Kip Piper's Health Care Blog
Medicare, Medicaid, Health Reform

For over a decade, the sustainable growth rate (SGR) has been a source of financial worry for physicians who serve Medicare patients. Medicare’s physician payment rate is based on a composite measure of the cost of care, multiplied by a factor derived from the SGR formula. Every year since...
The term “post-acute care” (PAC) covers a range of services patients receive after a hospital stay. Skilled nursing facilities, home health care agencies, long-term care hospitals, and inpatient rehabilitation hospitals all provide post-acute care. PAC providers are an important part of efforts to reduce hospital readmissions, which are a...
Employer-sponsored insurance (ESI) has been central to the U.S. health care system. The Affordable Care Act (ACA) adds many requirements and imposes many costs on employers that could change how - and if - they offer employee health care coverage.  But estimating the effect of changes to ESI is...
Many new care models in both the public and private sector focus on people with chronic diseases, particularly conditions like diabetes, congestive heart failure, and hypertension. The Veterans Health Administration (VHA) Care Coordination/Home Telehealth (CCHT) pilot program serves veterans at risk of needing long term care for chronic conditions. Physician...
The Affordable Care Act (ACA) created a trade-off for providers, particularly hospitals: On the one hand, Medicare fee-for-service hospital payments will be cut by $260 billion over 10 years. Some people newly eligible for Medicaid will switch from private insurance, which pays much higher provider rates than Medicaid does....
It’s not uncommon for a patient to be confused or overwhelmed by a diagnosis or treatment plan.  Complicated medical procedures or decisions can overwhelm patients to the point that they feel that they cannot, or should not, ask questions of their providers.   However, this lack of patient involvement in...
The nation's largest health care buyers - Medicare, state Medicaid programs, large employers, and health plans - are eager for ways to improve the quality and efficiency of chronic health conditions, which drive the bulk of health spending.  Payment reform and care delivery reforms are critically important.  Providers -...
Hospital admissions and readmissions are a hot topic in the healthcare community.  Reducing hospital utilization can result in a leaner, more efficient system with lower costs and greater health outcomes.  The opportunities to save money and improve care are extraordinary. Accordingly, Medicare, state Medicaid agencies, health plans, and patient organizations...
Primary care is shifting to payment based on providing higher quality, lower cost health care. New payment models - such as patient-centered medical homes (PCMH) - replace or supplement traditional fee-for-service payments with per-member per-month payments, and emphasize coordinated care, quality measurement, and accountability. Some models offer cost-sharing, as...
While the Affordable Care Act is expected to shift more of health coverage from the private employers to taxpayers, the most common source of health insurance for Americans is still though an employer or the employer of a spouse or parent.  According to the most recent census data, over...

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