April 21, 2010

April 21: Health Care Reform News


Hospitals don’t like GAMC

It’s been a month since a compromise was reached on General Assistance Medical Care, 5 of 17 qualifying hospitals approved the GAMC plan…


Mayo Clinic is not going forward with the plan. Hospital officials dislike the low reimbursement rates…


Dr. Michael Rock is interviewed.


KTTC, 4/20/2010


Top stories


Senate Bill Sets a Plan to Regulate Premiums

The New York Times

April 20, 2010


Fearing that health insurance premiums may shoot up in the next few years, Senate Democrats Tuesday laid a foundation for federal regulation of rates.


Nominee for Medicare-Medicaid Agency Has Reputation for Being a ‘Visionary

The Washington Post

April 21, 2010


For two decades, Donald Berwick has made a career of finding innovative ways to improve healthcare and then persuading hospital administrators and doctors to adopt his recommendations. The experience could prove useful if Berwick is confirmed as administrator of the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.


Top Medical Groups Adopt New Ethics Code to Curb Industry Sway Over Guidelines, Patient Care

AP/The Minneapolis Star-Tribune

April 21, 2010


Dozens of medical groups, including the American College of Physicians, the American College of Cardiology and the American Society of Clinical Oncology, today announced a new ethics code. It will distance them from drug and device makers and limit the influence those companies have over medical guidelines and other issues that affect patient care.




Some Health Networks Drop Elite Hospitals

The Boston Globe

April 21, 2010

Health insurers are starting to sell policies that largely bar consumers from receiving medical care at popular but expensive hospitals such as Massachusetts General and Brigham and Women’s — a once radical idea that is gaining traction as a way to control soaring health care costs.



When Heart Devices Fail, Who Should Be Blamed?

The New York Times

April 21, 2010


Doctors in a landmark medical device case ask who should be held responsible when a company sells flawed products.


Women's Mortality Risk Higher at Most Hospitals

HealthLeaders Media

April 21, 2010

Women undergoing heart surgery and interventions are at a much greater risk of dying than are men undergoing the same procedures in the same hospitals, according to HealthGrades Seventh Annual Women's Health in American Hospitals.

Quality: The Medical Home as Community Effort

HealthLeaders Media

April 21, 2010


A Michigan collaborative called "Pathways to Health" has been garnering national attention because it has the outlines of the new delivery model—an accountable care organization (ACO)—that has received close attention during the healthcare reform debate. New data show that patient health is improved and money saved when it comes to using this patient-centered model to care for patients with chronic conditions.


Convincing the Public to Accept New Medical Guidelines

April 20, 2010


A surprising number of medical practices have never been rigorously tested to find out if they really work. Even where evidence points to the most effective treatment for a particular condition, the information is not always put into practice. The reticence to accept new ideas in medicine may be an obstacle for government officials who hope to spend billions of dollars on so-called comparative effectiveness research that would determine which treatments are most effective.


Chasing Zero: Winning the War on Healthcare Harm
The Discovery Channel

This four-part documentary featuring Mayo Clinic and other health care organizations will begin airing this Saturday, April 24. The series will be hosted by actor Dennis Quaid, who will use the story of his twins' near-fatal medical error as a way of engaging audiences about patient safety. Click here for broadcast dates.

State news


Alaska Joins 19 States Suing Federal Government Over Health Insurance Reform

The Alaska Journal of Commerce

April 21, 2010


Gov. Sean Parnell announced Alaska will join 19 other states suing the federal government alleging the recently passed health insurance legislation is unconstitutional.


Colo. Governor Signs Health Care Legislation

AP/Google News

April 21, 2010


Gov. Bill Ritter signed four bills he promised will rein in skyrocketing health care costs on Tuesday and appointed a director who will oversee 10 state agencies to implement the Obama administration's new health care plan.


Reform and Massachusetts

The New York Times - Editorial

April 21, 2010


Four years after Massachusetts enacted its ambitious health care reform, the state has achieved its goal: covering most of the uninsured without seriously straining its budget. Most citizens seem to like it. Massachusetts cannot stop there. It also needs to figure out how to rein in the escalating costs of medical care and health insurance.


FL: Lawmakers Say Jackson Health System May Get $50M -- But No `Blank Check'

The Miami Herald

April 21, 2010


Miami-based Jackson Health System could get a $50 million boost from the state of Florida, but top lawmakers warn that the money would come with strings attached.


Reform Medicaid, Carefully

The Orlando Sentinel – Editorial
April 21, 2010


Take the temperature of Medicaid spending in Florida, and it's easy to see the patient is not well. The annual cost of the health-care program for the poor and disabled has doubled in the past decade to $18 billion, more than a quarter of the state budget. It's on track to eat up a third of the budget by 2014. Legislators need to do something – stat.


MN: Hennepin County Says New Health Plan Too Risky

The Minneapolis Star-Tribune

April 21, 2010


Hennepin County commissioners, nervous that a new healthcare program for the indigent could make their hospital a statewide safety net, voted to reject the state's contract for the program and instead negotiate terms that put the county at less risk.


PA: Malpractice Lawsuits Decline

The Philadelphia Inquirer

April 21, 2010


In 2009, the number of new medical-malpractice lawsuits filed in Pennsylvania courts fell for the fifth straight year, according to a report released Tuesday by Pennsylvania Chief Justice Ronald D. Castille. The report provides new evidence that the malpractice climate in Pennsylvania has cooled since the early part of the decade, when rising costs led many doctors and hospital administrators to worry that the state's medical system might collapse.




States' Medicaid Funds Tapped For Federal Health Overhaul

Kaiser Health News

April 21, 2010

The new health care law could shift billions of dollars from cash-strapped states to the federal government by changing the way Medicaid prescription drug rebates are treated, according to state and industry officials and an examination of Medicaid spending data.


Hospital Payments Cut Under CMS Proposed Rule

Medpage Today
April 20, 2010


Hospitals would take a $142 million cut in Medicare payments in fiscal 2011 under a proposed rule issued Monday by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), and hospitals are not happy about the potential reduction.


Implementing the Legislation


Problem Over Health Coverage for Capitol Hill is Resolved

The Washington Post
April 21, 2010


A problem in the new health-care overhaul law that may have inadvertently left members of Congress and some congressional staff without health insurance has been resolved, the White House said Tuesday.


Prescription drugs


Pharma Sales Set to Grow 5%-8%; Overhaul Effects Unclear

The Wall Street Journal

April 21, 2010


Global pharmaceutical sales are expected to grow by an average of 5% to 8% annually over the next five years, with drugs to treat cancer, diabetes, multiple sclerosis and HIV projected to outpace the market.


Health Information Technology


The Ultimate Personal Technology

CNN Money

April 21, 2010


Medtronic CEO Bill Hawkins says the products made by his company, like pacemakers, insulin pumps and neurostimulators are the "ultimate personal technologies." He says a shift in his industry is moving towards health information technology that people will depend on and use with their cell phones and laptops.


Amid Digital Records Surge, a Lack of Policing by the FDA

The Huffington Post Investigative Fund

April 21, 2010


As federal officials encourage the rapid expansion of electronic medical records to help doctors improve care and cut costs, they lack a reliable and systematic method for tracking the safety of these products, agency data and audits show. Instead, the Food and Drug Administration depends on a spotty warning system that can take a year to flag serious computer malfunctions and other software glitches.

Tags: health care reform, Health Policy, Health Policy

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