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Will MU3 be put on hold? Questions abound

Calls to delay implementation of Meaningful Use Stage 3 appear to be gaining momentum in the U.S. Senate, Health Data Management reports. "There's been some discussion about delaying Meaningful Use Stage 3, about whether it's a good idea, whether it's a bad idea, whether to delay part of it or all of it," says Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.). Meanwhile, Healthcare IT News reports the uncertainty is making hospitals and EHR vendors "sweat." (Health Data Management; Healthcare IT News)



A recent paper published in the Journal of Health Politics, Policy and Law outlines approaches  public and private payers should consider to complement antitrust efforts and help ensure that ACOs will actually help control costs. "The pricing power that hospitals have garnered recently has resulted from consolidated delivery systems and concentrated markets, leading to enhanced negotiating leverage," argues Robert Berenson of the Urban Institute. He points to "unrealistic expectations for what antitrust's role in addressing pricing power should be." But he adds that new payment and delivery models, especially those built around ACOs, "offer an opportunity to reduce pricing power, but only if they are implemented with a clear eye on the impact on prices in commercial insurance markets." (Journal of Health Politics, Policy and Law)



New foundation launched to support public health

The Foundation for the Public's Health launched earlier this month. Its goal: Create a new model of support for local health departments. TFPH will serve county and city health departments, providing financial and consulting assistance to public health projects as well as educational opportunities in fund development. In collaboration with the National Association of County and City Health Officials, the Foundation is developing the fundraising capabilities of 2,800 local health departments in America. (TFPH)

Innovation & Transformation 

In a recent blog post, Aaron E. Carroll says it's time for people to accept that monetary incentives for behavior changes are effective. He cites a recent study published in the

New England Journal of Medicine:  Participants who were monetarily incentivized were significantly more likely to quit smoking than those who were not paid. Evidence indicates that monetary incentives significantly improved outcomes for addiction, weight loss and treatment of people with chronic diseases, he says. (NY Times Upshot Blog)



Pharmacist turned patient leads patient-experience organization

Amy Buesing, for most of her career, has been a hospital pharmacist, but she spent a lot of time as a patient after being diagnosed with breast cancer and, later, osteoarthritis. Now she co-chairs a new national patient-experience advisory board with Dr. Rusty Holman, CMO for LifePoint Health. The Patient and Family Advisory Board is one part of a quality designation program LifePoint has in partnership with Duke University Health System to improve patient care, experience and safety. "I thought I had a good handle on the patient experience," but being a patient in the system, Buesing says, was "very eye-opening." (The Tennessean)



Wachter talks about blurry digital lines

The health care industry is in the middle of a necessary technological boom, says Bob Wachter, author of The Digital Doctor, but no one has gotten it completely right yet. The goals of health care will always be the same: to diagnose, treat and prevent sicknesses. However, he tells USA Today that the line between what patients can and cannot do without a doctor is growing blurry. There are some cases where a trip to the doctor can be easily replaced with the download of an app or the power of a text message--and some that can't. (USA Today


Consumers & Providers

Jonathan Bush: Health care internet just five years away

Hospitals and doctors have been slow to join the digital revolution that's ushered in change in other sectors. Yet a few observers think resistance won't last much longer. In an interview with CNBC's "On The Money," Athenahealth CEO and co-founder Jonathan Bush predicts we'll have a "health-care Internet" within five years. "The lion's share of routine health care will be...managed online. I'm sure of it." As for privacy? "Obviously it's a big deal... but we've made this trade elsewhere in our lives." (CNBC)


Milbank's Koller on the difference between private and secret

In a recent blog post, Christopher Koller, Milbank Memorial Fund president, talked about how a headline, "Secret Health Law Huddle," made him "shudder." The headline described a meeting that was confidential, not secret, he says. "There is a world of nuance between the two, which is important to acknowledge when understanding the work of the Fund," he says. Milbank brings together officials in a safe, neutral, nonpartisan setting to listen and learn from each other. Nothing said is for attribution and participants can't speak of what took place without permission. "Trust may be intangible, but it is also invaluable in this process." (Milbank.org)



Online symptom checkers flawed, but better than a general Web search

Online general-purpose symptom checkers' findings are often wrong, but they are better than general Web-search self-diagnosis and about on par with telephone triage lines commonly used at primary care practices, according to research published in BMJ. "These tools may be useful in patients who are trying to decide whether they should get to a doctor quickly, but in many cases, users should be cautious and not take the information they receive from online symptom checkers as gospel," said senior author Dr. Ateev Mehrotra of Harvard Medical School and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. (Science Daily; BMJ)
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New & Noted   

California trying to control HIX rates: Health insurance rates will rise next year by an average of just 4 percent in California, The New York Times reports, noting it's one of the few states that actively negotiates prices. Elsewhere, insurers, including Blue Cross and Blue Shield, have requested rate increases of 10 to 40 percent or more. (The New York Times) 



Cadillac tax driving exchange: Perhaps the biggest factor driving employers to private health insurance exchanges is the impending the 40 percent excise tax on high cost health care plans, Jay Kirschbaum of Willis North America said at a recent Society for Human Resource Management meeting. It won't just affect costly plans: "The rank and file...are going to be affected by this." (Business Insurance--subscription required)



AMA backs Slavitt: The American Medical Association expressed support for Acting CMS Administrator Andrew Slavitt to become the agency's administrator. "The AMA believes Mr. Slavitt has the knowledge, skills, and experience to lead CMS as it prepares to implement critical delivery and payment reforms and lay the foundation for the next 50 years of the Medicare and Medicaid programs." (Inside Health Policy--subscription required)


Infographic: Why population health management demands data security

A new infographic illustrates why providers must make data security a fundamental part of their population health management strategy. To effectively balance the need for extended care, teams need rapid access to complete patient information and health care organizations must have a holistic security strategy, according to population health provider Caradigm. (HIT Consultant)


MarketVoices...quotes worth reading


"Frankly, I'd rather have the bad guys see my colonoscopy than get my credit card number. And my credit card and my equities are all online."-- Athenahealth CEO and co-founder Jonathan Bush in a CNBC interview 
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Wednesday, July 29, 2015





































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