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The Latest Health Wonk Review


April 11th, 2014
by Chris Fleming

Billy Wynne at Healthcare Lighthouse offers this week’s April Fool’s edition of the Health Wonk Review. All of the posts in Billy’s “April Fool’s” edition are an excellent read, including the Health Affairs Blog post by Dean Aufderheide on mental illness in America’s jails and prisons.

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New Health Affairs: Implications Of Alzheimer’s And The State Of Research


April 7th, 2014
by Chris Fleming

Health Affairs’ April issue addresses the litany of public and personal ramifications of Alzheimer’s disease—the most expensive condition in the United States both in terms of real costs and the immeasurable toll on loved ones. Articles examine best practices and models of care; a global view of the disease; the effects on caregivers; and what may lie ahead for a disproportionately underfunded research community.

Unnecessary hospital and emergency department (ED) visits are particularly difficult on people with Alzheimer’s—and costly to the health care system—but they experience them more often than their counterparts without dementia. Zhanlian Feng of RTI International and colleagues examined Medicare claims data linked to the Health and Retirement Study to determine hospital and ED use among older people with and without dementia across community and institutional settings. They found that in the community older people with dementia were more likely to have a hospitalization or ED visit than those without dementia, and that both groups had a marked increase in health care usage near the end of life.

Specifically, they found significant differences in hospitalizations and ED visits among community-dwelling residents, with 26.7 percent of dementia patients versus 18.7 percent of non-dementia residents experiencing hospitalization, and 34.5 percent versus 25.4 percent experiencing an ED visit. Differences were less pronounced among nursing home residents and tended to even out among all groups in the last year of life. The researchers suggest that policy makers consider promoting the use of alternative end-of-life options such as hospice care and providing supportive services and advance care planning to Medicare beneficiaries that can help reduce avoidable hospital-based care.

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Health Affairs Briefing Reminder: Long Reach Of Alzheimer’s Disease


April 4th, 2014
by Chris Fleming

Despite decades of effort, finding breakthrough treatments or a cure for Alzheimer’s has eluded researchers. In the April 2014 issue of Health AffairsThe Long Reach Of Alzheimer’s Disease, we explore the many subjects raised by the disease: the optimal care patients receive and the testing of new models, international comparisons of how the disease is treated, families’ end-of-life dilemmas, a new public-private research collaboration designed to produce improved treatments, and others.

Please join us on Wednesday, April 9, at W Hotel in Washington, DC, for a Health Affairs briefing where we will unveil the issue.  We are delighted to welcome Dr. Richard Hodes, director of the National Institute on Aging at the National Institutes of Health to deliver the Keynote. Read the full briefing agenda.

WHEN:
Wednesday, April 9, 2014
8:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.

WHERE:
W Hotel Washington
515 15th Street NW, Washington, DC (Metro Center)
Great Room, Lower Level

 REGISTER ONLINE

Follow live Tweets from the briefing @HA_Events, and join in the conversation with the hashtag #HA_Alzheimers.

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Health Reform And Criminal Justice: Advancing New Opportunities


April 1st, 2014
by Chris Fleming

Community Oriented Correctional Health Services (COCHS) and Health Affairs invite you to join thought leaders from public safety, health care, philanthropy, and all levels of government to further explore the intersection of health reform and criminal justice. As implementation of the Affordable Care Act continues, it is time to take stock of how far we have come in addressing the needs of the jail population through policy and planning, and to set our direction for the future.

This national event will take place on Thursday, April 3, from 8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., at the Columbus Club in Union Station, Washington, D.C. It is being organized with support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the Jacob & Valeria Langeloth Foundation, and Public Welfare Foundation. Registration for in-person attendance is closed, but a live webcast is available.

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Health Policy Leader Alan Weil To Become New Health Affairs Editor-in-Chief


March 31st, 2014
by Chris Fleming

Health Affairs and its publisher Project HOPE are pleased to announce that Alan Weil will become the journal’s new editor-in-chief on June 2, 2014.

Weil, a highly respected expert in health policy and current member of Health Affairs’ editorial board, will lead the journal after serving as the executive director of the National Academy for State Health Policy (NASHP) since 2004. His work with state policymakers of both political parties put Weil at the forefront of health reform policy, implementation, innovation, and practice. Prior to his leadership of NASHP, he served in both the public and private sectors. He directed the Urban Institute’s “Assessing New Federalism” project; served as the executive director of the Colorado Department of Health Care Policy and Financing and a health policy advisor to Colorado’s then-governor, Roy Romer; and was the assistant general counsel in the Massachusetts Department of Medical Security.

“We’re delighted to welcome Alan to the Project HOPE family,” said John P. Howe III, M.D., President and CEO of Project HOPE. “He comes to Health Affairs with more than 24 years of experience in health policy development and a stellar record of leadership and innovation in this field. I’m confident he will lead the journal’s talented staff on a new and successful path forward. I am extremely grateful to John Iglehart, the Founding Editor of Health Affairs for his stewardship of the journal for more than 25 years, ensuring its coveted rank as the leading health policy journal of our time.”

“Alan Weil’s extensive background in health and health care policy will serve him well in his new role as Health Affairs’ editor-in-chief,” noted John Iglehart, who currently leads the journal. “With his position on the front lines of health system change, he is an experienced leader who has deep familiarity with and longstanding connections to the health policy, research, and health care leadership communities. In particular, in his role as NASHP’s executive director, Alan worked on complex issues of critical importance to leaders in state and federal government and the private sector. This background will serve Health Affairs well as it continues to grow in influence both in the US and globally.”

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A March Madness Health Wonk Review


March 27th, 2014
by Chris Fleming

Welcome to the “March Madness” edition of the Health Wonk Review. The NCAA college basketball tournament seemed like a natural theme for a health care policy blog post: huge amounts of money floating around in ways that only sometimes correlate with performance, and head-to-head match-ups that can yield results no one expected (though in the tournament those unexpected results produce quicker and more certain changes than is often the case in health care).

We considered illustrating each blog post with pictures of a college basketball team from the author’s home state celebrating a championship, but we thought better of that after seeing this cautionary tale. So let’s get to the great collection of posts from our Wonkers.

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Health Affairs Briefing: Long Reach Of Alzheimer’s Disease


March 26th, 2014
by Chris Fleming

Despite decades of effort, finding breakthrough treatments or a cure for Alzheimer’s has eluded researchers. In the April 2014 issue of Health Affairs, The Long Reach Of Alzheimer’s Disease, we explore the many subjects raised by the disease: the optimal care patients receive and the testing of new models, international comparisons of how the disease is treated, families’ end-of-life dilemmas, a new public-private research collaboration designed to produce improved treatments, and others.

Please join us on Wednesday, April 9, at W Hotel in Washington, DC, for a Health Affairs briefing where we will unveil the issue. We are delighted to welcome Dr. Richard Hodes, director of the National Institute on Aging at the National Institutes of Health to deliver the Keynote.

WHEN:
Wednesday, April 9, 2014
8:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.

WHERE:
W Hotel Washington
515 15th Street NW, Washington, DC (Metro Center)
Great Room, Lower Level

REGISTER ONLINE

Follow live Tweets from the briefing @HA_Events, and join in the conversation with the hashtag #HA_Alzheimers.

Read the rest of this entry »

The Latest Health Wonk Review


March 14th, 2014
by Chris Fleming

Brad Wright at Wright on Health offers this week’s edition of the Health Wonk Review. His “Mud Season Edition” is an entertaining read and includes a Health Affairs Blog post by Suzanne Delbanco on pay-for-performance.

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Howard Koh To Keynote Health Affairs Briefing Tomorrow On ACA And HIV/AIDS


March 10th, 2014
by Chris Fleming

One of the least explored yet most important parts of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) are provisions that hold promise for addressing serious health care challenges facing the 1.1 million Americans who are living with HIV/AIDS — and others like them — most of whom are impoverished and uninsured.

Please join Health Affairs Founding Editor John Iglehart on Tuesday, March 11, in Washington, DC, for a Health Affairs briefing on our March issue where we will spotlight topics related to the ACA and people with HIV/AIDS. The briefing will be keynoted by Howard K. Koh, Assistant Secretary for Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

WHEN:
Tuesday, March 11, 2014
9:00 a.m. – Noon

WHERE:
National Press Club
529 14th Street NW, Washington, DC, 13th Floor (Metro Center)

REGISTER ONLINE

Follow live Tweets from the briefing @HA_Events, and join in the conversation with the hashtag #HA_HIVAIDS

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New Health Affairs: ACA’s Impact On Americans With HIV/AIDS And Jail-Involved Individuals


March 3rd, 2014
by Chris Fleming

Health Affairs’ March issue, released today, explores how the Affordable Care Act (ACA) could affect two key sectors of the population with unique public health needs—those living with HIV/AIDS and people who have recently cycled through local jails.

When it comes to HIV treatment, timing is everything. Dana Goldman of the University of Southern California and coauthors modeled HIV transmission and prevention based on when HIV-positive individuals started combination antiretroviral treatment (cART). They estimate that from 1996-2009, early treatment initiation in the US prevented 188,700 HIV cases and avoided $128 billion in life expectancy losses.

The authors highlight treatment at “very early” stages (when CD4 white blood cell counts are greater than 500, consistent with current treatment guidelines in the US) as responsible for four-fifths of prevented cases. Early treatment both reduces morbidity and mortality in people living with HIV/AIDS, and decreases the transmission of the disease to the uninfected. Goldman and coauthors conclude that early treatment has clear value for both HIV-positive and HIV-negative populations in the US.

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The Latest Health Wonk Review


February 28th, 2014
by Chris Fleming

David Harlow at HealthBlawg offers this week’s edition of the Health Wonk Review. All of the posts in David’s “In Like A Lion” Review reward reading, including the Health Affairs Blog post by Mark McClellan and coauthors at Brookings on how to pay for Medicare physician payment reform.

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HA Issue Briefing: The ACA And The Future Of HIV/AIDS In America


February 28th, 2014
by Chris Fleming

One of the least explored yet most important parts of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) are provisions that hold promise for addressing serious health care challenges facing the 1.1 million Americans who are living with HIV/AIDS — and others like them — most of whom are impoverished and uninsured.

Please join Health Affairs Founding Editor John Iglehart on Tuesday, March 11, in Washington, DC, for a Health Affairs briefing where we will spotlight issues related to the ACA and people with HIV/AIDS.

WHEN:
Tuesday, March 11, 2014
9:00 a.m. – Noon

WHERE:
National Press Club
529 14th Street NW, Washington, DC, 13th Floor (Metro Center)

REGISTER ONLINE

Follow live Tweets from the briefing @HA_Events, and join in the conversation with the hashtag #HA_HIVAIDS

Read the rest of this entry »

Mendelson: Senate GOP Reform Proposal Provides Welcome Flexibility In Benefit Design


February 26th, 2014
by Chris Fleming

A health reform proposal introduced by three Republican Senators is a positive development both substantively and politically, Dan Mendelson, CEO of Avalere Health, said in a recent interview. He said the greater flexibility in benefit design afforded by the GOP proposal could be a boon for many uninsured people dissatisfied with the choices allowed by the Affordable Care Act.

Senators Richard Burr (NC), Tom Coburn (OK), and Orrin Hatch (UT) offered the proposal, designed to replace the ACA, earlier this year. “This is the discussion that I wish had happened before the passage of the law, said Mendelson, who served as Associate Director for Health at the White House Office of Management and Budget under President Clinton. “We have here three very knowledgeable, relatively moderate Republican Senators coming together on a construct that embraces a lot of what was passed in the ACA. There’s an individual market … prohibited from discrimination on the basis of pre-existing condition; there are patient protections like the age band ratings, albeit less restrictive than the ones that were enacted in the bill.”

Mendelson noted that the Burr-Coburn-Hatch framework retains the ACA’s Medicare provisions. “Everything related to health system change stays: The Medicare Advantage Star ratings, which are very significant and far reaching policy, the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation, and the like,” he said.

The Senate GOP proposal also contains some “very significant changes” from the ACA, many of which provide greater state flexibility in the individual market and Medicaid, Mendelson pointed out. On Medicaid, the proposal “really goes much closer to the block grant proposal that Republicans have felt comfortable with for quite some time. Ironically block granting might actually result in more coverage [than the ACA Medicaid provisions], given where Texas and some of the other Republican states are right now, because they would accept this,” in contrast to their rejection of Medicaid expansion under the ACA.

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The State Of Health Reform: A Health Affairs Conversation With James Capretta, Genevieve Kenney, and Larry Levitt


February 25th, 2014
by Chris Fleming

The Obama administration touted a recent increase in the enrollment rate for young adults in the Affordable Care Act’s health insurance exchanges – how significant was this trend? What should we make of the recent Congressional Budget Office findings regarding projected decreases in hours worked by Americans as a result of the ACA? How does the recent introduction of a new health reform proposal by three Republican Senators affect the policy and political discussions around reform? And what should we expect as states continue to assess whether to expand their Medicaid programs?

In the latest edition of our Health Affairs Conversations podcast series, our guests address these and other health reform developments. James Capretta is a Senior Fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center and a Visiting Fellow at the American Enterprise Institute; Genevieve Kenney is Co-Director and a senior fellow in the Health Policy Center of the Urban Institute; and Larry Levitt is Senior Vice President for Special Initiatives at the Kaiser Family Foundation and Senior Advisor to the President of the Foundation.

You can access the podcast recording here.

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Arkansas Governor Beebe Talks Private Option At Health Affairs/Kaiser Health News Newsmaker Breakfast


February 24th, 2014
by Chris Fleming

Those who have watched the debate in Washington over the increasing use of Senate filibusters will likely have considerable sympathy for Arkansas Governor Mike Beebe (D), the guest at today’s Health Affairs/Kaiser Health News Newsmaker Breakfast. At least the majority party in the Senate can break a filibuster with 60 out of 100 votes. In […]

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Health Affairs “Community Development And Health” November 2014 Theme Issue: Announcement


February 18th, 2014
by Chris Fleming

Health Affairs plans to publish an issue on the topic of “Community Development and Health” in November 2014. Details on the upcoming issue are available here. The deadline for submissions is June 1, 2014.

Papers will be competitively reviewed by editors, and, for those that are selected for external review, outside experts. We will make publication decisions based on these selection processes.

If you are interested in submitting a paper, please review our submissions procedures and guidelines. Contact senior deputy editor Sarah Dine (sdine@projecthope.org) or executive editor Don Metz (dmetz@projecthope.org) with any questions.

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The Latest Health Wonk Review


February 17th, 2014
by Chris Fleming

You can find the latest Health Wonk Review at HealthInsurance.org Blog. Among the posts in Steve Anderson’s entertaining”Be Mine” edition: the Health Affairs Blog post by Marc Berk and Zhengyi Fang looking at the characteristics of the young uninsured.

This is the third Wonk Review of the year. On January 16, David Williams started the year with a “Half Glass” edition at Health Business Blog. Brad Wright followed up on January 30 with “The New Wright on Health” edition” at Wright on Health.

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New Health Affairs Issue: Successes And Missing Links In Connected Health


February 3rd, 2014
by Chris Fleming

Health Affairs’ February issue focuses on the current evidence and future potential of connected health — encompassing telemedicine, telehealth, and mHealth. The importance of connected health is sure to grow as more Americans gain access to health care and new, team-based models seek to provide better quality care in more efficient ways. The issue offers a variety of articles that explore what can entice hospitals, health systems, and individual providers to embrace telehealth, as well as the policy solutions that can better facilitate adoption across the health care system:

Want to increase telehealth adoption among U.S. hospitals? Look to state legislatures. Julia Adler-Milstein of the University of Michigan School of Information and co-authors emphasize that state policies are influential. According to their findings, states that wish to encourage the use of telehealth should promote private payer reimbursement and relax licensure requirements.

Overall, Adler-Milstein and coauthors found that 42 percent of US hospitals had adopted telehealth by late 2012, with significant variation across the country: Alaska was the highest with 75 percent, and Rhode Island had minimal adoption.


Market forces and individual hospital features also influence telehealth adoption rates. Factors that positively influence adoption rates include serving as a teaching hospital, being part of a larger system, having greater technological capacity, and higher rurality. Factors negatively affecting adoption include high population density, being for-profit, and operating in a less competitive market.

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Health Affairs Connected Health Briefing: Reminder And Webcast Information


February 3rd, 2014
by Chris Fleming

An explosion of knowledge that is increasingly available through mobile devices and an array of telehealth and telemedicine technologies are linking the marvels of medicine to more patients and providers separated by geography. The February 2014 thematic issue of Health Affairs examines these disruptive technologies and innovative services and their promise for improving health and access to care; potential for cost savings; rates of adoption and impact; and challenges of privacy, liability and regulatory policy.

Please join Health Affairs Founding Editor John Iglehart on Wednesday, February 5, at the Kaiser Family Foundation in Washington, DC, for a Health Affairs briefing at which we unveil the issue.

WHEN:
Wednesday, February 5, 2014
8:30 a.m. – 12:15 p.m.

WHERE:
Barbara Jordan Conference Center
Kaiser Family Foundation
1330 G Street NW, Washington, DC (Metro Center)

REGISTER ONLINE

If you can’t join us in person, you can watch the event via live Webcast. Follow live Tweets from the briefing @HA_Events, and join in the conversation with the hashtag #HA_ConnectedHealth.

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ACA Coverage Goes Live: A Health Affairs Conversation With Karen Davis, Dan Mendelson, And Tom Scully


January 28th, 2014
by Chris Fleming

What is the status of the coverage roll-out under the Affordable Care Act, and how is enrollment in the ACA’s health insurance marketplaces progressing? Are more states likely to expend Medicaid? What effect is the ACA having on health care quality and costs? What are the chances of legislation modifying the ACA, and what should be done to ensure that it is sustainable?

These are some of the questions discussed in the latest installment of the Health Affairs Conversations podcast series by Karen Davis, Dan Mendelson, and Tom Scully. Davis, the former president of The Commonwealth Fund, is the Eugene and Mildred Lipitz Professor, and director of the Roger C. Lipitz Center for Integrated Health Care, at Johns Hopkins University. Dan Mendelson, CEO of Avalere Health, also served as the Associate Director for Health at the White House Office of Management and Budget under President Clinton. Tom Scully is senior counsel at the law firm of Alston & Bird, a general partner with the private equity firm Welsh, Carson, Anderson & Stowe, and the Chairman of NaviHealth, a post-acute care company; he was the administrator of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) under President George W. Bush.

You can access the podcast recording here. (Please note there may be a delay in some browser configurations while the podcast file loads.)

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