November 30, 2020
How a Chronic Care Management Plan Benefits Patients and Healthcare Providers
Chronic conditions are one of the leading causes of death in the U.S. Learn more about how a chronic care management plan benefits patients and providers alike.
It’s estimated that approximately 150 million Americans are currently living with one or more chronic conditions This is a huge burden on healthcare providers, practitioners, and the patients themselves. Fortunately, more and more providers are adopting digital health and integrating Chronic Care Management (CCM) into their practices.
The need for CCM services is skyrocketing. An estimated 40 million Medicare beneficiaries are currently eligible for CCM services, and that number is on the rise. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at CCM and explain how care plans bring numerous benefits to providers and patients alike.
What is Chronic Care Management?
Chronic care management is the process of caring for those with long-term health conditions. The practitioner helps the patient stay on track through the use of data, education, care coordination, remote monitoring, management of prescriptions, resources, and better access to care outside of practice hours. The goal is to improve their overall quality of life and minimize their symptoms through careful lifestyle management.
Some examples of chronic conditions that currently fall under CCM Medicare guidelines include:
- Arthritis (rheumatoid and osteoarthritis)
- Cardiovascular Disease
- Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease
- Alzheimer’s Disease and Dementia
Typically, these conditions are problematic to manage because they require multiple trips to the doctor’s office, which is time-consuming and not always practical or possible—especially for those with mobility problems.
Those with one chronic condition often have another secondary health concern as well. As a result, many patients need the support of several specialists, which isn’t always available—especially in rural areas. A CCM program can help with both rural and urban patients and their chronic conditions.
Why is a Chronic Care Management Plan Important?
Chronic illnesses are a leading cause of death in the U.S. They’re also a big driver of healthcare costs: according to a report by the American Action Forum, the total cost of chronic disease in the U.S. reaches $3.7 trillion each year, when including indirect costs associated with lost economic productivity. That’s approximately 19.6 percent of the country’s gross domestic product.
Chronic conditions come with a high death rate and are a burden on patients and health systems. These conditions are often manageable—and in some cases treatable— with interventions.
What are the Current Chronic Care Management Guidelines?
In 2015, The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) recognized CCM as an important element of primary care, noting that an integrated approach will contribute to better patient health overall.
CMS created a reimbursement program for providers that offer CCM services. This program has given providers the tools and support they need to effectively offer CCM to patients in a way that lowers healthcare costs for patients and makes it more financially viable for practitioners.
How Practices Can Benefit From a CCM Plan
Many providers enter healthcare because they want to make a difference, but all too often, admin and time constraints get in the way. CCM will help redress this balance and make it easier for doctors to do what really matters: helping patients live longer, healthier lives with fewer symptoms. CCM brings many benefits to the practice as well:
- Healthier Patients – Better care leads to better health outcomes for patients. This reflects well on doctors and the practice itself. Encouraging patients to use CCM services also helps them feel more in control of their health, more supported, and more motivated to care for themselves between meetings with their doctor.
- Financial Reimbursement – CCM guidelines state that practices that provide 20 minutes or more of CCM per eligible patient per month are to be eligible for financial assistance.
- Happier Patients – Better quality of care and more accurate reporting increase trust between the patient and their doctor. The flexibility also makes care more accessible, which boosts customer satisfaction. “These visits are just so much easier and cheaper,” said Hayley Hovious, president of the Nashville Health Care Council… “And people love them. When you talk anecdotally to people who’ve had a telehealth visit, they’re like, ‘Why did I ever go to the doctor’s office and wait to have the doctor see me for 10 minutes when I can just be at home and have a call?’”.
- Better Organization for Practices and Patients – Medication reminders, appointment reminders, test results, explanations, better education—it all helps patients feel more in control and supported. Meanwhile, practitioners can feel more confident patients are acting in compliance and have all the information they need to make informed decisions about care and medication.
- A More Reliable Revenue Stream CCM lets you provide more support for high-care patients without using more resources or adding facilities to your practice. It also allows you to more easily care for a larger number of patients, particularly during times such as the COVID-19 lockdowns when people are less likely to see a healthcare practitioner for anything but the most urgent matters.
How ChronWell Can Help You Adopt a CCM Plan
Our program includes physician-approved digital healthcare delivered by a team of experts. It also includes 24/7 access to a clinician, with monthly remote catch-ups that encompass referral management, medication management, and care plan adherence for increased patient satisfaction.