Unbiased Analysis of Today's Healthcare Issues

Primary Care Docs are no longer the primary point of contact for patients

According to a LifeBot study: “Historically, general practitioners provided first-contact care in the United States. Today, however, only 42 percent of the 354 million annual visits for acute care—treatment for newly arising health problems—are made to patients’ personal physicians. The rest are made to emergency departments (28 percent), specialists (20 percent), or outpatient departments (7 […]

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Wal-mart to be the biggest health retailer in the nation?

Hot off the press: Walmart announced it would stop offering health insurance benefits to new part-time employees, the retailer sent out a request for information seeking partners to help it “dramatically … lower the cost of healthcare … by becoming the largest provider of primary healthcare services in the nation.” Why would Wal-mart want to […]

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Usual Source of Care Increases Spending

Does having a specialist as your usual source of care (USOC) increase costs? “Among high-cost beneficiaries, the 27.8 percent attributed to a medical specialist as their USOCphysician had U.S.$1,839 greater costs than those attributed to primary care physicians, representing roughly 4 percent of the mean cost of care. Although this may reflect unmeasured patient preferences […]

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Pay-for-performance programs in the United Kingdom

Pay-for-performance is a hot topic in the health policy world. However, one of the largest pay-for-performance programs has already been implemented in the UK’s National Health Service. A paper by Doran et al. (2006) reviews the overall implementation of the NHS’s P4P program as well as how some physicians used exceptions to greatly increase their […]

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Seattle doctors try flat-rate no-limit primary care

Primary care doctors in Seattle are looking to eliminate insurers from the medical care process.  “Qliance customers pay $99 to join, then a flat monthly rate of $39 to $119, depending on age and level of service. Patients can quit without notice and no one is rejected for pre-existing conditions…Co-founder Norm Wu said per-patient revenue […]

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Medicare: Primary Docs to get more money, Specialists less

Joe Paduda of Managed Care Matters has a two great posts on Medicare’s new payment structure.   The first post reports how exactly Medicare is changing its reimbursement for medical services.  “It looks like reimbursement for cognitive services – the 99xxx codes for readers expert in CPT-4s…office visits and similar services for others – will […]

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Geriatrician Shortage

According to U.S. Census projections, the number of individuals 65 and older will increase from 12.4% of the populations in 2000 to 20.7% of the population in 2050. With the expected incredible rise in the number of elderly in the U.S., one would expect a concurrent rise in the number of geriatricians. NPR’s Marketplace, however, […]

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