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Tuesday, February 13, 2018 - 11:00am

LOCAL HEALTH CARE NORMS AND PRICES LEAD TO COST DISPARITY ACROSS STATES

New Health Care Cost Comparison Shows How Pricing and Resource Use Impact Utah’s Cost of Health Care

 

Feb. 13, 2018, Salt Lake City — Differences in the cost of health care in five states are largely driven by local patterns of resource use and pricing, according to a report released by the Network for Regional Healthcare Improvement (NRHI), a national nonprofit representing regional health improvement collaboratives (RHICs) and state partners working to achieve better, more affordable health care.

Healthcare Affordability: Untangling Cost Drivers, is NRHI’s second annual report comparing the total cost of care in various U.S. regions. Like other recent studies, Untangling Cost Drivers finds that health care costs vary widely between states. The NRHI report, however, is focused on how different care delivery patterns and local prices have led to significant cost differences between Oregon, Utah, Colorado, Minnesota and Maryland.

Each state’s numbers tell a story, giving stakeholders insight into the role that local policies, demographics, and market factors make in driving health care costs.

With one of the nation’s highest birth rates per capita, Utah uses inpatient (hospital) services more than the comparison states. The good news is that Utah’s hospital prices are relatively low compared to other states, keeping Utah’s total cost in the 2015 benchmark report “closer to average.”

Overall, Utah’s inpatient health care prices tend to be lower than the comparison states, including Maryland, whose all-payer hospital rates are regulated. While Utah’s higher hospital use is offset by lower prices, Utah’s total cost of care includes higher outpatient resource use (13 percent above average) and slightly higher outpatient price (4 percent above average). Further analysis may reveal opportunities for outpatient health care savings.

“Understanding the drivers of costs of health care is critical for transforming our delivery system and bending the cost curve,” said Juliana Preston, HealthInsight Utah executive director. “HealthInsight is committed to the total cost of care initiative and will use this information in our community to accelerate value conversations and improvements.”

Across states, inpatient care saw the greatest variation in price. Hospital prices were 16 percent higher than the benchmark in Oregon and Colorado compared to 12 and 14 percent below the benchmark in Maryland and Utah, respectively. This variability occurred in every category of care except pharmacy pricing, which is largely attributable to the influence of a few, large pharmacy benefit managers and pharmaceutical manufacturers’ national pricing policies.

“With one of every six dollars in the American economy going to health care, it’s imperative that we determine what is driving health care costs,” said Elizabeth Mitchell, president and CEO of NRHI. “You can’t fix what you don’t understand, but with reliable and actionable information on cost drivers we can enable health care stakeholders to make the changes needed to bring down the cost of care. America’s health care cost crisis will not be solved by data – but it cannot be solved without it.”

NRHI has collaborated with several of its member RHICs on its total cost of care initiative since November 2013. The national comparison detailed in this report is supported by practice-level reporting that each member produces in its region. In 2015 alone, health care cost information on more than 5 million patients attributed to approximately 20,000 individual physicians was shared in seven regions across the country. Utah, along with Oregon, Maryland and Minnesota, participated in this 2015 effort and also participated in the 2014 benchmark study released by NRHI in January 2017. Despite population changes in several of the participating states, the 2015 report found year-over-year consistency, which highlights the regional norms in care delivery and pricing.

With the publication of this report, NRHI now has two sets of regional cost comparisons, and another round is scheduled for release in late 2018. With three years of data, trends will begin to emerge to support existing hypotheses and/or challenge long-held assumptions.

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About HealthInsight Utah

HealthInsight is a recognized leader in convening and partnering with our communities to improve health and health care by advancing quality, efficiency and value for patients and providers. HealthInsight Utah serves as a catalyst, using collaborative efforts to facilitate and promote the quality and safety of health care to achieve improved outcomes and value for all Utahans. Learn more at healthinsight.org.

About NRHI

The Network for Regional Healthcare Improvement (NRHI) is a national membership organization of regional health improvement collaboratives (RHICs) and partners across the United States. Our members work in their regions, and collaborate across regions, to transform healthcare and achieve better health, and high quality affordable care.

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THE CUCKOOS

PREMIERE NEW SINGLE

"HEARTBREAK PARADISE"

VIA POPMATTERS

 

LISTEN HERE

DELUXE SELF-TITLED EP OUT NOW

 

"The Cuckoos are 2017's answer to psych rock." -Bandsintown

 

"[The Cuckoos' EP] builds on the band's captivating blend of genres, evoking the 1960s through a contemporary lens." 

-Relix

 

"However you'd like to classify them is up to you, but what it boils down to is [The Cuckoos] are just a great young band that has a promising future." -Pancakes & Whiskey

 

"Imagine The Doors, Joy Division, and Rick James writing songs with Tame Impala and you start to get an idea of the rock and roll magic being conjured by Austin group The Cuckoos." -Glide Magazine

 

FEBRUARY 13, 2018 - AUSTIN, TX - The Cuckoos are premiering their new single, "Heartbreak Paradise", exclusively via PopMatters just in time for Valentine's Day. Listen HERE. "The group transports us back to an era filled with the kind of vibrant hues favored by the Doors and Love while remaining very much of this moment and, ever so slightly, the future", PopMatters notes. "The song's lyrics combine a truly timeless topic with something perhaps one step ahead of the present." "Heartbreak Paradise", which marks the band's first release of 2018, was recorded over the course of two days at The Bubble studio in Austin with Grammy-nominated producer, Chris "Frenchie" Smith (The Dandy Warhols, Slayer, The Front Bottoms). The single will be available for purchase/streaming on all digital platforms tomorrow, February 14th. For more information on The Cuckoos, please visit: http://www.thecuckoosaustin.com/.

 

2017 was undeniably a standout year for The Cuckoos. With the release of their self-titled debut EP in April, the band garnered praise for their ability to bring back the sounds of the 1960s through their original songs. Relix Magazine championed the album, writing, "It builds on the band's captivating blend of genres, evoking the 1960s through a contemporary lens," while Glide Magazine likened the "rock and roll magic being conjured" by The Cuckoos to "The Doors, Joy Division and Rick James writing songs with Tame Impala."

 

Following its release, the EP hit #53 on NACC Radio 200, #13 on NACC Radio 200 Adds and #34 on FMQB Alt Spec Albums. The success of the EP also helped make possible a distribution deal with Republic of Music, a two-week tour of the UK, a show in New York City, their first-ever Mexico dates this past December and a set at Bahidora Festival in Estacas, Mexico, taking place next month.

 

The Cuckoos were formed in 2014 by lead vocalist/keyboardist, Kenneth Frost, and lead guitarist/backing vocalist, Dave North. To flesh out their lineup, North introduced Frost to a pair of his longtime friends, including powerhouse drummer Cole Koenning and bassist Eric Ross. Together, despite their young ages, the four musicians have quickly amassed a body of work that evokes a nostalgic classic-rock sound, yet remains fresh and innovative. As Classic Rock Magazine aptly puts it, The Cuckoos are "hip young dudes who mine the late sixties acid rock scene for inspiration, but sound so authentic you'll think you're having a flashback."

 

For more information please visit:

http://www.thecuckoosaustin.com/ 

https://www.facebook.com/thecuckoosaustin/ 

https://twitter.com/TheCuckoosATX 

https://instagram.com/thecuckoos 

https://soundcloud.com/the-cuckoos 

 

Tour Dates

Feb 16 - La Capilla De Las Muertos, Mexico City, MX

Feb 17 - La Madriguera Stage @ Carnaval de Bahidora, MX

Apr 13 - The Electric Church, Austin, TX

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3 Major Ways Financial Illiteracy

Is Harming Americans

 

America is consumed with higher education – going to college and earning a degree as the necessary means to a well-paying job.

Yet with parents emphasizing the importance of academic excellence, and their children graduating and going on to successful employment, why do many still remain uneducated in fundamental financial matters?

Numerous statistics show financial illiteracy is a major problem in the U.S., reflected in enormous personal debt, woefully small savings, and irresponsible spending. Despite being home to many millionaires and billionaires, the U.S. ranks only 14th in the world in financial literacy, according to Financial Literacy Around the World, a Standard and Poor’s Rating Services Survey.

“A lack of knowledge or interest in financial matters comes from the family culture early on, and often as adults people have to teach themselves,” says Alexander Joyce, a retirement planner and president and CEO of ReJoyce Financial LLC (www.ReJoyceFinancial.com). “They’re not teaching financial literacy in high school, certainly not even the basics, like how compound interest works.

“People need to self-educate and research. All the information is out there. Financial illiteracy is a widespread problem and its consequences reach far, from having no emergency funds to having little set aside for retirement.”

Joyce comments on three areas where the costly effects of financial illiteracy are significantly felt:

  • Low Savings. A 2017 survey of more than 8,000 people by GOBankingRates found that 57 percent had less than $1,000 in their savings account. “There’s an overall lack of education there as well from our schools,” Joyce says. “But at home if you don’t set examples for your children, I don’t think it will ever change. At the end of the day, you’ve got to put a little aside and say to yourself, ‘I’m not going to touch it.’“

 

  • Credit card debt. In December, NerdWallet revealed in its Household Credit Card Debt Study that the average American household owes $15,654 in credit card debt. Forty-one percent in the study admitted to spending more than they should, which leads to paying more interest and lingering high debt. “It’s a lack of discipline and not knowing the effect of interest rates,” Joyce says. “Most people are well-educated enough to understand what living outside their means actually means. But many adults act like a child making a decision and not really thinking about the consequences until they actually happen. This is especially true with the younger generation. The way the world is progressing with technology makes it easier to buy, and I think people easily get trapped in that.”

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  • College debt. Five-figure college loan debts are common and continue to be a major drag on the economy. Joyce says parents of normal to low-income means might want to re-evaluate saddling their child and themselves with such a burden. But he also points the finger at colleges and employers. “The colleges are to blame as well, because they make it seem as though in order to get a good job, everybody must go to college,” Joyce says. “There’s nothing wrong with trade school. The cost of college is ridiculous. And I think employers can do a better job of having a benefits package that would absorb a lot of that college debt cost for a long-term valuable employee.”

“People lack financial discipline,” Joyce says. “They need to stop and think about their needs versus their wants, about their short-term and long-term goals.”

 

About Alexander Joyce

Alexander Joyce is CEO and president of ReJoyce Financial LLC (www.ReJoyceFinancial.com), a full-service retirement income planning firm in Indianapolis, Ind. He’s a licensed professional in Indiana who specializes in working with individuals who are nearlng or already in retirement. He holds the NSSA (National Social Security Advisor) CRPC (Charted Retirement Planning Counselor) designation. He hosts informational and educational seminars as well as the radio show Retirement Halftime Show. In addition, he can be seen monthly on Money Monday as well as  Your Money on the IndyStyle program, broadcast by WISH-TV, myINDY-TV and WTHR in Indianapolis.