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Monthly Archives: February 2013

Suicide Prevention for Veterans: Suicide Prevention Efforts by the VHA

The Department of Defense (DOD) and the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) in recent months have delivered grim statistics on military and veteran suicides. In a report earlier this year, the VA announced veterans committed suicide at a rate of 22 per day in 2010. Active-duty military suicides reached a record high in 2012, at 349. The Army had...

Electronic Health Records: EHR Use Increasingly Common Among Office Based Physicians

Through the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act, certain healthcare providers – including most physicians and hospitals – may be eligible for incentive payments if they follow guidelines regarding implementation and active use of electronic health record (EHR) systems.  In order to receive these incentive payments, provider organizations must demonstrate “meaningful use” of federally certified...

Health Coverage Tax Credit: Effect of ACA on HCTC Enrollees

The Health Coverage Tax Credit (HCTC) program is tiny compared to better-known public health coverage programs, such as Medicare, Medicaid, and CHIP. Only about 500,000 Americans in 2010 were eligible for the HCTC program, which pays 72.5 percent of private health plan premiums for workers whose jobs were cut because of foreign import competition - Trade Adjustment Assistance (TAA)...

5 Causes of Wasteful Health Care Spending

A painful fact about the U.S. health system is that roughly one third of health costs and spending are wasted. A study in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) found that wasted health spending could reach from about $500 billion to almost $1 trillion each year. And neither of those figures includes fraud and abuse, which cost...

Patenting Human DNA: SCOTUS Pharma and Biotech Case Preview

Patents form the basis of the  pharma and biotech industry, also called the life sciences industry. They give companies an incentive to make large investments in risky drug development and innovations, which have the potential to be ineffective or to fail Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval. More than 6,000 U.S. businesses spent $22 billion on biotech R&D in 2011, according to the Organization for...

The Promise of Telehealth: Three Case Studies of Early Adopters

Much of the health information technology (HIT) today promotes patient communication to improve care and potentially lower costs. Some examples are interactive preventive health records (IPHR), e-prescribing, and electronic health records (EHR). Emerging telehealth technologies, however, take it a step further. Telehealth allows physicians and other providers not only to communicate with patients, but to monitor their patients’ well being...

Obamacare and State Laws: States Slow to Enact ACA Consumer Protections

State insurance commissioners typically bear most of the responsibility for enforcing health insurance consumer protections. In theory, that will remain the case after broad new consumer protections included in the Affordable Care Act (ACA) go into effect. States are expected to be the first-line of enforcement, and the federal Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) will step in...

Basics of the Federal Budget Process

The federal budget has been in the news more than usual lately. Congress early in 2013 postponed a 2 percent across-the-board cut in Medicare payments, 8 percent cuts for certain domestic spending, and 10 percent cuts in non-military personnel defense spending, using a measure called sequestration. But the deadline to avoid sequestration returns again in March, and the federal...

State Tort Liability for Generic Prescription Drugs: SCOTUS Pharma and Biotech Case Previews

Generic drugs have operated under a different set of rules than brand-name drugs since 1984, when Congress passed the Drug Price Competition and Patent Term Restoration Act of 1984, or Hatch-Waxman Act. Brand-name drug manufacturers must submit extensive evidence from clinical trials to get approval from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), through its New Drug Application (NDA) process....

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