Nearly 54,000 Texans applied for a health plan
Thursday, November 14, 2013
About 124,000 Floridians applied for health coverage and some 3,500 selected an insurance plan through new federal exchanges created under theCare Act, according to figures released Wednesday.
Thereleased by the Obama administration covers Oct. 1, when the exchanges opened, through Nov. 2.
Overall, 106,185 people throughout the nation enrolled in a health plan through the health exchanges.
Among the 36 states where the health exchanges are fully run or supported by the federal government, nearly 1 million people applied during the first month, while 26,794 chose a health plan. Florida was tops in both categories among those 36 states.
Another 516,248 applied for coverage and 79,391 selected a specific plan during that same period among the 14 states (and the District of Columbia) that chose to operate their own exchanges. The exchanges are on-line marketplaces where consumers can shop for and compare health plans.
"No one will be satisfied with the numbers because they will be below what we sought prior to the launch," White House spokesman Jay Carney said.
According to an Associated Press report, the administration hoped 500,000 people would enroll by the end of October.
But enrollment numbers were expected to be much lower following a rough rollout of the federal website, HealthCare.gov. Officials have beento say they have always expected that people would wait until closer to the March 31 deadline before actually purchasing a plan, as has been the case with past government programs, such as Medicare Part D.
The health issue is particularly important in Florida where nearly 25 percent of residents under 65 lack coverage. Only Nevada and Texas have higher percentages of residents without coverage.
Last week, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius told a Senate committee she expected the enrollment statistics to be "quite low."
The news follows reports from an unnamed administration official saying the federal health, HealthCare.gov, may not be working properly as promised by Nov. 30. White House Chief Technology Officer Todd Park did not allay those concerns during a House committee hearing Wednesday.
His "team is working incredibly hard to meet that goal," Park said.
The Nov. 30 date is important because customers must buy insurance by Dec. 15 to be covered on Jan. 1. However, anyone who signs up by the end of enrollment March 31 will avoid a fee for not having health insurance in 2014.
Park said HealthCare.gov can now register 17,000 people and provide access for 25,000 per hour. He said the administration hopes to provide access for 50,000 people per hour.
Almost 80 percent of medical practices deemed “better-performers” by the MGMA Performance and Practices of Successful Medical Groups: 2013 Report Based on 2012 Data indicated they used patient-satisfaction surveys. Compared with other practices, better-performers were more likely to assess patient satisfaction in their practice and did so more frequently.
Practices conducted satisfaction surveys to gauge, among other things, their patients' overall experience, professionalism of the staff, availability of appointments, and quality of care. More than half of better-performing medical practices indicated they used patient-satisfaction surveys to evaluate and improve practice operations and educate staff and physicians about behavior.
“Successful groups actively and regularly solicit feedback from their patients,” said Kenneth T. Hertz, FACMPE, Principal, MGMA Health Care Consulting Group. “Patient satisfaction surveys give practices an immense amount of detail on their patients' experience, and that feedback is particularly useful as medical groups seek to improve and elevate the care they provide.”
Almost 10 percent of better-performing practices cited using patient-satisfaction survey results as “part of physician compensation formula.” In June, MGMA released the Physician Compensation Survey Report and results indicated that quality and patient-satisfaction measures appeared to be a small yet emerging component of total compensation for physicians.
MGMA member Martha Kelley, administrator, Virginia Anesthesia & Perioperative Care Specialists, Newport News, Va., developed a performance-based risk program with a hospital system and tied patient-satisfaction measures to their physicians' compensation. “We started surveying patients for our own internal quality program several years ago, and now we’re required to meet established criteria with one of our hospitals,” Kelley said. “We share results from our patient-satisfaction survey with the hospital, and this metric now ultimately impacts physician compensation. We appreciate the feedback we receive and are continuing to explore ways in which to serve patients better.”
The MGMA Performance and Practices of Successful Medical Groups: 2013 Report Based on 2012 Data survey report is compiled using data from the MGMA 2013 Cost Survey pertaining to: profitability and cost management; productivity, capacity and staffing; accounts receivable (A/R) and collections; and patient satisfaction. The report features success stories from organizations and how they tackled issues to achieve their status as better-performers.