3 ways marketing can help shift the healthcare payer mix

Hospitals, CHCs, medical centers and group practices are all prisoners of their geography and demography; socioeconomically burdened locales typically yield a patient base reliant on government-subsidized care.

To lower margins further, Medicaid and medical assistance patients often have secondary conditions that make their condition more difficult, time-consuming, and costly to treat.

And the hits just keep on coming: The majority of healthcare leaders forecast an increase in post-pandemic Medicaid patients. If true, this may skew a payer mix even more strongly to reimbursement rates that limit profit.

This is why now is a good time for healthcare managers and marketers to devise a strategy for developing “care signatures” (aka branded services) that will support incremental changes to the payer mix over time.

3 ways to shift the payer mix

1. Concierge Medicine

Concierge medicine trends indicate 6-7% growth per year and it’s not just burned-out primary care physicians who are making the move; there’s evidence of specialists entering concierge medical practice at the same rate of 6-7% annually.

[Parenthetically, a health system client reminded us recently, “Healthcare as an industry has been demoralized by the pandemic because it affects so many parts of the system. Not just research and epidemiology but primary care, emergency and acute care, post-acute care, and rehabilitative care to name a few.” He added, “People are tired and wondering why they pursued health care as a career.”

Concierge medicine reduces physician stress and improves patient service. No wonder it was already gaining ground at urban hospitals before the onset of coronavirus. In marketing content, it can be showcased as a premium, value-added feature for new patients.

So, if concierge medicine is an option, feature it in marketing materials. If not, consider a branded service that affords patients faster access to a doctor via…you guessed it….

2. Telehealth

Telemedicine is becoming integrated as a feature of concierge medicine by firms that specialize in technical healthcare products.

And for good reasons. The immediacy and intimacy of telemedicine creates a positive patient experience. It feels customized and personal because it is.

There’s also strong evidence of telehealth’s popularity for mental health conditions, bringing us to…

3. Wellness checkups

The idea is this: A branded, subscription-based wellness program that includes monthly wellness checkups – telehealth appointments in which a patient is able to share emotional and psychological realities and receive advice on maintaining mental health.

This is not to be confused with annual wellness “screenings” now being offered by insurers, which are focused on physical health.

Monthly wellness visits with an LCSW or other qualified provider acknowledge the emotional strife of daily life and the role it plays in overall health. PS: “Telepsych,” as it’s sometimes called, works.

Contact us when you’re ready for a conversation.