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May 14, 2009

Health Wonk Review: the biweekly smorgasbord of the best fare in the health care policy blogs

smorgasbord.jpg Welcome to Health Wonk Review, our bi-weekly smorgasbord of the best that the policy wonks have dished out on some of the most noteworthy healthcare blogs over the prior fortnight. We have an extensive sampling of tasty and nutritious treats, with lots of brain food among the fare - so without further ado, we offer this week's buffet.

  • The love fest at the White House with health care providers generated great headlines, but, where's the beef? Merrill Goozner at GoozNews points out that the promises made by the trade associations and physicians held not a few ironies: Just Don't Ask CBO To Score It.
  • To say that Joe Paduda of Managed Care Matters is skeptical about said love fest is an understatement. He is shocked and blown away that the politicians in Washington actually believe the health care-insurance industry's self regulation will reduce the nation's health care costs.
  • Will the consortium of private sector stakeholders be able to cut $2 trillion in healthcare costs as they claim? Jason Shafrin of Healthcare Economist casts a critical eye on this in his post Letter to Obama: We're gonna save $2 trillion .
  • When it comes to financing health care reform, Anthony Wright of Health Access WeBlog suggests that policymakers take a two birds with one stone approach by seeking options that not only raise funds but also help the health system.
  • Are hospitals really taking a hit from the current health care system? That's a question posed by InsureBlog's Henry Stern, who deconstructs the latest survey results from the American Hospital Association in his post, Economy Tanks; Hospitals, Patients Hardest Hit.
  • Brady Augustine of MedicaidFrontPage posts about Wellcare being taken to the woodshed for the sins of its prior executives who lived high on the hog while shortchanging vulnerable citizens. He discusses lessons learned, offering his thoughts on how to avoid such a scenario in the future.
  • How Hard Can It Be To Coordinate Care? Rich Elmore of Health Technology News interviews Dr. Mai Pham, who turned up some startling results in a study of the number of physicians and practices that are linked to a primary care provider for coordination of care.
  • Jeffrey Seguritan looks at a study of Medicare's unplanned hospital readmissions at nuts for healthcare, noting that readmissions seem to indicate low quality of hospital care and drive health spending. He suggests that hospitals should be incentivized to cut readmissions, but current policy proposals should be wary of system-gaming and should consider illness severity.
  • Yikes. David Harlow of HealthBlawg posts about the Virginia prescription record security breach, in which millions of prescription records were lifted from a state government website and replaced with a $10m ransom note. He suggests that organizations that hold electronic protected health information should use this incident as a learning experience for planning and executing programs yo increase data security, as well as preparing for communications both to prevent breaches and to respond to any breaches that do occur.
  • Roy M. Poses of Health Care Renewal has frequently tackled the topic of conflicts of interest in health care, offering examples of published defenses based on logical fallacies. Most examples were written by people who had their own ties to health care corporations and appeared mainly in the op-ed pages of newspapers, but in his post Attacking "Crusaders" Against Conflicts of Interest with Logical Fallacies, he offers an example in a scholarly journal, published as an anonymous editorial. He says we can expect to see more accusations of witch-hunting, prudery, moralism, lack of realism, and the like leveled against those who oppose such lucrative financial relationships.
  • Louise of Colorado Health Insurance Insider posts about how Reid is absent in Sick Around America, apparently fallout with Frontline after last year's acclaimed Sick Around the World. Louise offers the scoop on the controversy.
  • At Disease Management Care Blog, Jaan Sidorov examines the ugly politics that emerged around the issue of using gender in health insurance underwriting in his post Snatching Humiliation From the Jaws of Compromise.
  • President Obama recently spoke about his grandmother's death and the questions it raises about end of life care in an interview published in the New York Times Magazine. Joanne Kenen of New Health Dialogue discusses Obama's Grandmother and the National Conversation on Healthcare, adding her own patient-centric questions that need to be part of the dialogue.
  • Jocelyn Guyer of Say Ahhh! tells us that there was mostly good news for children in the Senate Finance Committee's Health Reform Proposal.
  • Glenn Laffel of Pizaazz discusses a particularly vexing clinical and policy problem involving a defective defibrillator produced by Medtronic, that is currently in the bodies of a quarter of a million people. Leaving the failing device in place may kill patients, but removing it may do the same.
  • Pop goes the health care bubble? At the Health Care Blog, George Lundberg looks at Enron, the dot.com era, and the real estate-financial collapse, all recent examples of growth and expectations far exceeding substance, and makes the case that the health care bubble will be soon to follow.
  • David Williams of Health Business Blog asks why employees should be penalized for smoking or being overweight but not for having unprotected sex with multiple partners in his post on the ethical considerations of financial penalties for unhealthy behaviors.
  • Eric Turkewitz of New York Personal Injury Law Blog notes that doctors still top our the pay charts, but complain about malpractice premiums anyway. He cites a survey which states that out of the ten top paying jobs, nine go to medical professionals.
  • Tinker Ready of Boston Health News posts about a new Partners/Harvard HIT blog on clinical informatics. Incidentally, Tinker will host the next issue of Health Wonk Review.
  • In his post Even more 'Fierce', Neil Versel of Healthcare IT Blog discusses a new publication FierceEMR, which includes one of his articles about live video links from ambulances to a trauma center in Tucson, Arizona.
  • Although the influenza A (H1N1) or swine flu outbreak is gradually falling out of U.S. news headlines, Kara Rogers of Britannica Blog notes that the full extent of the outbreak may not be known for some time because other countries are only now experiencing their first cases or are experiencing an increase in confirmed cases as their backlogs of samples are tested.
  • Is our food policy behind the current swine flu pandemic? Eric Michael Johnson discusses how we can best promote national health by changing how our food production policies at The Primate Diaries.
  • And here at Workers Comp Insider, we've noted that there's a new OSHA sheriff in town. Long-time worker safety advocate and former safety blogger extraordinaire Jordan Barab is serving as Acting OSHA Administrator.
Posted by Julie Ferguson at 7:34 AM Link to, Comment (0), or E-mail this post
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