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December 10, 2009

Health Wonk Review: the sausage-making-is-a-messy-business pre-holiday edition

We're honored to be hosting the holiday edition of Health Wonk Review. As we approach the holiday season waiting for a verdict on health care reform, we can take a lesson from Santa Claus, whose ordeal on this publicity shoot reminds us that good things don't always come easily:

Our wonderful wonkers don't let the holiday season slow them down. This edition offers a wide array of excellent posts on health care reform, health care quality, and health care 2.0 developments.

Sausage Making
Joe Paduda of Managed Care Matters kicks things off with a simple but powerful observation: If private health care insurance worked, we wouldn't need reform.

Over at the Health Affairs Blog, Tim Jost, the Robert L. Willett Family Professorship of Law at the Washington and Lee University School of Law, composed a series of four detailed posts analyzing the Senate health reform bill. He avoids the politics, but examines all the bill's nooks and crannies, including an overview of reforms and new programs, as well as issues ranging from mandates and constitutionality to abortion and Medicare.

Richard Elmore of HealthcareTechnologyNews summarizes a recent health care reform analysis by MIT Professor Jonathan Gruber which counters health insurance industry claims that premiums will increase and other fear, uncertainty & doubt (FUD) talking points put forth about health care reform.

Roy Poses of Health Care Renewal sees parallels between the current health care dysfunction and the global financial meltdown, but most of these parallels have gone unnoticed. Left unaddressed, he sees the potential for a burst bubble with lives and personal fortunes on the line. Don't say you weren't warned.

To put health care in some global perspective, here at Workers Comp Insider, Tom Lynch takes a world tour of the state of care in various countries in his post, the geography of health: US vs. them.

At Colorado Health Insurance Insider, Louise posts about the Chamber of Commerce's campaign to discredit proposed health care reform, but in examining their arguments further, found the Chamber offered little in the way of positive ideas or creative solutions to lower costs and expand health coverage to all Americans.

At the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation's Health Reform Galaxy Blog, Steven Findlay tells us why he thinks health reform would be a holiday gift for every consumer and Minna Jung looks at the messy doings in Congress now, reminding us that even though that first step is a doozy, it's still only the first step.

At a new blog called Healthy Debate Georgia, which focuses on on health care reform at both the state and national level, Mike King explains why Georgia may just say no and Timothy Sweeney posts about why national Medicaid expansion may be a bargain for Georgia.

Over at InsureBlog, Hank Stern says that Joe W was right, noting that the latest version of Obama's health care plan will include coverage for illegals after all and he discusses why this is important.

In another Joe-related post on the other side of the political aisle, Madeleine Kane has composed a No-Man Joe limerick at her Mad Kane's blog.

Quality & Safety
Jaan Sidorov of Disease Management Care Blog detours from legislative sausage-making to summarizing an interesting Canadian study called "EFFECT," which demonstrated that public reporting of hospitals’ quality metrics can save lives. In light of this, he wonders if Medicare’s much ballyhooed "Hospital Compare" web site is – in retrospect - evidence-based.

At New Health Dialogue, Tom Emswiler presents a case history of a group of Premier Hospitals that made significant progress in saving lives and saving money after participating in a year-long Quality, Efficiency, Safety, and Transparency (QUEST) initiative. He asks if seven percent can save lives and money, why can't the other 93% follow suit?

To commemorate the 10-year anniversary of the Institute Of Medicine's seminal report on patient safety, To Err Is Human, see Terri Schmitt's post, Nurses: The Crucial Link for Patient Safety from the Interdisciplinary Nursing Quality Research Initiative (INQRI) Blog. See the entire series of posts on the To Err is Human anniversary

Technology & Innovation
At The Health Care Blog, Brian Klepper and David Kibbe team up to offer an excellent review of the surprises and changes in the Electronic Health Record technology market during 2009.

HIV testing at your next dental visit? David Williams features a podcast and transcript of an interview with Dr. Catrise Austin of VIP Smiles at Health Business Blog.

David Kibbe talks about the critical importance of establishing and adopting a a core set of relevant and portable personal health records at The Health Care Blog.

At EHR Bloggers, Glenn Laffel pens an open letter to David Blumenthal asking if he is going fast enough. He lauds the work of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology, while gently chiding him that he needs to pick up the pace on EHR deployment to providers.

Peggy Salvatore of Healthcare Talent Transformation posts about another letter to Blumenthal, this one penned by Medical Group Management Association President William F. Jessee, urging Blumenthal to get real, real fast.

Meanwhile, at Health IT Buzz, David Blumenthal weighs in to offer a progress report on technology initiatives.

Posted by Julie Ferguson at 2:28 AM Link to, Comment (3), or E-mail this post
Comments

Who keeps saying health care is a total failure? Surveys indicate 85% of us CITIZENS feel we have adequate health care.

Face it - only those who want to gain more control over us and impart socialism are the one's making any bitch...not those who have health care....being a recipient for over 40 years..I have yet to have a complaint....this is all about giving illegal aliens rights to health care and government funding of abortion, not about any "improvement" of health care services....name one program the government has improved.....go ahead....if it was so good why aren't the politicians releasing any information about it and being forthright in their communications with us.....because it is a sham. Fewer people believe Obama by the day because of his insidious plan to eliminate older/wiser more educated (threats)persons from the population by restricting their care.....easy math - 5% of the population is responsible for up 40% of the medical expenses - best way to cut costs is eliminate the (elder) recipients.

Posted by: martin at December 10, 2009 10:36 AM

As usual, an outstanding job. I love the metaphor - maybe we can have turkey sausage instead of pork?

:-)

Thanks for hosting, and for including our post.
 

Posted by: hgstern at December 10, 2009 11:36 AM

An excellent example of showing what happens when Health Care Reform Efforts and Quality Improvement/Cost Reduction demonstration projects are forced to compete instead of compliment each other on the same set of railroad tracks by political hacks and grandstanders who don't give a damn about the collateral damage to be suffered by the average healthcare consumer.

True health care +/or banking reform will never happen unless or until a universal American Revolution calling for an across-the-aisle, bipartisan bloodletting of Congressionally Protected Corporate Sacred Cows - the likes of which have not been seen nor heard since "The Jungle" by Upton Sinclair brought universal attention to Chicago's South Side Slaughterhouses of years gone by.

This Administration is accused of playing Chicago-style politics ...

I say give American healthcare consumers a real Prime Choice by sacrificing the Sacred Cows of BIG Healthcare, Insurance, Pharma and the array of AAHIP Special Interests in order to show the American healthcare consumer "Where's The Beef" and give them a Fair Shake - for a change.

Posted by: Tom LeClair at January 3, 2010 2:42 PM
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