Higher Thinking

Quick, timely blog posts. Thought-provoking trends. How-to guides and in-depth case studies. Use this page to explore all of our best thinking on US healthcare delivery, plus the occasional news from our firm. Find something that inspires or troubles you? Contact us any time – we’d love to be your thought partner in delivering more accessible, sustainable, and equitable healthcare. >>

A woman lies alone in a hospital bed

Medicare (Dis)Advantage: Hospital Observation Downgrades

Research shows that observation status is much more common under Medicare Advantage – bad news for patients and hospitals alike.
A down arrow in pink neon against a black background illustrates the idea of DRG downgrades. Photo by Ussama Azam on Unsplash.

Medicare (Dis)Advantage: DRG Downgrades

MA plans are using millions of DRG downgrades as a "backdoor" tool for cutting hospital payments. Here are 3 ways to fight back.
A NYC pedestrian "stop" sign illustrates the idea of delayed care for Medicare Advantage patients with prior authorization requirements. Unsplash photo by Kai Pilgerl

Medicare (Dis)Advantage: 35 Million Prior Authorizations

Prior authorizations have become the norm in Medicare Advantage, causing treatment delays for patients and financial headaches for providers.
A group of doctors and nurses in blue scrubs walking away from the camera. Photo by Luis Melendez on Unsplaush.

Medicare (Dis)Advantage: Hospitals Count the Cost

Medicare Advantage now covers more than half of U.S. seniors, putting huge new strains on healthcare delivery.
Dollars and healthcare items scattered on a light blue background. Photo by Anastasiia Gudantova.

Total Cost of Care: Lessons from the Maryland Model

A Maryland expert shares her experience with total cost of care as CMS pushes other states to consider the approach.
A blue butterfly and green cocoons illustrate the concept of transforming healthcare. Photo by Håkon Grimstad via Unsplash.

Can an Insurance Company Transform Healthcare?

An upstart insurance company hopes to transform healthcare with a carrot-and-stick approach to primary care. Here's why it matters.
A blurred image of an ambulance suggests the theme of a Rural Emergency Hospital

Rural Emergency Hospital Questions: Just the FAQs

We have answers to the 9 biggest questions we've been hearing about Medicare's new Rural Emergency Hospital model.
abstract lighthouse watercolor

The Ascendient Guide to Rural Emergency Hospitals

Is the new REH model right for you? Here's an in-depth look at some implications for finances, strategy, and mission.
Closeup of an old woman holding a teacup illustrates the concept of end-of-life care

Will Congress Finally Invest in End-of-Life Care?

Biden's spending bill includes strategic funding for end-of-life care, including hospice & palliative medicine. Here's why it matters.
3D bar chart shows Medicare Advantage growth

What Hospitals Need to Know About Medicare Advantage Growth

With CMS targeting 100% accountable care for Medicare enrollees, Medicare Advantage is poised for even faster growth.

Why the Deafening Silence Around Medicare Insolvency?

Healthcare providers face a 6% reimbursement cut in the event of Medicare insolvency – a scenario that looks increasingly likely.

Hospital at Home: A Valuable Tool for Transformation

A PHE waiver gave a huge boost to the Hospital at Home model, which shows great promise for advancing the "healthcare trifecta."

Mobile Integrated Healthcare: A Valuable Tool for Healthcare Transformation

Bolstered by CMS payment incentives, mobile integrated healthcare is reducing ED visits and improving population health.

The Maryland Model (Part 3): Lessons Learned from Maryland’s Payment Models

Maryland's experiment with healthcare transformation has been encouraging but not perfect. Here are some of the biggest lessons learned.

The Maryland Model (Part 2): Understanding How Maryland’s Payment Models Work

In the second of our three-part series, we examine how Maryland’s unique payment models work – and what other states can learn.

The Maryland Model (Part 1): Understanding Maryland’s Medicare Waiver

Maryland's Medicare waiver is getting national attention as CMS rolls out its new AHEAD model. Here are the essentials you need to know.