Monday, August 31, 2009

Should Obama step in for heatlhcare reform?

In a recent article at Fox News, they look at the current state of health care reform in Congress. While the House and the Senate have been bouncing back and forth between different versions for weeks, many are now calling for President Obama to step in and give his own bill to Congress. Obama called for a new health care plan, but left it up to Congress to write the bill which subsequently left the Democrats divided on many issues.

Read the full Fox News article here. What do you think? Would a new health care system be more likely if President Obama stepped in and wrote the bill then presented it to Congress?

Friday, August 28, 2009

Democratic Health Care Bill Divulges IRS Tax Data

Declan McCullagh of CBS News writes that Section 431(a) of the (Democratic health care) bill says that the IRS must divulge taxpayer identity information, including the filing status, the modified adjusted gross income, the number of dependents, and "other information as is prescribed by" regulation. That information will be provided to the new Health Choices Commissioner and state health programs and used to determine who qualifies for "affordability credits."

Should this tax information be a factor when deciding health care for an individual or a family?

Democratic Health Care Bill Divulges IRS Tax Data

Thursday, August 27, 2009

The Most Influential People in the Health Care System

According to this blog post on the NY Times, Modern Healthcare recently released its list of the 100 most influential people in the health care system. The top 3 people on the list, which should come as no surprise, are Barack Obama; Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius; and Nancy-Ann DeParle, director of the White House Office of Health Reform.

Who are some other very important people in the health care system that should be part of this list?

See the full list here.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Complimentary Web Seminar: Leveraging Health: improving health status and bending the financial trend through value-based designs

Title: Leveraging Health: improving health status and bending the financial trend through value-based designs

Date: Thursday, September 24, 2009

Time: 12:00 PM - 1:00 PM EDT

Register here:
Mention priority code: P1455W1BlogTwitter

About the web seminar:
The unique challenges presented by the health cost inflation and the economic downturn are also the unique opportunities. The tension that exists in managing health care costs at this time is exactly the spotlight that was needed to change the dialogue on health care. In fact, even the questions we’ve been asking should be changed.

Instead of asking “How much will this cost,” the road to real, sustainable change lies in the question, “How much health will this dollar buy?” Value-based designs have consistently shown the results in improved health status and reduced financial strain. This seminar will showcase the learnings, the levers, and the dividends that accrue when a total health management approach is used to create sustainable results through aligned risks and rewards.

What you will learn:
- The definition and process of a value-based design, including the categories for improvement.
- The metrics of success and the time to achieve them.
- The data required to begin the shift to investing in value.
- The case studies of others who have implemented over 100 levers to drive change and improved health and economic outcomes.

Presented by:
Cyndy Nayer, President and co-founder
Center for Health Value Innovation

Jack Mahoney MD, Chief Medical Officer and co-founder
Center for Health Value Innovation

Jan Berger MD, Strategic Advisor
Center for Health Value Innovation

Monday, August 24, 2009

Joe Biden Announces Grants for Electronic Medical Records

According to this article in ABC News Vice President Joe Biden will announce nearly $1.2 billion in government grants to help hospitals transitions to electronic medical records. This is a way for for the White House to finally demonstrate how the taxpayers dollars will be spent. Joe Biden mentioned "With electronic health records, we are making health care safer, we're making it more efficient, we're making you healthier and we're saving money along the way."

The Vice President also made the argument that paper records take up too much time and is prone for medical errors. Electronic medical health records will definitely ease communication between physicians and patients in the near future.

To network with health plan and pharma professionals involved in medication and treatment compliance initiatives, join our LinkedIn group. You can also follow us on Twitter.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Town hall meeting on Healthcare

CBS News anchor Dr. Jon LaPook recently attended a town hall meeting with Senator Bernie Sandors met with residents of Vermont to see what the public believes about the current state of health care. Watch the video below to see what the citizens of Vermont believe about healthcare reform.

Watch CBS Videos Online

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Healthcare Co-Ops-- a Real Alternative?

The LATimes reports that congressional Democrats and Republicans are already sparring over an alternative to government-run insurance -- a series of private regional cooperatives that advocates say could achieve the goals of a public plan without the potential for government interference.

One of the six -- Democrat Kent Conrad of North Dakota -- is the leading Senate proponent of co-ops. He and others point to cooperatives in Seattle and Minnesota that employ doctors and own their own healthcare facilities, giving them more control over costs and the quality of care. Conrad says that under his plan, the federal government would play no role in managing the co-ops, but would only provide seed money to help them get started.

It seems that under this plan, some could choose their healthcare just like they choose a new apartment. But what about regulation of fees and fights over which doctors to choose for their co-op?

Healthcare co-ops emerging as viable alternative

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Baxter Loses Medicare Reimbursement Suit

This article in Forbes discusses how a US District Court has ruled against Baxter International Inc. stating that it is not entitled to a higher Medicare reimbursement price for its hemophilia drug Advate. Baxter has previously asked Medicare to reclassify the drug so that reimbursements would increase because according to Baxter its Medicare reimbursement prices were less than the drug's sale price. Medicare's reasoning for not reclassifying the drug was that Advate was put into the "multiple drug source" category because it reached the market in the summer of 2003, about two months before the change in regulations took place.

If you'd like to join a group of professionals in the MDRP field, join our Medicaid Drug Rebate Program LinkedIn Group!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Patient compliance would cut healthcare expenditure

According to Fierce Pharma, medication compliance would save the government $290 billion a year in health care expenses, which is a total of 13% overall savings. The article suggests that the government look into a compliance push, as many of the medications that are not taken as prescribed are for chronic diseases. Read the full article here.

To network with health plan and pharma professionals involved in medication and treatment compliance initiatives, join our LinkedIn group. You can also follow us on Twitter.

Monday, August 17, 2009

White House Backs Away from Gov't-Run Insurance

the Obama administration signaled Sunday that it was on the verge of abandoning a government-run insurance option in its healthcare overhaul -- a bow to political reality and a big win for insurers.

Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius told CNN's "State of the Union" that a public option is "not the essential element" of healthcare overhaul, but that lowering insurance costs and preventing insurers from dumping customers for preexisting conditions or for exceeding coverage caps are must-haves.

Should the Obama Administration stay out of the healthcare insurance business, or should privatized insurance be the pathway towards better healthcare?

White House backs off public healthcare option

Friday, August 14, 2009

Obama Makes his Case on Healthcare at Town Hall

As we wait and see what will happen over the course of the next week when Obama makes several appearances to convince the American public that his proposed plan will benefit them, make sure to check out the live-blogging being done by David Stout of the NY Times. So far President Obama has mentioned that Americans spend roughly $5,000 to $6,000 more on healthcare than people of other advanced countries. Check the NY Times blog to see live updates of his town hall meeting.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Survey Results Prove High Medical Fees are Common

According to this article in the NY Times results posted from a survey conducted by America's Health Insurance Plans show that show that fees charged by doctors and hospitals are astoundingly high when comparing Medicare payments to payments private insurers pay.

The article gave an example of how a patient in Illinois paid $12,712 for cataract surgery when Medicare pays $675 for the very same procedure. Legislation that is being passed in Congress right now would require insurers to disclose to patients possible out-of-network costs. This is sparking serious debate in Obama's proposed health care plan in which we are seeing decreasing approval levels.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Obama to Hold Town-Hall Meetings to Face Growing Concerns from Democrats

This latest article in The Wall Street Journal blog discusses how President Barack Obama will hold three local town-hall meetings in order to convince the American public that his new health insurance plan will benefit them.

Obama will focus on emphasizing how legislation would help solve these three problems: the practice of denying insurance coverage to those with pre-existing illnesses, keep people from losing insurance coverage if they get sick, and protecting Americans that face high out-of-pocket costs. Republicans already favor two of three changes Obama proposes, but we will see how Democrats will view these changes shortly, as they have already voiced their concerns.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Electronic health records promote health

According to Web MD, a study recently concluded that patients who are receiving electronic reminders will stay healthier and possibly lower health care costs. Electronic health records kept for 421 people with details such as physician visits, laboratory and pharmacy data in order to monitor the effects of cholesterol-lowering and blood-pressure-lowering drugs with the goal of reducing their risk for future heart attacks and strokes. All of the doctors included in the patients care were connected through the electronic health records, which proved that knowledge about the complete treatment of the patients could lead to lower medical costs and improved heatlh. Read the full article here.

To network with health plan and pharma professionals involved in medication and treatment compliance initiatives, join our LinkedIn group. You can also follow us on Twitter.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Next Generation Health Care Delivery

Obtain the tools you need to implement and integrate new delivery models into your benefit design. Next Generation Healthcare Delivery offers unparalleled access to industry leaders piloting models that are disrupting AND improving healthcare outcomes. Health Plan Clinical Leadership can’t afford to miss out on this result driven discussion of the latest developments in health care delivery.

Improve optimal healthcare delivery to improve quality, compliance and cost structures

Medical Home Model
Evaluate to determine appropriate payment structures and methods
Retail & Specialty Clinics
Utilize Alternate venues of care for better health outcomes and decrease hospitalizations
Medical Tourism
Integrate coverage into plan benefits to reduce overall costs and maintain quality
Online Physician Consults & Home Health
Implement payment structures to ensure provider accessibility and cost transparency

To become more involved with other professionals working in the next generation healthcare delivery field, join our LinkedIn Group!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

A CEO's view of health care

At American Public Media, the Kaiser Permanente CEO George Halvorson, about what universal healthcare needs in order to become a reality. This current reform is focusing on cost savings while still providing a high quality, affordable care. Health care also needs to work on taking better care of the people in public.

Halvorson also looks at what is needed to make healthcare available for all. Medicare needs to be available to all low income people, and those in the middle income bracket need to have the option of subsidized care. Its also key for communication to increase between all healthcare providers to provide better care for all.

Read the whole interview here.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Obama Welcomes Drug Lobby to White House Table

Tom Hamburger of the LATimes writes, "the pharmaceutical industry, once condemned by the president as a source of healthcare problems, has become a White House partner." Billy Tauzin, once a target for the President during his campaign has "Tauzin has morphed into the president's partner. He has been invited to the White House half a dozen times in recent months. There, he says, he eventually secured an agreement that the administration wouldn't try to overturn the very Medicare drug policy that Obama had criticized on the campaign trail."

Read the article, to find out more about how Tauzin is influencing the President's healthcare decisions.

Obama gives powerful drug lobby a seat at healthcare table

Monday, August 3, 2009

An Alternative to Obama's Healthcare Reform

Obama has seem much opposition to his proposed healthcare reform. Here in The Ithaca Journal Bob Yates suggests an alternative to Obama's healthcare reform. Bob suggests that instead of setting up a new plan that would be cheaper than private plans but yield high taxes, we should open up Medicaid and Medicare to everyone and allow people to buy into Medicaid which is on average $8,000 a year.

He also suggests a dollar-for-dollar credit on medical spending on everything. While this seems like a great alternative, is it really feasible?