HealthLeaders reports that EHR is a money loser for most physicians. Most lose almost $50,000 in five years using the program. When you factor in the fed money to adopt the technology, only 41% of physicians would be ahead. The study came for the Massachusetts eHealth Project. Offices with six or more physicians were more likely to see a profit than the smaller ones. Almost half of the physicians continued to use paper as well as EHR. This was for perceived medical malpractice protection. Also most small practices did not get rid of employees after they were on EHR, even though they should.
HealthLeaders also had an article stating that 87% of physicians found the CPOE alarms excessive and are turning a deaf ear or turning them off. This leads to missed test results and some drug interactions.
Two researchers testified in Congress that the VA is intentionally hiding or mishandling legitimate claims from vets serving in Iraq or Afghanistan. The researchers stated that if data did not go along with the preconceived notions of the Department of Public Health the information would either be withheld or manipulated so they would be unintelligible. The VA representative did not refute the charges. Top
Bloomberg reports on several medical malpractice suits against the maker of the Da Vinci Robots for patient problems. The article talks about the cost of the robot and the increasing use but the cases presented are shaky at best. It appears that the problem is that the surgeons are not giving good informed consent and are not being well trained in the procedures which require significant time and effort to learn before ever using them on a patient. Top
California's Blue Shield and Aetna are raising their premiums for small business and individuals by about 11%. This is in the face of the state's regulators calling the increases unreasonable. The insurers disagree and the state is powerless to stop them.
According to UnitedHealth the 2.3% decrease to Medicare Advantage plans takes into account the SGR reduction of payments to physicians which has never or will never take place. In reality, they don't mention the huge overpay that they received due to CMS' mistakes in the past two years which was not asked to be given back. The insurers are taking to the airwaves to attempt to have the CMS reverse the reduction by using scare tactics. It sounds like Obama with each fiscal event.
According to The National Business Group on Health most large businesses will continue to provide insurance under Obamacare. However, since costs are rising under the program, employees will pay more than previously. There will be a large emphasis on HSA plans with many only offering this.
In an interesting article in Health Affairs, patients stated they did not want cost considerations to enter into their or their physician's decisions regarding their health care. In an interesting turn of events some patients went so far as to say "stick it to the insurance companies". The patients have been paying money to them for many years and now want some back in the form of treatments and diagnostics. Top
Hooray for the People's Republic of Massachusetts. They are starting to go after the greedy hospitals that charge ungodly facility fees to patients. Some people have refused to pay and are being hounded by collection agencies. Other, smarter people, have dropped physicians have are hospital employees and whose offices charge the fees. The Health Policy Commission can not get rid of the fees but can and should argue before the legislature to outlaw the fees or at least make the total fees known to patients prior to the patient being seen. The high deductible insurance should also get rid of these fees as patients have to pay the brunt of the facility charges.
SUNY Downstate Medical Center is on the verge of closing due to funding cuts by New York State. It is interesting that the unions that service SUNY are lobbying to get more money from the state even though they are a large part of the problem. About 70% of its costs are labor.
Downtown Hospital in New York City has terminated all of the residency positions. That left 70 physicians scrambling to get new positions for the coming year. The hospital is being taken over by another hospital who do not want the residents. NY Presbyterian, the taking over hospital, will fill some of the residency spots in Downtown Hospital with their own residents. 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