Archive for August, 2012

Lance Armstrong and Healthcare – Who Can You Trust?

Lance Armstrong is also a patient advocate. As a Stage 3 cancer survivor, he has spent over a decade developing the resources cancer patients should have access to; and through his foundation, which provides support, information, and resources across a plethora of mediums – including websites, mobile platforms, Apps, events, etc. However, after bowing in “defeat” to the USADA, his reputation – and trust – is now tarnished. Needless to say his legacy as a philanthropist is not in question, but his personal moral and ethical values are. Which leads me to the question – when it comes to healthcare content on the web, who can you trust?

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Tax Implications of the ACA – Just Bad Timing Part II

The Affordable Care Act has many benefits. The costs of some of these benefits will not be known for a while.

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Finally, good news on potential job growth. Georgetown University recently issued a study which found that there will be a 38% growth in healthcare jobs in Georgia by 2020. More importantly, Georgia is one of the top two states where healthcare job growth is expected. With the Georgia unemployment rates for July at 9.3%, the healthcare industry is a beacon of hope.

The ever-changing and complex healthcare laws are just one factor driving this growth. In fact the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (“Stimulus Act”) provided billions of dollars in financial incentives to encourage healthcare providers to adopt and implement electronic health record systems. Georgia leads the nation with an exceptional and strong healthcare information technology industry. According to the Metro Atlanta Chamber, Georgia has over 200 healthcare information technology companies and 75% of the companies plan to add jobs. Therefore, Georgia is uniquely positioned to use …


Seeing the Value in Social One Patient at a Time

When most folks hear the words “Mayo Clinic,” they immediately think of dependable, high quality and often cutting-edge care. Those of us in the social media realm also think of the organization’s cutting-edge use of social networks to advance patient care. (Check out the clinic’s Center for Social Media and corresponding Social Media Week of events in mid-October.) So it was with almost school-girlish delight that I learned the center’s director, Lee Aase, will be keynoting the Health IT Leadership Summit at the Fox Theatre on December 4th.

It just goes to show you that Georgia and its healthcare providers are really beginning to recognize the value social networks can bring to patient care. Sure, it may have something to do with government incentives to begin engaging with patients digitally, but I like to think the majority of hospitals and even smaller practices realize they need to reach out digitally to patients where they already feel comfortable – be it …

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Politics Versus Policy

My father in Wisconsin recently wrote his Congressman to ask why the congressman favored repeal of the Affordable Care Act. The Congressman’s response reflects politics rather than facts, but its also instructive to understanding why the Affordable Care Act took the form it did and why I believe it’s the last chance for a private health care system.

I have attached the letter below, but to summarize the Congressman states the law is bad because:
• The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates that many people will change plans when the ACA is implemented

• The ACA will costs too much (again the CBO is cited)
• Employer premiums have risen since the law was passed
• Nancy Pelosi said “we have to pass the bill to know whats in it”
• President Obama campaigned on lowering premiums.

As an evaluation of the law the Congressman’s letter is misleading. For example the CBO estimated that people will change plans because they will have more options under ACA. …

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The Golden Age of Healthcare Marketing: Fact or Fiction?

Healthcare marketers today face a most challenging and opportunistic time. Perhaps there has never been an era where marketers had more opportunities, technologies and audiences primed and ready to be embraced. And yet, for all the same reasons, it presents a difficult environment. Despite all the opportunities, marketers are competing in a most cluttered and time-strapped world that makes it difficult to grab and hold consumer’s attention.

Just pause and look around: healthcare is on everyone’s mind from the government to businesses to individuals. The recent political and cultural climate has allowed healthcare to take center stage. And that holds many opportunities and promises. Today healthcare marketers have more technologies and resources to engage with consumers than ever before—think digital, mobile, social and beyond. Practically every consumer walks around with a computer (smartphone) in their pocket and stays always connected via internet, social media …

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When did Ordinary become Extraordinary?

Before I even get into my post, I want to go ahead and get this statement out of the way: I know there are creditors (possibly even medical providers) that are abusive to people who owe them money. That is not the topic or point of this post. This post is about medical providers who are trying nothing else than to collect the money they are owed, for services they have provided, using nothing but what is allowed to them by the law.

The Healthcare Reform created a section of the IRS code for 501c3 hospitals called 501r. In part, 501r lays out many requirements that a 501c3 Hospital must meet before engaging in “extraordinary collection activities.” Recently the IRS released some clarification of the definition of extraordinary collection activities, which gets me to the point of this post, when did ordinary become extraordinary?

According to Merriam-Webster, the definition of extraordinary is “going beyond what is usual, regular, or customary.” The IRS defines the …

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How Can We Help the Small Medical Practices and Hospitals?

Health Information technology (HIT) is a valuable tool for practices of all sizes including small practices. If you ask any provider who has successfully implemented an EHR system, most would say that they would never go back to using paper records. The tool helps providers to meet criteria associated with meaningful use, patient centered health homes, and membership in Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs). HIT also helps hospitals to build systems which allow for interoperability and improved technical efficiencies as they extend services to their provider base. Let’s not forget the many added patient centered options that allow medical systems to improve the patient experience. The technology is continuing to morph into a more supportive network for medical practices.

 While the technology is a blessing on one hand, there remain many barriers that are preventing smaller practices and small hospitals from having successful business operations. Gone are the days where a …

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Building a Patient-Centered Model of Care

Over the past several years, the health care system has been attempting to define and create a “patient-centered model of care.” Most health policy experts, much less health care professionals, can’t seem to agree on what constitutes a patient-centered model of care. I think that a patient-centered model is less about discussing the comprehensive services offered to patients and is more about putting the patient in the middle of the relationship. A true patient-centered model surrounds the patient and provides a true coordinated personalized system of care.

In examining U.S. health care delivery, rarely are the words “coordinated,” “personalized” and “system” used in the same sentence ― much less actually delivered to patients.
Primary care medical homes (PCMH) were first developed several years ago in an attempt to develop a patient-centered experience. Even those physicians currently practicing in the PCMH model indicate that there are issues associated …

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