Two more studies suggest that provider price increases, particularly those of hospitals, are the cause for overall spending rises and notes that there is little competitive check on providers’ ability to raise prices. When are policy-makers going to start paying attention?
Research indicates that commercial health insurance, while it has geographic variation in spending, does not vary in the same way as Medicare. A primary factor explaining private health plan geographic spending variation appears to be the state of competition for hospital services in different locales.
The Office of Personnel Management releases a report showing progress in the number of FEHBP plans offering PHRs to members, but little use of those PHRs by patients and little ability of the PHRs to take provider-created information. Separately, Revolution Health has abandoned its PHR effort.
A Health Affairs article examines changes in the composition of Medicare spending over the last two decades, finding that chronic disease is now the primary driver of that spending and that the nature of service demand has shifted from inpatient to outpatient and prescription drugs.
The New England Journal of Medicine publishes dueling commentaries on geographic and provider spending variations. Having a clear understanding of whether there are providers who render more care with no better outcomes would help formulate reforms to change their behavior.
Health plans are receiving a lot of negative publicity regarding individual policy price increases. This development, however, should have been entirely expected in light of the recession and typical consumer behavior when not required to buy a product. That won’t stop politicians from trying to demagogue the issue.
Much concern has been expressed about whether the FDA may make changes to the 510(k) and other regulations that hinder speed to market for medical device companies. A recently finalized guidance may actually help those firms.
Personalized medicine is widely promoted as the future of health care. Several government agencies are examining the implications of growth in genomic knowledge and its application to medical practice. CDC and NIH are intending to create a Genomics Knowledge Synthesis Center.
If there is no systemic federal health reform legislation, what are the most important individual bills that could be considered to limit cost increases, improve access and improve quality? In honor of Presidents’ Day, we have a few suggestions for President Obama.
Two articles describe some of the challenges for nurses in the telemedicine environment. One describes the role nurses play when they are onsite with a patient and the physician is remote and the other discusses how nurses can convey a caring attitude when they are interacting remotely with the patient.
Medco’s acquisition of DNA Direct, a genetic testing management company, may be a reaction to an earlier CVS Caremark transaction, but is also a recognition of the looming flood of genomic information and products that will usher in the era of personalized medicine.