April 16th, 2010

April 16: Health Care Reform News

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Going to Mayo for treatment? Not so fast….

Healthcare bill kills Medicare at the Mayo Clinic. President Obama has often commented that he’s impressed with the way the Mayo Clinic performs calling it a model of health-care excellence and efficiency. “It’s got the best quality and the lowest cost of just about any system in the country. We want to help the whole country learn from what Mayo is doing,” said the president…

 

The Mayo Clinic no longer accepts Medicare payments at its primary care facility in Glendale, Arizona. Now more than 3,000 patients are required to pay cash if they choose to continue seeing doctors at this clinic

 

Tucson Citizen, 4/15/2010

 

Top stories

 

President Signs Bill to Extend Jobless Aid

The New York Times
April 16, 2010

 

On Thursday, Congress approved legislation (HR 4851) that would temporarily extend unemployment benefits, including subsidies to help purchase COBRA coverage, and delay a scheduled cut to Medicare physician payments.

 

Study Supports Link Between Improved Patient Safety and Reduced Malpractice Claims

FierceHealthcare
April 16, 2010

 

New research from the RAND Corporation indicates that bolstering patient safety efforts doesn't just benefit patients, but physicians and hospitals as well, by combating malpractice litigation. Click here to read the report.

 

Cancer Research by U.S. Disorganized, Underfunded, Study Says

Business Week
April 15, 2010

 

The government's cancer research network is 'approaching a state of crisis' as waste and inefficiency cause 40 percent of late-stage trials it funds to be abandoned before completion, according to a report released yesterday.

 

Transparency/Safety

 

Is Comparative Effectiveness Cost-Effective?

HealthLeaders Media

April 16, 2010

 

The benefits will come, but an investment in EHR and standardization of protocols are needed.

 

State news

 

Mass.: Harvard Pilgrim, Fallon Still at Odds With State

The Boston Globe

April 16, 2010

 

Harvard Pilgrim Health Care of Wellesley and Fallon Community Health Plan of Worcester, two of the Massachusetts' big health insurers, face fines after they submitted to the state revised premium rates for individuals and small businesses that differed from what regulators ordered.

 

Medicare/Medicaid

 

UnitedHealth Outlines $366B in Medicaid Savings

Business Week
April 16, 2010

 

Health insurer UnitedHealth Group Inc. said governments can ease the upcoming strain health reform will place on Medicaid systems with about $366 billion in savings over the next decade. The Minnetonka, Minn., insurer's Center for Health Reform and Modernization on Thursday identified three main areas for potential savings for the state-federally funded Medicaid programs.

 

Implementing the Legislation

 

Massachusetts Health-Care Reform Leader Could Play Larger Role Nationally

The Washington Post
April 15, 2010

 

Jon Kingsdale, the founding executive director of the Massachusetts Health Connector, on Thursday announced that he is resigning -- with a hint that he has in his sights a role in implementing the national legislation.

 

IRS: Could Withhold Tax Refund To Enforce Individual Mandate

The Daily Caller

April 6, 2010

 

Individuals who don’t purchase health insurance may lose their tax refunds according to IRS Commissioner Doug Shulman. After acknowledging the recently passed health-care bill limits the agency’s options for enforcing the individual mandate, Shulman told reporters that the most likely way to penalize individuals that don’t comply is by reducing or confiscating their tax refunds.

Low-Cost Coverage in Obama Health Plan Not For All

The Washington Post

April 16, 2010

 

Starting in July, a special high-risk pool will offer coverage to uninsured people with pre-existing health conditions at a cost similar to what everyone else pays. It's the first test of whether the administration can deliver on Obama's vision within the budget Congress set. But some vulnerable patients are probably going to feel a little cheated.

 

For Pre-existing Conditions, Separate and Unequal Coverage?

The New York Times

April 15, 2010

 

They may all get coverage through their state’s high-risk insurance program, but some participants may have better and cheaper coverage than others starting in July.

 

Panel Says Most Health Insurers Need to Boost Medical Outlays

The Wall Street Journal
April 16, 2010

 

Most of the big publicly traded insurance companies spend less on medical care than the new health law will require of them, says a report issued today by the Senate Commerce Committee.

 

Employers

 

Dems Cancel Hearing on Business Health Care Gripes

AP/Google News

April 16, 2010

 

Democratic lawmakers on Wednesday canceled a hearing called to hear concerns by AT&T and other corporations about new employer costs in the health care overhaul, saying the companies now believe the overhaul could ease their costs if implemented properly.

 

Health Information Technology

 

Technology Fears, Privacy Breaches Remain Barriers for EHR Use

HealthLeaders Media

April 16, 2010

 

Even as healthcare providers and the federal government shell out billions to install health information technology systems, such as electronic medical records, many Americans have no idea what they are or how such computerization can benefit their care, according to a survey by Lake Research Partners for the California Healthcare Foundation.

 

A Doctor's IT Prescription

HealthLeaders Media

April 16, 2010

 

David Blumenthal, MD, National Coordinator for Health Information Technology for HHS, spoke a few weeks ago to members of the Patient Centered Primary Care Collaborative about how he was forced by peer pressure to embrace technology and for that, he's a better physician. His message is instructive to physicians everywhere, especially those who are resistant to change.

 

Miscellaneous

 

Obama Extends Hospital Visitation Rights to Same-Sex Partners, Others

The Washington Post

April 16, 2010

 

President Obama mandated that nearly all hospitals extend visitation rights to the partners of gay men and lesbians and respect patients' choices about who may make critical healthcare decisions for them. Administration officials and gay activists said the new rule will affect any hospital that receives Medicare or Medicaid funding.

 

Tags: health care reform, Health Policy, Health Policy

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