January 2008 NewsLetter, "Total Health Management Strategies and Success Factors"
Total Health Management (THM), the approach to holding down the rate of medical cost increases over the long term by addressing certain root causes of medical cost escalation, can take many forms, depending on plan characteristics and the priorities of plan sponsors. Regardless of specific components, multiemployer trustees might carefully consider all of the following strategies and success factors to ensure that a THM program will meet its goals:
- Understanding plan costs through analysis of data,
- Removing plan design "inconsistencies" and barriers to care,
- Raising awareness among all plan participants,
- Creating a collaborative support system, and
- Establishing a three-to-five year strategic action plan.
This NewsLetter, the second of two issues on THM, discusses these strategies and success factors. Specific areas of focus include:
- Using diagnostic tools for evaluating a health plan,
- Modifying plan designs to support desired cehavior,
- Encouraging individual health management, and
- Vetting vendors.
In addition to exploring these areas in detail, this NewsLetter also presents information on other measures of success for a THM approach. A case study of one aspect of a multiemployer health plan's THM program is featured.
Plan sponsors that are aware of the population health-risk factors driving medical plan costs do a better job of managing medical plan costs. Similarly, plan sponsors that take an active role in developing a THM strategy will be more likely to maintain financially sustainable health care programs.