Archive for March, 2013

New Payment Changes Impact Community Hospitals

Community hospitals are at the center of the reimbursement changes driving changes in the delivery of care. On April 1, 2013, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) will cut Hospital Periodic Interim Payments (PIP), Critical Access Hospital (CAH) and Cancer Hospital interim payments, and pass-through payments for Graduate Medical Education, Organ Acquisition, and Medicare Bad Debts by 2%. This 2% cut is an addition to the 1% cut that was initially instituted for acute care hospitals under the American Taxpayer Relief Act which was intended to correct the fiscal cliff in January. This additional 2% cut is due to the sequestration cuts that automatically go into effect. Many hospitals rely upon the PIP payments from Medicare to be able to cover costs and often times provide funds for day-to-day operations. Accordingly, on Monday, hospitals will be suffering a 2% cut on their operating revenues.

In addition to the CMS budget cuts, the third-party insurance …

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Connected Everywhere – from Hospital to Home to Pod

The HealthFlock team of experts has done an excellent job of outlining the factors that constrain, as well as offering solutions to help cure, our healthcare system. While the adaptation of technology in healthcare has been slowed due the fractured core of our healthcare ecosystem, inevitably, it will be technology that will drive forward the changes necessary for it to survive – and thrive. Building a more connected healthcare network will drive down costs and improve the overall delivery of care – from the hospital to the home to a free-standing pod.

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Is the Healthcare IT companies’ announcement of seamless interoperability marketing hype or a social awakening?

At the recent HIMSS trade show, six large healthcare IT companies (McKesson, Cerner, athenahealth, Allscripts, Relay Health, Greenway Medical Technologies) announced the formation of a not-for-profit company called CommonWell Health Alliance. The purpose of this organization is to create frictionless movement of patient-centered data across all settings of care and among all health care IT systems[1].

This is a profound announcement from companies that did not embrace the frictionless movement of data across systems within an acute care setting let alone outside the four walls of a hospital. This is great news for all of those organizations that lacked the clout or financial assets to interface their best of breed systems with the large name brand solutions. Historically, the price and effort of sharing data with the larger acute care vendors was cost prohibitive. The price and effort became a barrier to entry keeping best-of-breed competition out of a healthcare provider’s …

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Three terrible, horrible, no good, very bad reasons for not expanding Medicaid

Only twenty-five states are electing to expand the Medicaid program under the Affordable Care Act. The rest of the states have either elected not to expand or have not acted.

There are three principal reasons given by Governors and other state leaders for not expanding Medicaid:
• We can’t afford it
•We are not putting money into a broken system
•the Federal match may someday go away.

None of these reasons can be supported by either facts or logic.

We simply can’t afford it.

There simply is no “we” that makes that a true statement. Costs to every group in the state are higher without Medicaid expansion. It certainly isn’t true if “we” are the state and local taxpayers. In Georgia the cost of care for the uninsured is well over $2 billion dollars annually. That care is often given in the most expensive places (emergency rooms) and often given at the most expensive time (late in an episode of illness). Expanding access to insurance coverage reduces …

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Georgia Healthcare IT Competition Heats Up for the Common Good

Several healthcare IT companies – many of them located in Georgia and all of them competitors – recently announced they will now begin to work even harder to advance this effort. Executives from Allscripts, athenahealth, Cerner, Greenway Medical Technologies, McKesson and RelayHealth have come together to form the alliance as an independent, not-for-profit organization that will “support universal, trusted access to health care data through seamless interoperability.

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Why not perform CPR?

There has been a lot of discussion this week in the national media about this story: http://www.ajc.com/ap/ap/health/police-investigating-death-of-woman-denied-cpr/nWgbh/ If you are not familiar, the synopsis is an elderly lady living at an assisted living facility went into cardiac arrest. The nurse on duty would not perform CPR on the lady, despite the pleas of the 911 operator, because it would be a violation of the policy of that facility. Much of the discussion has centered on medical and legal ethics. However, no one has talked much about why a facility would such have a policy preventing its nursing staff from performing CPR.

CPR is actually a very dangerous medical maneuver for a person to receive. Broken ribs are a very common result of CPR- especially in elderly patients. These broken ribs can puncture lungs, spleens, and livers leaving the person with many more problems, which are especially hard to recover from in an elderly patient. If you do not break ribs, there …

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Why Big Bold Ideas Are Rarely Embraced

med mal3A friend of mine once said, “The only thing that likes change is a 6-month-old baby with a dirty diaper.” That friend is Andrew von Eschenbach, MD, a former FDA Commission and Director of the National Cancer Institute. Andy knows a thing or two about being a “change agent.”

Another friend of mine said, “Real change requires real change.” That friend is Newt Gingrich. He too knows a thing or two about leading transformation. As the founder of the Center for Health Transformation, he helped advance ideas including health information technology and electronic medical records to create an individually-centered healthcare system.

Newt also lead a virtual revolution in the early 1990’s with his “Contract with America” campaign which ushered in one of the largest freshman classes of Congress. Changing “business as usual” in the Washington proved to be a very tough.

So why is change so difficult?

First of all, it is so much easier to say “no” than to embrace …

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Infographic: Clinton’s 2013 Health Matters Conference Impact

This past January the William J. Clinton Foundation hosted its 2013 Health Matters Conference entitled “Health Matters: Activating Wellness in Every Generation.” Hosted by President Bill Clinton, the conference supports the Clinton Health Matters Initiative (CHMI), a program that promotes positive health changes for individuals and organizations. As a pledge partner with CHMI, SoloHealth was thrilled to participate in the conference, joining many other healthcare leaders from companies like GE, Humana and Tenet Healthcare Corporation. It was incredibly exciting and humbling to be included with some of our industry’s leading thinkers and experience the many innovative companies that are helping to make our nation’s health better every day.
Health Matters 2013 Conference Reach Infographic_jpg1

CHMI recently released an infographic that I wanted to share showing the impact the conference and the pledges will have for our nation.

Technology is a vital part of the engine that is driving healthcare change across our nation and …

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