What They’re Watching: Catherine Field, Humana

Catherine Field is the Market President at Humana. She joins us in this edition of “What They’re Watching” to discuss the stability of CMS changes.

“The things that make me anxious are, you know, big CMS model changes and trying to accommodate those, understand those, and communicate those to providers. Those are always a little anxious-making and we don’t know a lot of that until call letters come out, and that all happens in the spring. And then it’s just a real rush and hustle to be able to accommodate and make sure your plan design is active and competitive and consistent with those changes.

I guess additionally, wanting to make sure that our providers — who are engaged with us in value-based relationships — are profitable and that they’re seeing outcomes that they can validate. Because what keeps people coming back is when they really see the promise of value-based care: improved outcomes, improved cost equations, improved quality for their patients, and that’s what keeps people actively engaged.

In Medicare Advantage, which is my focus and interest, I really just say, “please keep the program as consistent and stable as possible.” That really allows organizations, such as ours but [also] our provider partners, to be able to adapt and change in a pace that is reasonable and that we can move in. When you make radical, quick changes, nobody can accommodate quite that quickly. So, the stability of the Medicare Advantage program has lent itself to more payers coming into the market, better plans, lower costs, better and more innovative benefits, and all of that is really good when you have a stable, predictable plan that you know gets tweaked every year but… So, “keep that up” would be my hope and recommendation. And then, what I would also really ask is: keep giving us the flexibility to innovate around social determinants of health, and the ability to care for the whole patient and not just the moments they’re in a physician’s office.”