The concept of “value-based care” isn't new. You've likely heard the phrase before, but what does it mean? And what’s in it for you?
We’ve all been in a situation where we feel rushed by our doctor, we don’t feel like they’re listening, or we have questions that remain unanswered. Well, doctors feel that strain too – because the burden placed on them by our current healthcare system is too great. In short, the way we do things today just isn’t working for anyone.
Dr. Dylan Steer, MD is the President of Value Based Care at Balboa Nephrology here in the San Diego area. He’s seen firsthand how difficult it is to provide patients with the care they need and deserve, given the competing priorities between providers of health care and members of the US health care system. Says Dr. Steer, “[this is hard, and we knew we needed help]”.
That’s where Evergreen Nephrology comes in. Evergreen is a company on a mission to change the landscape of kidney care. Our mission shifts the primary focus—from treating people when they're sick, to providing preventive care—which can help avoid hospital stays and keep people healthier overall. At a very basic level, that's what value-based care is all about.
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In the U.S., healthcare has traditionally been provided as what's called "fee-for-service" medicine. Under this model, each individual medical treatment or service is paid for as it's performed. And while physicians' first and most important focus is always providing the best care for their patients, the system in which they're working incentivizes responding to issues as they arise, and in some cases, over-delivering health services (or not delivering the right ones at the right times). But a shift to value-based care can and will bring important change. Under a value-based care model, reimbursements are provided based on the quality of care -- measured by improved patient outcomes -- not the quantity of services provided. As a result, the focus can be much more on helping people stay well, as that ultimately provides better outcomes than simply treating people when they get sick. It’s all about providing value – excellent outcomes at an affordable price. Who wouldn't want that, especially when healthcare is already so expensive? Of course, there's a lot more to it than this basic description. But as a person living with chronic illness, the most important thing for you to know is that receiving care aligned with this model could help you live a better life while keeping costs down. At Evergreen Nephrology, that's what we're all about. We partner with existing nephrologist practices like Balboa to help support a transition to value-based care – because we believe that in partnership with excellent physician practices like Balboa, we’re truly better together. For us, being better together means offering additional resources and services for people living with kidney disease, like providing access to a larger care team including pharmacists, social workers, dietitians, nurse practitioners, health coaches, and others depending on individual need. This joint model also includes getting to know our community better -- through comprehensive health screenings and questionnaires at the beginning of our partnership, as well as through direct patient feedback from members of our Patient Family Advisory Committee. Everything we do is designed to put those living with kidney disease at the very center of their care. This helps save costs over time, but more importantly, it provides patients with better, more comprehensive care to improve outcomes.
There are a lot of groups you could partner with on your chronic disease journey to receive care through a value-based care model. But if you're living with kidney disease, the combination of Evergreen's unique model with the high-quality medicine practiced at Balboa Nephrology may be a good fit. This model is unique in the close connection and partnership between doctor groups like Balboa and support systems through Evergreen, allowing for close doctor-patient relationships to be maintained and strengthened. We have partnered with nephrology practices all over the country -- take a look at our website to see if there's a practice near you. Kidney care is our passion, and we'd be excited to talk to you more about how value-based care could fit into your care journey.