Managed Care e-News
Apr. 16, 2013

Coalition outlines 'consensus' healthcare reforms
The Hill
A diverse coalition of healthcare groups released recommendations that it said could serve as a bipartisan framework for improving the U.S. healthcare system. The coalition recommended changes in the way medical care is paid for, as well as a strong role for innovation at the state level.More

Doctors may see pay delay under ACA exchanges
MedPage Today
Physicians could face dramatic financial challenges for treating patients who receive health coverage through the Affordable Care Act's exchanges starting next year. Insurance companies will not process claims on patients who haven't paid their premiums in 3 months, leaving doctors on the hook to recoup payment directly from the patients.More

Doctor-owned hospitals prosper under healthcare law
The Washington Post
Doctor-owned hospitals are earning many of the largest bonuses from the federal health law's new quality programs, even as the law halts their growth. The hospitals, many of which specialize in heart or orthopedic surgeries, have long drawn the ire of federal lawmakers and competitors. They say physicians often direct the best-insured and more lucrative cases to their own facilities, while leaving the most severely ill patients to others. Some researchers say the doctors' financial interests encourage them to perform more tests and procedures, driving up the cost of care.More

Healthcare providers want faster changes in payments
USA Today
Healthcare providers are pushing the federal government to scrap the payment plan for medical services, preferring instead one payment for a patient's entire care instead of separate fees for each item. Instead of fee-for-service medicine, in which a provider receives a payment for every test, procedure and visit, providers want the government — or states or private payers — to pay for treatment as a whole.More

5 ways Obama's budget would change Medicare
Kaiser Health News
President Barack Obama's fiscal 2014 budget includes a variety of what he says are "manageable" changes for Medicare's 54 million beneficiaries as well as for the hospitals, nursing homes and other healthcare providers that serve them.More

Robot hot among surgeons but FDA taking fresh look
The Associated Press via ABC News
The biggest thing in operating rooms these days is a million-dollar, multi-armed robot named da Vinci, used in nearly 400,000 surgeries nationwide in 2012 — triple the number just four years earlier. But now the high-tech helper is under scrutiny over reports of problems, including several deaths that may be linked with it, and the high cost of using the robotic system.More

Technique finds software bugs in surgical robots and helps developers fix flaws, ensure safety
Medical Xpress
Surgical robots could make some types of surgery safer and more effective, but proving that the software controlling these machines works as intended is problematic. Researchers at Carnegie Mellon University and the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory have demonstrated that methods for reliably detecting software bugs and ultimately verifying software safety can be applied successfully to this breed of robot. More

Aspirin: Right for some, but not for all
Many people take aspirin to ward off heart trouble. While it may help those with cardiovascular disease, it may not benefit those who are at low risk of heart trouble. Aspirin helps blood clots from forming, and patients who have had a heart attack or stroke have been shown to benefit from it. However, researchers recently reported aspirin may not be helpful for those who are at low risk of cardiovascular trouble, and many patients are taking the medication without the advice of a doctor.More

Breakfast cereal tied to lower BMI for kids
Regularly eating cereal for breakfast is tied to healthy weight for kids, according to a new study that endorses making breakfast cereal accessible to low-income kids to help fight childhood obesity.More

Study: Hospital boards need more focus on quality of care
When it comes to promoting quality care, U.S. hospital leaders have room for improvement. Board chairs of U.S. hospitals not only have less training and expertise in quality of care but also devote less of their time to such issues than their English counterparts, according to a new study in Health Affairs.More

Survey: Hospitals fail to take simple measures to thwart deadly infections
Yahoo News
Few people check into a hospital expecting to come down with a severe case of diarrhea while undergoing care for an entirely unrelated problem. And even fewer expect to die of the hospital-acquired intestinal infection that causes the watery stools. Yet for approximately 14,000 Americans each year, that is exactly what happens. The culprit is a strain of a spore-forming bacterium known as Clostridium difficile, or C. diff — in particular, a relatively recent strain that has grown more virulent and resistant to drugs.More

DNA laser printing heralds new day for genomics research
Why don't we use DNA for more things? It's fairly strong for its size, with some redundant error-checking built right in, and its simple code lets us design strands that act in all sorts of innovative ways. We've talked about injecting DNA into sufferers of heart disease to travel through the blood to a damaged area, bind, and self-assemble into a controllable bio-stent that would prop open blood vessels.More

Healthcare inefficiencies: Who is to blame?
By Dr. Jonathan Kaplan
There are many inefficiencies within the healthcare system. Some people think insurance companies are to blame. Maybe it's the lawyers and their lifeblood of filing lawsuits. Others blame the doctors for getting paid too much.More

Medicare revises readmissions penalties — Again
Kaiser Health News
In its effort to crack down on repeat hospitalizations, Medicare has its own readmission: for the second time in six months, it has erred in calculating penalties for more than 1,000 of the nation’s hospitals.More

California gets fed nod for largest 'dual eligible' plan
Dow Jones Newswires via Fox Business
California has secured federal approval for the largest state-based program yet aimed at testing a new way to care for people on both the Medicare and Medicaid government health programs.More

USPSTF finds evidence is lacking for oral cancer screens
HealthDay News
The U.S. Preventive Services Task Force finds that there is currently not enough evidence to determine the benefits and harms of primary care screening of all adults for oral cancer, according to a recent report.More

Experimental vaccine shows promise for ovarian cancer
HealthDay News
A novel but preliminary new treatment for ovarian cancer has apparently produced complete remission for one patient with an advanced form of the disease, researchers are reporting. The promising results of a Phase I clinical trial for the immunotherapy approach also showed that seven other women had no measurable disease at the end of the trial, the researchers added.More

Insurers see promise in pay-for-performance health plans
Insurers and doctors are testing a way to pay for healthcare that has been more common in the corporate suite than the emergency room — paying for better performance, betting it is the key to controlling runaway costs.More

Boxers work to knock out Parkinson's symptoms
USA Today
When Mary Yeaman was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease in 2006, she could barely bring herself to leave her house. Her muscles were weak, and she was having a hard time coping. In 2007, she found Rock Steady Boxing in Indianapolis. She now attends classes every week and has seen her symptoms ease as a result of a rigorous regimen of punching, jumping, jogging and stretching.More