Headlines Archive for September 2010
Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius is awarding $320 million, including $167.3 million which will expand primary care residency programs. These activities are expected to result in a 10-25% increase in the primary care health workforce over a 10-year-period
Although this push by insurers on quality implies that consumers will get better care, it could leave patients with fewer choices of medical care providers, depending on which health plans they purchase.
Biologic drugs can cost as much as $1.5 million annually and their success can be dramatic, sending diseases into remission that just years ago were terminal – but are also extremely difficult for patients and payers to afford
Companies that operate insurance shopping services, led by EHealth Inc., are creating a new market from a provision in the U.S. health overhaul that requires each state to create an online exchange where consumers can compare and buy coverage.
“We’re still not using the ‘C’ word, ‘cure,’” cautioned personalized medicine director Jeff Boyd of Fox Chase Cancer Center, but “there is real potential to transform many cancers into chronic diseases.”
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Tuesday issued a new rule aimed at boosting the quality of safety information it receives on investigational drugs and medical products during clinical trials.
Higher medical claims, an aging workforce and reverberations from a new health care law will lead to an expected 9 percent health care cost increase for Dallas employers next year, according to a study released Monday
The GAO announced the appointment of 19 members to the board of governors for the new Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute designed to review relevant evidence on health condition prevention, diagnosis and treatment
Massachusetts is developing a specific plan for switching to a new cost-conscious payment system – the system, called global payments, would require doctors, hospitals, and other providers to band together into group ACO’s
Employees will have to pay more than 12 percent more out of their pockets, according to Hewitt Associates. The Hewitt report blames higher medical claim costs, an aging population and U.S. healthcare reform.
The Health Insurance Exchange – if an insurer wants entrée to the pool of subsidized individuals and businesses with fewer than 50 employees—and of course all of them do—they’ll have to genuflect to whatever dictates this board happens to decree.
Conifer Health Solutions, a leader in business process solutions for healthcare providers, has acquired MediHealth Outsourcing, LLC. MediHealth is a Clinical Revenue Cycle consulting and outsourcing company
Two of Minnesota’s biggest health plans have temporarily suspended sales of individual health insurance policies – they are awaiting guidance on new rules, including those around coverage of kids with pre-existing conditions.
The FCC has unanimously endorsed a proposal to free up for unlicensed use the so-called TV white spaces which could improve the availability of new technologies such as “super Wi-Fi” for rural healthcare providers.
The hospital consolidation wave – particularly in the mid-Atlantic region – is leading to fewer independent hospitals and doctors, a trend that many industry executives say will grow because of the health-care overhaul.
One of the most critical aspects of health overhaul for insurers is shaping up as a mixed bag for the industry, as regulators issued draft rules Thursday on how the companies must account for how much they spend directly on patients’ medical care.
The New England Journal of Medicine study claims there is a better way to engage patients that almost achieves lower health care costs – systematic telephone outreach to patients at high risk of serious health problems by trained nurses
The failure by state regulators to decide how much insurers must spend on patient care is scaring investors from health-plan stocks and complicating company decisions on premiums, commissions and cost cutting.
The national health IT coordinator sent a strong signal to healthcare providers and vendors to expect that more complex requirements for health information exchange and clinical decision support tools will be among forthcoming requirements for the next stage of meaningful use.
Virtually all Member States of the European Union have either already begun or will begin shortly to undertake the implementation of national systems making basic patient data available to all healthcare professionals whenever and wherever needed.
Those surveyed had one big number on their minds: 32 million. That’s the number of people expected to be newly insured as a result of Medicaid expansion and federally subsidized insurance coverage through soon-to-be-mandated health exchanges
Giving patients meaning use: healthcare providers who want to cash in on the government’s HITECH “meaningful use” financial incentive programs must provide patients with electronic copies of their information upon request within 3 days
Open vs. Proprietary: Medsphere deployed its system at a 1,200-bed facility for $9 million, a fraction of the $90 million total incurred by a similar facility of the same size that adopted Epic’s proprietary system.
UnitedHealth Group Inc. said it will buy A-Life Medical Inc., a closely held maker of medical- coding software, in its fourth purchase this year of a company focused on helping doctors and hospitals reduce costs.
Experts are starting to wonder if states with depleted budgets – such as California, Oklahoma and Virginia – can keep up with the conveyer belt of grant opportunities and account for millions of dollars once the money is awarded.
IHS Inc., a leading global source of critical information and insight, today announced the acquisition of two leading environmental health and safety information companies, Atrion International Inc., and Syntex Management Systems Inc., for a combined purchase price of approximately $80 million.
MedExpress Urgent Care, a national leader in delivering fast, affordable, high-quality care to those seeking non-emergency medical treatment, welcomed an investment from global growth equity firms General Atlantic LLC and Sequoia Capital
Proposed regulations being unveiled today seek to crack down on Medicare and Medicaid fraud by subjecting operators of certain medical firms to fingerprinting and stopping payments when credible fraud allegations are made
The number of primary-care physicians who offer same-day “open access” scheduling has grown to 62 percent, according to the American Academy of Family Practitioners, a substantial increase over the 29 percent who offered it in 2008
Health care reform is an automatic anti-recession measure, because, during downturns, government ends up enrolling more people in Medicaid and providing more people with subsidies to pay for private insurance. Those are two effective forms of stimulus.
Being dramatically overweight isn’t just unhealthy and socially inhibiting: It’s expensive – a study coming estimates the overall cost of obesity at $8,365 a year for obese women and $6,518 a year for obese men
IS your social network making you fat? Are your friends and family influencing you to smoke and drink more, or to sleep less? Can social networks be harnessed to improve it? These are seminal questions in “network science”
A health insurance premium tax credit that is part of the ACA could assist more than 28.6 million Americans in purchasing healthcare coverage—the value of the tax credits is expected to be about $110.1 billion during the first year.
While improving care delivered by primary care clinicians holds promise for a patient’s wellbeing, the “value of primary care can be eroded by episodic delivery that is uncoordinated with specialists and hospitals,” the study says
For the millions of adults who don’t regularly take their medicine as prescribed by their doctors, insurers and others in the healthcare industry are trying to figure out what incentives may improve medication adherence
FDA is proposing more than 70 changes, some of which could fundamentally alter basic definitions and submission requirements of the 510(k) process which could disrupt the program and delay patient access to needed medical innovations.
MedAssets, a hospital software company, said Tuesday that it would pay $850 million in cash to acquire the Broadlane Group, a cost-management company from the private equity firm TowerBrook Capital Partners
A new study published in Health Affairs showed that medical malpractice suits led physicians to so-called defensive medicine to avoid later claims that they missed a diagnosis through poor performance.
During the past two decades, the adult population in the US has become not only far more heavy but far more expensive when it comes to providing healthcare coverage, according to a new CBO issue brief
Some 1,655 critical access and rural hospitals in 41 states, and the nationwide Indian Country will share $19.8 million in federal funds to help facilities convert from paper to electronic health record technology.
The National Institutes of Health has awarded more than $250 million in dietary supplement research grants delving into botanicals – they say there is enough evidence of potential health benefits to warrant further study.
In a sternly worded message to health insurers, HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said last week that the federal government will not “stand idly by as insurers blame their premium hikes on the new healthcare reform legislation.
The head of the nonpartisan economic unit at Medicare that produced the original cost report says the White House number “does not provide a meaningful or accurate indication” of the effect of the health care law.
The “2010 Health Information Technology Survey: How Technology Is Changing the Practice of Case Management” found that health information technology systems are changing medical management interventions less quickly than anticipated.
the F.C.C. is likely to approve what could be an even bigger expansion of the unlicensed airwaves, opening the door to supercharged Wi-Fi networks that will do away with the need to find a wireless hot spot
Laborator Corp. of America Holdings has agreed to buy the genetic-testing business of Genzyme Corp. for $925 million as the medical-testing giant looks to expand into areas such as reproductive and oncology.
A recent report in Health Affairs is a reminder how physicians say the threat of malpractice lawsuits forces them to practice defensive medicine - what is surprising is that it appears to make not much difference in states where there is tort reform
California Medical Assn. officials announced Thursday that they had sued Blue Shield of California alleging that the health insurer’s new online doctor rating system is inaccurate and misleads consumers.
The U.S. health overhaul that Democrats said would slow the rising costs of health care will have little overall effect on spending in the next 10 years, according to an analysis by government actuaries.
Survey: 2/3rds of physicians say they are using personal devices for mobile health solutions that aren’t connected to their practice or hospital IT systems – 1/3rd said their hospital or practice leaders will not support the use of mobile health devices.
3M Co. clinched its third deal in two weeks on Thursday with an agreement to buy specialty medical-products maker Arizant Inc., highlighting the conglomerate’s shift toward using acquisitions to propel its growth.
A new government study says President Obama’s health care law will have negligible effects on total national health spending in the next 10 years, neither slowing nor fueling the explosive growth of medical costs.
Researchers have calculated that more than half of the 354 million doctor visits made each year are not with a patient’s primary physician, and that more than a quarter take place in hospital emergency rooms
The Department of Health and Human Services has released for health plans seeking a waiver from the healthcare reform law’s restrictions on plans’ ability to place annual limits on essential health benefits.
A trip to a retail clinic or urgent care center can substitute for a trip to the emergency department for between 13.7% and 27.1% of patients who don’t require hospital level of care, “with a potential cost-saving of $4.4 billion annually.”
New federal health reform legislation over the next several years will pump millions of additional dollars into similar home visitation programs for new and expecting mothers with the goal of reducing rates of premature birth and infant mortality.
The reform law establishes a three-year “concurrent care” demonstration program at 15 sites nationwide, in which Medicare would cover both hospice care and any further life-prolonging treatment simultaneously
Donald Berwick, appointee to run Medicare and Medicaid, has described himself as “romantic about the NHS.” Given what goes on in British hospitals, Dr. Berwick really is a romantic, though not in the sense he means
Mr. Wyden wrote, and “Because you and I believe that the heart of real health reform is affordability and not mandates, I wanted to bring this feature of Section 1332 to the attention of you and the legislature.”
How health policy commissions are incorporated into the MLR can have a significant impact on the economics of insurance brokers, whose future role in health care is of great concern to the commissioners.
Total patient visits to physician offices were down 7.3% in July from the July 2009—the fourth consecutive month to post negative growth in physician visits. Overall, primary care visits were down by 5.7% for the month.
Some asked for changes to Interqual and Milliman guidelines used by hospitals to determine what illnesses should result in a patient’s hospitalization. Others suggested Medicare stick with the observation category but help patients qualify for followup coverage under the three-day rule.
Sutter Health’s 24 hospitals and its network of 4,700 physicians in Northern California have teamed up with iTriage, a mobile phone application that provides patients with data about doctors and nearby hospitals
Today’s uninsured and privately insured adults are, on average, healthier than the adults currently enrolled in the program. That suggests that people who enroll in Medicaid under health-care overhaul aren’t likely to be as expensive
Enrollment begins today for adults 19 to 64 interested in Michigan’s high-risk pool. It will provide comprehensive but not necessarily cheap coverage for people who can prove they have been denied health insurance in the past six months.