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Humana, University of Houston to Offer Program in Value-Based Care Specialization Through Online Program


The specialization program will teach fundamentals and offer real-world examples of value-based care through an online program.

Value-based care—the idea of paying for outcomes instead of individual procedures—is no longer a new idea in health care. But the idea still means different things to different people within health care, and it’s still new enough that many health care professionals might not have studied the concept during their medical or business training.

Now, they can. Humana, which covers more than 20 million members—including 8.4 million in Medicare—today announced a partnership with the University of Houston to launch a specialization in value-based care through an online program, which the insurer said will teach “fundamentals and real world-application of value-based care” for providers, academia, business and industry professionals, and the public.

According to today’s announcement, Humana and the University of Houston already have an existing collaboration through the Humana Integrated Health System Sciences Institute within the College of Medicine. This partnership yielded work on the fully online specialization that will be available to learners worldwide through Coursera, a global online platform.

“This readily available and affordable option will support those who are working with practices and providers to create better outcomes for their patients,” Tray Cockerell, director of strategy advancement for Humana, said in the announcement. “It’s more important than ever, with the tumult caused by COVID-19, that practices focus on prevention and care coordination.”

Cockerell noted a lesson reported widely in the past year: although COVID-19 has been disruptive to health systems everywhere, those that had already pivoted away from fee-for-service were less adversely affected than those more reliant on items like elective surgeries for income.

“We learned in 2020 that providers in value-based care agreements were better positioned to withstand the financial impact the pandemic brought on the health care industry because they had established patient-centered medical practices. Because they could quickly pivot their resources into action to best serve patients, their income was not as drastically affected as those of their fee-for-service peers.”

“It’s essential that those who work to improve the health of their communities speak the same language,” LeChauncy Woodard, MD, MPH, general internist and founding director, Humana Integrated Health System Sciences Institute, said. “The collaboration on this content assures that everyone, from the physician and nurse, to social workers, pharmacists, and claims representatives, as well as consumers of health care understand what it takes to work together. These multisector partnerships help to ensure patients are receiving the best possible care and achieving the best outcomes at the lowest possible cost.”

“The health care industry is rapidly changing, and high-quality, flexible learning can help support medical professionals preparing for the future,” said Betty Vandenbosch, chief content officer at Coursera. “We are excited to partner with leaders such as the University of Houston and Humana to offer job-relevant content in the emerging area of value-based care.”

The program includes 6 courses and a capstone project; program participants can take individual courses or the entire program to receive the specialization designation.

As of December 31, 2020, Humana had more than 2.7 million Medicare Advantage members and commercial members enrolled in valued-based care relationships, cared for by 67,000 primary care doctors in 43 states and Puerto Rico. Humana’s Medicare Advantage enrollment is now more than 4.8 million members.

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