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

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...
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...
Fraud in the health care system is a significant and growing threat.  The FBI estimates that between 3% and 10% of all health care expenditures are lost to fraud each year - up to $280 billion annually.  Health care fraud not only raises costs for consumers and employers -...
For the past several years, major payers in U.S. health care have experimented with new payment models that create incentives to control unnecessary health care spending. The traditional fee-for-service model for health insurance does not give providers a reason to control health costs: The more services they provide, the...
Health information technology, care coordination, and cost containment have increasingly become entwined in health care policy. Medicare and Medicaid both have electronic health record (EHR) incentive programs to encourage physicians, hospitals, and other providers to use them. Electronic patient communication also is part of care coordination models, such as...
Poor quality of care and preventable medical errors are a major cause of high costs and patient suffering.  The opportunities for improvement are considerable. In addition, as states and health plans gear up for Health Insurance Exchanges (HIX), they will count quality and patient safety among their key considerations.  For...
The Federal Reserve Beige Book is the central bank’s version of a routine check-up from a physician. Published eight times each year, the Beige Book compiles reports about how the economy is doing from Fed staff across the country and interviews with business leaders, economists, and other market experts...
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...

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