Hospitals that are already struggling financially to stay afloat face significant challenges in the coming months and years under some of the provisions of Obamacare. Under the Affordable Care Act's Hospital Readmissions Reduction Program, hospitals that readmit certain patients within 30 days of discharge could face significant penalties. The question is whether hospitals really have that much control over factors leading to readmission and whether they are really at fault. Some readmissions are ...

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Obamacare is changing the image of the doctor we know and love. For better or worse, gone are the days of a physician carrying a black bag and making house calls. The new-age doctor is someone who is probably comfortable communicating via text message (secure, of course), or by email. With the rising demands of a new dimension of healthcare delivery, where doctors need to see more patients to make up ...

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Can Safeway lead the way in controlling health costs? There's been a lot of talk since the healthcare law passed about the success the supermarket chain Safeway has had in controlling costs by aggressively encouraging employees to participate in healthier lifestyles. There has been a lot of marketing and hype and publicity about their success, as well as the success of other employers in the market. But does such active engagement really ...

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Look to Oregon to see if Obamacare will succeed Over the past several months, the state of Oregon has been pursuing an aggressive approach to solving the healthcare crisis that many states are dealing with. A couple of years ago Oregon was facing a $2 billion deficit in their Medicaid program, with few solutions to repair the situation. The governor was reluctant to take the obvious step of cutting doctors' pay for ...

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A lot of us get health benefits through our workplace, and employers are increasingly turning to wellness programs as a means of reducing costs and improving productivity. In the coming year, as aspects of the Affordable Care Act take effect, many employers will provide even greater incentives for participation in programs that require the employee to achieve certain wellness goals, such as smoking cessation or weight loss. What this means for the ...

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Price transparency is no longer a luxury, but a necessity The growing concern about reducing the cost of healthcare delivery is the major focus in revamping the U.S. healthcare system. There have been numerous attempts to better understand the key drivers contributing to rising healthcare costs, yet the ability to successfully control the rising trend has been met with consistent challenges. A key motivating factor of the Affordable Care Act was to drive ...

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As physicians, our commitment to the Hippocratic Oath is to first do no harm. That's an ever-growing challenge as patient volume increases and face time with each one decreases. Physicians often find themselves in the difficult situation of effectively communicating important information to their patients in a finite period of time without seeming terse or abrupt. This challenge is further complicated by an evolving framework of reimbursement that is focused on rewarding ...

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