Archive for October, 2013

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act: Trick or Treat

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (“Healthcare Reform”) is a complex law that has multiple components. At the end of the day the subparts are integrated and similar to a line of dominos. One part of the law will impact others. When one domino is removed or fails to fall correctly, the entire law is in jeopardy.

Today, there are two components of the law that are being implemented and having vastly different results. First, Healthcare Reform is focused upon expanding insurance coverage to millions of individuals to reduce the number of uninsured. However, one domino that is a key foundational component of expanding insurance coverage was pulled by the Supreme Court. When the Supreme Court determined that the Medicaid expansion language within the Healthcare Reform Act was unconstitutional, the states were granted discretion to either expand Medicaid eligibility benefits to individuals, who had an annual income of 133% of the federal poverty level or less, …

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What a Long Month it’s Been for Healthcare in Georgia

While October isn’t quite over, I think it’s safe to say it’s already been a long and unusual month as far as healthcare in Georgia is concerned. Yes, the federally run health insurance exchange opened to enormous demand, and even more finger pointing. What I’d really like to highlight is the fact that Georgia’s health information exchange went live …

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Keeping Score

Is the Affordable Care Act a disaster, another step in the evolution of health care or a godsend? Well, the answer still is unclear, but that hasn’t stopped analysts of all stripes from trying to assign a score, or at least an adjective, to the law. In fact the law, three and half years after its passage, is still at least a year away from full implementation.

Information technology troubles lead to the postponement until 2015 of the requirement that employers offer affordable coverage or pay a fee and a reduction in choice in the SHOP exchange for small employers. Under the law employers with over 50 employees who did not offer coverage were subject to pay a fine for each employee (after the first 30). Employers who offered coverage that was deemed unaffordable paid a fine for any employee who received a subsidy in the exchange. The difficulty of developing the appropriate information technologies to allow that choice have forced SHOP exchanges run by the Federal …

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It’s Good to be on the Top (When So Often Not)

So often you hear Georgia in the headlines for being at the bottom of the list.  We are in the bottom quartile as a state  for public health.  We have incredibly high rates of heart disease, obesity, and cancer.  Twenty percent of us lack health insurance and we have significant shortages for physicians and access to healthcare (for example, we are the second worst state for providing primary care for Medicaid patients).
Frankly, I am tired of being at the bottom.  I am therefore thrilled to know that we are on the other side of the coin when it comes to healthcare technology (HIT).  Being an active member in the healthcare industry, I have seen the tremendous progress and success Atlanta and Georgia have achieved in the area of healthcare IT.  Fellow blogger Jennifer Dennard went in detail on many of the city’s HIT successes. According to the Metro Atlanta Chamber, there are more than 225 health IT companies in the state, combining for annual revenues of $4 billion and …

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Five Healthcare Predictions for the Future

I attended and spoke at the Health2.0 Conference last week in Santa Clara, California. As always, it was a tremendous event with informative content, engaging speakers, and, of course, plenty of speculation on the future of our healthcare industry. Although it’s hard to select only a handful, below are five predictions I believe we will see take shape in the next year as our industry continues to evolve and progress towards a more efficient and effective operating model.

1. Patient “Engagement” & “Empowerment” is Central: This was probably the most shared theme threaded throughout the conference. Engaging and empowering patients to be active in their healthcare in order to produce better health outcomes and reduce costs. This encompasses everything from engaging with consumers on multiple platforms like mobile and digital, to providing convenient self-service tools, applications and services, to providing better education and consumer-focused participation in healthcare. …

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