Tag Archives: aca

Health Officials to Docs: Help Save ACA

Health officials are encouraging doctors who support the health law to help save it. By telling patients about how the Affordable Care Act will benefit them and the entire system, physicians can help garner support for the ACA, said Kathleen Sebelius, secretary of Health and Human Services.

“The notion that [you] are going to share factual information and have people share that information with friends and neighbors and patients on websites, in blogs, and church groups, and at [parent/teacher organization meetings], that’s really what makes a huge impact,” Ms. Sebelius said while addressing primary care and specialist physicians at the annual conference of Doctors for America. She added that doctors should not only spread the news, but become a part of the process as well.

“Your comments, certainly, about what is happening in rulemaking is helpful … but more than that is participating in some of the new models of care,” Ms. Sebelius said.

Many physicians are skeptical about the ACA according to some surveys. However, Doctors for America is among those who support of the law. It remains to be seen whether there’s enough agreement among doctors to make a difference.  What do you think? Tell us in the comments section.

—Frances Correa (@FMCReporting on Twitter)

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Filed under health reform, IMNG, Practice Trends, Uncategorized

Walmart Downplays Its Designs on Primary Care

As Wednesday dawned, many media outlets were atwitter over the report from Kaiser Health News and NPR that Walmart was seeking to build a gargantuan network of primary care clinics.

Courtesy Wikimedia Commons/RemiOo/Creative Commons License

But by late afternoon it wasn’t so clear exactly what Walmart was up to, as it issued what sounded like a “don’t pay attention to the man behind the curtain” non-denial denial.

The initial NPR report linked to a confidential 14-page “request for information” from Walmart to potential partners in this apparently new business venture.  A Walmart spokeswoman confirmed the existence of the RFI to Kaiser and to the Wall Street Journal. But in the WSJ story, the spokeswoman “downplayed” the importance of the RFI.

NPR later updated its web story with an addendum — that is, the non-denial denial.

“The RFI statement of intent is overwritten and incorrect. We are not building a national, integrated, low-cost primary care health care platform,” John Agwunobi, Senior Vice President & President of Walmart U.S. Health & Wellness, said in a statement.

But it seems hard to believe that a corporation run seemingly as tightly as Walmart would put out a request with a Nov. 22 response date and a Jan. 13 “final vendor selection” date as a big old trial balloon.

The RFI states that “Walmart will use its retail and multi-channel footprint to offer the lowest cost primary healthcare services and products in the nation.”

That may be overly ambitious, but I doubt it was overwritten.

—Alicia Ault (on Twitter @aliciaault)

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Filed under Family Medicine, Health Policy, health reform, IMNG, Internal Medicine, Practice Trends

ACO Details Are Out: The Policy & Practice Podcast

After much anticipation, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services finally released the final rule on accountable care organizations. As physician and hospital groups were initially wary of ACOs, CMS said they’ve considered the suggestions and the rule was adjusted accordingly. Among other changes, interested physicians will now have more time to get an  ACO up and running.

Dr. Don Berwick discusses the future of Medicare. Courtesy the Bipartisan Policy Center

Meanwhile, other parts of the new health law haven’t has the same success. The administration has cancelled CLASS, the law’s long-term insurance program, calling if financially unsustainable.

The decision has given GOP lawmakers ammunition for arguments against the ACA.

For details on that and much more, listen to this week’s Policy & Practice Podcast.

–Frances Correa (@FMCReporting)

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Filed under Health Policy, health reform, IMNG, Podcast

Here Comes the Super Committee: The Policy & Practice Podcast

photo courtesy of iStock

The names are in and the lobbying has begun. Physicians — and others — are weighing in with their priorities for the Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction — better known as the Super Committee. The group is charged with cutting $1.5 trillion of federal spending by Thanksgiving.

At the top of most doctors’ list: A permanent fix to the Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) formula, which could lead to a 30% pay cut on Jan. 1. But physicians from several specialties have other concerns they want addressed as well.

Meanwhile, a federal appeals court in Atlanta ruled that the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) individual mandate is unconstitutional, pushing the law one step close to its much-predicted airing in front of the Supreme Court.

Regardless of legal wranglings, the feds are busy pushing ACA programs along, with announcements of more than $200 million worth of programs last week.

LISTEN:  For details, check out this week’s Policy & Practice Podcast. Let us know what you think.

—Frances Correa (@FMCReporting on Twitter)

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Filed under Blognosis, Health Policy, health reform, IMNG, Podcast

The AMA’s House Divided: The Policy & Practice Podcast

As the American Medical Association opened its annual House of Delegates meeting in Chicago on Saturday, there was a foreshadowing of the tussle that likely will come over the coming days. The annual policy-making confab always has contentious debate; this year (and as it was last year), the Affordable Care Act stands as more of a dividing than a unifying element for the nation’s physicians.

Michigan Ave., Chicago. Photo by Alicia Ault

The AMA’s president, Dr. Cecil Wilson, told the delegates in his opening speech that while others may pretend to speak for organized medicine, patients and lawmakers look to the AMA as the voice of organized medicine.  Other professional societies can — and have — disagreed.

Other AMA officials highlighted efforts to overturn Medicare’s Sustainable Growth Rate formula and to find cosponsors to support a bill by Rep. Tom Price (R-Ga.), H.R. 1700. The bill proposes to let doctors who don’t accept Medicare still get paid something for seeing patients.

Take a listen to this special edition of the Policy & Practice Podcast.

—Alicia Ault (@aliciaault on Twitter) and Frances Correa (@FMCReporting)

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The Labor Day Edition: The Policy & Practice Podcast

As U.S. workers came back from a brief Labor Day holiday, new federal health reform benefits are in the spotlight.

Morgantown, WV

Health reform benefits seek to help small businesses. Image courtesy flickr user jmd41280 (CC)

Two Affordable Care Act programs seek to help employers cover more of their workers — one seeks to encourage small businesses to continue to cover their workers, while the other helps companies to continue insurance benefits for early retirees.

And as summer turns to fall, so the nation’s attention turns to the upcoming midterm election in November. How will candidates’ support of health reform affect voters’ choices?

The Policy & Practice Podcast has more on these important issues. Take a listen and let us know what you think:

—Denise Fulton (@denisefulton on Twitter)

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Filed under Health Policy, health reform, IMNG, Podcast