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Archive for September, 2010




Medicaid Spending Growth Exceeds Expectations


September 30th, 2010

Medicaid spending grew at an average rate of 8.8 percent in fiscal year 2010 across all states and the District of Columbia, according to the tenth annual survey of state Medicaid directors by the Kaiser Family Foundation’s Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured (KCMU). This was the highest rate of growth in 8 years and […]

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How Philanthropy Is Helping with Health Reform, Part II


September 30th, 2010

In last week’s post, I marked the six-month anniversary of the enactment of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. I continue here our selected sampling of what philanthropy is doing to help with health reform. Also included today are some related resources on health reform, including a tongue-in-cheek glossary of health care terms (which […]

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Health Policy Brief: EHR Standards And Certification


September 30th, 2010

Hospitals, doctors, and other clinicians can soon start receiving incentive payments under Medicare and Medicaid for making “meaningful use” of electronic health records (EHRs). But before that can happen, the information technology systems they use must be capable of accomplishing specific objectives. These systems must also be certified as being interoperable, which means they use […]

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Remembering Robert Butler


September 28th, 2010

On July 7, Robert Butler died of leukemia. Butler was the founding director of the National Institute on Aging, a Pulitzer Prize-winning author, and one of the nation’s leading authorities on aging and geriatrics. This post, by William Hazzard, Professor of Medicine at the University of Washington and Director of Geriatrics and Extended Care for the VA […]

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Gilfillan To Head CMS Innovation Center


September 27th, 2010

Richard Gilfillan, MD, will be the new Acting Director of the new Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation (“CMI,” or “Innovation Center”) at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), CMS Administrator Don Berwick announced today. Gilfillan currently directs CMS’ performance-based payment policy staff. The Affordable Care Act gives the Innovation Center the crucial mission of testing “innovative payment […]

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Out-Of-Pocket Theory for Health Spending Cutbacks Is “Clueless”


September 24th, 2010

The predictable lead sentence in a recent New York Times story proclaimed not only the obvious — that the economic crisis in the U.S. reduced use of routine medical care – but observed that such cutbacks are much deeper here than in countries with universal health care systems. And the supposed culprit was the usual […]

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The House GOP Pledge: Medical Liability Reform …


September 23rd, 2010

In their newly released “Pledge to America,” House Republicans call for repealing the Affordable Care Act. They advocate replacing it with legislation incorporating a number of components long advocated by the GOP, including reforming the medical liability system, allowing the purchase of health insurance across state lines, and expanding health savings accounts. One of these […]

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How Philanthropy Is Helping with Health Reform, Part I


September 23rd, 2010

On the six-month anniversary of the enactment of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, we present a selected sampling of what some foundations are doing to help out as reform is being implemented. Next week on GrantWatch Blog, watch for more about foundation efforts on health reform! Thanks much to Lauren LeRoy and her staff at […]

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Health Affairs Launches Facebook Page


September 23rd, 2010

Health Affairs is now on Facebook! Visit our page to learn about new articles, blog posts, and events, and let us know what you think by commenting.  You’ll also be able to take advantage of Facebook-only opportunities such as “Free Fridays”:  we’ll be opening up an article every Friday for free access over the weekend.

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Beacons for Better Health


September 23rd, 2010

It’s a phrase we hear over and over: Our nation’s commitment to health information technology (HIT) is not really about the technology, it’s about the improvements in health care and health outcomes that the technology can support.  When the Health Information Technology Economic and Clinical Health Act (HITECH) was enacted last year, the aim was […]

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Implementing Reform 51 Laboratories At A Time


September 22nd, 2010

This week marks the half-year anniversary of the passage of the Affordable Care Act, and the pace of implementation is heating up.  Though many of the provisions that become effective tomorrow  deal with individual health coverage issues, such as allowing young adults to stay on their parents’ insurance until age 26, they will vary depending on […]

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Med Mal/ER Use Video On Health Affairs Site


September 21st, 2010

How much does the medical liabilty system add to health care costs? How can medical errors be reduced? How often are nonemergency patients treated in hospital emergency departments, and how can those patients be shifted to more appropriate settings? These are some of the questions that were discussed at a September 7 National Press Club briefing sponsored by Health Affairs. Video of the briefing […]

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Health Affairs Briefing: Comparative Effectiveness Research


September 20th, 2010

A major new national initiative in comparative effectiveness research is under way, thanks to the Affordable Care Act and 2009 stimulus legislation. The research is aimed at giving patients, health care providers and those paying the bill for health care far better information than ever on which to base health care decisions, as well as […]

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Foundations’ Use of Social Media; What Your Local Blues Foundation Has Been Working On


September 17th, 2010

The Foundation Center has just released a short publication on grantmakers’ use of social media, including blogs. (I include here some examples of posts by foundation presidents that have appeared in recent months on the GrantWatch Blog. Subjects range from health reform to HIV/AIDS to smoking prevention.) Also recently released is a report on what […]

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The Latest Health Wonk Review


September 17th, 2010

Over at the Colorado Health Insurance Insider, Louise Norris yesterday posted the best of recent health policy blogging in the latest edition of the Health Wonk Review. Among the work highlighted: a Health Affairs Blog post on using engineering science to make bundled hospital payments fairer authored by Eugene Litvak, Arnold Milstein, and Mark Smith.

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Respecting And Reflecting On Diagnostic Errors


September 16th, 2010

A funny thing happened on the way to the first Diagnostic Errors in Medicine Conference, from which Bob Wachter’s thoughtful commentary in the September issue of Health Affairs is drawn. A group of us struggling to “get respect” for the problem of diagnosis errors conspired to bring together several important streams of work in order […]

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The Number Of Americans With Health Coverage Declined In 2009


September 16th, 2010

The number of people with health insurance decreased to 253.6 million in 2009 from 255.1 million in 2008, the Census Bureau reported today. This is the first time that the number of people with health insurance has decreased since 1987, the first year that comparable health insurance data were collected. The ranks of those with […]

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Stem Cell Research: How Foundations Have Weighed In


September 15th, 2010

A bill was introduced this week in the U.S. Senate to legalize the federal government’s funding of embryonic stem cell research. If passed, according to news reports, the legislation would codify President Obama’s 2009 executive order advancing such research. The Ellison Medical Foundation funded a recent report and updated guidelines about this research. Other foundations […]

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Health Policy Brief: Patient-Centered Medical Homes


September 15th, 2010

“Patient-centered medical homes” are widely considered to be among the most promising approaches to delivering higher-quality, cost-effective primary care in the United States, especially for those with chronic health conditions.  Health care reform legislation authorizes the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to test medical homes, among other new care-delivery models, to help avert […]

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Engineering Science And Episode-Based Hospital Payment


September 15th, 2010

Editor’s Note. This post is authored by Eugene Litvak PhD, Arnold Milstein MD, MPH and Mark Smith MD, MBA. Photos and bios for Milstein and Smith are above. Litvak is President and CEO of the Institute for Healthcare Optimization and also an Adjunct Professor in Operations Management in the Department of Health Policy and Management […]

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