A project of the Galen Institute

Issue: "Medical Innovation"

Why doctors give Obamacare a failing grade

Jeffrey Singer
The Hill
Sun, 2014-10-19
"The Physicians Foundation made shockwaves last month when it released its 2014 Survey of America’s Physicians. The survey’s top-line finding: Of the 20,000 doctors surveyed, almost 50 percent stated that Obamacare deserves either a “D” or an “F.” Only a quarter of physicians graded it as either an “A” or a “B.” Count me among the discontented. Obamacare has harmed too many of my patients. It has done so by disrupting the doctor-patient relationship and thereby worsening the quality of patients’ care. This is the heart and soul of medicine, as I have learned in in my 33 years as a practicing physician. The doctor-patient relationship is critical for positive health outcomes because it allows both parties to work together to identify and ultimately treat medical problems. Simply put, a relationship of trust and continuity is essential to our professional mission."

How the new HealthCare.gov stacks up with the old

The Associated Press
Tue, 2014-10-14
"HealthCare.gov, the website for health insurance under President Barack Obama’s health care law, has been revamped as its second enrollment season approaches. But things are still complicated, since other major provisions of the Affordable Care Act are taking effect for the first time. A look at some of the website and program changes ahead: Old: 76 online screens to muddle through in insurance application. New: 16 screens — for the basic application that most new customers will use. But about a third of those new customers are expected to have more complicated cases, and how they’ll fare remains to be seen. Old: Prone to crashing, even with relatively few users. New: Built to withstand last season’s peak loads and beyond, at least 125,000 simultaneous users.

ONC report confirms struggles on EHR interoperability

Darius Tahir, Modern Healthcare
Fri, 2014-10-10
"Healthcare information-sharing is largely stuck in neutral, according to the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology's annual report on electronic health-record adoption, released Thursday. While standards and services have been established to support information-sharing, “practice patterns have not changed to the point that healthcare providers share health information electronically across organization, vendor and geographic boundaries,” the report argued. Information-sharing is seen as a key component in the move from a fee-for-service approach in U.S. healthcare to a quality of care approach, so signs that the sharing isn't happening could spell trouble for progress toward that shift."

Bayh: Chances of Device Tax Repeal ‘Very Good’ If GOP Wins Senate

Alaina Busch McBournie, Inside Health Policy
Wed, 2014-10-08
"CHICAGO -- There is a “better than 50/50” chance the ACA's device tax will be repealed if Republicans win the Senate in November, Evan Bayh, former Democratic Indiana senator and governor, said Tuesday (Oct. 7) at the Advanced Medical Technology Association’s medtech conference. A Republican-controlled Congress likely would first vote to repeal the Affordable Care Act, and after that measure is vetoed would settle on other changes to the law, such as a repeal of the industry-opposed excise tax, said Bayh, now a partner at McGuireWoods."

CMS, ONC Give Providers More Time To Apply For EHR Hardship Exemption

Michelle Stein, Inside Health Policy
Tue, 2014-10-07
"CMS on Tuesday (Oct. 7) reopened the period to request hardship exemptions from so-called meaningful use requirements for electronic health records, giving some doctors and hospitals another opportunity to avoid penalties in 2015. The move follows stakeholders' calls earlier this year for more time to submit hardship requests and lawmakers' requests that some providers attesting to meaningful use for the first time in 2014 be allowed to avoid penalties in 2015. CMS told Inside Health Policy that there are still some issues surrounding availability and implementation of the 2014 certified EHRs, and the agency wanted to make sure that providers aren't penalized because of those problems."

How Patients Will Use Physician Payment Data

Marissa Evans
Morning Consult
Mon, 2014-10-06
"Last week, Americans for the first time could look up their doctor to see what payments, if any, they received from pharmaceutical and medical device companies. And Morning Consult polling shows patients will make decisions based off that information: The majority of registered voters say they would be less likely to choose a certain physician if they took money from a drug or medical device company. It’s this mindset that has physicians, pharmaceutical and medical device companies worried. The database, which was established in the Affordable Care Act, went public Tuesday afternoon. It allows users to see how much money doctors were paid by drug and medical device companies between August and December 2013. There were 4.4 million payments made totaling $3.5 billion, according to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). Payments were made to 546,000 physicians and nearly 1,360 teaching hospitals.

Digital health firms are raising a ton of money in the Obamacare era

Jason Millman
Washington Post
Fri, 2014-10-03
"Last month's launch of the Apple Watch is indicative of the big potential that companies are seeing in digital health. And the market is buying into digital health in a big way, judging by the record amount of money these firms have been raising this year. Through the first nine months of 2014, digital health companies have raised $5 billion, almost double what they did in all of 2013, according to publicly reported data compiled by StartUp Health. The actual number of deals are on a slower pace this year, which StartUp Health says is an indication that the relatively young market is maturing."

Will Health Make It More Likely That You'll Get Scammed?

Alison Bruzek
NPR
Tue, 2014-09-30
"You wake up feeling gross – stuffy and full of aches. A quick Google search of your symptoms confirms that yes, you probably have a cold and not the plague. But what if you were directed to a site that had a legitimate sounding name but wasn't really accurate at all? It sounds like a problem from the ancient days of the Internet. Since then people have learned that .gov leads to bona fide government sites, but .com could be anyone selling you anything. How do you feel about .health? A new slew of web domains is coming down the pike, like ".health," ".doctor," and ".clinic." They're not required to have any medical credentials. That's deeply worrying to some public health advocates."

Pharma Pushes CMS for Transparency on Sunshine Database, Again

Ed Silverman
Wall Street Journal
Thu, 2014-09-25
"With just one week left before the launch of the controversial Open Payments database – which will reveal how much money doctors receive from drug and device makers – three of the biggest industry trade groups are complaining they have not had an opportunity to review important background information about relationships with physicians. And the trade groups – the Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, BIO and AdvaMed – are reiterating concerns expressed last month that the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has still not explained why one-third of the payment information submitted by drug and device makers, as well as group purchasing organizations, was removed from the database."

Medical identity theft: How the health care industry is failing us

Laura Shin
Fortune magazine
Wed, 2014-09-03
"Unlike the financial services industry, health care companies lack measures to adequately prevent identity theft, even as they continue to digitize medical records and other sensitive information. Twelve years ago, when Nikki Burton was 17, she tried to donate blood for the first time. She was denied without explanation. Perplexed, the Portland, Ore. resident called Red Cross headquarters to inquire, only to learn that her Social Security number had been used to receive treatment at a free AIDS clinic in California, rendering her ineligible to donate blood. Years later, she wondered if, when asked whether she had any preexisting conditions, that instance of fraud might show up. So she called the Red Cross again. The organization told her that it no longer asked for Social Security numbers and she could donate blood without it. “I said, that’s fine for you guys to receive the donation, but that doesn’t solve the problem of that information existing in your system,” Burton says.

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