Monday, March 30, 2009

$338 Million is Released to Aid in Expansion of Services Offered at US Health Centers

The U.S. Department of Health & Human Services recently reported that $338 million which was made available by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act will be used to expand services offered at the country's community health centers.

These grants will help those to provide care to hundreds of patients during the economic downturn. The overall goal is to create and retain approximately 6,400 health center jobs across the nation. Most grantees plan to use the funds by adding new providers, expanding services, and extending hours of operations. You can view the list of grantees in the US here.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Medical expenses post-retirement rising rapidly

In a recent article at the LA Times, they look at the troubling increase that couples retiring are going to have to face when they retire and turn to Medicare for insurance. Medicare will only pay 1/2 the medical fees, which is currently in jeopardy due to the increasing number of retirees. Fidelity estimated that a couple moving into retirement this year will have to have saved $240,000 to cover medical expenses. This counts on the man living 17 years and the woman 20, as well as their companies not providing insurance. Over the 7 years that Fidelity has been conducting this study, expenses have risen 50%.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

US Medicare fraudster deported

Jerome Howard Feldman, an 67-year-old American, wanted for $2 million in Medicare fraud has been deported from the Philippines. Papers were issued for his deportation March 9 due to the fact that he was an undocumented and undesirable alien. For more information read here and here.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Walmart will offer low cost alternative to adopting electronic health records

The New York Times is reporting that WalMart will begin selling a low-cost alternative to enable small medical offices to start using electronic health records. They'll have Sams Club begin to work with Dell and eClinical Works, to provide hardware, software instillation, maintenance, and training.

Marcus Osborne, senior director for health care business development at Wal-Mart, had this to say about their new offer:
“We’re a high-volume, low-cost company. And I would argue that mentality is sorely lacking in the health care industry.”

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Is Medicare in a Huge Mess?

Earlier today I came across this post on the National Journal Health Care blog which posed a serious question about how serious Medicare’s financial problems are and what should be done to fix it. Reading through the responses there are several recommendations and policies to take note of. What do you think should be done in Congress to address this problem?

Monday, March 16, 2009

Dramatic increase in Medicare spending on home health services

In a recent report issued by the Government Accountability Office, home health services saw a 44% increase from 2002 to 2006, which had to do with an increase in fraudulent billing. Spending reached $13 billion in 2006.

The article stated:
The report drew attention to fraud and abuse by Medicare, saying that while a few home care providers overstated the medical conditions of the patients in order to receive higher payments, other home health companies charged Medicare for superfluous services or care.

Read the article here.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Senate Bill May Allow Overseas Prescription Imports

According to, Senators Byron Dorgan (D-ND), Olympia Snow (R-ME), John McCain (R-AZ), and Debbie Stabenow (D-MI) introduced a bill on Mar. 4, 2009, that would allow pharmacists and wholesalers to import prescription drugs from Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Switzerland, and the European Union. The bill’s cosponsors claim that Americans pay as much as 5 times more to fill their prescriptions than consumers in other countries and that “promoting competitive market pricing would both contribute to healthcare savings and allow greater access to therapy.” What do you think of the new bill proposed? We'd like to hear your thoughts.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Medicaid Managed Care Congress: Will you be there?

What does the stimulus plan mean for your state program? How are your fellow state reps and health plans strategizing in this economy? The 17th Annual Medicaid Managed Care Congress provides you a forum to discuss these issues and bring home the best action plan. Join us this June 8-10, 2009 to hear best practices, next practices and the latest regulatory developments from CMS, State Medicaid officials and health plan executives on how to achieve quality care, comply with the latest legislation, and manage cost.

The lowest price of the year is available until March 13. For more information on the program and speakers, visit our website!

Medicare Advantage cuts to come

Medicare Advantage Plan suppliers will be receiving cuts in the amount of payments they receive. The privately run programs that offer government health plans provide healthcare for roughly 10 million of 44 million senior citizens. In its current state, the government pays $1.30 for each Medicare Advantage plan holder as opposed to $1.00 for each person enrolled in Medicare through the government. For more, read the article here.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Obama on health care

Yesterday, Obama was at Healthcare Summit to address the changes he hopes to have in healthcare. Watch the video below or read the transcript here.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Sebelius and DeParle to take up office in Obama'a cabinet

Kansas Governor Kathleen Sebelius was nominated by President Obama Monday to be the Secretary of Health and Human Services. Nancy-Ann DeParle help coordinate health policy. For more on this new nomination to Health and Human Services, read this article at the New York Times.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Medicare's coming changes

The Wall Street Journal Health Blog recently laid out what the changes will be for Medicare when Obama's proposals come through. Read the write up here.