ClaimLinx office closed for 4th of July

The ClaimLinx office will be closed on Monday, July 4 to celebrate Independence Day with friends and family. All inquiries will be returned as soon as possible upon our return.

We hope all our clients and members are able to enjoy the holiday safely with loved ones. Our staff will be grilling, hanging by the pool, travelling to see family and generally trying to stay cool. What are you doing for the holiday? Let us know on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram

Facts about American Independence Day

  • The Continental Congress issued the Declaration of Independence on July 4th. That’s why we celebrate on that date.
  • Both the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution were signed in Philadelphia.
  • The first signee of the Declaration of Independence was John Hancock

Facts about Celebrating July 4th

  • The oldest 4th of July Parade happens in Bristol, Rhode Island
  • Massachusetts was the first state to recognize the 4th of July as a holiday
  • Macy’s 4th of July Fireworks show is the biggest fireworks display of the holiday.
  • The 4th of July did not have common celebrations until after the War of 1812.

Fun actives to do to celebrate

  • Make patriotic desserts
  • Have a backyard movie with family and friends
  • Go camping in your background
  • Have a game night
  • Make crafts with your kids
  • Watch fireworks
  • Spend the weekend on the water

We encourage all of our members and clients to stay safe while celebrating the holiday and we look forward to working with you again when our office is open.

Clogged emergency departments highlight need for alternative fees

Emergency departments were never meant for routine visits for people with chronic conditions, but in the absence of coordinated care, confused patients have turned to them when they don’t know where else to go.

Now, people with six common chronic conditions make up about 60 percent of all emergency room visits, according to a report released this year by Premier. Of those visits, about one third of them were likely preventable and accounted for $8.3 billion in additional costs for the industry.

This information came as no surprise to industry experts but highlights the need for the healthcare industry to rethink its service environment as a way of managing costs. Currently, about 90 percent of providers use a fee-for-service payment structure, which means that most people, especially those with chronic conditions, receive health services from a variety of providers with no single party coordinating care.

This style of care is not only confusing for patients but can also be dangerous and expensive. Fragmented care is associated with communication gaps, more hospital admissions, poorer outcomes and higher costs.

The problem only becomes worse for people with more than one chronic condition. Patients with one to two chronic conditions and highly fragmented care were 13 percent more likely to visit an emergency room and 14 percent more likely to require a hospital admission.

Fixing the issue would require a shift to a value-based model, in which a chronically ill patient receives care in a coordinate way that helps manage disease progress and promotes wellness. That way patients are guided through the management and/or treatment process rather than having to guess or piece together a picture of how ideal care would look.

“More and more providers are convinced that the future is going to be value-based payment, said Joe Damore, senior vice president of population health consulting at Premier, who produced the report.

The study looked at data from 24 million emergency department visits at 747 hospitals within Premier’s database.

Until the model changes, however, it’s important patients be their own advocates and consider the cost of an emergency room visits before going. Remember that managing a chronic condition is a learning process. There is no shame in asking questions.

We recommend to our members to ask their physicians as much as they can about what to do when a complication or issue arises. Try to remember that the emergency room was never meant to be a go-to first step in receiving care. They are set up for urgent visits when treatment is needed immediately. That can sometimes mean being proactive and aware of a provider’s regular hours.

Have a happy healthy summer with these tips

It’s officially summer. That means longer days, more sunshine and hopefully more time to enjoy friends, family and the outdoors. This year, start your summer off right with these quick tips for making the most of this sweet, sunny season.

Tips for enjoying the home – Use this summer to reclaim joy in your home and your town.

  • Rediscover your yard – Sometimes all the nature you need is right in your own backyard. Have dinner as a picnic, plan a Friday night camp out, or even rent or buy a projector for an open-air movie night.
  • Be a tourist in your town – All residents have places in their towns where they might go if they were a tourist, but have never gone as a local. Try a new restaurant, go to the town museum, finally make it out to the summer fair or festival. You might even find a new favorite place along the way.
  • Channel your inner child – Think back to when summer was full of endless possibilities and reclaim that feeling by bringing a little silliness into your life. Plan a trip to the local water or amusement park, go to the park up the street, mow a maze into your lawn or start a scavenger hunt around the neighborhood. Just make sure it’s something that makes you smile.

Tips for enjoying vacation – Family trips are fun, but they can also be stressful and exhausting.

  • Think small and more often – The temptation to make every trip “once in a lifetime” can be intoxicating, but big trips aren’t any more fun or memorable than smaller ones. For your next trip, take the pressure off by planning something easy to get to and less expensive. You might even be able to take more than one vacation that way.
  • Enjoy the planning phase – Anticipation of a trip can sometimes be just as fun as the trip itself: picturing yourself on vacation, reading up on new foods or activities, talking to others about what you want to do. Revel in this process as much as you can, it can only make the enjoyment of the trip more fun.
  • Manage your expectations – Try not to fantasize too much about your trip. You may need to work while you’re out, have a long drive ahead, need to corral children to different locations, do housework. Know these activities are in your future, accept it and focus on the joy that surrounds these less pleasurable activities.

No matter what’s in your future this summer, the best advice is always to try make the most of each moment. Take time for yourself, your friends and your family.

Trump administration tackles drug advertising

Coming this summer: another addition to the “fine print” on all those drug commercials. Under a new rule announced this month by the Trump administration, pharmaceutical companies will have to reveal how much their drug costs during TV commercials.

The rule is set to go into effect this summer and will require drug companies to include the price of a drug if it exceeds $35 for a 30-day supply, or the usual course of therapy.

The move is meant to increase transparency in the industry and ideally force pharmaceutical companies to lower its sticker prices on drugs for fear of appearing too expensive.

“Requiring the inclusion of drug list prices in TV ads is the single most significant step any administration has taken toward a simple commitment: American patients deserve to know the prices of the healthcare they receive,” said Alex Azar, Health and Human Services secretary.

As expected, drug companies pushed back on the new rule. Representatives said they fear including drug prices during commercials will discourage customers from asking their physicians about the drug because they believe they cannot afford it. The new rule stipulates listing the price before any discounts or health insurance coverage, which could lower the cost.

It is notable, however, that because of rising costs an increasing number of Americans are being forced onto high deductible health plans, which can often lack the comprehensive drug coverage required to significantly reduce the cost of prescriptions.

“If drug companies are ashamed of those prices—lower them,” President Donald Trump tweeted shortly after the rule was announced.

Industry experts do not necessarily oppose the new rule, but are skeptical it will result in substantial cost reductions, especially because enforcement of the law is left to the drug companies themselves.

If one drug company fails to include the pricing information in an ad, a competitor can file a lawsuit under the deceptive and unfair trade practice provisions of the Lanham Act. No additional oversight plan has been announced by the Trump administration.

The consensus among Americans appears to be that added transparency in the pharmaceutical industry may be helpful, but is no guarantee. According to a POLITICO/Harvard poll in the summer last year, 63 percent of Americans favored including price information in drug advertisements, but only 28 percent believed it would lower costs.

As for the ClaimLinx team, we don’t expect this to bring about big change in the industry. If it does, though, you can bet we will be ready to use it to our advantage to lower costs for members and clients.

Improve your health with Spring cleaning

Jumping into Spring with a good cleaning means participating in an age-old tradition rooted in biological, cultural and even practical traditions that goes back hundreds of years.

The change of season has long required a good scrubbing because of the byproducts of keeping a home warm. Think of the 1800s and earlier, when homes were coated with a noticeable layer of soot from the fires lit with coal and wood or the lamps burning oil and kerosene.

Spring also coincides with religious ceremonies associated with a tradition of cleaning the home or altar, including Passover, Easter and Nowruz, or Persian New Year.

Spring cleaning isn’t just practical or a tradition, though. Studies have found cleaning, as an activity, can help reduce stress, and the resulting lack of clutter and cleanliness curtails anxiety. It also helps improve health by improving the air quality and helping you remain active without thinking about it.

Here are 7 tips to get you started Spring cleaning:

  1. Set a schedule: It’s always better to have goals and structure when starting a big house project. Make a schedule that fits your availability, such as setting particular days or weeks to de-clutter, clean the kitchen, garage, living spaces, bathrooms, bedrooms and more.
  2. Top to bottom: Start your cleaning with the ceiling and work your way down. That way you avoid having to repeat dusting or vacuuming along the way.
  3. Tidy up: Clutter creates stress in your environment, so it’s important to start any Spring cleaning with a cleanse. Use some quick questions to ask yourself to help you decide if an item is worth keeping. “Have I used this in the last year? Does this item spark joy in my life?” Read Marie Kondo’s book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up for more on how to get rid of old items and organize.
  4. Enlist help: You and your family helped make the mess together, it’s only right that you clean it together. Simple tasks can be allocated to young children and this is a good opportunity to teach older children how to do more thorough cleaning. They may not enjoy the process but they will certainly love a clean home.
  5. Deep Clean: Don’t forget all the items you don’t clean on a regular basis, such as curtains, ceiling fans, blinds, rugs, carpets and anything else. Cleaning these items even a few times per year will help them last longer and cut down on the allergens and germs in your house.
  6. Stay safe: Be careful with the chemicals you’re using to clean. Regular household cleaners can be dangerous when mixed together or if used without proper ventilation. So use green or natural chemicals when you can. They’re less harsh on the environment and on your belongings.

These are just a few tips to get you started. See more tips about cleaning individuals items by clicking here.

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