Friday, July 31, 2009

Portable health records

According to BNET Healthcare, many companies are trying to find a way for their employees to create a portable health record. They're turning to the company Dossia to help them do it. Some of the companies investing in this are AT&T, Applied Materials, BP America, Cardinal Health, Intel, Pitney Bowes, sanofi-aventis, and Abraxis Bioscience. Both the employees of this company and the general public would benefit from portable health records as the can help doctors provide better care because of the knowledge of their background. The article also points out that many companeis are intrested in portable heatlth record, but many companies are slow to jump on the offerings of Google and Microsoft.

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, July 30, 2009

Baxter comes to settlement in Illinois Settlement

According to Consumer Affairs, the State of Illinois and Baxter have come to an agreement over a dispute where the company inflated the wholesale prices used in setting the rates for Medicaid reimbursements. The case was settled for $6.8 million and those funds have already been placed in the General Revenue Fund to pay Medicare bills. Read more here.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Government Run Healthcare

According to Thomas DiLorenzo's post in the Ludwig von Mises Institute blog the more money we have spent on government-run healthcare in the past, the less healthcare we have gotten in return. He mentions that since there are no profits, there is no rewarding system that penalizes for bad performance and encourages good performance. Thomas notes that the federal government is actually doing the opposite, giving higher budgets to those hospitals that are failing in performance and reducing budgets for those that are performing well. Here are some examples Thomas including in his post from a NY Times article entitled "Full Hospitals Make Canadians Wait and Look South"

* A 58-year-old grandmother awaited open-heart surgery in a Montreal hospital hallway with 66 other patients as electric doors opened and closed all night long, bringing in drafts from sub-zero weather. She was on a five-year waiting list for her heart surgery.

* In Toronto, 23 of the city's 25 hospitals turned away ambulances in a single day because of a shortage of doctors.

* In Vancouver, ambulances have been "stacked up" for hours while heart attack victims wait in them before being properly taken care of.

* At least 1,000 Canadian doctors and many thousands of Canadian nurses have migrated to the United States to avoid price controls on their salaries.

What's your take on socialized healthcare?

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Would it be smart to tax unhealthly food?

Melissa Healy has an article in the LA Times looking at the dramatic increase in US obesity and its effects on the current healthcare reform. Obesity in the United States rose from 18.3% in 1998 to 25% in 2006. This has increased government healthcare spending to over $40 billion a year. Healy suggests that it might be beneficial to go down the same road with unhealthy food as was done with cigarettes a few years ago, heavily tax that which is not good for you. Tax the foods to change the way people eat, and increase the taxes 10-30% and use the taxes received to pay for the heatlhcare of the obese. It would also be wise to increase tax subsidies on foods that are healthy, such as fruits and vegetables. What do you think?

Monday, July 27, 2009

What's the deal with the Obama health care plan? Should small business support it?

Steve Strauss of USAToday answers this question in his recent column with, "Small business may have more at stake in this health care debate than any other constituency. Consider: According to a report by the U.S. Public Interest Research Group, roughly 46 million Americans are without health insurance, and of those, more than half — 26 million — are small business owners, employees and their dependents."

What can it mean for America's small business owners if/when the healthcare bill is passed regarding the cost of healthcare?

Strauss answers:

Now, what about this so-called mandate requiring small business owners to provide health insurance or face a government fine? That is more troubling. Under the House measure, employers with payrolls of more than $400,000 a year will be required to provide health insurance or pay an 8% penalty. Businesses whose payroll falls between $250,000 and $400,000 a year would pay a lesser penalty. Businesses with fewer than $250,000 in payroll would be exempt. A Senate version would exempt employers with fewer than 25 employees, and the fine for bigger companies not complying would be $750 fine per employee per year.

Do you think that healthcare reform is worth it for small businesses? Will small business owners suffer more with the mandates? We'd like to hear your thoughts.

Ask an Expert: The good, bad of Obama's health care plan

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Obama's healthcare reform

President Obama realizes the nation is not sure about his proposed $1 trillion overhaul of the medical system. He believes that this is the only way for economic recovery to be possible. He believes that our economy could worsen if the overhaul is not completed soon, and that many Americans would continue to be hurt financially. Obama urges Congress to vote in early August to solve this problem as soon as possible because he believes that by controlling cost, the deficit of America and its citizens can be controlled. Read the full article at the New York Times here.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Governors look at new Obama healthcare plan with concern

In an in-depth look at the current state of Medicaid reform from Obama in the New York Times today, they divulge that many policy makers are concerned about the new Medicaid plan that will cover any non-elderly person who is living at 133% or below the poverty level. This translates to an income of $29,300 for a family of four. The Republicans express disapproval, but are yet to come up with an alternate plan. State governors also meet and have expressed concern as to how they'll cover these new plans with dwindeling budgets and no aid from the government. Read the whole story on opposition to the Obama plan here.

Friday, July 17, 2009

Intel and General Electric Plan to Add More Connectivity Options to Intel Health Guide

According to this article in eWeek Intel and General Electric will invest roughly $250 million over the course of the next five years to develop and improve IT technologies in the Intel Health Guide to better aid linking patients to their physicians and caregivers.

The improved system will allow patients to directly connect with their physicians via high-speed broadband and residential phone services. Louis Burns, vice president and general manager of the Intel Digital Health Group mentions, "We believe that deploying technology in the home can help pave the way for a more personalized, cost-effective health care system and we will continue to innovate and develop products that achieve this."

It will be interesting to see how new technology and improvements to the IT infrastructure will pan out over the next couple of years.

To network with health plan and pharma professionals involved in medication and treatment compliance initiatives, join our LinkedIn group.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Increasing funds to Medicaid

Forbes looks at the steps Obama is taking towards ensuring more Americans have health insurance. He would like to stop Medicaid privatization, and has already started off his term by increasing the number of children insured by Medicaid. On Tuesday, the House Democrats introduced a bill that would give Medicaid $438 billion over the next decade. Read the full article on Obamacare here.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Non-compliance, requests for generics on the rise, says survey

Matthew Arnold of Medical Marketing & Media reports that, physicians say patient compliance is getting worse, and they're hearing more requests for generic or OTC alternatives to prescribed medications as the economic malaise takes its toll, according to a Pri-Med survey.

The Pri-Med survey used 473 respondents with 70% said they are hearing patients increasingly request generic or OTC alternatives, and 68% said they've noticed an increase in non-compliant behaviors with regards to medication usage among patients. More than half said they're seeing changes in patient payment, such as increased delinquencies or requests for payment plans, and 88% are seeing changes to patients' appointment behaviors, including increased cancellations and refusals of tests or screening procedures.

Physicans say that they are devoting more time to phone consultations and low-cost alternatives to help serve their patients needs.

To network with health plan and pharma professionals involved in medication and treatment compliance initiatives, join our LinkedIn group.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Key changes needed for Medicare reform

According to a new article at Reuters, they believe the first steps in reforming healthcare have begun. Pharma Research and Manufacturers of America have agreed to cost savings measures as well as hospitals accepting Medicare cuts. The article then goes on to look at two other things that would be critical to Medicare reform: linking doctors pays to improving patients health and boosing the payments for primary care. Read the full article here.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Access to CMS Rebate Operations and Policy teams at MDRP Summit

Are you looking for...

• Access to CMS staff?
• Responses to your questions from CMS?
• How to obtain correct policy decisions from the proper individuals at CMS in a
timely manner?
• Clarification on how to handle specific issues and obtain clear guidance from CMS?
• Insight on CMS' position on chaining versus stacking?

Join over 400 of your industry colleagues to have frank discussions with the CMS Rebate operations team to clarify current data frustrations, policy updates and requirement updates at IIR’s MDRP Summit, so Bring Questions on Current CMS Rebate Data, Operations and Technical/Systems Updates to discuss with:

• Tamara Bruce, Technical Director, CMS Medicaid Drug Rebate Team
• Diane Dunstan, Lead RO DRP and Medicaid Drug Rebate Analyst, Denver Regional Office, CMS
• Samone Angel, Senior Analyst, Medicaid Drug Rebate Team, CMS
• Dusty Kerhart, Senior Analyst, Drug Rebate Operations, CMS
• Dona Coffman, Technical Director, Division of Information Analysis and Technical Assistance, CMS

Are you more interested in Policy Updates?

Bring questions about current CMS policy initiatives to discuss with Kim Howell, Senior Drug Policy Analyst, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).

Health-care stocks surge as broad market falls

The Wall Street Journal reports that Tuesday's healthcare stocks surged thanks to comments from Cheif of Staff Rahm Emanuel. Emanuel said the administration is open to negotiating a means for stiffer competition among private insurers. "The goal is to have a means and a mechanism to keep the private insurers honest," he said in an interview with The Wall Street Journal. An early report in the Washington Post said hospitals will contribute $155 billion over 10 years toward insuring the nearly 50 million Americans who do not have coverage.

Will we see a continued surge in healthcare stocks? We'd like to hear your predictions.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Grants available for children not yet enrolled in Medicaid

According to Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, $40 million will be released to help families who have not yet been able to enroll in Medicaid and Childrens Health Insurance Program. This is part of the program focusing on the millions of uninsured children.

Secretary Sebelius stated:
“We know there are millions of children who are eligible for coverage but don’t utilize their state health care programs. These grants will help community organizations, tribal organizations, as well as states and local governments reach out to children and families to ensure more children get the health care they need and deserve.”

Read more here.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Medicare changes with overhaul

According to a recent article at MSNBC, between 2010 and 2030, Medicare patients will rise from 46 million to 78 million. In this time period, Medicare will continue to be underfunded. In order for Medicare to come out even right now, the tax on Medicare will have to go up 134% or Medicare spending will have to go down 53%. Read the article here for an in-depth look at how spending will have to change in order for Medicare to sustain itself.