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

By making hospital quality of care information public, the Hospital Inpatient Quality Reporting (IQR) program is designed to help patients make informed decisions and encourage hospitals and physicians to improve the quality of inpatient care.  Under the Hospital IQR program, hospitals submit clinical quality data to the Centers for Medicare...
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...
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...
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...
In recent testimony to the Senate Finance Committee, Gary Cohen of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) gave an update of progress on Health Insurance Exchanges (HIX) implementation, now called Health Insurance Marketplaces. There is plenty to do, as shown in the timeline CMS presented that day,...
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...
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...
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 -...
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...
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...

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