Posts Tagged ‘Health Wonk Review’

Freshly posted Health Wonk Review at InsureBlog

Friday, April 7th, 2017

Start your Friday with your morning beverage of choice and a fresh edition of Heath Wonk Review. Over at InsureBlog, Hank Stern has posted the Health Wonk Review: Pre-Passover edition. In his Twitter promo for this edition, he promises “Everything from horseradish to opioids” – you are probably not going to find too many insurance-related posts quite that eclectic!

In addition to wonks weighing in on RyanCare and the future of the ACA, other topics include opioids, physician burnout, the physician mission, price transparency, “the coding swindle” and more. Check it out!

We bring one post in particular to your attention – a post by HWR regular Brad Wright at his Wright on Health blog. He relates an up-close-and-personal encounter with the health care system, and reflects on his experience in the larger context of healthcare availability and accessibility.  Wonkery is all well and fine, but there is nothing quite like a personal testimonial to make a powerful impact. (Wishing you the best as you recover, Brad!)

 

 

Fresh Health Wonk Review posted at Joe’s place

Friday, January 27th, 2017

As we embark on the second week of a new administration, Joe Paduda has posted Health Wonk Review’s Inauguration Edition at Managed Care Matters. Rather unsurprisingly, the Affordable Care Act is much on the minds of the wonks, so there’s quite a few posts dealing with various aspects of repeal and replace.

Related to the topic of this week’s health wonkery, Joe also has a post on his blog about how the demise of the ACA would impact workers comp, specifically. A key quote:

“If ACA is repealed without a simultaneous and credible replacement, we may well see a rise in the number of workers without health insurance. The key issue to track is a cutoff of funding for Medicaid expansion – ACA added about 13 million more employed people to the insured rolls; if they lose coverage they’ll need a different payer to cover their injuries. Bad news for workers’ comp.”

And we’d point you to one other not-to-miss post at Managed Care Matters – Beware of Astroturf, the infuriating story of the American Pain Foundation, an pharma industry sponsored opioid-peddling outfit masquerading as a patient advocacy organization.

Check out a fresh Health Wonk Review at HealthBlawg

Thursday, June 2nd, 2016

David Harlow has posted Health Wonk Review Is Bustin’ Out All Over at HealthBlawg. It’s a packed issue – don’t miss out on what all the health wonks are opining about.

This is part of David’s month long Festschrift of the Blogosphere, in celebration of his blog’s 10th Blogiversary. Ten years is an eternity in blog years, so kudos to David for being a consistent health policy voice in the independent blog world – and a smart and influential one at that!

Please join us for a HWR Blab (video conversation / text chat), Health Wonk Review On Air With HealthBlawg Tuesday, 06/7/2016 at 1:00 pm ET for half an hour. You can watch from here or sign in to Twitter account to log in.

Fresh Health Wonk Review posted at Health Business Blog; WCRI recap

Friday, March 11th, 2016

Grab a coffee and head over to David Williams’ Health Business Blog for this week’s dose of health wonkery:  Health Wonk Review: Tales of the Trump. And while there, don’t miss David’s 11th blog birthday roundup of best posts from the prior year.

Tom Lynch is at WCRI conference yesterday and today – you can see some of his recaps here on the blog. Part 1, Part 2 and Part 3

If you didn’t make it to the conference, no worries. You can follow along with a list of people who are live tweeting the conference.

Other folks blogging the WCRI conference

Freshly posted Health Wonk Review: Healthcare Reform: The Path Forward

Thursday, February 25th, 2016

Over at Colorado Health Insurance Insider, Louise Norris has posted an excellent edition of Health Wonk Review: Healthcare Reform: The Path Forward.

In her post introduction, Louise notes that:

It’s been nearly six years since the ACA was signed into law. And although most aspects of the law have now been implemented, the debate over its merits have not let up. In this election year, healthcare reform continues to be a hot topic, even dividing Democrats in terms of the best path forward.

She notes that many of this week’s contributors focused on what we can do – including small tweaks as well as major changes – to build on what we’ve already got and make it better – thus “the path forward” theme.

We’re 270 days away from the election – which you may view as an eternity or the flick of an eye, depending on your perspective.  As the primaries unfold, we are at a critical juncture. What the path forward will be is up to every one of us in the choices that we make! Look to the Health Wonk crew to keep you informed about healthcare issues and policies.

Health Wonk Review: the heatwave edition

Thursday, July 21st, 2011

fan.jpgGiven the time of the year and the weather, you wouldn’t blame our health wonks if there were all lazing around at the beach, but judging by this week’s submission, they are all braving the heat and hard at work. And it is hot. It’s sizzling outside and on fire in DC as the budget battle heats up and the debt ceiling deadline looms ever closer.
Our wonks are hot too. We kick off this week’s edition with Health Wonk Review founder Joe Paduda jumping into the fray. In who passed Part D and why you should care posted at Managed Care Matters, Joe holds some feet to the fire for the deficit.
And before the budget cutting cuts too close to the bone, DC policy makers might consider posts from two of our wonks: At California Healthline, Dan Diamond reports on the recently released Oregon Health Study on Medicaid which some have called the “Most Important Study in Decades” and asks about its potential effect on health reform/health policy discussion. And in the first of a two-part series posted at The John A. Hartford Foundation blog’s Health AGEnda, Chris Langston posts his concerns that in the current budget-cutting environment, we may be throwing out the baby with the bathwater with the recent focus on Medicare hospice costs.
While we’re dealing with heated issues related to reform, next stop is Health Beat for a post in Maggie Mahar’s series on myths surrounding medical malpractice. She deconstructs 7 “myths” which are used to support caps on malpractice awards and looks at the political underpinnings for the push for malpractice reform. She makes the case for meaningful reform under the Affordable Care Act that will achieve a balance of financial carrots and sticks designed to enhance patient safety.
The devil is in the details
As we move deeper into the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, many of our wonks have opinions on its progress. As would be expected on a complex initiative that continues to draw heat, not everyone would characterize the changes as progress.
To start, it can be helpful to look at the way the debate has been framed. Joseph White looks The Mixed (De)Merits Of ‘Bending The Cost Curve’ at Health Affairs Blog, tracing the development of the phrase. He argues the risks of this now ubiquitous metaphor outweigh its benefits – particularly in how it reflects the dominance of the debate by budgetary perspectives, favoring the interests that benefit from high costs now by devaluing approaches that would reduce costs more quickly.
And in another post at Health Affairs Blog, Tim Jost tackles the proposed regulations for Health Insurance Exchanges in the first of a three part-series of posts. Part 1 introduces the regulation and deals with the exchanges themselves; Upcoming posts will analyze the provisions of the regulations addressing qualified health plans (QHPs) and health insurance issuers (part 2) and the reinsurance, risk corridor and reinsurance regulations issued the same day (part 3).
At The Apothecary, Roy Avik offers a play-by-play replete with video clips of a recent congressional hearing on Independent Payment Advisory Boards (IPAB). Avik’s take: “I thought that we had a fairly productive discussion about the ins and outs of Medicare’s problems, and IPAB’s role in addressing them.”
At InsureBlog, Bob Vineyard looks at the numbers for the Pre-existing Condition Insurance Plan (PCIP) and finds them lacking.
Jaan Sidorov of The Disease Management Care Blog suggests that there is one question any hospital board should ask management about participating as an Accountable Care Organization (ACO), which are risk-bearing arrangements.
The Affordable Care Act contains requirements and deadlines for the implementation of electronic medical records, collectively known as Meaningful Use (MU). At Healthcare Talent Transformation, David Scher breaks down the truths and common fallacies associated with Meaningful Use of Electronic Medical Records: A Practical Overview.
Stateside
At John Goodman’s Health Policy Blog, John takes a look at the difference that RomneyCare has made. He says that most conservative critics of Massachusetts health reform have focused on any piece of bad news about the program they can find. The thinking has been that if this is the model for the federal legislation everyone calls “ObamaCare” it’s got to have a lot of defects, right? But he notes that “The real story coming out of Massachusetts is that the whole thing is a yawner.”
Anthony Wright of Health Access Blog says that the real work of health reform is in setting up the Exchanges, and he reports on progress and milestones in the California Health Benefits Exchange.
At Colorado Health Insurance Insider, Louise Norris tell us that in Colorado, the rules are changing for employer funding of individual health insurance. The Division of Insurance’s stance regarding the use of Health Reimbursement Account (HRA) funds has changed again, with rules appearing to to have has both relaxed and tightened.
Docs and dollars
Many of our wonks have been looking at the issue of how physicians get paid.
At Health Care Renewal, Roy Poses observes that having the former CEO of a health care corporation that paid more than $1 billion to settle fraud charges as Governor of Florida seems to have led to some interesting investigative reporting. In his post Would You Like Fries With That? – The Fast Food Model for the Corporate Physician he cites a story about the health care corporation with which Rick Scott was most recently associated as an example of what happens when the distinction between physicians and hamburger flippers is blurred.
Do physicians make more money when they treat more complex patients? Jason Shafrin, The Healthcare Economist, examines a recent study in Denmark to see whether this has proven true.
At Health Business Blog, David Williams helps us to understand the economics of health care credit cards for elective procedures: Why do doctors offer credit cards? It helps them avoid discounting
Over at the e-CareManagement blog Vince Kuraitis teams up with Jaan Sidorov to discuss the 100 year shift, in which they see the potential for “a tectonic realignment among physicians, hospitals and payers.” In the first of a seven part series, they offer an overview of trends – noting that physicians’ economic interests are increasingly aligning WITH payers and AWAY FROM hospitals. Will this result in doctors and payers eventually sitting on the same side of the negotiating table?
Consumer care
At The New Health Dialogue, director Shannon Brownlee makes the case that less is more when it comes to angiograms, the imaging test that precedes an angioplasty or stent. She discusses a report by Grace Lin and Rita Redberg, cardiologists at the University of California, on three focus groups with groups of cardiologists who talked about three hypothetical patients. If your cardiologist recommends you undergo an angiogram, this paper will likely give you a reason to question that recommendation closely.
At HealthNewsReview Blog, Gary Schwitzer has a pair of posts that raise questions about the proliferation of robotic surgery despite questions about evidence for benefits, harms – and costs. One talks about how Wisconsin hospitals with robots double prostate removals within 3 months and a second on the dearth of studies on the effectiveness of robotic surgery – a case of enthusiasm which has not been matched by comparative studies.
At Pizaazz Glenn Laffel makes the case that EMRs can help reduce racial disparities in health care. He discusses why and how Electronic Medical Records can help narrow the digital divide, and calls attention to some vendors who are offering tools to help providers enhance care for medically underserved communities.
At the Improving Population Health blog, David Kindig talks about environmental issues as a factor in public heath in the post Population Health and the Physical Environment: Beyond Air and Water.
Tinker Ready reports and interesting case study of ADA accessibility adaptations that go well beyond Braille and ramps in her post Universal design: The science of access at the Museum of Science at Nature Network Boston – a refreshing story of progress.
Occupational health
Here at Workers’ Comp Insider, our focus is generally on the occupational health arena, and we recently looked at whether OSHA’s Voluntary Protection Program (VPP) is broken. A recent study points out that several program participants have had multiple fatalities – should they retain their status that allows exemption from programmed OSHA inspections?
That concludes this issue of Health Wonk Review. Our next issue – and final issue of the summer season — will be hosted at Joe Paduda’s Managed Care Matters on August 4.

Health Wonk Review: the dog days of summer edition

Thursday, July 22nd, 2010

dog-days
Like much of the country, we’ve had a sizzling summer here in the northeast, and we are just entering the dog days of summer. In Ancient Rome, the Dog Days extended from July 24 through August 24 and were popularly believed to be an evil time “when the seas boiled, wine turned sour, dogs grew mad, and all creatures became languid, causing to man burning fevers, hysterics, and phrensies.”
That sounds like a pretty accurate description of the climate as we head on into election season. If you thought all the excitement over health care reform had died down and you could slack off for your summer reading, think again. Things are still pretty heated and we expect much in the way of sea boiling, wine souring, madness, phrensies and hysteria right through the November election. To help you make sense of things, our esteemed contributors offer up an assortment of hot issues related to healthcare – from costs and reform to technology and ethics.
In A Reply to the Cato Insitute Report, Part 1 Maggie Mahar of Health Beat takes on Michael Tannner’s 52-page thesis Bad Medicine, which asserts that the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is both unaffordable and unfair. Bad Medicine is meant to serve as a playbook for those who hope to kill reform, a theme that Tanner says will serve as the “centerpiece of Republican campaigns this fall.”
In his post Controlling health care costs: Who’s responsible?, Joe Paduda of Managed Care Matters wonders why those who believe health reform is socialism don’t have faith in the free market’s ability to control costs and deliver quality.
Uwe Reinhardt of Health Affairs Blog contemplates the difference between widgets and health care as he examines the issue of whether more insurers will better control health care costs.
In Standardizing Payments for Childbirth, Louise of Colorado Health Insurance Insider offers a quick and dirty summary of her idea to lower the c-section rate, which would be one piece of the ‘costs’ puzzle that is overwhelming our healthcare system.
David Williams of Health Business Blog expresses doubt about the sincerity of Republican objections to sending extra money to the states for Medicaid, but just in case, he offers a suggestion for how the deficit hawks can satisfy their concerns about Medicaid spending.
We have a pair of posts from the bloggers at Health Access WeBlog. First, Anthony Wright notes that the rate hikes by Anthem Blue Cross of California that helped jump-start health reform have had a second, third, and fourth act. He thinks that their recent rate filing demonstrates that public scrutiny matters. Next, Beth Capell reminds us that reform isn’t just about expanding coverage – it’s also about saying adios to the junkiest of junk health insurance.
A final rule for the “Meaningful Use” Regulation for Electronic Health Records has recently been issued, and two of our regular contributors shed light on the topic. Rich Elmore at Healthcare Technology News delivers a compendium of resources and analysis related to the final rules for Health Information Technology – Meaningful Use and Standards/Certification. David Harlow of HealthBlawg explains how this rule, along with the EHR certification rule and the HIPAA rule amendments (also recently released) will govern the future development of health IT in this country, and discusses details and implications of the meaningful use rule.
In his posting The Medicare ‘doc fix’: How to make political lemonade, Austin Frakt of The Incidental Economist, says that the Sustainable Growth Rate system was flawed from the start and should have been fixed years ago, but now we have an opportunity to make necessary systemic changes.
Jaan Sidorov of Disease Management Care Blog says that although the risk may appear to be low, Congress should consider the risk of a physician boycott of Medicare. He suggests that good business practice — Enterprise Risk Management (ERM) — requires it.
In Whose costs? Our costs, The Notwithstanding Blog suggests that patient convenience as a benefit of medical care delivery is largely ignored, and he makes the case for why it is a factor that should be weighed in any honest evaluation of competing reform proposals.
Peggy Salvatore of Healthcare Talent Transformation advocates for E-learning as the most cost effective and best way to educate healthcare workers on the use of IT in her post Technology for Healthcare Education: Build it and They Will Come, and Keep Coming!
Jared Rhoads of the The Lucidicus Project has been tweeting about the highlights and lowlights of the healthcare chapter of Mitt Romney’s book, “No Apology: The Case For American Greatness.” He’s compiled his tweets in his blog post: Twead #3: Mitt Romney. (Here’s a Twitterspeak Guide for all you non-tweeters)
Media Matters
In Everybody outta the pool!, Henry Stern of InsureBlog reports on a new high risk health pool and suggests that an agenda-driven press has mangled the message.
At Healthcare Economist, Jason Shafrin observes that when Congress enacted the Medicare and Social Security programs, the media coverage was intense. He notes, however, that Medicaid’s beginnings were more humble.
Ethics and marketing
Roy Poses of Health Care Renewal posts that the Avandia spin cycle continues even after the FDA safety hearings, noting that the case offers a good lesson in the need for skepticism about data and claims proffered to support commercial health care products. He finds it particularly disappointing that formerly prestigious medical societies and disease activity groups are increasingly funded by industry, and increasingly act like industry marketers.
Tinker Ready looks at the ethics of advertising, questioning whether hospitals should be promoting drugs used in clinical trials as “treatment” in her post MGH: Research as Marketing? at Nature Network Boston. We usually see Tinker at Boston Health News but this post appears the forum/blog/calendar/jobs site for local scientists.
Extended reading
In a series of posts (#1; #2; #3; #4; and #5), Brad Wright takes a closer look at health reform by elaborating on quotes drawn from Brown University political science professor Jim Morone’s Health Affairs article Presidents and Health Reform: From Franklin D. Roosevelt to Barack Obama.”
Over a series of posts at The Apothecary, Avik Roy discusses a Medicaid study from the University of Virginia which suggests that Medicaid patients fare worse than the uninsured (and far worse than those with private insurance) when undergoing a broad range of surgical procedures. Roy also points to posts by Incidental Economist Austin Frank, who has a different take on the studies.

Health Wonk Review: the sausage-making-is-a-messy-business pre-holiday edition

Thursday, December 10th, 2009

We’re honored to be hosting the holiday edition of Health Wonk Review. As we approach the holiday season waiting for a verdict on health care reform, we can take a lesson from Santa Claus, whose ordeal on this publicity shoot reminds us that good things don’t always come easily:

Our wonderful wonkers don’t let the holiday season slow them down. This edition offers a wide array of excellent posts on health care reform, health care quality, and health care 2.0 developments.
Sausage Making
Joe Paduda of Managed Care Matters kicks things off with a simple but powerful observation: If private health care insurance worked, we wouldn’t need reform.
Over at the Health Affairs Blog, Tim Jost, the Robert L. Willett Family Professorship of Law at the Washington and Lee University School of Law, composed a series of four detailed posts analyzing the Senate health reform bill. He avoids the politics, but examines all the bill’s nooks and crannies, including an overview of reforms and new programs, as well as issues ranging from mandates and constitutionality to abortion and Medicare.
Richard Elmore of HealthcareTechnologyNews summarizes a recent health care reform analysis by MIT Professor Jonathan Gruber which counters health insurance industry claims that premiums will increase and other fear, uncertainty & doubt (FUD) talking points put forth about health care reform.
Roy Poses of Health Care Renewal sees parallels between the current health care dysfunction and the global financial meltdown, but most of these parallels have gone unnoticed. Left unaddressed, he sees the potential for a burst bubble with lives and personal fortunes on the line. Don’t say you weren’t warned.
To put health care in some global perspective, here at Workers Comp Insider, Tom Lynch takes a world tour of the state of care in various countries in his post, the geography of health: US vs. them.
At Colorado Health Insurance Insider, Louise posts about the Chamber of Commerce’s campaign to discredit proposed health care reform, but in examining their arguments further, found the Chamber offered little in the way of positive ideas or creative solutions to lower costs and expand health coverage to all Americans.
At the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Health Reform Galaxy Blog, Steven Findlay tells us why he thinks health reform would be a holiday gift for every consumer and Minna Jung looks at the messy doings in Congress now, reminding us that even though that first step is a doozy, it’s still only the first step.
At a new blog called Healthy Debate Georgia, which focuses on on health care reform at both the state and national level, Mike King explains why Georgia may just say no and Timothy Sweeney posts about why national Medicaid expansion may be a bargain for Georgia.
Over at InsureBlog, Hank Stern says that Joe W was right, noting that the latest version of Obama’s health care plan will include coverage for illegals after all and he discusses why this is important.
In another Joe-related post on the other side of the political aisle, Madeleine Kane has composed a No-Man Joe limerick at her Mad Kane’s blog.
Quality & Safety
Jaan Sidorov of Disease Management Care Blog detours from legislative sausage-making to summarizing an interesting Canadian study called “EFFECT,” which demonstrated that public reporting of hospitals’ quality metrics can save lives. In light of this, he wonders if Medicare’s much ballyhooed “Hospital Compare” web site is – in retrospect – evidence-based.
At New Health Dialogue, Tom Emswiler presents a case history of a group of Premier Hospitals that made significant progress in saving lives and saving money after participating in a year-long Quality, Efficiency, Safety, and Transparency (QUEST) initiative. He asks if seven percent can save lives and money, why can’t the other 93% follow suit?
To commemorate the 10-year anniversary of the Institute Of Medicine’s seminal report on patient safety, To Err Is Human, see Terri Schmitt’s post, Nurses: The Crucial Link for Patient Safety from the Interdisciplinary Nursing Quality Research Initiative (INQRI) Blog. See the entire series of posts on the To Err is Human anniversary
Technology & Innovation
At The Health Care Blog, Brian Klepper and David Kibbe team up to offer an excellent review of the surprises and changes in the Electronic Health Record technology market during 2009.
HIV testing at your next dental visit? David Williams features a podcast and transcript of an interview with Dr. Catrise Austin of VIP Smiles at Health Business Blog.
David Kibbe talks about the critical importance of establishing and adopting a a core set of relevant and portable personal health records at The Health Care Blog.
At EHR Bloggers, Glenn Laffel pens an open letter to David Blumenthal asking if he is going fast enough. He lauds the work of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology, while gently chiding him that he needs to pick up the pace on EHR deployment to providers.
Peggy Salvatore of Healthcare Talent Transformation posts about another letter to Blumenthal, this one penned by Medical Group Management Association President William F. Jessee, urging Blumenthal to get real, real fast.
Meanwhile, at Health IT Buzz, David Blumenthal weighs in to offer a progress report on technology initiatives.

Health Wonk Review: the biweekly smorgasbord of the best fare in the health care policy blogs

Thursday, May 14th, 2009

smorgasbord.jpg Welcome to Health Wonk Review, our bi-weekly smorgasbord of the best that the policy wonks have dished out on some of the most noteworthy healthcare blogs over the prior fortnight. We have an extensive sampling of tasty and nutritious treats, with lots of brain food among the fare – so without further ado, we offer this week’s buffet.

  • The love fest at the White House with health care providers generated great headlines, but, where’s the beef? Merrill Goozner at GoozNews points out that the promises made by the trade associations and physicians held not a few ironies: Just Don’t Ask CBO To Score It.
  • To say that Joe Paduda of Managed Care Matters is skeptical about said love fest is an understatement. He is shocked and blown away that the politicians in Washington actually believe the health care-insurance industry’s self regulation will reduce the nation’s health care costs.
  • Will the consortium of private sector stakeholders be able to cut $2 trillion in healthcare costs as they claim? Jason Shafrin of Healthcare Economist casts a critical eye on this in his post Letter to Obama: We’re gonna save $2 trillion .
  • When it comes to financing health care reform, Anthony Wright of Health Access WeBlog suggests that policymakers take a two birds with one stone approach by seeking options that not only raise funds but also help the health system.
  • Are hospitals really taking a hit from the current health care system? That’s a question posed by InsureBlog’s Henry Stern, who deconstructs the latest survey results from the American Hospital Association in his post, Economy Tanks; Hospitals, Patients Hardest Hit.
  • Brady Augustine of MedicaidFrontPage posts about Wellcare being taken to the woodshed for the sins of its prior executives who lived high on the hog while shortchanging vulnerable citizens. He discusses lessons learned, offering his thoughts on how to avoid such a scenario in the future.
  • How Hard Can It Be To Coordinate Care? Rich Elmore of Health Technology News interviews Dr. Mai Pham, who turned up some startling results in a study of the number of physicians and practices that are linked to a primary care provider for coordination of care.
  • Jeffrey Seguritan looks at a study of Medicare’s unplanned hospital readmissions at nuts for healthcare, noting that readmissions seem to indicate low quality of hospital care and drive health spending. He suggests that hospitals should be incentivized to cut readmissions, but current
    policy proposals should be wary of system-gaming and should consider illness severity.
  • Yikes. David Harlow of HealthBlawg posts about the Virginia prescription record security breach, in which millions of prescription records were lifted from a state government website and replaced with a $10m ransom note. He suggests that organizations that hold electronic protected health information should use this incident as a learning experience for planning and executing programs yo increase data security, as well as preparing for communications both to prevent breaches and to respond to any breaches that do occur.
  • Roy M. Poses of Health Care Renewal has frequently tackled the topic of conflicts of interest in health care, offering examples of published defenses based on logical fallacies. Most examples were written by people who had their own ties to health care corporations and appeared mainly in the op-ed pages of newspapers, but in his post Attacking “Crusaders” Against Conflicts of Interest with Logical Fallacies, he offers an example in a scholarly journal, published as an anonymous editorial. He says we can expect to see more accusations of witch-hunting, prudery, moralism, lack of realism, and the like leveled against those who oppose such lucrative financial
    relationships.
  • Louise of Colorado Health Insurance Insider posts about how Reid is absent in Sick Around America, apparently fallout with Frontline after last year’s acclaimed Sick Around the World. Louise offers the scoop on the controversy.
  • At Disease Management Care Blog, Jaan Sidorov examines the ugly politics that emerged around the issue of using gender in health insurance underwriting in his post Snatching Humiliation From the Jaws of Compromise.
  • President Obama recently spoke about his grandmother’s death and the questions it raises about end of life care in an interview published in the New York Times Magazine. Joanne Kenen of New Health Dialogue discusses Obama’s Grandmother and the National Conversation on Healthcare, adding her own patient-centric questions that need to be part of the dialogue.
  • Jocelyn Guyer of Say Ahhh! tells us that there was mostly good news for children in the Senate Finance Committee’s Health Reform Proposal.
  • Glenn Laffel of Pizaazz discusses a particularly vexing clinical and policy problem involving a defective defibrillator produced by Medtronic, that is currently in the bodies of a quarter of a million people. Leaving the failing device in place may kill patients, but removing it may do the same.
  • Pop goes the health care bubble? At the Health Care Blog, George Lundberg looks at Enron, the dot.com era, and the real estate-financial collapse, all recent examples of growth and expectations far exceeding substance, and makes the case that the health care bubble will be soon to follow.
  • David Williams of Health Business Blog asks why employees should be penalized for smoking or being overweight but not for having unprotected sex with multiple partners in his post on the ethical considerations of financial penalties for unhealthy behaviors.
  • Eric Turkewitz of New York Personal Injury Law Blog notes that doctors still top our the pay charts, but complain about malpractice premiums anyway. He cites a survey which states that out of the ten top paying jobs, nine go to medical professionals.
  • Tinker Ready of Boston Health News posts about a new Partners/Harvard HIT blog on clinical informatics. Incidentally, Tinker will host the next issue of Health Wonk Review.
  • In his post Even more ‘Fierce’, Neil Versel of Healthcare IT Blog discusses a new publication FierceEMR, which includes one of his articles about live video links from ambulances to a trauma center in Tucson, Arizona.
  • Although the influenza A (H1N1) or swine flu outbreak is gradually falling out of U.S. news headlines, Kara Rogers of Britannica Blog notes that the full extent of the outbreak may not be known for some time because other countries are only now experiencing their first cases or are experiencing an increase in confirmed cases as their backlogs of samples are tested.
  • Is our food policy behind the current swine flu pandemic? Eric Michael Johnson discusses how we can best promote national health by changing how our food production policies at The Primate Diaries.
  • And here at Workers Comp Insider, we’ve noted that there’s a new OSHA sheriff in town. Long-time worker safety advocate and former safety blogger extraordinaire Jordan Barab is serving as Acting OSHA Administrator.

Health Wonk Review #9

Thursday, June 15th, 2006

medical_consult1760
We’re honored to host Health Wonk Review #9 here at Workers’ Comp Insider. Health wonkery is part of a long, fine tradition of social commentary on medicine, medical providers, and health care delivery systems. Witness the entertaining online exhibit from the University of Virginia Health System, Very Ill: The Many Faces of Medical Caricature in Nineteenth-Century England & France, which demonstrates that pointed social commentary on both the suffering masses and the physicians who treat them has been a popular topic through the ages.
Satire by George Cruikshank, James Gillray, Thomas Rowlandson and many others show us that health care and politics have long been intertwined, and a favored subject of complaint with the teeming masses. Since the early days of medicine, medical providers have been experimenting with various payment and compensation schemes; complaints about the high cost of medicine are nothing new.
Today, blogs are the favored podium for those who would comment on the state of medicine, medical costs, and health care systems. Blogs afford the widespread dissemination of ideas from providers, critics, and policy makers alike. And thus, following in this fine tradition, I give you Health Wonk Review #9:
Roy Poses of Health Care Renewal submits the post Resistant Strain Indeed: Research Chief Stirs Up Merck, which discusses the recent shake up in the leadership of the firm’s drug development research team, posing the question as to whether the shake-up will help or hurt. Although the new bosses seem put out about the supposed inefficiency of Merck scientists, particularly at all the efforts they spent to “check and recheck” their work, the Vioxx affair would suggest that the problems at Merck were not due to inefficiency or excessive effort spent looking for erroneous work.
Marcus Newberry of Fixing Healthcare explores the medicalization of prevention, and expresses concern about the danger of bringing prevention under the medical care system. In his post The Lifestyle Chronicles – Prevention, Where Fore Art Thou?”, he suggests that prevention is a separate branch of health care with a different mind-set, different goals, different procedures and tools from medical care.
Fard Johnmar of Envisioning 2.0 has launched a new series exploring the relationship between the FDA and the pharmaceutical industry. In the latest post in this series, he examines whether the FDA is a “paper tiger” or “overzealous regulator.” (Access his entire series here).
David Williams of Health Business Blog posts about OPB or “Other post employment benefits,” a seemingly minor accounting rule change that may hasten the demise of employer-funded retirement health benefits, in turn increasing the burden on Medicare.
Joe Paduda of Managed Care Matters reports on more reimbursement nastiness going on in California. Wellpoint has decided to pay docs less for performing procedures in hospitals than in outpatient settings; hospitals are crying foul, arguing that health plans shouldn’t be encouraging physicians to consider cost when planning treatment. Joe argues that it is well-known that hospitals use over-payments by private insurers to cover indigent care costs, a practice that is unfair to health plans and employers. He calls for both parties to stop acting like children and focus on the real issue – adequate coverage for the uninsured and universal access.
Jason Shafrin of Healthcare Economist discusses the Deficit Reduction Act (DRA) and the ways that it will contribute to reshaping Medicaid. Since the President signed the DRA in February of this year, states have been afforded more freedom in designing their Medicaid programs. His post gives a variety of examples of how some states decided to overhaul their Medicaid system under the auspice of the DRA.
Henry Stern of InsureBlog reports that Vermont is the latest state to take a whack at universal health coverage. Check out his surprising take on this attempt in his post on the big doin’s in the Green Mountain State.
Rita Schwab of MSSPNexus Blog profiles Kay Brown a Medical Staff Service Professional (MSSP) from Florida in her fourth in an ongoing series of interviews with interesting people in health care. Ms. Brown assisted her hospital in dealing with Hurricane Francis in 2004. Her interesting perspective on lessons learned during the crisis are most timely with this year’s hurricane season bearing down on Florida as we post.
Rod Ward of Informaticopia reports in from on the road. He’s been participating in blogging from the 9th International Congress on Nursing Informatics in Seoul Korea that ran from June 11-14. The Congress offered eclectic news and views on health informatics and elearning; the blog offers a day-by-day window into the activities at the conference through posts and podcasts.
And finally, here at Workers Comp Insider, my colleague Jon Coppelman explores the intersection of the ADA and OSHA standards, which are in potential conflict with the new diagnosis of intermittent explosive disorder. While managers may feel some pressure to accommodate employees with violent tempers, Jon advises employers to concentrate on the need for maintaining a safe workplace. In most cases, that means firing violent employees, regardless of their medically-based diagnosis.
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