What They’re Watching: Dr. Kelley Withy

Dr. Kelley Withy, Director of the Hawaii/Pacific Basin Area Health Education Center at the University of Hawai’i at Mānoa, joins us in this edition of “What They’re Watching” to talk about finding solutions for healthcare providers.

We have quality metrics but one thing, for example one thing I heard is that the five Medicaid insurance companies request that their quality metrics be reported in a different way. Same numbers, different patients, different reporting methodology. Why can’t we report these metrics, you know A1C under 7.1. you know immunization rates, all that, why can’t they report it the same way for all the insurance companies? It would save a lot of time and hassle. Because you don’t always know which insurance company your patient has, and anyway you have to hire a whole person to do that. So that would save time. But, it goes beyond that.

I would definitely say dialoging with the providers, which is a challenge, because there’s no one voice for the providers, there’s lots of different opinions. But definitely having an open door and working through challenges. So one provider said, “Well if you’re a new provider in practice, when you get a new patient you spend an hour and a half with them as opposed to when they return, you spend maybe half an hour, if you’re lucky, with them. Why can’t we get paid more for the new patients?” Then HMSA says, “Well we can do that, but then we’d have to pay you less for the returning patients.” Which the established doctors wouldn’t like because then they’d get paid less. So maybe there’s some happy ground in the middle, I’d like to think that, but finding solutions would be really helpful.