About Britt Hayes
Britt Hayes is the Chief Marketing Officer for Health Design Plus (HDP). Mr. Hayes joined HDP in 2009 in the role of Vice President, Sales, and has contributed prominently to the unprecedented growth that the organization has enjoyed during his tenure. Mr. Hayes was promoted to CMO in 2013, and became a partner in the organization at that time.
In his current role, Mr. Hayes serves in an executive leadership capacity, with specific areas of responsibility including sales, business development, channel partner development and account management.
Prior to his tenure at HDP, Mr. Hayes held various roles in sales and sales management in the employee benefits industry, including successful tenures with Wells Fargo Insurance Services and Great-West Healthcare/CIGNA.
About Health Design Plus
Health Design Plus is an innovative third-party administrator and care management company based in Hudson, OH. Utilizing a member-focused model powered by cutting-edge technology, HDP has become a national leader in the administration of value-based, Centers of Excellence programs. For more information on Health Design Plus, please visit us at www.hdplus.com.
U.S. Domestic Medical Travel Today (USDMT): Give us a little background on yourself and Health Design Plus. How did you get involved in the Centers of Excellence (COE) Program and where do you see this going?
Britt Hayes (BH): I have been in the business of healthcare for 24 years. My background includes several years on the brokerage/consulting side of the business as well as the carrier side of the equation.
I recently celebrated my nine-year anniversary here at Health Design Plus (HDP). I joined HDP as the Vice President of Sales and from there, became a partner in the business with Ruth Coleman (now retired) and John Strickland a few years later. I’ve served as Chief Marketing Officer here for the last few years.
My areas of responsibility include sales and business development, with all of our client management teams reporting through me. I’ve been excited as our organization has gotten more involved in Centers of Excellence and value-based programs that have evolved over the last few years. It’s been very enjoyable working with these large employers and elite providers of care across the country, and incredibly rewarding for our organization as we continue to grow and bring new, innovative ideas to the market.
Health Design Plus was founded by a nurse as a care management company initially, and for the past 30 years, we have really tried to provide value to our employers by providing creative solutions to challenges and by taking great care of individual members. Our ECEN programs, which we continue to develop in partnership with Pacific Business Group on Health, are an extension of that core philosophy.
USDMT: Explain the adoption of bundled pricing by employers as opposed to push back from CMS.
BH: I think the neat thing about our program is that we have seen the evolution of bundles in the past few years across the commercial market. Certainly, this is a really important part of the equation. For us though, it’s only part of the equation.
So much of the value I believe that we bring to the table in conjunction with our medical center partners is obviously the quality and outcome metrics that we examine. Getting people to the right place and at the right time and for the right cost is so critical to everything that we do. It’s a huge component of our COE programs, and a big piece of the total value equation for our employers. While there certainly are financial savings associated with the bundles themselves, the real value is in the quality of care being provided and the reduction or elimination of unnecessary care.
USDMT: Why is the complexity of oncology just being introduced now (with City of Hope), where other opportunities for joint, spine and other procedures were already being bundled?
BH: That’s a great point and it’s something that we are so excited about. Anybody that knows anything about our organization knows we specialize in operationalizing difficult concepts and bringing them to fruition. When our partners at PBGH started exploring the idea of oncology being the next ECEN program, we couldn’t wait to get started.
This was an opportunity to do something special in an area that impacts so many of us — just about everybody you run into has a personal story around somebody close to them who has been impacted by this disease.
Just from a philosophical standpoint, the opportunity to do something really unique and special in this space is really appealing to HDP. We are so excited about the work that we are doing and look forward to making this program available broadly.
USDMT: Given the complexity of cancer treatment, what would be included in the bundle? Is it all-inclusive? Does it have opt-outs? Are there other things that are not present in bundles, such as for joint replacement?
BH: There are so many complexities around it and obviously so many different types of cancer. We’ve taken a pretty pragmatic approach working with our medical center partner in terms of what makes sense to include in the bundle.
It is a pretty all-inclusive bundle, certainly for the time a patient is at the medical center.
The concept of bundles around oncology is pretty innovative. We’re starting with a big focus on the initial diagnosis and evaluation as critical components of the bundle.
USDMT: Regarding the structure of the bundles, do they vary by type of cancer?
BH: No, and here’s why.
- We are currently looking at one comprehensive bundle built using the philosophy that any testing typically performed for 25 percent or greater of all patients undergoing the Standard Episode of Care are included.
- The bundle mimics the program’s key elements: diagnosis, collaborative treatment plan development with ongoing oncological and psychological support. Research shows that these elements drive survivability and cost (major savings come for ensuring 1. accurate diagnosis, 2. preventing superfluous treatment/medication and 3. Complications)
- Once diagnosis is confirmed, the treatment plan is developed in collaboration with their local oncologist and transitioned back to the medical plan administrator. Care that is delivered at the COE – in instances in which experimental or quaternary care is necessary – will be included in the program and delivered at prospectively negotiated reductions in billed-charges.
USDMT: Are Rx costs included in the scope of the program?
BH: Rx costs are in scope for the delivery of care at the COE, delivered at prospectively negotiated reductions in billed-charges.
USDMT:Are there other cancer centers that are going to be evaluated for inclusion in this opportunity?
Timing and circumstances will dictate where we go from here, but certainly the plan is to expand to other medical centers. We look forward to growing the program both from a service scope perspective potentially as well as expansion to other geographic markets.
We have such a fantastic partner in our initial medical center, City of Hope, who has just been wonderful to work with. We are certainly excited about partnering with them to essentially design and implement what is a very unique and innovative program.
USDMT: Do you anticipate employers taking the same approach to this as they have with other programs, such as joints and spine?
BH: Yes. That is certainly the design that we are putting forward.
We think that aspect of all of our programs is quite honestly, pretty essential — from an engagement perspective as well as just the overall patient experience. Given the emotions that are associated with oncology care, those design elements (100% paid benefit, paid travel, etc.) are essential.
USDMT: Would you say that employers are excited about this new opportunity?
BH: The initial reaction any time we have talked to anybody about this program has been “over the top.”
I think there’s such a need in the market for consistent and high quality care in this space. Every single employer we have talked to is dealing with these issues because oncology is way up there on the top of everybody’s spend, and of course there’s just the human element of wanting to really help those struggling with this awful disease.
We are certainly looking forward to these conversations, along with our partners at PBGH.
The whole point of this program is to try and make a meaningful difference. This initiative is perfectly in line with our company’s mission and we are awfully excited about it.
USDMT: Every day we read about a new trial or a new drug for oncology. Are the drugs part of this bundle?
BH: At this point, certain Rx costs are included within program scope when care is delivered at the CoE, but not necessary in the bundle itself. It should be noted, however, that final design determinations are still being made. Again, oncology represents a different dynamic than our other programs due to the complexity involved, and I think the ongoing design is likely to be iterative for that reason.
USDMT: Do you see this program being a high growth area?
BH: We certainly do. It is a potential solution to a need that is out there in the market.
We’ve received pretty consistent feedback that everybody is looking for something unique and innovative around this space. We believe that our oncology program solves for a lot of the perceived gaps in the market in terms of how this care is delivered and the patient experience that goes along with it.
USDMT: Can employers who are not part of the Pacific Business Group on Health (PBGH) get involved with this?
BH: Yes. PBGH has been a great partner, and, while certainly we’re going to make this program available to PBGH members, we’re both passionate about making this program available to as many self-funded employers as possible.
USDMT: Does the size of the employer matter?
BH: This program is not designed to serve only the jumbo employers across the country. We’re certainly hoping to make this program available to as many self-funded employers as possible across the country.