Archive for the ‘Reform’ Category

Tax Implications of the ACA – Just Bad Timing?

The tax provisions that the press prefers to call the “Bush tax cuts” will sunset and income tax rates (as well as phase-out provisions for itemized deductions and personal exemptions and numerous other provisions) will revert to pre-2001 levels. In addition, the individual income tax provisions contained in the ACA take effect. There are three primary taxes placed directly on individuals contained in the ACA.

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A Comment on Health Reform

Let me start by using the ole cliché “I’m not a politician”. I don’t profess to be one and have no plans to run for any type office in the future. However, others would say “everybody plays a little politics”. So I will try my best to be “politically correct” with what I am about to say.

Health Reform is what it is and is not what it will be. Today there is a law that is highly debated by the citizens of this country. In March 2012 the Kaiser Family Foundation surveyed US citizens and found that 59% stated that they did not have enough information to understand how they would be impacted by the American Care Act. This number is higher than the same survey number two years ago. I also wonder how many of the folks who say they understand really don’t. Obviously it is a difficult law for the American public to comprehend which contributes to the confusion and the ongoing debate. Only 20% of Americans in the Kaiser study said they have felt any personal impact …

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Where the Supreme Court Got It Wrong: Access for the Very Poor

It is hard to believe (at least in my mind) that anyone living in the United States today has not heard something from their neighbor, news, radio, etc. on Obamacare or the Affordable Care Act (ACA) as a result of last week’s ruling by the Supreme Court.  And to no surprise, there is roaring approval by some and steep condemnation from others.  Even on HealthFlock, we have bloggers on have differing opinions (pro vs. con).  While no one I can find believes that the the Affordable Care Act is perfect, I personally applaud the decision for what it does to address our “access” problems.

From my vantage point as a practice manager and operations leader working for a large health system, I am encouraged to see that the country is taking steps forward (through the ACA) to address our staggering problems around access to quality medical care, particularly for the poor.  Statistics routinely point to lack of affordability, availability, and acceptable of health services in …

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The SCOTUS Ruling and What Happens Next?

As the country is awaiting the Supreme Court’s ruling on whether they will repeal the healthcare reform law, politics around healthcare policy has continued to swell with speculation, projections and promises from both sides of the political aisle.  Meanwhile, the healthcare industry has mostly remained quiet, waiting for the ruling, which would likely determine the primary driver for future changes to our nation’s healthcare delivery system unlike any other that we have ever seen before in the last half-century.

A mid-June article in the Wall Street Journal noted that, “When the court rules […] the waves it sets off will be tricky for both parties to navigate.” This certainly appeared to be one thing that both Republicans and Democrats could agree on, as the parties’ leadership were trying to develop political strategies for all of the possible outcomes, resulting from the Supreme Court’s decision.

The majority of speculation prior to the ruling was that the …

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The Affordable Care Act – Beyond the Individual Mandate

Among the more popular provisions is the extension of health insurance coverage for adult children through age 26.

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Sustainable Cost Reduction of Healthcare Delivery Requires an Aligned System

Healthcare providers from all setting of care (ambulatory, acute and post-acute) are feeling the constraints and reduction of healthcare reimbursement year over year. Reimbursement rates will continue to decline while healthcare demand grows. This is a burning platform requiring healthcare providers from all disciplines to look at their delivery and range of services, costs, utilization (supplies and resources) and associated clinical outcomes. The acute healthcare provider needs to take a leading role coordinating patient care across all the settings and help the delivery points of care (ambulatory and post-acute) understand their contribution, value, and associated costs. The acute care provider has the informatics and sophistication to measure the performance of each delivery point of care, provide feedback on clinical outcomes and associated costs. This information helps each organization assess their own practice patterns to make the appropriate adjustments in care …

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Are Docs Less Relevant Today Than Ever Before?

The Economist came out with an article last week, “Squeezing out the doctor:  The role of physicians at the centre of health care is under pressure,” which argues that a physician’s traditionally exalted status in our society is weakening.  The authors cite the health of the world is changing in a way that may find many physicians unprepared.  First, with technology becoming a larger part of health, the role that doctors play may be diminished or shaped in a way that gives less flexibility in their decision-making (through automation, variation elimination through evidence-based medicine, etc.).  In addition, as it is reported that about half of American adults have a chronic condition, many doctors who are educated to address episodic care (broken legs, flu, surgery, etc.) lack the training to deal with chronic health problems like diabetes and asthma.

I found this topic very relevant and thought I would continue the conversation myself.  It is true that …

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Health Reform Regardless of the Supreme Court’s Decision

Legal experts and political pundits are filling the airwaves and newsprint with their thoughts on what will happen to federal health reform (ObamaCare) when the US Supreme Court rules later this month (NFIB v Sebelius). What will happen to the individual mandate? Will they strike down the entire law? What about insurance coverage for my 24-year old college student?

All that speculation aside, there are common sense reforms that are being implemented today — in the private sector — without 2,700+ pages of Congressional mandates.

Let’s pick three areas where we can make a difference NOW: 1) Accelerate a Patient-Centered Model of Care; 2) Support the migration to Health Information Technology (Health IT) by Physicians and Hospitals; and 3) Demand Disclosure and Transparency of Healthcare Quality and Price Measures.

We should accelerate the development of a patient-centered model of care. When providers put the patient at the center of the relationship and do what is in the …

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Can Hospitals Bully Physician Practices to Use their EHR?

If the Affordable Care Act stands as-is (and it likely will, at least for accountable care), providers have a significantly higher burden to provide a full range of care to their patients. Their scope is broadening from providing care to an individual patient to that of an entire population. In order to deliver on the promise of improved, coordinated care (while also being expected to lower costs), providers are re-evaluating how information is shared across their overall care network. In particular, more attention is being focused on how technology be used for cost and quality metrics, provider network management, and care management.

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Pharmacists: An Answer to the Health Access Problem .. and More

Improved access to healthcare was one of the main selling points of federal health reform. ObamaCare places a great deal of importance on expanding coverage with a special focus on advancing health wellness, preventative services and primary care.

However, there is an underutilized healthcare resource which is available to everyone … now.

That underutilized and often untapped healthcare resource is your community pharmacist. In Georgia and most other states, pharmacists are the most accessible healthcare professional.

From Dade County in the mountains of northwest Georgia to Camden County on the Georgia coast and from Maine to California, pharmacists are an untapped resource. Unlike physicians and hospitals which are usually located in more populated cities, community pharmacists are located in virtually every one of Georgia’s 159 counties and in most small communities throughout the US.

And, pharmacists are very knowledgeable healthcare professionals. After college, …

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