Week of March 21-25, 2016

HEALTH POLICY RESEARCH REPORTS AND KEY TAKEAWAYS

Health Care Leadership and Management
The former North Shore-Long Island Jewish health system had a problem, albeit a good one. While the system was already among the biggest in New York, the “Long Island” moniker was keeping it from broader name recognition beyond the boundaries of that suburban area. To fix that, CEO Michael Dowling led his team through an exhaustive rebranding process that pushed the system’s marketing muscle and leaned on the past experiences of other major system rebrandings.  What’s in a name? Northwell Health renaming shows power of brand in consumer-driven healthcare,

Every year my leadership team and I go off the beaten path, usually somewhere in New England (though we’ve trekked as far as Gettysburg, Pa.). Deep under cover of nature, we tuck in to review the year and refresh our understanding of who we are and who we want to be as leaders and a company.  Jonathan Bush: Retreating Toward a Purpose,

At Huron Healthcare’s annual CEO Forum this year, 15 CEOs and C-suite executives from hospital systems, academic medical centers and community hospitals across the country convened in New Orleans to share their views and experiences on several critical topics facing the industry.Top of mind was the need to prepare for new business models, according to the report.  4 areas of focus for strategic hospital leaders as they prepare for the future, 

What does it mean to be a great hospital or healthcare system? There are as many ways to answer this question as there are patients, industry professionals and organizations with great stories to tell. But if asked to sum up what makes a hospital great I would do it in a single word: engagement.  10 Free (Or Very Inexpensive) Ways To Engage Staff,

Every year, employers get reports from their health plans, benefits consultants, and whoever manages their claims data warehouse trying to describe the contributors to employee health care cost increases. This slide combines two waterfalls into a third to tell a pretty compelling story on what contributes to changes in total costs of care for the employer.  Understanding the Drivers of Cost Inflation,

Today, American healthcare is undergoing a rapid transition from a volume-based system of rewards, to a system based on value and risk. Incentives are being overhauled, the pace of work is speeding up, and knowledge is exploding at a rate no one person can absorb. At Cleveland Clinic, we’ve identified four key behaviors that we believe are essential to effective leadership. Four Behaviors that Define Healthcare Leadership – Toby Cosgrove,

Hospitals can improve their performance in a consumer-driven environment by adopting core tenets based on the intersections of patient experience and clinical performance, according to a new market report by Press Ganey Holdings, “Performance Redefined: As Health Care Moves from Volume to Value, the Streams of Quality are Coming Together,”

ACA Implementation
The Obama administration is trying once again to address a criticism that has dogged the president ever since his health care bill passed six years ago: they need to sell it better. White House Tries (Again) To Sell Obamacare, This Time With Animation,

The Obama administration plans on Wednesday to propose expanding Medicare to cover programs to prevent diabetes among millions of people at high risk of developing the disease, marking the sixth anniversary of the Affordable Care Act with the prospect of a new benefit, federal officials said. Medicare Proposal Takes Aim at Diabetes,

A part of the Affordable Care Act forces insurers to redeploy capital rather than distribute it to shareholders. And that’s where things get interesting.  One effect of the Affordable Care Act, a.k.a. Obamacare? A spike in venture interest in health care startups. Digital health care companies raised $2.3 billion in the first half of 2014, which surpasses the total raised in all of 2013. Why Big Health Insurance is pouring money into startups,

When President Barack Obama signed the Affordable Care Act, six years ago this week, he addressed the rancor the health-care debate had inspired with a call to resist cynicism. “We are not a nation that does what’s easy,” he said. “We are a nation that does what is hard. What is necessary. What is right. Here, in this country, we shape our own destiny.”  Up Next for Obamacare: Transforming Medicine, Sylvia Burwell (HHS) for Bloomberg View,

Evidence from states that have expanded Medicaid consistently shows that expansion generates savings and revenue which can be used to finance other state spending priorities or offset much, if not all, of the state costs of expansion.  States Expanding Medicaid See Significant Budget Savings and Revenue Gains, RWJ Issue brief, 

The Affordable Care Act generates so much partisan heat and draws so much media attention that many people may have lost perspective on where this law fits in the overall health system.  The Affordable Care Act is the most important legislation in health care since the passage of Medicare and Medicaid. The Affordable Care Act After Six Years, WSJ,

ELSEWHERE IN THE NEWS

California’s insurance exchange is threatening to cut hospitals from its networks for poor performance or high costs, a novel proposal that is drawing heavy fire from medical providers and insurers. NPR

If you had to guess which age group among Americans takes the most prescription drugs, you’d most likely go with the oldest. And you’d be right.  Moneywatch,

When it comes to health issues that need immediate attention but aren’t life-threatening, more Americans are turning to urgent-care centers—and traditional health-care providers are getting into the game.  WSJ,

On an inexorable march across the hemisphere, the Zika virus has begun spreading through Puerto Rico, now the United States’ front line in a looming epidemic. NY Times,

the Department of Health and Human Services released its National Pain Strategy, which outlines a roadmap for providing all patients “appropriate, high-quality and evidence-based care for pain.” HHS,

Advocates have painted the possible patient outcomes in starkly different terms as they consider the federal government’s recently proposed update to guidelines that govern the release of patient records for alcohol and drug abuse treatment.  Kaiser,

Health insurer Anthem Inc. sued Express Scripts Holding Co. for about $15 billion in damages, alleging that the pharmacy-benefit manager violated their contract through excessive charges and failures in its operations.  WSJ, 

For many years, most people with sickle cell died in childhood or adolescence, and the condition remained in the province of pediatrics. During the past two decades, advances in routine care have allowed many people to live into middle age and beyond, said Dr. Wally Smith of the Virginia Commonwealth University Medical Center. “We don’t have a health care system ready for that.”. WSJ

“We find that hospitals gaining system members in-state (but not in the same geographic market) experience price increases of 6-10 percent relative to control hospitals, while hospitals gaining system members out-of-state exhibit no statistically significant changes in price. The former groups are likelier to share common customers and insurers. This effect remains sizeable even when the merging parties are located further than 90 minutes apart. The results suggest that cross-market, within-state hospital mergers appear to increase hospital systems’ leverage when bargaining with insurers.”  NBER,

Decisions affecting the lives and livelihoods of millions of people should be made using the best possible information. That’s why researchers, public officials and anyone with views on social policy should pay attention to a long-running controversy in the world of statistics. Bloomberg, 

Do drug ads provide useful information, as the pharmaceutical industry maintains? Or do ads just promote wasteful use of expensive new drugs, justifying regulation to rein them in? Those questions have taken on new importance as spending on drug ads has grown.  NY Times, The Upshot, 

Hackers demanded a ransom from two more Southern California hospitals last week and federal authorities are investigating the case.  Kaiser, 

You’ve probably heard that a little booze a day is good for you. I’ve even said it at parties. “Look at the French,” I’ve said gleefully over my own cup. “Wine all the time and they still live to be not a day younger than 82.”  I’m sorry to say we’re probably wrong. The evidence that alcohol has any benefit on longevity or heart health is thin, says Dr. Timothy Naimi, a physician and epidemiologist at Boston Medical Center.  NPR, 

Risk estimation remains an imperfect science. However, by focusing on the key elements of risk prediction over a lifetime—the treatment thresholds, risk factor trajectories, and predicted outcome—advances can be made to more accurately identify individuals at an increased lifetime ASCVD risk to tailor optimal primary prevention strategies.  JAMA, 

Employees at Northwell Health have developed three distinct medical innovations that will take center stage in a new contest: Starting Tuesday, public voting will decide which of the three initiatives will receive $100,000 in additional research support. Healthcare Finance,

We’re More Honest With Our Phones Than With Our Doctors.  How health-tracking apps reveal new truths about our bodies.  NY Times, 

The first thing you notice when you step into the exam room at Kaiser Permanente’s new health center in Manhattan Beach, California, is the roomy leather exam chair.  The exam room is part of Kaiser’s championing of a new human-centered, design-driven approach to medicine—and its vision for the future of health care delivery. Kaiser is rolling out 10 new medical offices, called “health hubs,” throughout Southern California over the next 18 months.  Fast Company,

Policy changes and pressures of the marketplace have been driving considerable consolidation in the health care industry. Two proposed mergers involving four of the nation’s five largest health insurers—Anthem (Empire) and Cigna, and Aetna and Humana—would have different effects in the various states where these companies operate. This Big Picture snapshot report examines the two merger plans based on the New York footprints of the insurers proposing to merge.  United Hospital Fund,

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