Mayo Clinic has built out its electronic health record to flag repetitive laboratory tests, which has helped the not-for-profit health system lower costs and improve care. The clinic’s EHR aggregates how often certain tests are ordered, cost data and guidance on how to reduce redundancy, among other metrics. It has been an important tool as hospitals and health systems look to get more bang for their buck, said Dr. Curtis Hanson, chief medical officer at Mayo Medical Laboratories. “Excess lab tests are a problem everywhere, whether it’s here at Mayo or at other systems across the country—it’s a common recurring theme,” he said.
Who should President Trump nominate to be secretary of Health and Human Services? He has just been through a rough first year on the health care front and, with some pivotal decisions to make, the right choice could set his administration on a better course.
The job of the HHS secretary is, first of all, a very big one. The department contains some of the federal government’s most important agencies, including the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, the Food and Drug Administration, the National Institutes of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. At more than $1 trillion, HHS oversees about 25% of the federal budget — the biggest budget of any Cabinet department. Decisions on approving drugs, fighting disease, managing public health threats and providing health benefits to over 100 million Americans are up to this department and its leaders.
Two states looking for approval to customize their health insurance systems under the Affordable Care Act reversed course after the Trump administration said their applications couldn’t be approved in time for next year.
Iowa withdrew its proposal to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services for a waiver to alter its Affordable Care Act markets. Massachusetts’ proposal was effectively denied by the administration.
Both states sought to use some of the money that would have gone toward subsidies for consumers to instead create reinsurance programs that would protect insurers from major losses. Reinsurance often lowers premiums.
An attorney for California was grilled by a federal judge skeptical of a push by 18 states to immediately reinstate Affordable Care Act subsidies cut off by the Trump administration.U.S. District Judge Vince Chhabria said he would likely issue a ruling on Tuesday, a day after he said at a hearing that California and other states had protected consumers from the loss of the funding so people didn’t face an immediate threat of higher insurance costs.California, 17 other states and the District of Columbia want the judge to force the government to make the payments as their lawsuit challenging the end of the subsidies works its way through the courts, which will take months.
As President Donald Trump gears up to formally declare the opioid crisis a national emergency, addiction medicine experts hope the hotly anticipated announcement will go beyond financing states’ efforts to combat the epidemic.Months after Trump first announced plans to formally declare the opioid crisis a national emergency, the president is expected to make his first meaningful response to the issue on Thursday, which will likely include releasing millions in federal resources to respond to the epidemic.Many addiction medicine experts have praised the administration’s move.
While the future of the Affordable Care Act is still uncertain, a number of initiatives that began under the law have shown the kinds of results that transcend politics and will keep the focus on value over volume.Yes, we have seen that there are barriers to transitioning to a value-based approach, such as interoperability and organizational culture change, but there are also potentially huge gains to be made by including social determinants of health, for example. And we know U.S. healthcare provider organizations still receive the majority of their revenue from fee-for-service contracts.
Whenever the newest proposal to overhaul health care is introduced and scrutinized, the focus always turns to how many people will “lose” their health-care coverage. That’s because hospital and insurance lobbies have done a brilliant — if self-serving — job convincing lawmakers and media that coverage is the issue.
Only it’s not. Lack of coverage is a byproduct of the real problem — cost. But hospitals and insurance companies would prefer to ignore the pesky root-of-the-matter fact that health care in America costs too much.
Two top Republicans announced a bill Tuesday restoring federal subsidies to insurers while including tough conditions sought by the White House. Senate Democrats have enough votes to kill it, but the measure underscores the changes the Trump administration and congressional conservatives say they want in exchange for resuming the payments.
The proposal seeks changes in President Barack Obama’s health care law that go far further than provisions in bipartisan legislation that is stuck in the Senate.
The majority of all Americans – 178 million people – are covered by employer-sponsored health benefits. It is the most stable component of the nation’s health insurance system. Not surprisingly, therefore, most of the drama of the past several months regarding the Affordable Care Act (ACA) has concerned the roughly 10 million people who obtain coverage in the ACA’s insurance exchanges – many of which are in considerable turmoil.
One might assume, then, that the nation’s employers are not particularly concerned about the troubled individual marketplace, including the recent decision to stop making Cost Sharing Reduction (CSR) payments on behalf low income individuals who get their coverage from exchange insurance plans.
The election is more than a year off, but the leading Democratic candidates for governor are already staking out differences on how to reform health care and are cautiously approaching an issue that has long been untouchable in California politics — Proposition 13.
State Treasurer John Chiang, former state schools chief Delaine Eastin, Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom and former Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa sought to introduce themselves Tuesday to voters who are barely tuned in to the race to succeed Gov. Jerry Brown. For 75 minutes, the four fielded questions on health care, education, housing, immigration and climate change at a Chronicle-sponsored forum at the City Club in San Francisco.
Lori Wallace sits on a couch with her 11-year-old son and his new pet snake. It burrows under his armpit, as if afraid. Wallace is sure it’s not.
“If he was terrified, he would be balled up,” Wallace said. “See, that is why they are called ball pythons. When they are scared, they turn into a little ball.”
Wallace is dying of breast cancer, but a stranger wouldn’t know. She has a pixie haircut and a warm tan. She is vibrant and chatty and looks you right in the eyes when she talks.
Wallace doesn’t shy away from what is happening to her. She shows her cracked feet. They bleed from the chemotherapy pills she takes.
National health insurer Anthem’s profit ballooned by 20.9% to $746.9 billion in the third quarter of 2017, helped by higher premiums and membership growth. The Indianapolis-based insurer reported revenue of $22.4 billion, up 4.8% from the same quarter a year ago.The financial results “reflect continued operating momentum across our commercial and government businesses and our focus on improving affordability and choice for our customers,” Anthem President and CEO Joseph R. Swedish said in a statement.Membership at the end of the quarter totaled 40.3 million, a slight increase from 39.9 million at the same time last year.
Even as the national debate over access to health care insurance continues to rage, San Francisco has quietly become a city where nearly every resident is covered.
That achievement is due in part to the San Francisco Health Care Security Ordinance, one of the country’s most innovative, and most hotly debated, health care initiatives. When it took effect in January 2008, requiring businesses with 20 or more employees to contribute money toward their health care expenditures, 10.4 percent of San Franciscans — 15 percent of the working-age population — were uninsured.