Modern Healthcare reports on today's White House health care forum. Pretty dull. Much more interesting is the Politico's five questions and answers about the possible use of reconciliation to ram through health care reform. HIT News reports on political consultant Charlie Cook's address in which he predicts incremental reform this year. I heard Mr. Cook speak early in 2008. His observations for the 2008 election were right on the mark.
The Chicago Tribune reports on the medical community freaking out over reports of possible health insurance company mergers. "Speculation has run rampant that some of the nation's biggest health plans may be looking to consolidate, including a possible takeover of Humana Inc. by Aetna Inc., as well as UnitedHealth Group's interest in Coventry Health Care Inc." All four company's are significant players in the FEHB Program.
The Boston Globe talks up the medical home model which Sen. Finance Committee chairman Max Baucus also has found attractive.
The "medical home" is a kinder, gentler approach to managed care, based on the idea that high quality care and stronger relationships between patients and their primary care doctors will save money in the long run. A medical home pays physicians to coordinate all of a patient's needs - arranging visits to
specialists, helping control chronic conditions, even fielding patients' phone
calls at all hours. Doctors often receive bonuses for meeting quality standards
and often share in savings from fewer and shorter hospital stays.
What was old becomes new.
The brand new Federal Coordinating Council for Comparative Effectiveness Research will hold a public listening session on April 14, 2009, in Washington DC. The council will hear public comment regarding comparative effectiveness research and the Coordinating Council's activities. You can sign up for the session here. AHRQ's head, Dr. Carolyn Clancy, discusses the council's work here. AHRQ maintains this web site where clinicians and consumers can find summary guides on comparative effectiveness research for various ailments, including prostate cancer, type 2 diabetes, and GERD.
According to the Raleigh News and Observer, Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina has become the latest insurer to adopt a no-pay policy for certain "never events." The trick with these policies is holding the plan member harmless.