Health Wonk Review Holiday edition

December 18th, 2014 by Julie Ferguson

Image source: Christmas gifs
We’re happy to host this year’s holiday edition of Health Wonk Review. Before we present the best of the recent health policy blogosphere, we wanted to offer a shout out to the hard working man of the season, Santa Claus. This year, we learn that “an industrial engineer managing a North Pole toy factory” would merit an annual salary of about $139,924. This is based on BLS data – you can see how arrived at that figure via the 2014 Santa Index. We think he probably also deserves a hazard pay factor based on this ergonomic risk assessment. The hazards are rife …think chimney obstructions, dog bites, exposure to children’s bodily fluids, fire hazards, elf mutinies, collisions with aircraft. There’s probably insurance to cover those risks but if Santa is looking for any coverage for terror-related events, he is out of luck since the Senate failed to renew Terrorism Insurance

Image source: Christmas gifs
OK, now on to our submissions from the Health Wonkers.
Dr. Roy Poses finds a “naughty, not nice” candidate in his post about the Hospital CEO as Scrooge at Health Care Renewal. He documents how the Erlanger Health System’s CEO and other top managers are getting bonuses after a recent freeze of employee retirment and vacation benefits. He notes that, “Most of health care, perhaps just reflecting the larger society, now seems to be run for the benefit of the insiders, usually managers/ administrators/ bureaucrats/ executives (MABEs ?) hardly the patients, or those who actually take care of them.”
Louise Norris of Colorado Health Insurance Insider finds a a glitch in Connect for Health Colorado’s catastrophic plans. While plan eligibility is supposed to encompass people age 18-29, the quote tool provides Catastrophic plan quotes for 30-year-olds. Oops.
Health Affairs Editor-in-Chief Alan Weil offers five reasons why he opposes payment reform at his Once in a Weil blog. In this first of a two part series, he lists the problems with current versions of payment reform. At the end of the piece, he reveals that he doesn’t really oppose payment reform — but that there are things we must do to make payment reform work — which he will tackle in part 2.
Joe Paduda offers another perspective on PPACA at Managed Care Matters. He notes that, “Overall, things are improving, rather dramatically – but not without pain.” He enumerates some of the good, the bad and the ugly.
At InsureBlog, Henry Stern looks at some of the moral dilemmas involved in genetic screening. For example, if you agree to participate in a genome study, who owns the data and results of your test? See his post It’s in the Genes
Neil Versel posts about how the hype around healthcare wearables is running into reality at his Forbes blog. He offers a reality check on the rah-rah attitude surrounding wearable monitoring devices put forth by some analysts, researchers and vendors. His post sparked a lively discussion on LinkedIn’s Digital Health group.
Many patients have gained insurance through the Medicaid expansion within the Affordable Care Act. However, have these patients been able to access adequate medical care? Jason Shafrin investigates in his post Insurance does not equal health care at Healthcare Economist.
Peggy Salvatore asks just who accountable care is accountable to in her post at Health System Ed. She says that ACOs have the potential to achieve their full potential when all the systems are in place to deliver both real-time patient data to treat the patient in front of you and retrospective data to decide if the methods to treat achieved their goals. Are we there yet? Check out the post for Peggy’s assessment.
David Williams of Health Business Blog offers a podcast interview with Evolent CEO Frank Williams on transforming healthcare. Williams aims to help provider systems succeed financially as they transform from volume-driven to value-driven payment models. He discusses ACOs, consolidation, and how Evolent makes money.
At, Harold Pollack posts about the Affordable Care Act’s Medicaid expansion, in which he discusses reasons why states might reasonably worry about the ACA. In the final analysis, the President and the governors need to get along.
David Harlow hosts a seasonally related roundup, HealthCare SocialMedia Review No. 19 – Festivals of Lights Edition at HalthBlawg that’s worth checking out.
Here at Workers Comp Insider, we delve into our archives to present a closing Santa-related post. We opened with discussion of Santa’s pay — but no matter what he is paid, there are never any good reasons for shortchanging worker safety. Is he? Santa’s workshop: “OSHA problems galore” say whistleblowers
Have a happy and safe holiday. We have a brief holiday hiatus – the next issue of Health Wonk Review will be on January 15, hosted by Vince Kuraitis at e-Care Management Blog.
Image source: Christmas gifs