Friday, October 29, 2010

How can Medicare payments be fixed?

In a recent article at MedPage Today, they look at the dissatisfaction in the payment system of Medicare for doctors. While they are unfair, physicians really have no idea how they can fix the payment system. They do know that the current reform of the healthcare system will decrease their income.

Physicians were asked about their support for several new payment options, including: rewarding quality with financial incentives; bundling payments; shifting payments from procedures to management and counseling services; increasing pay to generalists; and offsetting the pay increase for generalists with a reduction in pay to specialists.

The survey found that 78% of doctors surveyed felt that some procedures are compensated too highly and others are not compensated enough to cover costs.

What do you think about the current physician reimbursement system? How greatly will it change with healthcare reform and will this affect the care of the patients in the future?

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Who can you hear from at next year’s The Medicare Congress?

These and other distinguished industry leaders at IIR's 8th Annual Medicare Congress January 24-26, 2011 in Scottsdale, AZ!

-Susan Dentzer, Editor-in-Chief, HEALTH AFFAIRS
The Future of Private Medicare: Assessing the Impact of Reform
Learn about the history of private Medicare and examine the impact of health care reform on the future of Medicare health plans.

How Do Health Plans Deliver More with Less?
Review the critical success factors that deliver value in your health plan and help you develop a business strategy to prepare for an evolving economic landscape.

-Tricia Neuman, Vice President, KAISER FAMILY FOUNDATION
Medicare And Health Reform - What Will Changes Mean for the Beneficiary
Highlight the changes in benefits, trends in the Medicare Advantage and Part D marketplace, the role of the new independent Payment Advisory Board, provider access issues, and more.

-Thomas Goetz, Author, "The Decision Tree: Taking Control of Your Health in The New Era of Personalized Medicine", Executive Editor, WIRED MAGAZINE
**Session details to be released shortly**

Visit our webpage to download The Medicare Congress’s brochure to find out more about these presentations and others at this year’s event:

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Hawaii receives $82 million for pricing fraud

Pharmalot reports that the state of Hawaii will receive $82 million from large Pharma companies to settle the law suit that charged Pharma for overcharging the state in drug costs. In 1999, the cost of the program was $45 million, but had risen to $117 million in 2004. It was a Florida pharmacy that called out the overcharging. Merck will pay the largest sum of drug companies at $28 million, followed by Pfizer at $8 million.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Humana and Walmart pair up for Medicare Part D Plan looks at the new plan Humana and Walmart have put together for Medicare Part D for 2010. Through working together, the two have come up with a low monthly premium, which is $14.80. This is the lowest in the nation.

According to William Fleming, PharmD, vice president of Humana Pharmacy Solutions,
"One of the primary goals of health care reform is to make health coverage more affordable -- and that's what we're doing with the introduction of this low-cost Medicare Part D plan. People are more likely to take the medications prescribed for them when they can afford those medications. And adhering to prescription-drug regimens can enable people to be healthier and prevent future illness. We know every dollar counts, especially when you live on a fixed income. We believe no one should have to choose between buying their groceries or their medications," said John Agwunobi, MD, president of Walmart's Health and Wellness division. "Financial health is a fundamental part of a person's well-being...[W]e are committed to doing everything we can to ensure seniors have access to the medications they need at a price they can afford."

Is it likely that many Americans will take note of this plan? Will the price bring them in to change their Medicare Part D plans in 2011?

Friday, October 1, 2010

AMA speaks out about cuts to Medicare

With Congress poised to cut 30% of Medicare's budget for the 2011 year, many doctors and associations are reaching out and asking Congress to reevaluate their budget cuts. According to DotMed News, The cuts will leave many doctors underfunded, with little capital to pay their employees salaries and invest in cutting edge technology that will aid their care of patients.

The letter the AMA sent to Congress included:
"[T]hese steps did not protect physician practices from all the consequences of the repeated Congressional delays. Many practices were forced to seek loans to meet payroll expenses, lay off staff or cancel capital improvements and investments in electronic health records and other technology. Furthermore, when payments resumed, many physicians experienced long delays in receiving retroactive adjustments."

Can the US public afford to have Congress cut funding for Medicare?