Patient Safety Series; Tax Dollars for Health Care; Medicaid and Long-term Care

My book is at the printer and should be ready by the end of the month–topics include among other things an historical chart of health care reform “efforts” and the cost containment backfires of approaches and counter approaches.  The book is short and to the point.  You can still donate and receive a signed copy.

Patient Safety

One of the publications I trust is the non-profit group Propublica.   They have started a series on patient safety that promises to be well worth reading: http://www.propublica.org/series/patient-safety

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Charitable Assests from Non-profit conversions; Medical Errors Understated? and interesting facts on doctors and patients

There were major virulent battles over conversion of non-profit insurers to for-profit. http://www.communitycatalyst.org/doc-store/publications/conversion_and_preservation_of_charitable_assets_of_blue_cross_and_blue_shield_plans_mar04.pdf

An emerging issue is the purchase/merger of non-profit hospitals by private, for-profit hospitals.  According to the January 19, 2015 Industry Insights from the Cain Brothers, this consolidation has attracted the attention of the Federal Trade Commission and the Department of Justice.  State Attorney Generals are now becoming the “….new gatekeepers of health system mergers. Many states have statutes in place that require the state attorney to review change of control transactions involving nonprofit health  care systems, often with higher standards for taxable conversions.”

Given the amount of money that was transferred back to the states from insurance conversion, this is an issue that merits attention.

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Hospital Community Health Needs Assessment Fines and IRS Status; What One Hospital Did; and Hospital Quality Surveys

The final rules were issued in December  2014 for hospital Community Health Needs Assessments (CHANs)as part of the Affordable Care Act. Failure to meet these criteria can lead to both a $50,000 fine and possible loss of the hospital’s 501©(3) non-profit status. These rules impact 80% of all US hospitals as well as the 23% that are government hospitals.  These provisions apply to all facilities a hospital operates.

Three key provisions include:

  • Community Health Needs Assessments at least every three years and an annual implementation strategy; (the industry’s word for this is population health)

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More Washington Hospitals Near the Bottom for Quality– Which Now Gives Communities Leverage for Safe, Affordable Quality Care

More Washington State hospitals are fined this year than last for quality care. This is precisely why we need to make patient safety and quality our highest priority!  And why communities must be involved. Who was fined?

See the Washington Health Alliance Report:

http://wahealthalliance.org/wp-content/uploads.php?link-year=2015&link-month=01&link=Hospital-Readmissions-and-Outpatient-Care.pdf

And the story by the Puget Sound Business Journal on their blog:

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The Buck STILL Stops Nowhere–order now–Here’s Why; Coming Next–Big Changes for Hospitals

The Buck Still Stops Nowhere

If you ever wondered why you must read the new The Buck Still Stops Nowhere, just read the stories below.  Open the link and scroll down to related stories on pre-existing conditions and other attempts to get around some key provisions of  the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. 

http://kaiserhealthnews.org/morning-breakout/insurers-may-be-using-drug-prices-to-keep-the-sickest-patients-from-their-plans-study-finds/?utm_campaign=KHN%3A+Daily+Health+Policy+Report&utm_source=hs_email&utm_medium=email&utm_content=15800345&_hsenc=p2ANqtz–6NoZHCzujP6D9qsDlZOJa8RdD18CrtZ9LMH_g7LytmmgEqR4jjuMYmPGPk5F8hADGCy07xzOpayijfG-Xd9tHjO7r_g&_hsmi=15800345

Donate and Order Now: The Buck Still Stops Nowhere:  the Primer–A no nonsense clear-English brief description about the financial incentives that drive the health care system and what is behind the jargon and rhetoric.  Coming February/early March.

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It’s Been A Year: I’m Back; Excerpt: Creed and Greed–The Buck Stops Nowhere; medical bills and housing foreclosures equal population of Texas and Florida

It’s been one year since my stroke (Jan. 19, 2014). I am back with new insights and a re-doubled commitment to consumer advocacy.  I am working on the 3rd Edition of The Buck Stops Nowhere.  Here is an excerpt from the 2nd Edition published in 2003. 

An excerpt, 2nd edition (2003)–Chapter 3:  Creed, Greed and Compensation:

When greed holds hands with ideology, it is easy for those who do not have an extreme ideological point of view to get lost or shut down in the dialog…It is almost impossible, even for thoughtful people, to make independent decisions given the barrage of ideological positions about an issue that touches each of us and our families every day. We have no baseline of what the issues are, and therefore, we trust no one.

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Must Reads for 2015: What the public needs to know

As Congress re-assembles and the Supreme Court takes aim at some provisions of the Affordable Care Act it is important to note the serious systemic flaws in our health care system that the Affordable Care Act addresses.

While much remains to be done significant provisions focus on accountability, transparency, costs and end of life issues. With the upcoming debates in mind, I highly recommend the following books:

Unaccountable: What Hospitals Won’t Tell You and How Transparency Can Revolutionize Health Care, Marty Makary, MD

Makary’s book covers issues ranging from dangerous care; lack of transparency; and overtreatment. It is an excellent and important read.

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Theo’s Story, Medical Bankruptcy and Proposed New Hospital Consumer Protections: Next Must Read Books for 2015

We read headlines about medical bills and bankruptcies.  We will take a look now at what happens to some people.  Gerrit was ‘lucky.’  He had a house he could borrow against and he eventually recovered enough to return to work and he could pay off the lien against his home.  Others were/are not so lucky.

Theo is not alone. In 2013, medical costs were the leading cause of personal bankruptcies, outstripping credit card debt and mortgage foreclosures. http://www.nclc.org/images/pdf/debt_collection/pr-cfpb-medical-debt-2014.pdf

Here’s Theo’s story.

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New Year, Good News, New Story–Coming Next: Must Read Books

Here’s to a good new year for all of us. My good news is:

  • My clots are gone and my veins are no longer clogged. There could be no better outcome or news.
  • Our new webpage “Our stories Our voices” is up and will be expanded. Click on the link above.  If you have a story send it. Publishing guidelines will be posted soon.
  • The Primer of The Buck Stops Nowhere: Why America’s Health Care Is All Dollars and No Sense will be out in February. See testimonials of 2nd Edition.

Very good things happen in our system. I know this first hand and very well.  But significant problems plague both patients and health care professionals. This website will be a platform for those voices. My upcoming primer tackles them head on.

However, I want to start this year on a positive note with a story of one doctor.

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