One of the biggest shifts in American health care over the last several years (and we’ve only just seen the tip of the iceberg so far) is the shift of the system away from the traditional fee-for-service model, and towards a system based more on quality, outcomes, and yes, a degree of rationing. By all measures, we know that the pure fee-for-service model -- at least mostly funded by Medicare -- ...

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Physicians spend almost twice as much time each day typing on computers and filling out paperwork as they do seeing patients. That astonishing conclusion comes from research published this week in the Annals of Internal Medicine. Just think about that. How would you feel if you spent two hours documenting every hour of work that you do? How would your boss feel about it? You’d be depressed and frustrated; your boss ...

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Recently, CMS sent out press releases touting over $1 billion in savings from Accountable Care Organizations.  Here’s the tweet from Andy Slavitt, the acting Administrator of CMS: https://twitter.com/ASlavitt/status/768908822081667072 The link in the tweet is to a press release.  The link in the press release citing more details is to another press release.  There’s little in the way of analysis or data about how ACOs did in ...

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acp new logoA guest column by the American College of Physicians, exclusive to KevinMD.com. This will not be another article focused on the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act (MACRA) and its Merit-Based Incentive Payment System (MIPS). Everyone else is writing about that. (But I can’t promise that I won’t mention MIPS at all.) Hopefully, by now, most of you ...

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We all want this sometimes, don’t we?  We want the things in our daily lives that bug us the most, like long lines at the DMV, to just go away.  But how often does that really happen? As the senior staff person for ACP’s governmental affairs team in Washington, DC, I often hear from exasperated physicians who want ACP to just make things they don’t like go away, whether it's MACRA ...

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american society of anesthesiologistsA guest column by the American Society of Anesthesiologists, exclusive to KevinMD.com. In the past several years, there has been a dramatic increase in media attention concerning bills patients receive from health care professionals who are not in the network of providers their insurance company contracted with to provide health services. The out-of-network bills these patients ...

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Why must we keep repeating history? NCLB significantly increased the federal role in education by holding schools accountable for the academic progress of all students. NCLB held teachers responsible for education of children; MACRA-proposed changes will hold physicians responsible for the medical progress of our patients.  The largest problem with this approach is students and patients go home each day to whatever environment in which they live.  Neither teachers nor physicians ...

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Recently, ACP offered practical solutions to physicians’ concerns about Medicare’s proposal to implement the new payment system created by the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act (MACRA). The College’s detailed recommendations, summarized here in a press statement that is linked to the comment letter itself, would replace CMS’s proposed and unnecessarily complex quality scoring system with a much simpler and understandable approach as developed by the College. We challenge CMS to completely ...

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Transparency -- or its absence -- continues to fascinate health care analysts and health care economists.  A study published in the Annals of Internal Medicine addresses the effects of public reporting of hospital mortality rates on outcomes.  Its senior author, Dr. Ashish Jha, offered his perspective on the study results and on the topic. According to the study investigators, mandatory public reporting of hospital mortality is not improving outcomes.  The result of their analysis surprised them ...

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Get a group of health policy experts together and you’ll find one area of near universal agreement: We need more transparency in health care. The notion behind transparency is straightforward; greater availability of data on provider performance helps consumers make better choices and motivates providers to improve. And there is some evidence to suggest it works.  In New York State, after cardiac surgery reporting went into effect, some ...

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