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

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...
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...
Prevention and wellness care are widely recognized as means to reduce health costs and spending, while also improving outcomes for patients. Preventive services typically include screenings for diseases, such as cancer, or harmful conditions, such as obesity. They also include immunizations. For example: someone gets a flu shot costing...
Communication with patients is at the heart of new primary care tools and models that improve outcomes and lower costs, such as patient-centered medical homes (PCMH) and interactive preventive health records (IPHR). Often, communication means electronic communication, and is part of efforts by Medicare, Medicaid, and private health plans to...
State Medicaid programs must increase primary care physician payment rates in 2013 and 2014 to at least 100 percent of Medicare rates.  The Medicaid-Medicare payment parity mandate is part of the Affordable Care Act (ACA). For the difference between prior rates and the necessary rate increase, states will receive a 100...
Medicare and Medicaid spending will exceed $1 trillion in FY 2013.  Together, the two programs now serve about 113 million Americans - over a third of the population.  Policymakers in Washington and the states face a daunting challenge to containing costs in Medicare and Medicaid – both health programs are...
Healthcare-associated infections (HAI) contribute significantly to U.S. health costs and spending. They can be a major problem in hospitals, with one in every 20 hospitalized patients contracting a healthcare-associated infection, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Each year, HAIs kill more than 1.7 million people...
Businesses have a big incentive to keep their employees healthy and to curb their health costs and spending. Premiums for employer-sponsored insurance for families almost doubled in the past decade, with the employer’s share of premiums increasing from $5,866 in 2002 to $11,429 in 2012. Data from the Health...
One objective of the 2009 Health Information for Economic and Clinical Health (HITECH) Act is to encourage more physicians and hospitals to adopt electronic health record (EHR) systems. Physicians and hospitals that effectively use electronic health records will play an important role in preventing medical errors, reducing costs, and...
A new, highly personalized online resource for patients increases the delivery of recommended preventive services.  The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) has published a handbook for primary care physicians interested in launching a web-based portal where patients can review their records and manage preventive care. The portal, called an Interactive...

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