Many don’t want to play…

The Washington Post:  Experiment To Lower Medicare Costs Did Not Save Much Money

A key government experiment that set out to lower costs and coordinate care for Medicare patients – now the blueprint for an innovation the Obama administration is trying to move to a national scale – has failed to save a substantial amount of money.  The five-year test enlisted 10 leading health systems around the country and offered financial bonuses if they could save enough by treating older patients more efficiently while providing high-quality care (Goldstein, 6/1).

Attention Hospices

“Pharmaco-Economic Workshop”

 The Health Group, LLC has partnered with ProCare Rx to provide a one-day pharmaco-economic workshop at the Rio Las Vegas Hotel & Casino on November 2, 2011.  Attendees will learn the importance of a P&T Committee, drugs for difficult symptom management and the pharmacology of pain management.  The workshop will include hands-on medication assignment to develop customized preferred drug lists for their hospice.  Drug algorithms will be reviewed that provide a clear and concise format with dosing information, potential side effects and relative cost per day.  Additional details will be available at www.healthgroup.com and www.procarerx.com as they become available.  To ensure you receive detailed program information, please email tirzah.allen@healthgroup.com.

“Comprehensive Hospice Cost Reporting and Financial Management Training”

October 31 – November 1, 2011 at the Rio in Las Vegas.

This program offered by The Health Group, LLC is the most comprehensive financial management program for hospices offered in the country, devoting two-full days to the topic.  The 2011 program represents the most significantly altered program in several years with significant attention to proper completion of the hospice cost report, anticipated cost report revisions and future hospice payment rates, up-to-date CAP coverage, PIP election and management, and managing and reporting hospital and nursing home relationships.  Program details and registration information will be available soon at www.healthgroup.com.  To receive information as soon as available, please contact tirzah.allen@healthgroup.com.

 As Health Care Technology Advances, Costs Increase

Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report, June 7, 2011

 The Fiscal Times:  Soaring Health Costs Pinned On Medical Devices

The device industry has launched an aggressive campaign to avoid tighter Food and Drug Administration rules that would help generate the information needed to show whether newer devices are actually superior to the ones they replace.  The latest devices – from heart valves and defibrillators to artificial knees and hips – are usually significantly more expensive than older devices, and the intense marketing surrounding the introduction of new devices has become a major driver of rising health care costs (Goozner, 6/7).

 ProPublica:  Body Imaging Business Pushes Scans Many Don’t Need – Including Me

The telemarketer called in February with an unusual offer: free heart scans for me and my wife, an $800 value, from a company called Heart Check America. … After 45 minutes, Tom got down to business.  He pulled out a price sheet and urged us to go beyond the free scans and upgrade to a 10-year contract for annual imaging services, including heart, lung, bone-density and other scans. … Scans can result in false positives, leading to unnecessary treatments that are invasive and risky, said Dr. Gilbert Welch, a Dartmouth Medical School professor who studies the problems created by attempts at early disease detection (Allen, 6/7).

 Doctors’ Move To Electronic Records Requires Serious Commitment

Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report, June 7, 2011

 HealthyCal:  Telehealth:  “The Doctor Is In … Another City”

A decade of advances in telehealth have improved patient outcomes in underserved California counties, but continued promise of reducing the state’s wide health disparities depends on overcoming several financial, policy, and technical hurdles.  Once strictly termed telemedicine, today’s expansive definition of telehealth includes a variety of distance services: video conferencing with a specialist, home monitoring of acute or chronic disease, or collecting remote health data like x-rays or dermatology photographs for review by a specialist. … Escalating healthcare costs, an aging population, rapid increases in chronic disease, and dwindling access to healthcare in underserved urban and rural areas have necessitated a speedier adoption of telehealth (Perry, 6/6).

Real Solutions for Medicare Solvency and Reducing the Deficit (excerpt)

The Center for Medicare Advocacy, June 9, 2011

  1. Negotiate Drug Prices with Pharmaceutical Companies.
  2. Stop Paying Private Medicare Plans Anything More Than Traditional Medicare.
  3. Include a Drug Benefit in Traditional Medicare.
  4. Extend Medicaid Drug Rebates to Medicare Dual Eligibles.
  5. Let People Between 55 and 65 Buy Into Traditional Medicare.
  6. Let the Affordable Care Act Do Its Job. 

Many Employers May Drop Coverage in ’14, Spurred by Fears About High Admin Costs (excerpt)

AIS’s Health Business Daily, June 22, 2011

 Amid fresh signs that a much higher-than-anticipated number of employers intend to “pay” for eliminating health coverage to employees instead of “playing” in the reformed market in 2014, some witnesses warned a House subcommittee hearing June 2 that the reform law’s regulatory burdens are proving too much for businesses and health plans alike …

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