Here is a quick, simple way to cut America's total health care bill by one-eighth. Lose some weight. (Picture from All4Humor.) Diabetes care represents nearly one-quarter of the nation's medical care bill by some estimates. Treatment costs have doubled in just the last six years. Now we learn the number of Americans with diabetes has more than doubled in this decade, from 11 to 23 million, mainly due to obesity. The increase is concentrated in states with the highest obesity rates. Right now 1.3% of West Virginians have the disease. The rate in Minnesota is less than half that. Obesity rates in the worst states are up to 30%. The jump in diabetes cases is in Type II diabetes, which can be linked to lifestyle. Rates for Type I diabetes, which our friend Amy Tenderich of DiabetecConnect suffers from, have remained steady. The solution is simple, wellness programs aimed at maintaining a proper weight. The answer is not going to come from new drugs. Some people are genetically … [Read more...] about How to cut the nation’s health care bill 12%
Minnesota health care programs
In its efforts to pass a health reform plan this year, the Obama Administration has signaled a willingness to compromise with conservatives twice this week. The Administration may replace medical malpractice with binding arbitration through what Sen. Max Baucus calls "health courts." Trial lawyers are howling. The President has signaled he is open to taxing health benefits, something he criticized when former rival Sen. John McCain proposed it last year. The question is whether conservatives will now go along, or call compromise hypocrisy. So far signs point to no. We are starting to see a pattern in how the Administration approaches policy. Leak a possible compromise so that you can pull it back if those on the other side don't respond. With Republicans demanding a 60-vote Senate majority to pass anything, it would seem that compromise is essential, even assuming Democrats get a 59th seat in Minnesota. The President has also expressed interest in making certain the final bill is … [Read more...] about Will a move right get health reform done?
Where you stand depends on where you sit. So where do members of the General Accounting Office's Health Information Technology (HIT) Committee, described by GeekDoctor John Halamka as the new "Board of Directors" for Healthcare IT stand on open source? (To the right, the headquarters of Epic Systems in Verona, Wisconsin, from G3 Technologies.) Let's start with the "no" votes on the 13-member panel: Judith Faulkner, founder and CEO of Epic Systems. This is the proprietary vendor whose handling of Kaiser's EMR program was so problematic. Epic is already advertising on its Web site for stimulus contracts. Paul Tang, CMIO of the Palo Alto Medical Foundation. They're an Epic customer. Its PAMFOnline is based on Epic's MyChart. Charles Kennedy, vice president of Wellpoint. Remember that Ingenix database that was creating phony rates to cut reimbursement rates? Wellpoint is an Ingenix customer, and the AMA recently put them on the receiving end of legal papers over it. Marc … [Read more...] about Will Obama health IT committee give open source a chance?
Most projects fail due to shifting requirements, inattentive management, poor communication, lousy business fit, politics, and other assorted errors in judgment and organizational maturity. Only in the most unusual circumstances does bad technology dooms a project to failure. In those cases where poor judgment and lousy communication meet genuinely bad technology, it creates an awful perfect storm where IT failure is almost certain. Minnesota's Department of Human Services (DHS) just closed out such a project, called HealthMatch, in which everything seemed to go wrong, the organization wasted millions of dollars, and little or nothing remains to salvage. HealthMatch was an automated system designed to match Minnesota residents with appropriate state-run health programs, based on eligibility. The variety of residents' needs and situations, together with the complexity of state programs and 16,000 eligibility rules, made this a daunting task. HealthMatch started in 2002, with a … [Read more...] about Minnesota HealthMatch: A perfect storm for IT failure
Health-care facilities in two states have begun exchanging data with each other and public health agencies over the Internet as part of a pilot program that standardizes the way patient information is transmitted. The goal is to speed up data transmission and to track public health trends, the U.S. Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC) announced today .The new electronic data transfer model replaces the sharing of patient information through traditional fax machines and U.S. mail.The Direct Project , overseen by the ONC, involves hospitals in Minnesota and Rhode Island that are exchanging information, including laboratory results, physician-to-physician transfers of summary patient records, data from physicians to hospitals for patient admission, hospital discharge data, and information to public health agencies.For example, since mid-January, Hennepin County Medical Center in Minnesota has been sending immunization records to the Minnesota Department of Health."This … [Read more...] about Hospitals exchange health data over the Internet
Replacing faxes and snail mail, health-care facilities and state agencies have implemented a federal pilot program that shares patient information over the Internet in order to improve patient care and track public health trends.Health-care facilities in two states have begun exchanging data with each other and public health agencies over the Internet as part of a pilot program that standardizes the way patient information is transmitted. The goal is to speed up data transmission and to track public health trends, the U.S. Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT (ONC) announced today .The new electronic data transfer model replaces the sharing of patient information through traditional fax machines and U.S. mail.The Direct Project , overseen by the ONC, involves hospitals in Minnesota and Rhode Island that are exchanging information, including laboratory results, physician-to-physician transfers of summary patient records, data from physicians to hospitals for patient … [Read more...] about Hospitals kill the fax and exchange health data over the Internet
When Janel Wood's 9-year-old son recently began experiencing migraines, the working mother decided to try a new company health care program that allowed her to communicate with a doctor through videoconferencing, voice over IP, and instant messaging.While her son was home for lunch, Wood logged onto a local medical practice's Web site and connected via videoconferencing and IM with the doctor on duty, who then reviewed her son's electronic medical record (EMR) online. The doctor sent Wood links to migraine articles and podcasts and prescribed more hydration for her son, which worked over time."I ended up bringing [my son] back to school before missing any classes, which he was kind of bummed about. It was so quick and efficient," Wood said.While telemedicine may seem a cold and impersonal approach to patient care, physicians say it's exactly the opposite. And they are quickly embracing it as a way to foster a more intimate relationship with patients and educate them about treatments … [Read more...] about E-health and Web 2.0: The doctor will tweet you now
If you live anywhere but Washington, D.C., you probably believe that the federal government spends too much. Since 2008 a wave of bail-outs and pork barrel “stimulus” outlays pushed the budget to more than $3.6 trillion. Federal red ink exceeded $1 trillion four years in a row. Although the deficit dipped in 2013, the Congressional Budget Office warns that it will soon begin marching back up. Get the Free Tracker App to find a Nintendo Switch in Stock Today the national debt is more than $17 trillion. CBO figured that existing budget plans would add between $6.3 trillion and $8.8 trillion in red ink over the coming decade. Social Security and Medicare alone account for more than $100 trillion in unfunded liabilities, promised benefits for which no revenues are set. Counting a multitude of other debts and obligations, American taxpayers are on the hook for more than $220 trillion in unfunded liabilities.However, denizens of … [Read more...] about The More Wasteful Is The Federal Government Program, The More Essential It Is To Washington
Who will decide what health care you may receive? Will it be you, in conjunction with your doctor? Or will it be the government? Get the Free Tracker App to find a Luvabella in Stock I’ll give you a hint. Under ObamaCare, the government will soon account for a whopping 66% of overall health spending. This means most health spending will consist of the government spending other people’s money on your behalf (and your money on others) — a sharp contrast to other necessities such as food and shelter, where people generally spend their own money on themselves.Margaret Thatcher once noted that socialist systems fail because “they always run out of other people’s money.” But there are four additional dangers in a health system based on spending Other People’s Money: 1) Doctors will be increasingly expected to save money “for the system”As Scott Gottlieb noted in the Wall Street Journal, physician pay will be … [Read more...] about Obamacare Spends ‘Other People’s Money’ To Make Healthcare Expensive And Scarce
When it comes to monitoring regulatory developments, it can be easy to focus too narrowly on the federal government. However, every business owner should be at least as well apprised, if not more so, of developments in their state legislature and municipal governments.Cities and states operate largely independently of the federal government, albeit within the confines of federal law, and can act to pass new regulations and measures regardless of Congress's focus. Mike Trabold, compliance director at Paychex, told Business News Daily that his company encourages its clients to stay aware of what's going on in the broader regulatory environment."A lot of states and cities … [are starting] to gear up to make some changes for [deregulation] they anticipate at the federal level," Trabold added.Although Capitol Hill is shifting its attention to the budget and tax reform, employers should consider all layers of government, not just the one most cited on news programs. Here are some … [Read more...] about 5 Local Legislative Issues Small Businesses Should Be Watching