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

As the second-largest health care service purchaser, employers have an opportunity to use their substantial market leverage as a means to augment quality. If mobilized and motivated, employers could act as a key change agent by influencing other stakeholder groups, exercising a leadership role, and pushing community health plans...
Care coordination is a process that ensures a patient’s health services and information sharing preferences and needs are met. Care coordination, a critical component during the nation’s current shift from a fragmented system toward one that stresses accountability and continuity, is primarily accomplished by people as opposed to technology....
More than 75 percent of total health care costs cover preventable chronic conditions like diabetes, heart disease, and cancer. The Affordable Care Act (ACA) mandates that self-insured employers and health plans provide common, evidence-based wellness screenings designed to reduce such conditions without charging a copayment, deductible, or co-insurance. Because health...
In February 2012, The Hospital Community Benefit Program, established by the Hilltop Institute at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County (UMBC), published the third issue brief in a series, Hospital Community Benefits after the ACA: Partnerships for Community Health Improvement. The series, published across a three-year span, is funded...
The Affordable Care Act (ACA) requires the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) issue employer group health plan quality improvement reporting requirements. Reports shall cover specified quality improvement activities regarding plan or coverage benefit and provider reimbursement structures. Those requirements shall include efforts to improve health outcomes, ensure...
Employers should encourage shared decision-making - which involves patients in health care decisions - as a way to reduce medical costs and improve health outcomes among employees, argues a recent brief from the National Business Coalition on Health (NBCH). Patients who have a better understanding of and are more...
Based on data from Germany’s experience with wellness programs, a recent report cautions that wellness incentives under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) could lead to higher insurance premiums for low-income and chronically ill people. The Commonwealth Fund’s brief found that one quarter of the publicly insured population participated in...
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...
Medicaid directors have been pushed to find cost savings in their programs in the midst of recent budget shortfalls, often using blunt instruments such as cuts in benefits, provider rates, and eligibility. But Medicaid directors are also evaluating and implementing more sustainable reforms to ensure Medicaid continues to provide...
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...

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