April 9, 2010

April 9: Health Care Reform News


Mayo Clinic CEO Adds to Civil Discourse About Health Care

There has been precious little civil discourse around the reent health care legislation, but Victor Trastek, MD, CEO of Mayo Clinic Arizona,  made a distinguished contribution to it when he spoke to the Harvard Business School Club in Phoenix today…


Although some of the guests asked tough (politicized) questions, he refused to diss the new legislation, despite his admission that there’s a 20% cut in Medicare payments to physicians still “hanging out there” while Congress is on recess and that “rationing is what happens if we fail to get everything else right.”…


Dr. Trastek admitted that will take months for Mayo to figure out everything that’s in it.  Bottom line, it will cover 30 million more people, of whom 14 million will be on Medicaid, which states will have to find a way to pay for.


US Health Crisis, 4/2010


Additional coverage: Huffington Post



Top stories


Sebelius Calls For a Wider Role For City Schools

The Philadelphia Inquirer

April 9, 2010

Kathleen Sebelius, the keynote speaker at the two-day Coalition of Community Schools' National Forum, said school buildings should be a cornerstone of the community, housing health clinics, after-school programs, and family activities. "These are tax-paid institutions, we need to open them up," Sebelius said. "Community schools will make it easier for families to access the service they need to succeed." Read Sebelius’ remarks as prepared for delivery here.

Confusion in the Capitols


April 9, 2010


There is an overwhelming sense of confusion among state lawmakers and health care officials around the country as they scramble to figure out what exactly health care reform means for their governments, their citizens and, not least of all, their budgets. With estimates ranging from state savings of $1 billion to $27 billion in additional costs, the one thing clear about health care reform is that little, if anything, is actually clear.


Health Care Opinion Leaders' Views on Health Reform, Implementation, and Post-Reform Priorities

The Commonwealth Fund
April 5, 2010

The Commonwealth Fund/Modern Healthcare Health Care Opinion Leaders Survey found though "[e]ighty-eight percent of opinion leaders believe that health reform will successfully expand access to affordable health insurance to the millions of Americans who currently do not have coverage ... respondents were less likely to believe the legislation will improve the affordability of health insurance for those Americans who already have coverage (38%) and begin to control rising health care costs and not add to the federal deficit (35%).



F.D.A. Toughens Process for Radiation Equipment

The New York Times
April 9, 2010


The agency is taking steps to reduce overdoses after reviewing 1,000 error reports over the last 10 years.


Pharmaceutical Company Pfizer Discloses Payments to Doctors

The Pittsburgh Business Times
April 9, 2010

Pharmaceutical company money continued flowing to University of Pittsburgh Medical Center doctors last year, despite a restrictive two-year-old policy designed to limit drug company influence, and reflecting the struggle academic medical centers face in distancing doctors from drug companies.

Monetary Incentives, Marketing, Accountability Drive Hand Hygiene

HealthLeaders Media

April 9, 2010


Ask any infection preventionist about his or her major focus on hand hygiene compliance and you'll likely hear a number of strategies, obstacles, or frustrations with getting staff members to comply with hand hygiene best practices. Measuring compliance is just half the battle for IPs. Improving compliance is another challenge.


Wellness/Chronic Care


For Many, Health Law Offers a Chance for Preventive Care

The New York Times

April 9, 2010


The health law requires insurance companies to cover annual checkups, immunizations and screenings without charge in all new policies.


Developing Nations: Laboratories For Health Care Innovation

Kaiser Health News
April 9, 2010


GE is tapping into the increasingly popular idea that medical innovation should be a global two-way street in which the West benefits from the resourcefulness and frugality poorer nations apply to health problems. The idea isn't new, but it's gaining traction, beyond the creation of products and technology, as public health experts rethink ways to prevent disease and deliver care.


State news


MA: Judge to Weigh In Monday on Insurers Suit Vs. State

The Boston Herald

April 9, 2010

Suffolk Superior Court Judge Stephen Neel plans to decide by Monday in a high-stakes showdown that pits the Patrick administration against the state’s six largest health insurers. The dispute centers on who has the right to determine how much the nonprofit insurers can charge small businesses and individuals for coverage.

Miami-Dade Closer to Creating Jackson Health System Oversight Board

The Miami Herald

April 9, 2010


By a slim majority, the Miami-Dade County (FL) Commission took the first step toward giving itself authority to create an emergency board overseeing the Jackson Health System.


Implementing the Legislation


Health Care Reform Reaches People in Need Through Community Health Centers

The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

April 9, 2010


Many community health centers will see a significant funding increase under the health overhaul law. Probably the biggest provision in the reform package is $11 billion earmarked for new funding for the community health centers program over five years beginning in fiscal year 2011, which starts in October. A total of $9.5 billion of the amount is for the health centers to expand their operations to serve nearly 20 million new patients. The remaining $1.5 billion will be allocated for expanding existing facilities and to build new ones.


Consumer Group Says Loopholes in Healthcare Overhaul Could Hurt the Public

The Los Angeles Times
April 8, 2010


A consumer group called for the Obama administration and Congress to address 10 potential glitches in the new healthcare overhaul law, saying loopholes could leave millions of people with reduced health benefits or higher insurance costs.




Firms Consider Concierge Care to Save Costs

Milwaukee Business Journal
April 9, 2010


Serigraph, a West Bend, Wis., company, gave up on "fine-tuning" insurance coverage for workers and turned to concierge medicine instead. Industry experts said the move is one that other employers likely will begin considering as they grapple with increasing health care costs.


Health Information Technology


The Effect Of Health Information Technology On Quality In U.S. Hospitals

Health Affairs

April 9, 2010


This study examines the effects of electronic health records and computerized physician order entry on the quality of care. The April issue of Health Affairs features additional studies about health IT, including "mixed results" of the  safety performance of computerized physician order entry, lessons learned from hospitals about implementing electronic health records, meaningful use of specific health record functions, and estimates of the cost and benefits associated with the VA’s health IT system, among others.


When Your Carpet Calls Your Doctor

The Economist

April 9, 2010

The coming convergence of wireless communications, social networking and medicine will transform health care.




A Hospital Dies in Manhattan—Are More to Come?
HealthLeaders Media

April 9, 2010


When St. Vincent's Hospital Manhattan announced midweek that it would be closing, the news wasn't especially surprising, but it was still a sad day for hospital leaders everywhere. To be sure, many of St. Vincent's problems over the past couple of decades have been self-inflicted. But its failure can't be pinned solely on management. Its ultimate failure should be considered a failure of all of us to collectively deal with the endemic problems of medical centers like St. Vincent's all over the country


Doctors and Patients, Lost in Paperwork

The New York Times
April 8, 2010


According to a study published earlier this year, residents now spend up to twice as much time on documentation as their counterparts did two decades earlier. Analyzing the results of a national survey of over 15,000 trainees in internal medicine, researchers at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., found that a majority of residents reported spending as many as six hours a day documenting, while only a small fraction of residents spent as much time with patients.

Tags: health care reform, Health Policy, Health Policy

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