrimination in their experience of maternal care and having higher rates of pre-term and low-birth weight babies.

Healthy First Steps helps moms and babies who receive Medicaid benefits find holistic, compassionate care. The program also addresses broader social needs when necessary. For some moms, this might mean connecting them to housing or outpatient opioid treatment.

*Name changed to protect member’s privacy.

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Offering Students a Second Chance at Breakfast

GENYOUth breakfast

UnitedHealthcare partnered with GENYOUth, an organization that specializes in national initiatives that nurture healthy, high-achieving students and school communities, donating $100,000 for 10 schools in Minnesota. The funding supports grab-n-go carts, providing students with a chance to get breakfast.

Why it Matters: It’s often said that “breakfast is the most important meal of the day.” For students who don’t have an opportunity to grab breakfast before school, this program is helping them feel more engaged in the mornings, and teachers are witnessing an improvement in their learning. Based on similar programs GENYOUth implemented in other states, seven out of 10 students report performing better academically after having breakfast.

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PreCheck MyScript Helps Improve the Pharmacy Experience

PreCheck Video

UnitedHealthcare's PreCheck MyScript offers physicians real-time information about available drug options, compares the exact out-of-pocket cost of each drug based specifically on their UnitedHealthcare patient’s pharmacy benefit plan and flags whether a pre-authorization is needed, all while the patient is still in the exam room.

Why it Matters: Nearly half of all Americans take at least one prescription drug, and more than a third of people over age 45 take three or more prescription drugs. And the costs can be substantial. The U.S. spends more than $300 billion on these drugs annually – about $1,000 per person.

Initial results show using PreCheck MyScript has led physicians to choose a different, oftentimes lower-cost, drug about 20 percent of the time when an alternative was offered. In fact, UnitedHealthcare data shows it’s helping save about $80 per patient on each prescription filled when an alternative is selected.

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HouseCalls Help Identify Health Concerns and Close Gaps in Care

Housecalls

UnitedHealthcare has now provided more than 5 million in-home clinical visits through its HouseCalls program, bringing potentially life-saving preventive care to people enrolled in its Medicare Advantage plans in the convenience and privacy of their homes.

Why it Matters: HouseCalls health care practitioners gather important health information, including which preventive services have been received and which are still needed. HouseCalls visits are meant to support and not replace visits to the individual’s own doctor, and can help improve care coordination by sharing information and results for needed follow-up. UnitedHealthcare regularly hears from people whose lives have been profoundly affected by the HouseCalls program.

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