Category Archives: government policy

High School Students Use Crowdsourcing to Find a Cure for Melanoma

In a groundbreaking effort, 3,500 of the country’s top high school students will build the world’s largest wiki on melanoma research — and work toward finding that needle in a haystack to cure melanoma. The effort is led by www.SaveJordan.org, which will use crowdsourcing to drive user-generated content related to melanoma cancer research to a wiki site. “The idea is to bypass mainstream medicine and medical research and compile fresh ideas,” said Jordan Guernsey, the 29-year-old father of two and Stage IV cancer survivor who is the force behind SaveJordan.org. “The young people working on SaveJordan.org are the best and brightest future [...]

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Consolidation Trend Continues: Tufts Medical Center and Lowell General Hospital Forming System

Tufts Medical Center and Lowell General Hospital are joining forces to form a new health care system they say will offer lower-cost medical services from Southern New Hampshire to south of Boston at a time of changes sweeping through the industry. The alliance would link a 415-bed Boston teaching hospital that has been scrambling for a niche in the fast-consolidating market with one of the state’s largest community hospitals. Lowell General, which two years ago took over a crosstown rival, Saints Memorial Medical Center, has 434 beds on two campuses. Under terms of a tentative agreement approved by both boards, each nonprofit [...]

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ICD-10 Industry Surveys Show Directly Conflicting Results

Just before the transition to ICD-10 was officially delayed, NueMD conducted a survey of 1,300 healthcare professionals to gauge their attitudes towards ICD-10. The survey, which garnered responses from all 50 states, found that 55 percent of respondents thought the transition to ICD-10 should be delayed or should not happen at all. When comparing those results to  a 2012 survey that asked the same question, 56 percent of respondents wanted a delay or no transition, suggesting there hasn’t been any change in attitude over the last 18 months. The NueMD survey also measured healthcare professionals’ thoughts on financial and operational [...]

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Guide for Public Health and Primary Care Integration: The “Practical Playbook” Rolls Out Nationwide

On March 5, 2014, the de Beaumont Foundation, Duke Community and Family Medicine, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention launched A Practical Playbook: Public Health & Primary Care Together, a new website designed to promote and facilitate collaborative health projects between public health officers and primary care providers. In the first month, A Practical Playbook has been met with high praise, even as project team members work behind the scenes to enhance functionality and add even more content to its list of 700+ resources. Dr. Michael McGinnis, a senior scholar at the Institute of Medicine (IOM) and the Executive Director of the [...]

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Less Than Half of Americans Polled Believe Humans Have Anything to Do with Climate Change

In looking back at the winter that just came to a close, and according to a new Harris Poll, Americans in each region of the country feel quite a bit differently about the Winter that just passed. When it comes to the temperature, almost nine in ten Midwesterners (88%) and over four in five Easterners (84%) say it was colder than normal, as do 71% of those in the South. In the West, they are a little more divided as 45% believe it was warmer than normal, one-third (33%) say it was about the same as normal and one in [...]

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Holding Patients Hostage: UPMC and Highmark Ripping the Community Benefit Standard to Shreds

The Stockholm Syndrome is a phenomenon that occurs when people who are held hostage –by captors who express concern for their welfare– eventually develop a tendency to identify with their captor’s interests. Far more ridiculous theories have been promoted to explain how UPMC, Western PA’s dominant healthcare provider, could get away with refusing to do business with Highmark, the area’s largest and most dominant insurer. Instead of the resolve getting stronger among those who could actually do something to fix this, remarkably, it seems to be weakening. For the hundreds of thousands of UPMC patients who are insured by Highmark, and appear [...]

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Premier and American Society of Anesthesiologists To Develop Perioperative Surgical Home Collaborative

In an initiative designed to improve patient experience, outcomes and reduce readmissions, the American Society of Anesthesiologists (ASA) today announced it has chosen Premier, Inc. (NASDAQ: PINC) to help it develop a first-of-its-kind learning collaborative for the ASA’s Perioperative Surgical Home (PSH) model of care. ASA’s PSH is a patient-centered, physician-led, team-based practice model of coordinated care that guides a patient throughout the entire surgical experience. The collaborative is intended to bring together health care organizations to develop, pilot, and evaluate this innovative model to improve care for surgical patients from the moment surgery is planned, through recovery and discharge [...]

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UK’s Competition Commission Forcing HCA to Sell Two London Hospitals

It appears that HCA International, owned by HCA Holdings, has become a victim of its own success. By most all accounts, it has done an excellent job in Central London and become a dominant force in its private healthcare market. So the idea that it is being forced to divest itself of two profitable hospitals, while it’s chief rival, BMI, gets a pass, is not sitting well with its executives. Competition Commission chairman Roger Witcomb said requiring operators to sell hospitals was a big step. “We have focused on those areas where a sale will be effective in increasing competition-where [...]

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ConvergeHEALTH Announces Yet Another Collaboration: Moffitt Cancer Center/M2Gen Joins the Consortium

ConvergeHEALTH by Deloitte is announcing that M2Gen, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Moffitt Cancer Center, has joined its real-world evidence and analytics consortium to help transform cancer care around the use of personalized medicine. M2Gen joins the consortium initiated by Intermountain Healthcare and ConvergeHEALTH to contribute toward biomarker discovery, gene-based clinical trial matching and real-world evidence generation to support the shift to personalized medicine in oncology. M2Gen has one of the world’s richest sources of oncology and personalized medicine insights as a result of Moffitt Cancer Center’s Total Cancer Care® program. Total Cancer Care helps researchers and caregivers address the needs of [...]

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Patient Safety Through Nurse Workplace Transformation: New RWJF Policy Brief Examines Progress Since 2004 IOM Study

Princeton, NJ — A decade ago, a report from the Institute of Medicine (IOM) offered the startling conclusion that, “the typical work environment of nurses is characterized by many serious threats to patient safety.” The IOM offered a series of specific recommendations about how hospitals and other institutions needed to change to reduce the number of health care errors—recommendations that together constituted a fundamental transformation of nurses’ work environment. Ten years later, a new issue brief from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) examines progress toward those goals. The IOM report, Keeping Patients Safe: Transforming the Work Environment of Nurses, found [...]

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FAQ: What Are The Penalties For Not Getting Insurance?

The Affordable Care Act has started to resemble life itself  –a series of diminishments. Whether in the form of another delay, a revision, or a cancellation, several of the Act’s most defining requirements  –its mandates and minimum standards– are withering away right before our eyes. If the threats behind the penalty provisions of the Act aren’t going to be taken seriously by the Administration, then how can it expect the American people to be effectively persuaded? And if the President is willing to go to war with the Little Sisters of the Poor (over contraception coverage), but ignore enforcing the [...]

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Obamacare Enrollment Woes: No Fines, No Compliance

Late yesterday, Amy Goldstein of the Washington Post reported what close observers of Obamacare’s federal exchange enrollment troubles had been predicting all along, namely, that the March 31 deadline would be extended. By the way, because the text of the Affordable Care Act does not specify how long the open enrollment period should be, Health and Human Services (HHS) regulators are not out on their own legal limb this time. So, if you hear your friends saying, “how can they do that,” feel free to set the record straight. Although Sec. Sebelius recently told congress that the administration had no [...]

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Pricing Transparency: Are Taxpayers Swinging at Windmills?

Regardless of your politics, most of us can agree that the market for health care in the United States isn’t really working all that well. The libs tell us that a market failure has occurred, and that we need government to intervene to correct that failure — by expanding public insurance programs, subsidizing private insurance, etc. Although the conservatives don’t exactly concede that such a failure has happened, they do believe that things would get better if we simply got government out of the way and made consumers better informed. In other words, take care of the information asymmetry that [...]

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Affordable Care Act (ACA) Hits 4th Anniversary

What follows is President Barack Obama’s statement, made yesterday, on the 4th anniversary of the Affordable Care Act (ACA): Since I signed the Affordable Care Act into law, the share of Americans with insurance is up, and the growth of health care costs is down, to its slowest rate in fifty years – two of the most promising developments for our middle class and our fiscal future in a long time. More Americans with insurance have gained new benefits and protections – the 100 million Americans who’ve gained the right to free preventive care like mammograms and contraception, the eight million [...]

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Beware of Narrow Networks –Insurance Exchanges “Stingy” on Cancer Treatment Options

Based on a recent survey of cancer centers by the Associated Press, cancer patients thinking they can get coverage through the exchanges are discovering that some of the nation’s best cancer hospitals are off-limits to them. In all, only four of nineteen nationally recognized comprehensive cancer centers said patients will have access through all the insurance companies in their state exchange. And worse,  even for savvy shoppers, it’s difficult to determine which institutions are in/out. “Not too long ago, insurance companies would have been vying to offer access to renowned cancer centers,” said Dan Mendelson, CEO of the market research [...]

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MedPAC to Close Billing Loopholes –Finally

An important lesson in business is learning what is meant by the phrase “pigs get fat and hogs get slaughtered.” It’s an old adage meant to warn those of us who have a tendency to get too greedy at precisely the wrong time… In case you didn’t know, where health-related services are rendered, who administers them and how they’re administered all factor into reimbursement rates.  For example, if a patient receives a cancer treatment at an inpatient facility and receives an injection administered by a physician, the reimbursement may be higher than when that same patient goes to an outpatient [...]

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