March 15, 2012 Recent News
In Obama's new budget is a decrease in funding for teaching hospitals. This is to pay for Obamacare. It may pay for the insurance but it will lessen the physicians to care for the patients. Again, either he is getting bad advise or he is not a smart person. He should realize that hospitals make the most money on specialists and therefore will put scarce resources there.
"Health reform" is doing something. It is driving physicians into becoming employed or joining with other physicians to make multi-specialty or large single specialty groups. The reason for this conglomeration is the need for larger infrastructure to be able to bargain with hospitals and others for bundling payments. The groups can show that they provide more "effective care" and therefore can get bigger payments from the payors.
The Washington Post writes that Sebelius does not know the Obamacare figures when questioned by Senator Johnson. Of course the Senator's figure were not quite accurate either. He missed the figures by quite a bit but the exercise was a good one.
Assuming the continued growth in healthcare premium costs that is above the inflation rate one should have the premiums eat up the entire household budget by 2037. This leaves no money for food or shelter. Stupid things that numbers can do.
The CBO has revised its numbers. It now predicts that Obamacare will cost less since there will be about 2 million less people insured in 2016 than originally predicted. It is now thought that due to the high unemployment rate there will be fewer insured by the employers and that 27 million will still be uninsured by 2016. This reduces the spending by $50 Billion over the decade to the still ungodly number of $1.083 TRILLION.
CMS has designed a user friendly billing statements so seniors can fight fraud. Seniors can see double billing and services never received. Of course, the complaints have to be heard. That has been a major problem in the past. I filed a complaint about a hospital having facility fees in a building they own but the physicians in the building did not have their monies reduced for no longer paying rent. CMS did nothing.
A new study shows that EHR may lead to more studies and up the price of healthcare. A study by the RAND corp. showed that more expensive high tech x-rays are ordered by those who use electronic records than those who use paper.
First there was a story stating that the amount of male circumcisions in the United States has drastically reduced. This was followed the next day by a study from Africa showing not only does circumcision reduces HIV but also Herpes. This bodes poorly for the healthcare of the country in the future.
As all know the new healthcare system in the Republic of Massachusetts has led to a major problem with access to physicians. Some owned physician practices are being paid 10% more if they will take some new patients or take patients with higher acuity. If they don't they will see their pay fall. Partners Healthcare believes it is a social obligation to take in more patients. It matters not that the physician will spend even less time with the patients. Of course, the patient will not even see a physician, only mid levels. Top
The AMA has a paper on the legal risks of electronic medical records. It describes a case of a physician who had a glitch and the discovery related to the EMR glitch is over $50,000 before the case is even looked at. It is thought that until EHR becomes a standard that the area is rife for more litigation over the potential for changing the record. Physicians may also be liable for the theft of medical records in their possession and what happens to that information. It would be important for a physician to have an EMR that shows all changes to the record and will not allow any changes after a specific length of time. Top
The American National Standards Institute has reported that there is an epidemic of healthcare privacy breaches that result in an untenable situation. With no new money coming into the mix the problems will escalate due to more pressure being put on providers to go electronic. Top
A large cardiac group is leaving Morris Hospital in Morris, Illinois, to move to the larger Joliet, Illinois hospitals. One member of the group states it was due to irreconcilable differences with the hospital but another member stated that was not true. He stated they were moving for larger offices. I am sure there are larger offices in Morris or that one can be built. This is the second major contributor to the hospital that has left. The other, an ED physician, is currently suing the hospital for defamation. This is a red flag for physicians thinking of joining the hospital.
A report from Texas shows that for the fourth year in a row over 100 physicians have dropped out of Medicare. In 2011, 164 physicians have left the insurer. The medical association states that for every one physician that drops out another 100 will reduce seeing Medicare patients. Texas is one of the few states that actually tracts physicians that opt out of Medicare. CMS still refuses to acknowledge that the problems exist and they are becoming more significant.
The young physicians coming into practice are choosing not to go into primary care. They are choosing hospitalist practices with its fixed schedules and familiarity with working in hospitals along with the good money. Top
DISCLAIMER: Although this
article is updated periodically, it reflects the author's point of view at the
time of publication. Nothing in this article constitutes legal advice. Readers
should consult with their own legal counsel before acting on any of the