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Archive for April, 2012




Learning From Amy Berman: Barriers To Palliative Care And How We Might Overcome Them


April 30th, 2012

Editor’s note: You can hear Amy Berman discuss her April Health Affairs Narrative Matters essay at the recent release event for the April issue. You can also join Amy tomorrow (May 1) at noon for live online chat hosted by the Washington Post, which will also be publishing an abridged version of her essay. In […]

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Urologists’ Self-Referral Led To Higher Utilization And Worse Results: Jean Mitchell Responds


April 30th, 2012

Editor’s note: In the April issue of Health Affairs, Jean Mitchell reported that “self-referring” urologists, who billed Medicare for both prostate biopsies and the associated surgical pathology services, charged Medicare for more specimens per prostate biopsy than non-self-referring urologists sent to independent pathology providers. Additionally, the regression-adjusted cancer detection rate was higher for men treated […]

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Evidence, Not Finances, Drives Urologists’ Care: A Critique Of Jean Mitchell’s Article


April 30th, 2012

Editor’s note: In the April issue of Health Affairs, Jean Mitchell reported that “self-referring” urologists, who billed Medicare for both prostate biopsies and the associated surgical pathology services, charged Medicare for more specimens per prostate biopsy than non-self-referring urologists sent to independent pathology providers. Additionally, the regression-adjusted cancer detection rate was higher for men treated by […]

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Implementing Health Reform: Amidst Turbulence, Federal Work Goes On


April 27th, 2012

The Supreme Court continues to mull the fate of the Affordable Care Act.  The House of Representatives continues to push budget bills that would defund ACA programs.  Many state legislatures have adjourned for the year without taking significant action to implement state exchanges.  But ACA implementation continues its onward march as the federal agencies — […]

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Health Policy Brief: Essential Health Benefits


April 26th, 2012

A new Health Policy Brief from Health Affairs and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation looks at essential health benefits–the core packages of benefits that so-called “qualified” health insurance plans must provide beginning in 2014. The Affordable Care Act of 2010 requires that health insurance plans sold to individuals and small businesses provide a minimum package […]

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Hospitals, Practice Administrators and Clinicians: You Gotta Learn to Love Patient Ratings


April 25th, 2012

You are increasingly being held accountable for the outcomes of the health care you deliver. Pay for performance; shared savings in ACOs; public report cards…the list of strategies to monitor and measure the effects of your efforts is lengthening. Many of you seem dismayed by the increased weight accorded to the patient experience of care […]

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Trends In The Adoption Of Health Information Technology


April 24th, 2012

In 2011 the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services began offering incentives to providers who demonstrated “meaningful use” of electronic health records (EHRs). With this program well underway, how well is health information technology implementation progressing? What are the differences in adoption rates among health care providers? To address aspects of health information technology adoption […]

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Blahous Responds To Van de Water And Nichols: The Fiscal Consequences Of The ACA


April 24th, 2012

    On April 10, Charles Blahous released a paper on the fiscal consequences of the Affordable Care Act. On Friday, Health Affairs Blog offered a condensed and modified version of that paper, along with responses to the April 10 paper from Paul Van de Water and Len Nichols. Below, Blahous replies to those responses. Paul Van […]

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    A Closer Look At The Medicare Trustees’ Report


    April 24th, 2012

    The latest report from Medicare’s trustees, released yesterday drives home what many already know: Medicare poses a serious long-term budgeting challenge. But a close look look at the report also suggests that, while reforms and savings are clearly needed in the Medicare program, it would also be worthwhile and realistic to look at options for […]

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    Improving Care For The ‘Dual Eligibles’


    April 23rd, 2012

    There are nearly nine million people in the United States who receive both Medicare and Medicaid benefits. Recent cost estimates show that this group, known as dual eligibles, accounts for a disproportionate share of spending in both programs. Although the Medicare and Medicaid programs were never intended to work together, a provision of the Affordable […]

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    Is Health Reform Fiscally Responsible?


    April 20th, 2012

    Editor’s note: On April 10, Charles Blahous released a paper on the fiscal consequences of the Affordable Care Act. Below Len Nichols responds to the arguments Blahous raised in the April 10 paper and offers his own views on the ACA’s fiscal consequences. In related Health Affairs Blog posts, Paul Van de Water responds to […]

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    Yes, Health Reform Strengthens Medicare And Reduces The Deficit


    April 20th, 2012

    Editor’s note: On April 10, Charles Blahous released a paper on the fiscal consequences of the Affordable Care Act. Below Paul Van de Water responds to the arguments Blahous raised in the April 10 paper and offers his own views on the ACA’s fiscal consequences. In related Health Affairs Blog posts, Len Nichols responds to […]

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    The Fiscal Consequences Of The Affordable Care Act


    April 20th, 2012

      Editor’s note: On April 10, Charles Blahous released a paper on the fiscal consequences of the Affordable Care Act. Below Blahous presents a condensed and modified version of that paper. In related Health Affairs Blog posts, Paul Van de Water and Len Nichols respond to the arguments Blahous raised in the April 10 paper and […]

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      South Carolina: Explaining A Finding Against A State-Based Exchange


      April 20th, 2012

      This past November a committee created under executive order by South Carolina Governor Nikki R. Haley recommended rejecting a state-based health insurance exchange as currently defined by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.  After months of review, we determined that states have little meaningful flexibility under the Obama administration’s concept of “state-based”; that state-based […]

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      Investing In Population Health: A Roadmap For The Future


      April 19th, 2012

      The U.S. public health system, like its health care system cousin, is a patchwork of services, programs and regulatory authorities that is neither designed for optimal performance nor funded for sustainability and success. Those are the findings of a recent panel from the Institute of Medicine (IOM) of the National Academies. Their report entitled “For […]

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      The Ryan Plan And The Medicare Debate: The Crucial Questions


      April 18th, 2012

      While Representative Paul Ryan’s (R-WI) most recent Medicare premium support proposal will be hotly debated during this charged political season, the more durable issue is what it means for the real debate on Medicare that looms after the election.  Regardless of who wins this November, the country is faced with a massive deficit, driven in […]

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      Health Affairs Briefing: Trends In The Adoption Of Health Information Technology


      April 17th, 2012

      On Wednesday, April 25, Health Affairs will hold a briefing on the subjects of recent trends in health information technology adoption among US health care providers; eligibility for federal incentives to support that adoption; and demonstration of meaningful use. The forum coincides with the release of three “Web First” papers from Health Affairs, as well […]

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      Saving For Health Care: The Policy Pros And Cons Of Different Vehicles


      April 17th, 2012

      There are two ways people can insure for medical expenses: third party insurance and individual self-insurance. Under the former, a third party (insurance company, employer or government) pays the expenses. Under the latter, people must save and pay the expenses directly, from their own resources. This division of insurance responsibility is a normal aspect of […]

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      A Masterful Health Wonk Review


      April 16th, 2012

      At his blog Wright on Health, Brad Wright presents a “Masterful” edition of the Health Wonk Review. Celebrating the triumph of fellow University of Georgia grad Bubba Watson, Brad ties each health policy blog post to a hole on the famed course at Augusta. David Lansky’s Health Affairs Blog post on how to do — […]

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      Realizing the Promise of Spring: Foundations Should Consider Changing How They Do Business


      April 16th, 2012

      The author, now a consultant to foundations and nonprofits, has held several positions in philanthropy, including executive vice president of a large California health foundation. Spring is the season for the denizens of philanthropic foundations to gather at their traditional watering holes to meet and greet and share stories with one another. Last month, Grantmakers In […]

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