CMS Administrator Seema Verma urged hospitals to embrace the move toward transparency and value-based care, arguing that the alternative is living with lower fee-for-service revenues and increased government involvement in health care. Verma said anger over unexpected medical bills and high health care costs is feeding support for proposals such as Medicare for All and a public health insurance option, changes that she said will hurt hospitals.
Payers, providers and other stakeholders are promoting advance care planning through value-based care models, which could lead to greater use of hospice care. "Advance care planning makes clear the patient's wishes and values for end-of-life care; patients want clinicians to listen and explain things to them and when clinicians explain care and are transparent, patients are happier," said VITAS Healthcare Vice President Brandon Stock.
A study in Health Affairs said the structure of the CMS Hospital Compare star ratings system, which lumps all hospitals together, may "mislead patients, providers and payers about where to seek high-quality care." Researchers suggested that CMS put hospitals into groups based on the number, volume and variety of quality measures reported, finding that groups with more extensive reporting tended to have lower ratings than those that reported fewer quality measures.
The US could face a shortage of 46,900 to 121,900 physicians by 2032 affecting primary and specialty care as the country's population ages, according to projections from the Association of American Medical Colleges. "We know older patients use two to three times as many medical services as younger patients, and the number of people over age 65 will increase by almost 50%, just in the next 10 to 15 years alone," said AAMC Executive Vice President Atul Grover. Meanwhile, one-third of actively practicing US physicians will pass age 65 in the next 10 years.
George Washington University Hospital CEO Kimberly Russo says the hospital has improved the patient experience through technology, such as the NicView camera system in the neonatal intensive care unit, which allows families to see infants 24/7. Russo said the hospital is working to ensure that health care is accessible and equitable and that patients get the appropriate care in the right setting at the right time.
The American Medical Association created six billing codes for remote patient evaluation services in which health care providers connect with patients at home, three codes for patient-initiated digital communication with a health care provider and three more for communications with a non-physician health care professional. The new codes "will promote the integration of these home-based services that can be a significant part of a digital solution for expanding access to health care, preventing and managing chronic disease, and overcoming geographic and socioeconomic barriers to care," AMA President Patrice A. Harris, MD, said in a statement.
Some doctors are suggesting virtual reality headsets for those in labor to help reduce pain, often with guided meditation and pleasant scenes. An ongoing study of 40 patients at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles is testing whether VR can help with sustained pain management during labor.
Suicide rates climbed 41% across the US from 1999 to 2016, and rural areas were hit harder than metropolitan areas, according to a study in JAMA Network Open. A county-by-county analysis showed lack of mental health professionals, lower levels of social capital, increased social fragmentation and deprivation -- which involves poverty, lack of education and low employment -- were some of the factors driving higher suicide rates in rural areas, researchers said.
A study in JAMA Internal Medicine showed that less than 1 in 4 US adult patients with diabetes had controlled levels of their blood glucose, cholesterol and blood pressure and did not smoke from 2005 to 2016, with those who were female, nonwhite and ages 18 to 44 less likely to achieve these composite targets, compared with insured patients who were most likely to achieve treatment targets. Findings revealed that "despite major advances in diabetes drug discovery and movement to develop innovative care delivery models over the past two decades, achievement of diabetes care targets has not improved" in the US since 2005, said study lead author Pooyan Kazemian.
Calder Lynch at AHIP’s Medicaid Conf. What's ahead for Medicaid? Hear what you need to know right now. Don't miss CMS Acting Deputy Administrator and Director Calder Lynch's keynote during AHIP's National Conference on Medicaid, Sept. 25 through 26 in D.C. Register today.
At AHIP's National Conferences on Medicare, Medicaid & Dual Eligibles, you'll participate in deep discussions about the policy, regulatory, and operational issues impacting our nation's government health care programs. You'll take home solutions for improving access, streamlining care delivery, containing costs, and more. Register today for Sept. 23 through 26 in D.C.
America must resolve the opioid crisis. Health insurance providers are working closely with doctors and nurses on the safest, most proven, and most effective ways to manage pain. In this video, Matt Eyles, AHIP CEO explains how insurance providers are reducing use and helping those struggling with addiction get the treatment they need.