New York Times

News Summaries: 09.09.2018

Submitted by Rob Wyse on Sun, 09/09/2018 - 19:54

PBS: Sort Out Medicare Questions Before November: As open enrollment and the midterm elections approach, it is important to get the right answers to the questions concerning Medicare and health ahead of time. “Historically, nearly everyone has preferred to stick to the coverage they have, despite overwhelming evidence they could save money and get better care if they switched to other Medicare plans.”

Vox: Medicare-for-all Raises Questions As Midterms Near: There are conflicting reports and interpretations about the impact and cost of Medicare-for-all, or single payer health care, sparking debate before November’s midterm elections. “The pertinent questions for Medicare-for-all are whether the tax increases necessary to fund a single-payer program are politically tenable and how much providers would be paid under this new system.”

News Summary 8.03.18

Submitted by hm_admin on Fri, 08/03/2018 - 12:28






New York Times- 1 in 11 nursing home star ratings cut: Almost 1,400 nursing homes had their star ratings lowered by Medicare because of staffing concerns in July. According to recently released federal records, the nursing homes were, “either inadequately staffed with registered nurses or failed to provide payroll data that proved they had the required nursing coverage.”

Modern Healthcare- Slight premium cost decrease for Medicare Part D in 2019: CMS announced this week that Medicare Part D premiums will decrease from $33.59 to $32.50 next year. Users will be able to substitute generic drugs at any time throughout the year and the CMS plans to increase the number of pharmacies available for Medicare prescription fulfillment.

Business Insider- Google’s parent company stepping into the heath care arena: Alphabet, the parent company of Google, plans to use its access to big data and extensive cloud platform to analyze trends in population health.  They are partnering with other companies to optimize electronic health records and other health computing infrastructures.


News Summary 7.21.18

Submitted by hm_admin on Sat, 07/21/2018 - 17:19

Modern HealthcareCMS proposal to bring clarity to Medicare provider application: The CMS announced revisions to the provider Medicare enrollment application to add coherence and a more logical flow. "What CMS is trying to do is achieve several goals, one of them being to stop erroneous enrollment."

Healthcare InformaticsCMS broadened key definition to fit telehealth reimbursement plans: CMS redefined “communication technology-based services” to legally get around previous telehealth reimbursement blockades. The proposed changes will be effective January 1, 2019.

Specialty Pharmacy TimesDrugs with highest spend in Medicare Part D cost rapidly rising: The most expensive drugs in Medicare Part D rose by almost one-third between 2011 and 2015, a new report found.  Though fewer patients use these drugs, costs continue to soar, estimated to reach $40 billion annually by 2020.

News Summary 7.07.18

Submitted by hm_admin on Sat, 07/07/2018 - 05:43

CMS.Gov: CMS taking action to modernize Medicare home health -- The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced plans to “strengthen and modernize Medicare” by focusing “on individual patient needs rather than volume of care.” The changes will include more remote patient options as well as better data sharing facilitation.

Modern Healthcare: New study finds positive Medicare Advantage results -- Medicare Advantage members are spending less time in nursing facilities after surgery, are less likely to be readmitted to hospitals, and less likely to become longterm nursing home residents than traditional Medicare members, according to a new report. The PLOS study also found that with “stronger care-management protocols” from Medicare Advance, there are fewer preventable hospitalization for patients.

Cancer May Be Preventable, But Screenings Are Needed

Submitted by Rob Wyse on Thu, 07/21/2016 - 12:02

Exciting new research revealed that cancer may not be unavoidable, as was previously thought.

A combination of healthy eating, exercise, quitting smoking, and a number of other factors could significantly reduce cancer risk. In other words, the spectre of cancer, previously an arbitrary and devastating diagnosis thought to be based on genetic lottery, could be preventable.

In addition to behavioral change, there needs to be a move to increase screenings so people are aware of the risk factors that could lead to them developing cancer. A 2015 HealthMine survey found that 37% of people don't know what cancer screenings they need to get and how often.

This is where wellness programs come in.

Despite the clear connection between certain activities, such as smoking, and the development of cancer, 74% of wellness programs currently do not screen for cancer. This data comes from a July 2016 HealthMine analysis of 750 wellness program participants.