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News 12/1/16

December 1, 2016 News 4 Comments

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Over 3,000 physicians sign their name to an open letter lambasting AMA’s endorsement of Rep. Tom Price, MD – nominated by President-elect Trump to head HHS when he takes office next year. 

“We believe that in issuing this statement of support for Dr. Price,” the authors write, “the AMA has reneged on a fundamental pledge that we as physicians have taken — to protect and advance care for our patients. We support patient choice. But Dr. Price’s proposed policies threaten to harm our most vulnerable patients and limit their access to healthcare. We cannot support the dismantling of Medicaid, which has helped 15 million Americans gain health coverage since 2014. We oppose Dr. Price’s proposals to reduce funding for the Children’s Health Insurance Program, a critical mechanism by which poor children access preventative care. We wish to protect essential health benefits like treatment for opioid use disorder, prenatal care, and access to contraception.”

The letter’s originators – Manik Chhabra, MD Navin Vij, MD and Jane Zhu, MD, (all clinical scholars at the University of Pennsylvania)plan to send the letter to AMA and other industry organizations soon. It remains to be seen what, if any, affect such a missive might have on the association’s reception of Price come January. Several physicians have publicly renounced their AMA membership over its endorsement.


Webinars

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December 6 (Tuesday) 1:00 ET. “Get Ready for Blockchain’s Disruption.” Sponsored by PokitDok. Presenter: Theodore Tanner, Jr., co-founder and CTO, PokitDok. EHR-to-EHR data exchange alone can’t support healthcare’s move to value-based care and its increased consumer focus. Blockchain will disrupt the interoperability status quo with its capability to support a seamless healthcare experience by centralizing, securing, and orchestrating disparate information. Attendees of this webinar will be able to confidently describe how blockchain works technically, how it’s being used, and the healthcare opportunities it creates. They will also get a preview of DokChain, the first-ever running implementation of blockchain in healthcare.

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December 7 (Wednesday) 1:00 ET. “Charting a Course to Digital Transformation – Start Your Journey with a Map and Compass.” Sponsored by Sutherland Healthcare Solutions. Presenters: Jack Phillips, CEO, International Institute for Analytics; Graham Hughes, MD, CEO, Sutherland Healthcare Solutions. The digital era is disrupting every industry and healthcare is no exception. Emerging technologies will introduce challenges and opportunities to transform operations and raise the bar of consumer experience. Success in this new era requires a new way of thinking, new skills, and new technologies to help your organization embrace digital health. In this webinar, we’ll demonstrate how to measure your organization’s analytics maturity and design a strategy to digital transformation.


Announcements and Implementations

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Atlanta-based Georgia State University incorporates Azalea Health’s EHR into its simulations and classrooms for programs such as health informatics, respiratory therapy, physical therapy, nutrition, and the graduate nursing informatics program. I had to chuckle when I came across the above picture of GSU students at HIMSS. It features the road sign Mr. H awarded the Metro Atlanta Chamber after the city received the most votes in the “Health IT Capitol of America” reader poll.

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Healthwise debuts its Care Coordination app on the Salesforce AppExchange. The app, which integrates with Salesforce’s Health Cloud, connects physicians and patients with evidence-based health education materials.


Acquisitions, Funding, Business, and Stock

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Staffing and workforce solutions company Cross Country Healthcare acquires US Resources Healthcare – a recruitment processing outsourcing business – for an undisclosed sum. US Resources will likely turn its focus to its three remaining verticals – government, IT, and financial, while CCH will enjoy its latest round of growth. It moved into expanded Boca Raton, FL headquarters several months ago.


People

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Clifford Farren, Jr. (IMS Health) joins AbleTo as CFO.

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Jeff McHugh (Athenahealth) joins Zotec Partners as vice president of enterprise solutions.


Telemedicine

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Thundermist Health Center (RI) offers UnitedHealthcare Medicaid members remote diagnosis and e-consults for skin disorders. The provider and payer partnered with Community Health Center’s Weitzman Institute to set up the teledermatology service.

American Well incorporates Tyto Care’s remote examination tools into its telemedicine platform for employers and health systems.


Government and Politics

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CMS Acting Administrator Andy Slavitt suggests ways in which physicians can move forward with MACRA, highlighting technology’s role and subsequent vendor accountability: “MACRA is an opportunity to move the focus away from paperwork and reporting and towards paying for what works. For a variety of reasons, EHRs became an industry before they became a useful tool. The technology community must be held accountable by their customers and make room for new innovators and to give clinicians more freedom and more flexibility to focus on their patients, to practice medicine, and deliver better care.”


Research and Innovation

New research finds that outpatient surgical bone and joint procedures are more cost effective when performed at ambulatory surgical centers rather than hospitals. Researchers attribute the savings, which ranged between 17 and 43 percent for the 1,021 procedures analyzed, to more streamlined care processes. “If orthopaedic practices gained access to an ASC for day surgery,” says lead author Peter Fabricant, MD “they would be able to deliver the same care at a decreased cost, and improve patient satisfaction by offering the convenience of care location options. From the patient and family perspective, care closer to one’s home and family is of higher value.”


Sponsor Updates

  • GE Healthcare completes the RSNA Image Share Validation program.
  • EClinicalWorks will exhibit at the Orthopaedic Summit December 7-10 in Las Vegas.

Blog Posts


Contacts

Jenn, Mr. H, Lorre

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Comments 4
  • It was heartening to see 3000 physicians stand up for rights for all patients to be treated with dignity and respect in objecting to the nomination of Dr. Tom Price as Secretary of HHS.

    I expected pushback after reviewing his disturbing voting record and remarks related to rights of women, LGBT and minorities – populations he must serve and advocate for in his role. When expressing concerns as clinician and citizen in industry forums, the response from supporters has been to label me with hate speech or defend him with “every man / woman for themselves” view.

    I’ve always believed HCPs would take take seriously our vow to “due no harm”. The harm that will be done with repeal of ACA without a viable replacement and gutting Medicare and Medicaid would be incalculable in terms of the country’s values and our citizens’ health. We can differ on approach, but how can we can willfully deprive tens of millions of poor and middle class, older and sicker people access to care while shifting funds to already extremely profitable corporations and voting for more tax cuts for the wealthy?

    Disappointing, but not surprising, was immediate flow of flowery complimentary press releases from HIMSS and other vendors lauding the selection, and Mr. Becker’s claims that Dr. Price is a “class act and strong leader”, all overlooking Price’s votes against efforts to quell violence against women and discrimination against gays each of whom we know have been victims of discriminatory healthcare practices that ACA attempted to mitigate.

    Finally, regardless of party affiliation, it’s maddening to see 6 years of votes to “Repeal and Replace” ACA, without a viable plan backed by budget to replace it. I expected more support for healthcare rights for “we the people” – all of us regardless of age, race, sexual orientation or politics.

    http://www.ontheissues.org/GA/Tom_Price.htm

  • To Ann Farrell: This site attempts to stay out of political POVs and remain factual. Many of the things you list about Price, the opposition to PPACA and the planned fix for it are opinion and not factual. I’ve been writing against PPACA since before it was passed, strictly from a non-political POV – that it gets 3 things very wrong – the laws of economics, the laws of human nature, and a total misapplication of how indemnity insurance works. The failure of PPACA was easily predicted and is now occurring. Families are forced to buy a product that has at least doubled in cost (premiums), meaning they pay more for family coverage than their rent or mortgage and when including the 5x increase in deductibles, has overburdened the budgets of many who barely get by now. The new administration cannot dump PPACA and toss people out of healthcare without a viable solution (or they’d be totally nuts). If you read what Price has written on this topic and his plan, it comes pretty close to a workable solution. What it doesn’t do it take us to a single payer system which some people desire (another disaster if it happens), but instead to a free(er) market, and which puts the patient back in the buying decision loop thru use of HSAs, etc. I say, let’s listen to what he proposes before condemnation.

  • Dr. Detroit.
    My POV is as clinician – public health/patient advocacy driven. Happy for whomever comes up solution that continues progress. I pride myself on “factual” – reliable sources, e.g. RAND, KKF, Forbes, etc. Read “blueprint document, e.g. A Better Way, and Dr. Price plan.
    .
    Bill in sausage-making phase so can’t respond, but concepts in Ryan’s blueprint document are widely analyzed and published. During election, Kaiser Family Foundation could not quantify impacts of “Trump Plan” given gaps in policy and lack of details. Est. of impact on deficit was $5 – 41B depending on details TBD. We know HSAs and selling across state lines have advantages, and issues – don’t solve core problems or address many populations needs.

    Agree it would be “nuts” to drop $21M people without a replacement, but earlier plans did not include this. Press reports this (3 year transition?), rationalizing mandate and preexisting condition, and realities of privatizing Medicare under heated discussion . Hear bill be “first out of the gate” after Inauguration, and other rumors suggesting some delay to figure out (after 6 years) what “replace” means. .

    Agree – premium rates a top concern.

    Re Medicare premiums and coverage:

    “Medicare Premium Support: … Ryan is backing a plan that would effectively provide a fixed dollar subsidy that seniors would use to purchase Medicare insurance. That’s in contrast to today’s model, where Medicare pays a percentage of the cost, whatever it is. Such a plan would effectively shift the risk of health care cost increases from taxpayer to seniors…. Biggest question “How would the subsidy be calculated and by how much would it increase each year. The blueprint released today was largely silent on those issues.”

    http://www.forbes.com/sites/howardgleckman/2016/06/22/what-paul-ryans-latest-health-proposal-would-mean-for-seniors/#2de7e0045f39

    ACA premiums too high for many people. Without ACA younger peoples’ premiums lower, many people pay more (get less).

    “Nonpartisan RAND Corporation has modeled the effect of this switch and found that premiums for an avg. 24-year-old would decline from $2,800 to $2,100. But premiums for a 64-year-old would rise from $8,500 to $10,600”.

    I’m not condemning a bill not yet published, but rather review projected (by expert) impacts of Ryan and Price plans. Agree, Single Payer likely died with Bernie although more recent polls find more people OK with fixing Obamacare or Single Payer.

    We shall see!

  • Dr Detroit: You call that slanted diatribe “facts”? Please, stop criticizing others for being political when you’re so jaded that you don’t even recognize it…..

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