New Survey: Progress Towards Health Equity Halted

April 12, 2024
Numerof & Associates’ population health study reveals that hospitals' financial concerns are well-grounded

In an April 8 news release, St. Louis-based global healthcare consultancy Numerof & Associates announced the release of its eighth annual survey, The State of Population Health. In collaboration with David B. Nash, M.D., MBA, founding dean emeritus of the Jefferson College of Population Health, the organization surveyed over a hundred C-Suite healthcare executives between May 2023 and November 2023, on the industry’s future.

According to the news release, the annual survey focuses on “participation by hospitals and health systems in contracts for the delivery of care in which their compensation is linked to the cost and quality of care.”

One key takeaway from the survey is that despite the industry's priority, advancement toward offering more services to address social determinants of health (SDOH) has been halted. In fact, per the report, the offering of services to address community needs has decreased from 35 percent in 2021 to 22 percent in 2023.

Per the report, the threat of financial loss has been a barrier to the implementation of population health. “While there has been some small growth in the adoption of at-risk contracting, fee-for-service remains the overwhelming model in use. Most organizations have not meaningfully engaged physicians in efforts to manage cost and quality and remain reluctant to contract at-risk for fear of financial loss.”

“Many issues, from the constantly increasing cost of care to the less-than-optimal outcomes too often achieved, are a function of a broken reimbursement model. Until we get serious about linking provider compensation to the outcomes that matter to patients across the continuum of care, we will continue to pay too much and receive too little,” the organization’s president, Rita Numerof, Ph.D., said in a statement.

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