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McInnis: Drug therapy problems require a comprehensive approach  

Medication adherence is crucial, but to solve drug therapy problems, it's important to first address the issue of appropriate medication use, Terry McInnis, MD, MPH, writes in Pharmacy Times. That demands comprehensive medication management (CMM). "Having a systematic, patient-centric approach to medications that identifies all drug therapy problems, including underuse, is vital," she writes. CMM provides the framework for such an approach. She also notes pharmacists can be a "transformative force" in team-based care as they seek to identify and resolve drug therapy problems. (Pharmacy Times)

Opinion: Incentives needed for protection of health care data  

The January data breach of Anthem follows a trend in breaches that is bound to continue, according to The Bangor Daily News. The number of consumers affected by health care-related breaches rose from about 500,000 to 9 million in the last six years. Building consumer trust is essential to companies in competitive markets; however, a lack of choices for consumers in the health care market, compounded by a lack of regulatory incentives, has allowed for lax security measures. (Bangor Daily News)



CMS has added servers and a high-capacity database to support HealthCare.gov. But more change is needed, according a General Accounting Office report. "However, until it ensures that it is fully implementing best practices for managing the development of HealthCare.gov and its supporting systems, it increases the risk that future development will experience additional problems." (Washington Business Journal)


CBO: Obamacare costs lower than anticipated

Updated projections from the Congressional Budget Office estimate the Affordable Care Act will cost $506 billion in the next five fiscal years, 29 percent less than 2010 predictions. Reasons for the drop include the Supreme Court ruling allowing states to decide whether to expand Medicaid, slow growth of health care spending and slower than anticipated enrollment rates. CBO also revised estimates of how many would lose job-based coverage, down to 7 million from 9 million, and future Medicaid enrollment estimates, down to 14 million from 16 million. (CNN Money)


Innovation & Transformation

Geneva meeting to focus on person-centered care 

The International College for Person-Centered Care will hold the 8th Geneva Conference on Person-Centered Primary Health Care April 27-29 in Geneva, Switzerland. This conference takes place in collaboration with the World Health Organization, the World Medical Association, the World Psychiatric Association and 27 other sponsoring organizations from around the world. Ted Epperly, MD, is the conference program director; he has also been asked to be the lead writer of the 2015 Geneva Declaration on Person-Centered Primary Health Care. For details, email ICPCMsecretariat@aol.com. (www.personcenteredmedicine.org; www.ijpcm.org)


PCP partners with YMCA to support lifestyle change

South Carolina primary care physician Dr. Jamee Steen has a partnership with the local YMCA; she can walk patients to the facility, housed in the same building. "I would make recommendations on lifestyle changes all the time, and I wouldn't know until I see them again if they had followed them," she says. "Now, we'll physically walk them over and attach them to a resource." Dr. Rick Foster of the S.C. Hospital Association notes the next generation of the medical home is the community-centered health home, which can include fitness and wellness programs. (The State)


Consumers & Providers

Data privacy breaches grow, but penalties are rare

There have been more than 1,000 health information privacy breaches since 2009, but few fines have been imposed, according to ProPublica and NPR. Since October 2009, health care providers and organizations (including third parties) have reported more than 1,140 large breaches to the Office for Civil Rights, affecting more than 41 million people. They've also reported more than 120,000 smaller lapses, each affecting fewer than 500 people. The feds have rarely penalized the health care organizations responsible for keeping the data safe. (NPR)

Hospitals fight to improve survey results 

Despite national overall improvements in patient satisfaction with hospital operations, hundreds of hospitals across the country are struggling to improve their scores, federal records show. Patient feedback has been required by Medicare since 2007, and has been used since 2012 by the federal government and some private insurers to set hospital pay levels. "The high performers tend to continue to be the high performers and the low performers tend to be low performers," says Deirdre Mylod, an executive for Press Ganey. (Kaiser Health News

Employers can force coverage on employees; no opt out required

The ACA allows employers with 100 or more full-time employees to enroll them in company coverage, provided the plan qualifies as affordable and adequate. The employees don't get a say. However, experts don't expect many employers to strong-arm workers into buying health insurance, reports Kaiser Health News. Those that do may mistakenly believe that to avoid penalties they have to enroll their workers in coverage. (Kaiser Health News) 

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New & Noted   

Senior care facilities aren't part of ACOs: Most post-acute senior housing and care facilities aren't part of an ACO. According to a survey by Lancaster Pollard, 78 percent of 244 executives with senior housing and care facilities reported their organizations were not accountable care participants. Most common reasons? A lack of area ACOs and not being invited to join. (Becker's Hospital Review)


Congress to take charge of interoperability? Rep. Michael Burgess, R-Texas, plans to propose legislation replacing the Health IT Standards and Health IT Policy committees with a single advisory committee appointed by Congress. The panel would establish an EHR interoperability certification standard by 2018. The committee would include insurers, providers, EHR developers and other stakeholders. (Health Data Management)



Healthprize has created a new infographic entitled "The Dog Ate My Meds." It looks at primary care physicians' attitudes on medication adherence. (infographic)


MarketVoices...quotes worth reading


"If the cost of polluting is zero, companies will pollute. How would a rational company not do that? If your CEO said we're going to spend four times as much money not to pollute, he would be fired. What you need is to make security rational." -- Bruce Schneier, a computer security expert and blogger, comparing health care data breaches to environmental pollution. (NPR) 


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Sandy Mau




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Wednesday, March 18, 2015































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