October 1, 2013 Recent News





California Healthline has an article about hospitals such as John Muir Health that are laying off workers and blaming it on Obamacare.  The article states that the public should not believe the hospitals.  The article blames any layoffs on Medicare payment changes and that sicker patients will be using services under the poor paying Medicaid program and more to the way the hospitals are being run.  John Muir Health is laying off personnel at the same time they are spending millions of dollars attempting to hire cardiologists and other specialists.  They also made some horrific financial decisions in their outpatient lab costing them the entire business.

The Missouri hospitals are attempting to shame their state legislators and governor for turning down about $1 billion in healthcare money due to not expanding Medicaid.  They compare their state to Angola, Vietnam and El Salvador.  They hope that the legislature will change its mind next year and join.

The hospitals are complaining more and more about the RAC program.  The RAC is attempting to prevent overpayments to providers but are doing a terrible job.  They come in up to three years post hospital admission and state that the patient should have been an outpatient using the rectospectroscope.  Almost 60% of the RAC decisions are wrong with nothing wrong with the original hospital decision.  When the decision goes to appeal the hospital wins 72% of the time but still lose the time value of money.  The hospital has to hire attorneys and experts to do the appeals costing even more money.  Even worse, the RACs get paid a percentage of all they deny even if they are overturned later. 

Seven hospitals in Pennsylvania and New Jersey are going together as the largest hospital alliance in history.  They hope to be able to do group purchasing at lower prices and get higher prices from insurers.  This is a direct result of Obamacare pushing consolidation that will increase costs for payors and hopefully will reduce costs of purchase by several percentage points.         Top


In a surprising tidbit the AMA states even with the huge move to employment that 53% of the country's physicians are still independent.

Accenture has a poll that shows 43% of Americans believe their physicians are fungible and are willing to switch just to have access to their EMR.  They want the power to follow what is being said about them and make sure of the accuracy.  I went to the physician several days ago and found they had me on medications I had never heard of.  GIGO.          Top


Bloomberg reports that the last few years of of decreased US health spending is probably due to the recession and not Obamacare.  CMS actuaries stated this yesterday in direct contradiction to Obama.  The actuaries looked at 50 years of costs and found they always moved with the economy.  

Remember when Obama went to the Cleveland Clinic to show how Obamacare was to work.  Now the Cleveland Clinic is showing Obama how Obamacare will work.  They have announced they are cutting 6% of their workforce to prepare for Obamacare.  They are cutting $330 million from the budget.  

The Home Depot has decided not to insure 20,000 part timers.  They will go to the exchanges.  This is 5% of their employees who used to get limited health care benefits.  This follows UPS and Trader Joes who have also cut benefits.  IBM cut retiree benefits.  Sears and Darden Foods are also in the cutting mode.

Small business has found the loophole to defer going into Obamacare.  Many are renewing their insurance this year before the new mandated benefits of Obamacare come into play.

New Hampshire Senators are unhappy with Anthem for cutting their provider networks in the state exchange.  They are excluding ten hospitals in the state.  They also happen to be the only insurer willing to work in the state.  Maybe the state should look inward to see why this is true.        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 information presented.