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President Trump’s Speech to Congress: We Should Strive for Public Health Policy, Not Political Policy

President Trump certainly made a very good presentation last week to members of Congress. Regarding his comments on healthcare, here are some thoughts: His opening remarks regarding expanding coverage and access while reducing costs are certainly goals and objectives everyone can embrace. Also, his statements about reducing pharmaceutical costs would certainly benefit consumers, providers, and the overall healthcare delivery system. His remaining remarks mirrored House Speaker Paul Ryan’s policy paper announced on June 22, 2016 entitled “A Better Way: Our Vision for a Confident America.” This policy paper called for repealing the Affordable Care Act including the health insurance market… Full Story

Medical Community Must Improve Care Delivery to Patients ‘When and Where They Want’

The U.S. healthcare network for acute unscheduled care (government lingo for “I need to see a doctor now”) has become increasingly complex. While policymakers stress the importance of patient-centered medical homes and primary care access, patients frequently choose the accessibility, expediency, and comprehensive services of the emergency department. EDs are the hub for medical issues that come up suddenly; always open, they provide 30 percent of the nation’s acute-care visits and more than two-thirds of all care for the uninsured. However, there are important repercussions for patient safety, care quality, and service satisfaction when these sudden medical encounters are provided… Full Story

Kaiser Poll Findings Emphasize Need for Collaborative Approach on ACA Changes

The latest Kaiser Family Foundation Health Tracking Poll conducted Feb. 13-19 has some fascinating key findings. They include: Attitudes towards the Affordable Care Act have shifted, with a larger share (48 percent) of Americans reporting a favorable opinion towards the law than reporting an unfavorable one (42 percent). This is the highest level of favorability in more than 60 Kaiser Health Tracking Polls since 2010, and is largely driven by a change in the views of independents, among whom 50 percent now view the law favorably. Despite the shift, the public remains divided on what they want lawmakers to do.… Full Story

The Real Financial ROI on Wellness Is Not Important; Disease Is

I’ve been sitting on this topic for quite some time now, but not because I know it’s a heated and controversial topic. I’ve been sitting on this because I’m so incredibly passionate about what I’m going to say, that I wanted it to be just right. As a former financial officer for both a hospital system and an insurance company, I can talk all day about ROI. Here’s the thing–there’s a pattern by some in our industry for committing “math crimes” over the last two decades. I’m not sure if I coined this two-word phrase on accident or if I… Full Story

Guiding Principles for a Bipartisan Bill

We continue to hear sporadic news from Washington, D.C. regarding the Affordable Care Act. “Repeal and Replace,” “Repeal and Restore,” “Repeal and Repair,” “Don’t End but Mend”–the slogans are many. Hopefully, our country’s leadership will garner bipartisan support to craft a fair and equitable bill to help all American residents. As we continue our commitment to patients, hospitals suggest some guiding principles for that bipartisan bill. They include: • We must maintain coverage for all individuals currently receiving benefits; • The ACA should not be repealed without a simultaneous replacement guaranteeing adequate coverage. If that doesn’t occur, then the hospital… Full Story

Microhospitals Can Reshape Healthcare Delivery in Suburban, Rural Areas

The physician shortage continues to make access to healthcare more difficult in Texas. With an increasing number of counties in Northwest Texas severely underserved, primary care physicians are left to serve the local population. According to the Texas Department of State Health Services, there are 28 counties with zero Direct Patient Care Physicians, 16 of which are in Northwest Texas. Furthermore, 11 counties in Northwest Texas have no hospital presence whatsoever. Without adequate primary and emergency care services, the cost of services and general health of our residents are bound to suffer. The emerging microhospital model offers a solution to… Full Story

Physician-Owned Hospitals Should Be Included In ACA Repeal Bill

Picture a scenario in which you or your child needs surgery. If you could choose to have that surgery at a hospital that has a higher quality rating, greater level of patient satisfaction, and lower level of complications—all at a lower cost than the competition—would you want that choice? Would you want your surgeon to be an integral part of the hospital leadership team making decisions on what instruments and equipment are available, who works there, and even what food you may be served? Apparently, Congress does not think you should. One of the little known provisions placed in the… Full Story

To Start 2017, Here Are Tips From an Insider on Turning Around a Toxic Group

The best leaders care about the people with whom they work. It’s that simple. If people do not matter to the leader, the leader is actively driving the group or team toward destruction. This may be inadvertent, but it’s happening. Now that it’s a new year, take a step back and do some self-reflection on how to improve your team. Full Story