Will high tech reduce hospital costs? | La. state offices hit by ransomware | Medicare drug-plan finder might be leading some seniors astray
November 22, 2019
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Will high tech reduce hospital costs?
Patient rooms at the new Stanford Hospital are equipped with Apple TVs and remote-controlled lighting; smartphone apps help patients and visitors find their way; patients are monitored remotely; infusion pumps bear tracking tags; and self-driving robots cart linen and waste. But patient rooms don't include virtual reality and cloud-based voice assistants, and artificial intelligence technology is limited to research purposes for now. Officials say technology was carefully chosen to improve care or administration, but whether costs will be lower remains to be seen.
STAT (tiered subscription model) (11/18),  The Wall Street Journal (tiered subscription model) (11/16) 
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Cybersecurity
La. state offices hit by ransomware
Louisiana shut down some of its state government servers in response to a ransomware attack Monday that disrupted services throughout the state but did not result in a ransom payment. The governor mobilized the state's cybersecurity team, which was activated after attacks on school systems earlier this year.
The Advocate (Baton Rouge, La.) (11/18) 
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Technology Trends
Medicare drug-plan finder might be leading some seniors astray
A tool on Medicare.gov to help seniors choose a prescription drug plan obscures out-of-pocket costs and could lead some seniors to choose a plan that is more expensive than other appropriate options, according to some advocacy and assistance organizations. The tool lists plans according to premium instead of total cost, and Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pa., says he will urge the CMS to allow seniors to choose a new plan if they have unwittingly enrolled in one that is too costly.
The Associated Press (11/21) 
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Ind. health system creates tool for measuring value of care
Indiana University Health has developed a tool for defining and measuring the value of care by comparing actual spending on patient care to expected spending based on CMS risk scores. The Healthcare Economic Efficiency Ratio, or HEERO, is based on claims data for patients attributed to a Medicare accountable care organization or Medicare Advantage plan, and it allows physicians to compare their efficiency and spending patterns with those of their peers, helping them identify areas for improvement.
HealthLeaders Media (11/18) 
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Recent research indicates most patients want to talk about costs during medical visits. To facilitate this conversation, physicians and care teams need enriched data and insights, including a clear line of sight into final costs, alternatives, social needs and past patient adherence. Learn more.
 
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Seventy-four percent of employed physicians say the challenges of practicing medicine have caused them to consider career options outside of clinical practice. In part, the solution to physician burnout is treating doctors like the valued employees they are. Read the survey results.
 
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Advancing Care with IT
Insurer uses enterprise architecture approach to customer experience
Blue Shield of California Chief Information Officer Michael Mathias said the insurer approaches customer experience using an enterprise architecture approach, marrying together business architecture and technology architecture, to identify the key capabilities that customers, providers and others want to use. "We found that taking this approach drives to the conclusions and outcomes that we are trying to achieve with our stakeholders," Mathias said.
Forbes (11/18) 
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Grocery chain offers AI-based retinal screening at in-store clinics
Grocery chain Albertsons has begun offering screening for diabetic retinopathy and macular edema at its CarePortMD in-store clinics in Delaware and Pennsylvania. The screening system scans retinal photographs taken using an automated fundus camera, analyzes the photos using artificial intelligence and issues a point-of-care report.
Progressive Grocer (11/20) 
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BCBS of Mass. offers online cognitive behavioral therapy tools
Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts has partnered with Minneapolis-based Learn to Live to offer digital behavioral therapy tools to help members suffering from insomnia, depression, anxiety and stress. The programs are accessible to web and mobile users through the insurer's large employer clients.
Healthcare Finance (11/20) 
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Government and Regulatory
CMS: Medicare fee-for-service improper payments down $7B
Data from the CMS shows Medicare spending on improper fee-for-service payments dropped by $7 billion to $28.9 billion from fiscal years 2017 to 2019, the lowest since 2010. CMS Administrator Seema Verma attributed the decline to "a multifaceted approach that includes provider enrollment and screening standards to keep bad actors out of the program, enforcement against bad actors, provider education on our rules and requirements, and advanced data analytics to stop improper payments before they happen."
Becker's Hospital CFO Report (11/18) 
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Health Insurance Exchanges
Conn. insurance exchange expects enrollment rate to hold steady
Leaders of Connecticut's Access Health insurance exchange expect about 111,000 people to enroll in a 2020 health plan through the exchange -- about the same number as last year. Staff have been canvassing neighborhoods with a high percentage of uninsured residents, and more enrollment fairs have been held this year, but spokeswoman Kathleen Tallarita says it's to early to know whether the efforts will boost enrollment.
The Connecticut Mirror (11/21) 
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CMS: 3-week ACA sign-ups down about 200K from last year
The CMS on Wednesday announced that almost 1.7 million people chose Affordable Care Act plans on HealthCare.gov in the first three weeks of open enrollment this year, down from a little more than 1.9 million during the same period last year. The decline could be tied to technical issues during the first day of enrollment, but the administration's "lack of effort" in promoting open enrollment could also be a factor, according to Josh Peck, co-founder of Get America Covered and former chief marketing officer for HealthCare.gov.
Modern Healthcare (tiered subscription model) (11/20) 
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Health Insurance Provider Company News
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Featured resources: AO recent white papers
White papers and case studies submitted by our Affiliate Organizations (AOs) bring you the latest thinking on current topics in health care. This month's features include whitepapers from WebMD on SummaCare's client well-being success story; from Deque on Internet accessibility for people with disabilities; Illuminate Health on substance use recovery; and Vively Health on management of patients with polychronic conditions.  
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