In the News

Medicare Advantage Headwinds Didn't Prevent Payers from Turning a Profit in 2023

Fierce Healthcare | By Paige Minemyer
 
Though a spike in utilization among seniors slammed payers last year, particularly in the fourth quarter, each of the six major national firms turned a profit in 2023.
 
Leading the way, as per the norm, was UnitedHealth Group, which brought in $22.4 billion in profit for the year. Its closest rival, CVS Health, earned $8.3 billion in 2023 profit, according to a Fierce Healthcare review of quarterly earnings reports.
 
Both of these firms represent major players in Medicare Advantage (MA): UnitedHealthcare and Aetna, respectively. And both felt the impacts of the higher-than-expected care use in the back half of the year, with CVS cutting its outlook for 2024 to compensate.
 
Humana, another of the largest MA plans in the country, was the most acutely effected by the utilization increase, given that the bulk of its insurance business is in the Medicare space. While it was profitable for the year, posting $2.5 billion, it reported a $541 million loss in the fourth quarter and set conservative guidance for 2024 amid "greater inherent uncertainty" in MA.

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How to Prescribe Physical Activity in Patients With Obesity

Medscape Medical News: Carla Nieto Martínez

Exercise should no longer be a mere "complement" or a standard recommendation within healthy lifestyle guidelines, say experts. Recent evidence confirms its physiological importance and endorses its beneficial and therapeutic effects on overall health, particularly in the case of obesity and its comorbidities. These findings emphasized the reasons to include exercise prescription in addressing this condition. This conclusion emerged from discussions among experts in Physical Activity and Sports Sciences during the XIX Congress of the Spanish Society for Obesity, where the role of physical exercise as a therapeutic strategy was analyzed from various perspectives.

Javier Butragueño, PhD, coordinator of the Exercise Working Group at the Spanish Society of Obesity, emphasized the need to "reposition" the role of exercise and the message conveyed to the population. "We must move beyond the typical recommendation to 'just walk' and rethink this message. When working with patients with obesity, you realize that, for example, the guideline of 10,000 steps per day makes little sense for those who weigh 140 kg, have been sedentary for a long time, and have not reached 2000 daily steps. Clinically, it becomes evident that current recommendations may not align with the needs of these patients," he said.

Precision Focus

Butragueño highlighted the necessity of shifting the central focus from weight-related variables alone. While weight is crucial, evidence suggests that it should be evaluated along with other strategies, such as nutrition and pharmacology.

"The approach must change to view exercise as a metabolism regulator," said Butragueño. "For specialists, this means educating the population about the need to stay active for overall health. This is a disruptive message because the prevailing idea, almost obsessive, associates exercise primarily with weight loss, a completely incorrect approach that can even be detrimental in some cases."

Butragueño emphasized the supportive role of physical exercise in interventions for these patients. "Data show that it is both an enhancer and a co-adjuvant in strategies that also include psychology and endocrinology. It should be part of the approach to obesity but individualized and phenotyped to give physical activity the necessary dimension in each specific case."

As an example of this adaptability in therapeutic strategy, Butragueño referred to addressing binge eating disorder. "In this case, specialists must acknowledge that sports are a third-line option, always behind the psychologist, who plays a primary role. Exercise is used to enhance the emotions triggered through its practice, considering that many of these patients maintain a very negative relationship with their bodies."

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Academy of Neurologic Physical Therapy (ANPT) Survey

Calling all physical therapy professionals! Are you a Physical Therapist (PT) or Physical Therapist Assistant (PTA) in the United States who is in the clinic or academia? We want to hear about your opinions and experiences with the new Movement Analysis of Tasks (Quinn et al 2021) and Movement Systems Diagnoses for Balance Dysfunction (Gill-Body et al 2021).

Please fill out this 15-minute survey on your experiences with these two frameworks to help guide the ANPT Knowledge Translation taskforce in products to assist in improving the applicability of these items. (Approved by Angelo State IRB #MOY-110923.)

Access the Qualtrics Survey HERE.

Email [email protected] for more information.  

 

President's Message 

Posted: February 14, 2024

As you read this, you or a colleague is likely preparing to travel to Boston, MA for the Combined Sections Meeting. I look forward to meeting you there, if so! While in Boston, please join us for the following important events.

TODAY - Wednesday, February 14, 2024, at 5:30pm ET, please join us for our annual Meet and Greet. This year it is being held at the Harpoon Beer Hall, 306 Northern Avenue, Boston, MA 02210. It is about a fifteen minute walk (or a quick Uber) from the Convention Center. There will be free soft pretzels and beer! You must be an APTA Home Health member to attend this event.

On Thursday, February 15, 2024, at 9:00 PM, APTA Home Health will host PT After Dark. This is a safe space to discuss some of the harder topics that we face as an association and a profession. PT After Dark will be held in the Otis room at the Westin Boston Seaport. All are welcome to join us!

Finally, and most importantly, our annual business meeting will take place on Friday, February 16, 2024, at 6:30 PM at the Westin Boston Seaport in the Commonwealth Ballroom. There will be a cocktail reception, followed by our business meeting with ample time for member input. This is a members-only event.

If you aren’t coming to CSM, we have plenty of other amazing things happening! Of course, you can register for the virtual CSM, offering most of the CSM educational sessions in a recorded, asynchronous learning format.

Coming very soon is the first episode of Home on the Go, APTA Home Health’s new podcast. This episode features two of our CSM speakers talking about the real life implications of poor discharge communication.

Also coming soon is the fourth edition of The Guide to Physical Therapy in the Home. When released, this will be a free PDF download for all members with the option to purchase a print copy.

For those of you coming to CSM, safe travels! For those who are staying home and doing the valuable work that we all do every day, thank you, and be safe on the road!

Sincerely, 

Phil Goldsmith
President
APTA Home Health

 

Volunteer Opportunity: PTJ Editorial Board Members 2024

PTJ is seeking 10+ members to serve as Editorial Board Members. Apply here.

For any questions, email [email protected]

 
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