NowPow Expands Community Care Networks in Washington to Support Students and Other People with Behavioral Health Needs

NowPow, the personalized community referral platform powering care across the nation, is expanding its digital footprint in the state of Washington. NowPow is launching a new, first-of-its-kind partnership with Educational Service District (ESD) 105, a state agency serving 25 public school districts and over 20 private and tribal schools. The company is also furthering its work with Ideal Option, one of the nation’s largest outpatient medication-assisted treatment providers for substance use disorder.

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Washington State Skyline – Powering Communities With Knowledge (Graphic: Business Wire)

This means hundreds of thousands of Washington residents can now be connected with personalized services that are highly matched to both their health and social needs, as well as age, gender, eligibility, location, languages spoken, and insurance coverage. ESD 105 and Ideal Option will also work closely with community-based and government organizations to “close the referral loop,” utilizing NowPow to track engagement throughout the process so that providers and community-based partners are able to monitor the outcome of referrals and follow-up as needed.

“Often the biggest obstacle to resource access is a knowledge gap. People don’t know what’s available to them or how to find it. Our mission at NowPow is to support community health and wellness by powering those connections,” said Rachel Kohler, CEO, NowPow. “Thanks to these unique cross-sector partnerships, NowPow is now able to connect vulnerable populations, like students and people with behavioral health needs, to community-based organizations throughout Washington.”

NowPow’s partnership with ESD 105 has the potential to connect more than 66,000 K-12 students and their families to behavioral health resources in the community. Even before the pandemic, 93 percent of school districts in the state had insufficient systems to address behavioral health needs, which have now been compounded by the crisis. After the initial launch, ESD 105 also plans to utilize NowPow’s referral network to address things like food and housing insecurity.

“During these unprecedented times, it is critical that our students have access to behavioral health services to facilitate learning and support overall wellbeing,” said Kevin Chase, Superintendent, ESD 105. “Our partnership with NowPow will help our students and their families address social risk factors and overcome systemic barriers to these critical resources.”

“Knowing the available resources is a challenge. NowPow makes this an easier and more personalized process,” added Chris De Villeneuve, Division Director, Behavioral Health and Integrated Care, Catholic Charities Serving Central Washington.

Ideal Option has seen the value of the NowPow platform at work throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. This year, Ideal Option and its sister company, Ideal Balance, have leveraged NowPow’s platform to administer comprehensive screening to more than 420 patients with opioid use disorder in the Greater Columbia region and match them to more than 3,600 critical community resources like housing and job assistance. On the heels of this success, Ideal Option brought the NowPow referral network to patients in five more counties in the North Puget Sound region.

“NowPow has been a lifeline

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HSG Foresees Major Potential Financial Impact on Employed Physician Networks and Medical Groups from 2021 Proposed Medicare Physician Fee Schedule

Healthcare Consultants Urge Hospitals and Health Systems to Start Planning for Impact on Physician Compensation and Medicare Payments for Professional Services.

Neal D. Barker, Partner at HSG, a national healthcare consulting firm is the author of "Changes to the 2021 Medicare Physician Fee Schedule Could Have Major Impact on Physician Compensation." The article is available for download at the website, hsgadvisors.com.
Neal D. Barker, Partner at HSG, a national healthcare consulting firm is the author of “Changes to the 2021 Medicare Physician Fee Schedule Could Have Major Impact on Physician Compensation.” The article is available for download at the website, hsgadvisors.com.
Neal D. Barker, Partner at HSG, a national healthcare consulting firm is the author of “Changes to the 2021 Medicare Physician Fee Schedule Could Have Major Impact on Physician Compensation.” The article is available for download at the website, hsgadvisors.com.

Louisville, KY, Oct. 21, 2020 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — HSG, a national healthcare consulting firm, has published a detailed evaluation of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) 2021 Medicare Physician Fee Schedule (MPFS) Proposed Rule, which is scheduled to take effect on January 1, 2021, if approved in the Final Rule. The advisors at HSG believe the proposed changes may have a significant potential impact on physician compensation and urge healthcare executives to start planning for these proposed changes. The agency’s Fee Schedule changes cover everything from Work Relative Value Unit (wRVU) values for specific Current Procedural Terminology (CPT) codes to changes in the scope of practice policies for Advanced Practice Providers (APPs) and changes related to CMS’s quality payment program.

With more than a 10% decrease in the MPFS conversion factor, services that do not have any change in Relative Value Unit values will see a decrease in Medicare payment at the projected rate of more than 10%. The decreased reimbursement will not be fully offset by any reimbursement increases realized through the Quality Payment Program paths. Changes related to outpatient and office evaluation and management (E&M) service code determinations and requirements, along with permanent and temporary additions to telehealth codes, will add to compensation complications. The redefined E&M code selection criteria will now be driven by medical decision making (MDM) or time spent alone – with no direct contribution by history and/or exam elements.

“Assuming these changes are included when the Final Rule is published in early December, many industry organizations, consultancies, and provider advocacy groups are projecting significant increases in provider productivity-based compensation if the providers’ E&M profile remains unchanged,” explained Neal Barker, Partner at HSG. “Ultimately, hospitals and health systems may face a situation in which payments from Medicare will decrease while their physician compensation requirements will significantly increase based on the widespread use of wRVU-based compensation models for employed physicians and APPs.”

As the roll-out date for the new Fee Schedule grows closer, HSG is working with healthcare systems to help them gain an understanding of the potential impact on the network.  Then HSG works with the organization to build a model to address changes to wRVU targets and bonus conversion factors that yield productive compensation levels that are financially sustainable and uphold fair market value and commercial reasonableness. Coincident with the compensation impact review, HSG conducts a series of provider

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