Week of March 7- 11, 2016

HEALTH POLICY RESEARCH REPORTS AND KEY TAKEAWAYS

Health Care Leadership and Management
Educating health professionals in and with communities negatively affected by the social determinants of health can generate awareness among those professionals about the potential root causes of ill health, contributing to more effective strategies for improving health and health care for underserved individuals, communities, and populations.   A Framework for Educating Health Professionals to Address the Social Determinants of Health, 

More than half of physician organizations surveyed about marketplace opportunities to improve quality and efficiency use incentives to shift care to lower-cost settings. But only one-third of hospitals and about one-fourth of health system respondents said they were doing so.  New Marketplace Survey: Physicians and Hospitals Differ on How to Reduce Costs,

Constant conflict roils the health care landscape, including issues related to the Affordable Care Act, electronic health records, payment changes, and consolidation of hospitals and health plans. The morale of physicians and other clinicians is in jeopardy.  One foundational cause of the discord is an epic collision of 2 eras with incompatible beliefs. Donald Berwick, Era 3 for Medicine and Health Care, 

The landscape of physician practice is changing. The number of physicians describing themselves as independent practice owners declined from 62 percent in 2008 to 35 percent in 2014, according to the 2014 Survey of American Physicians conducted by the Physicians Foundation.  Patient Population Loss At A Large Pioneer Accountable Care Organization And Implications For Refining The Program,   

Jointly, the Google Food Team and the Yale Center for Customer Insights have been studying how behavioral economics can improve employee health choices. We’ve run multiple field experiments to understand how small “tweaks” can nudge behavior toward desirable outcomes and yield outsized benefits. To guide these interventions, we distilled scattered findings from behavioral science into a simple framework, the four P’s of behavior change, How Google Optimized Healthy Office Snacks, 

It’s not easy to define diversity. It’s a fluid concept, one that evolves alongside society and changing ideologies. However, diversity itself is a solid pillar of good governance and leadership. And in healthcare, a diverse leadership — or lack thereof — has lasting effects on care delivery.  The new look of diversity in healthcare: Where we are and where we’re headed,

ACA Implementation
There is an ongoing move toward payment models that hold providers increasingly accountable for the care of their patients. The success of these new models depends in part on the stability of patient populations. We investigated the amount of population turnover in a large Medicare Pioneer accountable care organization (ACO) in the period 2012–2014.  Health Affairs, 

ELSEWHERE IN THE NEWS
Long-term health care to prevent and treat HIV/AIDS will run a steep bill — between $98 billion and $261 billion to assist in the nine African countries most affected by the HIV/AIDS epidemic — and current funding might not be able to meet that need.  BMJ Open,  

The Obama administration, responding to consumer complaints, says it will begin rating health insurance plans based on how many doctors and hospitals they include in their networks.  NY Times, 

An increasing number of states are granting physician assistants more autonomy to increase access to patients amid a shortage of doctors and an influx of patients with health insurance under the Affordable Care Act.  Forbes, 

Few organizations devote more than 6 percent of IT budgets to data security, according to the poll of 115 hospital IT and security personnel. And more than half said their organizations allocated 3 percent or less of their total IT budget to security in 2015. That’s much less than other industry sectors, the report notes.
Symantec White Paper, 

Brooklyn’s troubled health care system may be close to finding a savior: Northwell Health is in talks with the Cuomo administration about managing a new network anchored by the borough’s most distressed community hospitals, according to people briefed on the discussions.  Crain’s Healthcare,  

Each year US physician practices in four common specialties spend, on average, 785 hours per physician and more than $15.4 billion dealing with the reporting of quality measures. While much is to be gained from quality measurement, the current system is unnecessarily costly, and greater effort is needed to standardize measures and make them easier to report.  Health  Affairs,

The wide-ranging report from the Dartmouth Atlas Project uses Medicare claims data to examine aging Americans’ health care. Among other things, it identified five key areas where too many older people continue to receive treatments that don’t meet established guidelines or, often, their own goals and preferences.  Dartmouth Atlas Project,

Advisers to Medicare urged greater acceptance of telehealth services in the federal program for the elderly and disabled, although they are not yet at the point of issuing formal recommendations to spur greater use of computers and phones in delivering medical services. Commonwealth Fund, 

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced a proposed rule to test new models to improve how Medicare Part B pays for prescription drugs and supports physicians and other clinicians in delivering higher quality care. CMS, 

Calling it the largest outbreak of its kind and stressing the urgency of finding the source, the CDC has identified two more suspected cases of deadly blood infections and sent additional investigators to Wisconsin.  Milwaukee Sentinel,  

In theory, hospitals that don’t keep patients’ hospital-acquired infections (HAIs) under control are subject to costly penalties. In practice, they have numerous methods at their disposal to disguise the rates of such infections, according to a working paper from researchers at the Stanford Graduate School of Business,

In the new study, published Wednesday in The New England Journal of Medicine, doctors successfully altered patients’ immune systems to allow them to accept kidneys from incompatible donors. NYtimes.

What payment reformers often fail to recognize is that the specific Medicare Physician Fee Schedule payment rates have important implications for Medicare and its beneficiaries.  The relative payment levels for the thousands of service codes and the absence of payment for other activities powerfully influence how physicians spend their time — and their tendency to perform unneeded tests and procedures.  NEJM,

A patient with complex needs returns to the hospital again and again, despite his care team’s efforts to reduce readmissions.  Health Affairs, 

 

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