Week of February 15-19, 2016

HEALTH POLICY RESEARCH REPORTS AND KEY TAKEAWAYS

Health Care Leadership and Management
More than a third of S&P 500 firms have a mandatory retirement policy for their CEO. Their aim is to drive out executives who are past their prime. But are such policies a good idea? Should Older CEOs be Forced to Retire?

Hospitals and nursing homes in Rochester, New York, dramatically reduced healthcare-acquired Clostridium difficile (C. diff) infections by combining their prevention efforts and sharing best practices, Rochester Hospitals Unite to Defeat a Common Foe: C. Difficile,

Through the Healthcare Leadership Council’s National Dialogue for Healthcare Innovation (NDHI) initiative, companies from all sectors of healthcare joined with leaders of patient advocacy organizations, federal government officials, and academic health policy experts to build consensus on a broad spectrum of steps necessary to strengthen health system value and enable health innovation to have a greater positive impact on the entirety of the healthcare continuum.  Read the report, 

For decades, America’s top-ranked medical schools have had stellar reputations as being among the best in the world. Unfortunately, basic principles of business management and leadership have rarely—if at all—been included in medical school curricula.” How To Groom Physicians To Be The Right Kind Of Healthcare Leaders, 

While healthcare leaders are focused on transforming their organizations amid constant change, the nature of their roles has changed quite a bit, particularly in their breadth, complexity and in the importance of supporting empowerment.  All three require skill sets not readily learned in a traditional classroom, and not reliably mastered in the workplace.  Changing nature of healthcare leadership demands new vision, empowerment culture.

This year will be notable for the risks and opportunities associated with market change and strategic activity that will continue through this significant election year. In this article from the Governance Institute, the authors list 10 trends where boards should direct their attention in 2016, and invite boards to consider the potential impacts these trends will have on their organizations. Healthcare Forecast for 2016: Top Trends Driving Board Priorities,

ACA Implementation
As the 2015 tax filing season gets underway, tax preparers said a delay in new health law tax forms is causing confusion for some consumers, while others want details about exemptions from increasingly stiff penalties for not having insurance. Delay Of New Health Law Forms May Confuse Some Taxpayers, 

In this Commonwealth Fund issue brief, the authors explore how the Affordable Care Act is influencing competition in the individual marketplaces in four states—Kansas, Nevada, Rhode Island, and Washington. Strategies include: educating consumers and providing coverage information in one place to ease decision-making; promoting competition among insurers; and ensuring a level playing field for premium rate development through the rate review process. Implementing the Affordable Care Act: Promoting Competition in the Individual Marketplaces, 

Starting next year, states have the opportunity to pursue 1332 “innovation waivers” allowing them to modify key parts of the Affordable Care Act. With 2017 fast approaching, the Obama administration recently published guidance that fleshes out what states need to weigh as they explore their waiver options. Innovation Waivers and the ACA: As Federal Officials Flesh out Key Requirements for Modifying the Health Law, States Tread Slowly,

While preserving the employer-based system, the ACA fundamentally altered it by making the provision of health benefits mandatory rather than voluntary for employers with more than 50 employees and establishing minimum criteria for affordability and coverage. In addition, a “play or pay” model was created, providing employers with an exit: employees would no longer become uninsured if their employers dropped benefits but could instead purchase guaranteed and potentially subsidized insurance through public exchanges. How Employers Are Responding to the ACA, 

Reducing emergency department use is one of the Affordable Care Act’s primary goals, but the law has barely moved the needle, according to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Reasons for Emergency Room Use Among U.S. Adults Aged 18–64: National Health Interview Survey, 2013 and 2014, 

ELSEWHERE IN THE NEWS

The death of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia casts a cloud of uncertainty over a Supreme Court term filled with some of the most controversial healthcare issues facing the nation.  Washington Post, 

Despite repeated calls for change and billions of dollars in disaster-related costs for health care providers, federal rules do not require that critical medical institutions make even minimal preparations for major emergencies.  NY Times, 

Nicole Lamoureux needs about 1,200 volunteers to help complete her mission: transforming a Dallas convention center into what she calls “the largest doctor’s office in the world—for the one day it’s open.”.  WSJ, 

Chicago startup is working with nursing homes using Google Glass, texts and live video chats to keep residents from making unnecessary trips to the hospital. Chicago Tribune,

The Greater New York Hospital Association is pitching a $2.5 billion plan they say will ensure the financially distressed safety net hospitals throughout the state survive by paying the larger healthcare providers to integrate them into their own systems. Healthcare Finance, 

For the first time, the CMS and America’s Health Insurance Plans have announced standard quality measures among payers, a move designed to reduce confusion and complexity for reporting providers. Kaiser, 

Every year in the United States there are more than 136 million total visits to emergency departments (EDs). Depending on location, payer mix, and acuity of illness, rates of return visits to the ED range from 7.5% to 22.4% between 3 days and 30 days.  JAMA, 

The implications of Zika in the United States are still unfolding.  Overshooting the response results in potentially wasted dollars and misaligned resources, Brookings,  

Intermountain Healthcare, a nonprofit health system in Salt Lake City, is trying something virtually unheard-of: promising to sharply cut costs rather than pass them on.  NY Times,

As consumers get savvier about shopping for health care, some are finding a curious trend: More hospitals, imaging centers, outpatient surgery centers and pharmacy chains will give them deep discounts if they pay cash instead of using insurance. WSJ, 

Overall, one in five people are in fair or poor health in the South, a higher percentage than any other region in the U.S., the Kaiser Family Foundation has found.  WSJ, 

International Business Machines Corp. is buying data company Truven Health Analytics Inc. for $2.6 billion, in a bid to expand its already considerable presence in the health-care industry.  WSJ, 

 

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