Consumer Engagement Improves Radiology Outcomes

More consumers than ever before are seeking additional knowledge to make more informed decisions, especially when it comes to their health care.

To help members lower their out-of-pocket costs and enhance the quality of their care through informed decision-making, HealthAmerica has partnered with National Imaging Associates (NIA) to provide an innovative consumer engagement program for diagnostic imaging services.

“By educating our members on their benefits and providing information on advanced medical imaging procedures, we enable them to take an active role in their health care,” said David P. Crosby, president of HealthAmerica.

This carries added significance in the field of diagnostic imaging, especially given concerns about radiation safety, clinically inappropriate examinations, and rising health care costs. HealthAmerica and NIA representatives pointed to multiple independent studies that found as many as one-third of all advanced imaging services are either clinically inappropriate or do not contribute to a physician’s diagnosis or the ultimate health outcomes for the patient.

“When consumers are engaged in the imaging process, they make more informed decisions about their care, and this improves outcomes, affordability, and consumer satisfaction,” said Tina Blasi, CEO of NIA, a Magellan Health Services company (Nasdaq: MGLN). “Our commitment to transparency, education, patient safety, and patient choice is at the very heart of our company’s philosophy.”

The services from HealthAmerica and NIA include a Facility Selection Support program that assists members with the selection of a quality imaging facility for their examinations, based on such convenience factors as location, proximity to public transportation, and the availability of evening and weekend appointments. NIA also can assist in identifying if there are any cost differences for the individual member and can provide patients with support in scheduling the image exams, as needed.

“Like most businesses, our employees pay an increasing share of their health care costs,” said Greg Drake, senior manager of Facilities and Purchasing for Isaac’s Deli Inc. “It’s important that we provide them with tools they can use to make sure they are using their health care benefits wisely. HealthAmerica’s imaging program provides a greater level of transparency on radiology services for my employees who are eager to get more involved in health care decisions.”

Additional NIA tools to support consumer engagement will be provided to HealthAmerica members later this year. This includes the launch of NIA’s new online consumer portal, which guides members through the imaging decision process, explain radiation safety considerations, and offer expanded information on imaging facility options. These resources, featuring age-specific content for adults and children, are designed to help members better understand their imaging procedures, engage in dialogue and shared decision-making with their physicians, and make knowledgeable decisions about their health care.

“Quality, cost, and convenience are becoming increasingly important to our patients,” said Paul DeLoia Jr., chief executive officer of Tristán Associates. “HealthAmerica’s radiology benefit management program supports our providing high quality imaging services with maximum safety and convenience to our patients. In addition, the program helps provide our patients with greater visibility on their out-of-pocket expenditures when visiting one of our sites.”

As Blasi said, it comes down to supporting the consumers in safeguarding the quality and cost of their health care.

“Consumers who become engaged in the health care process are active participants in ensuring that they receive the right medical scan, in the right place, at the right time,” Blasi said. “This is the right thing to do for those we serve, and it is bringing a new level of empowerment and transparency to the health care experience.”

About HealthAmerica

Listed among the country’s top 20 health plans in the U.S.News/NCQA America’s Best Health Insurance Plans 2009-10 list, HealthAmerica has been offering health benefits in Pennsylvania for over 34 years. The company provides a range of health insurance products, including consumer-directed, self-funded, Medicare, Medicaid, indemnity, nongroup, and pharmacy plans. It currently has “Excellent” accreditation by the National Committee for Quality Assurance for its commercial HMO, POS, and Medicare plans. It has corporate offices in Harrisburg, Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. For more information, visit HealthAmerica’s website at www.healthamerica.cvty.com.

About NIA

Headquartered in Avon, Conn., NIA (National Imaging Associates) leads the radiology benefits management industry by delivering innovative solutions to effectively manage the cost and quality of diagnostic imaging. NIA is a subsidiary of Magellan Health Services, Inc. (Nasdaq:MGLN), a leading specialty health care management organization. For more information about NIA, visit www.NIAhealthcare.com.

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