Confidence in Memphis institutions varies widely
Memphis poll voters more confident overall in local institutions than national voters
Confidence in local institutions varies widely among Memphis Power Poll members.
Nearly 90 percent of poll respondents expressed "a great deal" or "quite a lot" of confidence in local business (89%) and local hospitals and health care (87%).
On the other end of the spectrum, less than 20 percent of respondents expressed similar confidence in the local criminal justice and courts system (15%) and local public schools (20%).
Local law enforcement (40%), city and county governments (32%), and news organizations (41%) fared better but not well.
Local churches and organized religion scored 63% confidence.
Interestingly, Memphis Power Poll members generally have more confidence in local institutions than others have in similar national institutions.
Quality means more than paying the bills
BlueCross works to improve care across the state
By Dr. Angeline Brunetto
Vice President, Chief Medical Officer
BlueCross BlueShield of Tennessee
When I was a practicing emergency medicine physician, I thought I could change the world one person at a time. And I did so for more than 20 years. In my days in the ER, I thought of health insurers as just the ones who paid the bills. I was wrong.
By joining the BlueCross Medicare team, I’ve been part of a movement where we affect change not just for individuals or communities, but the entire state.
The Provider/Insurer Relationship Focused on Clinical Quality
The role of the insurer has changed in recent years. It is definitely not just the “payer of bills” generated by providers. While we always advocate for affordability, the provider/insurer relationship has evolved into more of a partnership with quality care at its center.
Quality care starts with preventive care. I support the care coordination efforts for our Medicare Advantage members, but members with other types of BlueCross coverage have access to this type of support, as well. That means we engage with all our members using a variety of touchpoints — calls, texts, emails, in-person visits — and encouraging them to see their doctors more often and spend more time with them going over recommended screenings, their medications, or whatever concerns they may have.
As insurers, one of our roles is helping make sure the care our members receive meets high standards and follows evidence-based best practices. We define quality not just from the benefits we offer but the resulting outcomes. We have regular meetings with physician practices to understand their pain points and ensure the best possible outcomes for those we serve.
We’re also now focused on social factors that impact the health and wellbeing of a patient.
A story that stuck with me involved a Medicare Advantage member who uses an automated blood pressure cuff. To help support our provider networks, we’d formed an internal team to stay connected with such members. One of our case managers called this member to check in and learned they were homeless and living in their car. In working to close one gap in care, our team identified a crucial need and was able to connect the member with the right resources.
This story illustrates our concierge approach and how we’ve helped take some of the procedural burden off physicians. We ask them about their needs and their barriers to administering effective treatment. We’ve developed case management teams, clinical teams and population health teams that work with providers and hospitals on everything from discharge coordination to office documentation and paperwork.
Through our health navigator program, we reach out directly to patients upon discharge and ask them a series of questions — do you understand why you were in the hospital, do you understand your next steps, can you afford the medications, etc. — and offer ourselves as a resource if they struggle to answer any of these. Insurers and providers alike don’t want these patients to end up right back in the hospital.
BlueCross Medicare Advantage Plan Awarded 4.5 Star Quality Rating
Every year, Medicare evaluates plans based on a 5-star rating system. Because of our personal approach, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) awarded our Medicare Advantage plan a 4.5 Star quality rating, which means members received timely preventive screenings and health care and overall are extremely satisfied with our plans.
Looking ahead to 2024, we plan to bring members into this process more directly by creating workgroups to hear how we can more effectively support them on their health journey. We recognize that while our CMS rating is a testament to the quality of service we deliver, there are many situations that our members and their families experience where we can learn and better support them. We want to identify and resolve those pain points before they happen for anyone else.
Affecting change on a statewide level is meaningful. But the heart of that change lies with the people we serve. For the more than 3 million Tennesseans in a BlueCross plan and for the communities in which we live, we’re looking at every opportunity to reduce red tape and improve the quality of care they receive.
Each year since 1979, the Gallup organization has tracked public confidence in a range of national institutions using the same confidence levels -- a great deal, quite a lot, very little, none, and no opinion.
In its 2023 poll, Gallup reported that the average confidence scores of nine institutions routinely tracked since 1979 had fallen to a new low of 26%.
The average confidence score of the eight institutions in this month's Memphis Power Poll was 48%.
Memphis poll respondents gave much higher marks to some local institutions than Gallup voters gave to national counterparts -- business (89% to 65%), health care (87% to 34%), news organizations (41% to 18%), and churches and organized religion (53% to 32%).
Memphis respondents gave slightly higher confidence scores to city and county governments (32%) than Gallup voters gave to the presidency (26%) and Congress (8%).
Local Power Poll voters gave slighty lower scores to local law enforcement (40%) and the local criminal justice system and courts (15%) than Gallup voters gave to police (43%) and the criminal justice system (17%).
Only 20% of Memphis poll voters expressed confidence in public schools compared to 26% of Gallup voters.
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About Power Poll: Power Poll asks questions of the most powerful, influential people in U.S. cities. It is not a scientific survey. But because the people responding to the surveys comprise the leadership structure of their cities, the results afford a fascinating glimpse into the thoughts, opinions, and beliefs of those in a position to make change. Power Poll is distinctly nonpartisan.
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