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

The practice of behavioral healthcare is being transformed by technological innovations in mobile health and a growing understanding of the role patient behavior, behavioral health conditions, and dual physical/behavioral health diagnoses play in health outcomes and costs.  This transformation has in turn given rise to a profusion of fascinating and...
While mountains of raw health care data continue to grow, the challenge of turning that data into usable, actionable information is largely being unmet. There are certainly tremendous new opportunities to use information to improve health care decisions at the purchaser, plan, provider, and patient levels and thereby improve...
Delivery of physical medical care and behavioral health services is too often uncoordinated, operating in silos with little or no communication between physicians and other providers providing a patient with primary, specialty, acute, and pharmacy services and behavioral health professionals proving that same patient with mental health care or...
Hospital readmissions are costly but largely preventable. Reducing inpatient readmissions are a top priority for Medicare, state Medicaid programs, and private health plans.  The opportunities to lower costs and improve patient outcomes are considerable.  Therefore, healthcare purchasers are realigning hospital payment methods to reward hospitals for fewer readmissions and...
The basis for medical treatment of heart disease is the belief that interventions like coronary angioplasty and bypass surgery are effective, and that their benefits outweigh the risks. Does this conviction stem from a solid scientific foundation, or might it be an illusion? Is it conceivable that both physicians and...
To control rising health care costs and improve outcomes, health care purchasers - Medicare, state Medicaid programs, and large employers - and health plans are eager to entirely replace traditional, inefficient, volume-based fee-for-service (FFS) physician and hospital reimbursement with value-based payment models.  Value-based payment comes in various flavors but...
The practice of medicine in the age of generic pharmaceuticals is built upon the premise that these chemically identical medications have the same therapeutic effect as the brand-name ones. But do they? Generic: The Unbranding of Modern Medicine by Jeremy A. Greene, MD, PhD, of John Hopkins University is...
States across the US are engaged in ambitious and critically important initiatives to reform health care payment and care delivery.  Partnering with other major health care purchasers and payors, including employers and commercial health plans, State Medicaid agencies seek to improve health outcomes and decrease per capita health spending.  This...
In the U.S., we usually hear about health care in Europe as an example of what the American health system is not. Universal health coverage, state-run provider networks, and rationing are the two differences that come up most often. But the U.S. and Europe share many health care policy challenges:...
Improving care integration for Medicare-Medicaid dual eligible beneficiaries is one of the many initiatives embedded in the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The health reform law created the Medicare-Medicaid Coordination Office at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), and provided funds for state demonstrations to integrate care for...

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