Week of April 4-8, 2016


Health Care Leadership and Management
The physician’s lament that the patient is “noncompliant” is slowly being replaced with recognition that the patient is coproducer of the outcome for which the physician is now being held accountable. Enter patient-centered care, The Patient Engagement Imperative, 

If it’s possible to use your cell phone to pay for groceries, why can’t the electronic health record (EHR) be more patient centered? It can be, according to Medical Director for Quality Improvement at Alaska’s Southcentral Foundation Steve Tierney, MD. How Can Electronic Health Records Be More Patient-Centered? 

There are many different thoughts as to what is the right strategy for hospitals and health systems. Currently, the strategy first and foremost that we see working is quite simple — build a dominant market presence, and keep getting better. Here, a system needs to be so dominant in its market that payers can’t go around it. Hospital and health system strategy 2016 — 8 core thoughts.

Financial challenges once again ranked as the top concern for hospital chief executive officers in 2015, according to a new study by the American College of Healthcare Executives. Patient safety and quality, and governmental mandates came in as the 2nd and 3rd highest concerns. Hospital CEOs list financial concerns as top worry, point to value-based care, study finds.

This NYSHealth-funded report, prepared by researchers at Weill Cornell Medical College, examines hospitals’ involvement in community-based population health programs to address non-medical health determinants.  The Role of Hospitals in Improving Non-Medical Determinants of Community Population Health,

Leaders promoted to higher roles from within the organization are often left to fend for themselves.  This is a critical and senseless mistake, Michael Watkins wrote in an article in the Harvard Business Review.  Internal Hires Need Just as Much Support as External Ones,

In Jan 2001, JAMA published an article identifying four physician satisfiers: quality, efficiency, input, and appreciation. Does your organization execute on these consistently? Physician burnout is at a record high.  3 Tips for Successful Physician Integration, 

Today, team-based health care is no longer an innovation or even a choice. Increasingly, providers are using a team-based approach to deliver care, and the complexity of health problems facing many Americans, combined with the specialization of health professionals, makes teamwork and team training essential.  Preparing Health Care and Public Health Professionals for Team Performance: The Community as Classroom,

ACA Implementation
A new study by Department of Health and Human Services researchers published today in the New England Journal of Medicine shows that readmissions fell sharply following enactment of the Affordable Care Act.  Readmissions, Observation, and the Hospital Readmissions Reduction Program, 

The Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015 (MACRA) established a new framework for Medicare physician payment. Under the law, beginning in 2019, health care professionals participating in the program will come to a crossroads on their path to reimbursement. Brave New World: Medicare’s Advanced Payment Models,

On April 6, 2016, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid posted the final 2017 summary of benefits and coverage (SBC) template, group and individual market SBC instructions and uniform glossary of health coverage and medical terms. They also released a final coverage example calculator and calculator instructions.  CMS Releases Final Summary Of Benefits And Coverage Template, Accompanying Materials,

Texas, home to the largest number of uninsured Americans, is one of nearly 20 states that have not expanded their Medicaid program as permitted under the Affordable Care Act. In a new Commonwealth Fund issue brief, Harvard University’s Benjamin D. Sommers, M.D., reports on survey research showing just how much low-income Texans are missing out by their state’s decision.  Medicaid Expansion in Texas: What’s at Stake?, 


Significant variation in quality was found among companies providing virtual visits for management of common acute illnesses. More variation was found in performance for some conditions than for others, but no variation by mode of communication. JAMA, 

The high school here is ranked among the best in the country, with students each year moving on to Ivy League colleges. Yet parents here have been yanking their children out of Malibu High School, concerned about PCBs, the highly toxic chemical compounds, that have been found in caulking of the school’s windows.  NY Times, 

More than two dozen leading cancer researchers and advocates will advise Vice President Joe Biden’s cancer moonshot initiative as members of the Blue Ribbon Panel announced by the Obama administration Monday.  STAT,

Defining elite patients as the wealthy, they are those individuals who can afford the best medical care wherever it may reside. For a substantial percentage of them money is no object. The cohort of elite patients is growing dramatically.  Forbes, 

Shortages of essential drugs, mostly generic medicines whose patents have long expired, are becoming increasingly frequent globally, prompting the World Health (WHO) to suggest minimum prices may be needed to keep some products on the market. Reuters, 

The Cleveland Clinic already has commercialized its wellness offerings and is considering doing the same with its benefit plan design, which has saved the Clinic about $75 million since 2010, said Paul Terpeluk, medical director of the Clinic’s employee health services.  Cleveland CRAIN’S,

Health insurers that offer private Medicare Advantage plans will get a smaller-than-expected increase in payments next year.  Bloomberg, 

The Affordable Care Act was aimed mainly at giving people better options for buying health insurance on their own. There were widespread predictions that employers would leap at the chance to drop coverage and send workers to fend for themselves. But those predictions were largely wrong.  NY Times, 

Talking about money is never easy. But when doctors are reluctant to talk about medical costs, a patient’s health can be undermined.  Kaiser, 

In what is believed to be the first large-scale analysis of such data, researchers from the University of Pennsylvania looked at 17,000 Yelp reviews of 1,352 hospitals from consumers. They found that the online information provides a broader sense of a facility than the current gold standard — a U.S. government survey that costs millions.  Washington Post,

For six years, The Wall Street Journal followed a group of parents and scientists seeking a treatment for a rare and fatal genetic disease that strikes primarily children. Their collaboration accelerated development of a promising drug and, along the way, pushed the boundaries of medical research itself. WSJ, 

In his latest column for The Wall Street Journal’s Think Tank, Drew Altman discusses how health care issues have cooled in the election season but matter more for certain voting groups than others, and for “health care voters” encompass more than the Affordable Care Act. WSJ and Kaiser,

More than 200 data analytics companies are vying for the attention of health care organizations, which are sitting on an untapped trove of data.  Hospitals and Health Networks, 

Sutter Health, long accused of abusing its market power in California, is squaring off against major U.S. employers in a closely watched legal fight over health care competition and high prices.  Kaiser, 

Billionaire hedge-fund investor Steven A. Cohen is committing $275 million to form a national network of free mental health clinics for military veterans and their families. Bloomberg, 

“Moving from volume to value” is health care reform’s latest mantra. Policymakers hope to replace fee-for-service systems with value-based approaches that reward improved outcomes achieved at lower cost. Ground zero in these efforts is the Medicare Physician Fee Schedule (MPFS). NEJM, 

Healthgrades has named 448 hospitals with its 2016 Outstanding Patient Experience Award based on patient survey responses to the Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems surveys. The winning hospitals represent the top 15 percent in the nation for patient experience. Healthcare Finance,

In this second report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, the committee identifies what high-quality health systems do to achieve good health outcomes for socially at-risk populations.

President Obama calls the quest to cure cancer the “moon shot” of his presidency. But if the federal government has its way, this rocket may never leave the launchpad.  WSJ,

Despite efforts to address the physician shortage, a new report from the Association of American Medical Colleges projects a continued gap over the next decade, with the supply of both primary and non-primary physicians expected to be outstripped by increased demand.  Association of American Medical Colleges,

For poor Americans, the place they call home can be a matter of life or death.
The poor in some cities — big ones like New York and Los Angeles, and also quite a few smaller ones like Birmingham, Ala. — live nearly as long as their middle-class neighbors or have seen rising life expectancy in the 21st century. But in some other parts of the country, adults with the lowest incomes die on average as young as people in much poorer nations like Rwanda, and their life spans are getting shorter.  NY Times, 



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