Don’t get stuck in ER surrounded by flu victims. Joining a concierge practice is a no brainer.

Dr. Tom LaGrelius writes in:

Joining a concierge practice is a no brainer, unless you want to sit surrounded by coughing masked flu victims in a packed ER unable to treat you with antivirals anyway. The hospitals are using Tamiflu only on patients so sick they are in the ICU. And in most of those cases they need not have bothered. They got their first dose long long long after the effectiveness window had closed. They should save it for the ones ill less than two days when it actually works!

The hospitals are currently swamped with flu victims and have no beds or ER space.  Continue reading

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The Ho$pice Hu$tle?

What’s going on with the recent flurry of acquisitions and divestment in the Hospice industry. IP4P asked HIT-industry veteran Barbara Duck (@MedicalQuack) to weigh in:

“Optum certainly kept this very quiet when they sold their hospice facilities to Compassus; however, they are not out of the business, they want to manage it instead, just as they manage surgeons and physicians with Surgical Care Affiliates and OptumCare doctors.  The worst nightmare for those in hospice has come true, the thought of Optum utilization managers running around Compassus Hospice facilities as they intend now to use Optum Hospice Services to manage them.  Hospice care by the algorithms is what we are looking at here with even more undue and not proven analytical scoring of patients taking place at their last days of their lives.  I think the screen from the PowerPoint presentation on the revenue growth here tells the story of what this company’s (Compassus) goals are, revenue and not patient care being the first priority. Continue reading

PBMs Invade Medical Records and Cash-Pay RX Discount Cards

We wrap up 2017 with a guest post from friend of IP4PI Barbara Duck (@MedicalQuack):

This should not really come as a big surprise as what hasn’t the pharmacy benefit managment business touched?  So what is OptimizeRX?  Most have probably not heard of this software but it is a connect to EMRs that will send your prescription right to the pharmacy.  Oh, now you say, well imagethe PBMs do that and they do but what they have been missing is a way to collect data on patients who are not using their PBM prescription card or those who do not have one.  It’s all about getting more data about you to “score” and of course sell those scores to insurers and other interested parties.  Once the pharmacy has the transaction, it does not fall under HIPAA rules as it’s a prescription, linked to an EMR to provide a transaction.  As we all know, your medications in an EHR are protected but again, I’ll repeat this for those who still think HIPAA is covered at the pharmacy, it is not.  It’s been a sore spot for years with privacy. Continue reading

MACRA MIPS? Time for GACRA GIPS to hold lawmakers accountable.

How can we hold Congress accountable for the failed policy they continue to foist on American patients and doctors?

Meet GACRA GIPS, the Government Accountability Credibility Realignment Assessment and Government Incentive Payment System.

With GACRA GIPS, if congressmen and congresswomen don’t work, vote, complete their tasks and create a budget that lives within our means well paying down the national debt, they don’t get paid.

Learn more about this needed reform in the latest article by IP4PI founder Craig M. Wax, DO published by Medical Economics:

http://medicaleconomics.modernmedicine.com/medical-economics/news/your-voice-physician-accountability-let-s-legislate-congressional-accountability

Promoting Choice and Competition to Empower Patients and their Physicians

A friend of IP4PI writes in:
I just read President Trump’s executive order on choice and competition across state lines. It has these amazing provisions which have not been discussed in the media at all!! These provisions go to the heart of a competitive market-based healthcare system.
“(c) My Administration will also continue to focus on promoting competition in healthcare markets and limiting excessive consolidation throughout the healthcare system. To the extent consistent with law, government rules and guidelines affecting the United States healthcare system should:
(i) expand the availability of and access to alternatives to expensive, mandate-laden PPACA insurance, including AHPs, STLDI, and HRAs;
(ii) re-inject competition into healthcare markets by lowering barriers to entry, limiting excessive consolidation, and preventing abuses of market power; and
(iii) improve access to and the quality of information that Americans need to make informed healthcare decisions, including data about healthcare prices and outcomes, while minimizing reporting burdens on affected plans, providers, or payers.”
The whole order can be read here: https://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2017/10/12/presidential-executive-order-promoting-healthcare-choice-and-competition . I love the title to promote choice and competition.  I don’t think the order was overreach, because the language is to ” PRIORITIZE three areas for improvement in the near term: association health plans (AHPs), short-term, limited-duration insurance (STLDI), and health reimbursement arrangements (HRAs).” and “FOCUS on promoting competition in healthcare markets and limiting excessive consolidation “.  I did note this part:” Public Comment. The Secretaries shall consider and evaluate public comments on any regulations proposed under sections 2 through 4 of this order.”
Stay tuned for opportunities to comment!

Alexander-Murray Exacerbates Flaw in ACA’s “Catastrophic Plans”

DPC physicians and patients take note!

An aspect of Alexander-Murray will exacerbate an under-appreciated flaw in ACA requirements for plans considered “catastrophic plans.”

Alexander-Murray will allow anyone to have a “catastrophic plan” as such plan is defined by ACA. ACA limits enrollment in these plans to enrollees under 30 years of age or enrollees who have a waiver. Alexander-Murray would do away with these limitations. So far so good.

Another ACA limitation on these plans — found in  ACA section 1302(e) — is that the plans will provide no benefits until the enrollee’s annual out of pocket limit has been reached, except that the plan must cover “at least 3 primary care visits.”

This will harmful to patients of DPC practices and is bad policy. It essentially forces primary care to be handled in-network — great for the insurance companies but not for the patients orthe doctors.

Ideally the requirement should be struck from ACA.  Alternately, a small change along the lines of this or something similar [in brackets] might help fix this problem:

(B)the plan provides—
(ii)coverage for at least three primary care visits, [unless the enrollee is separately contracted with a direct primary care physician, in which case the plan will refund to the enrollee an amount equal to the value of such coverage.]

AMA looks for gold in mining patient and physician data.

Two more items to pitch into “the AMA is utter Garbage” file:

  1. The AMA supports resuscitating the dead-end failure that is the “Affordable Care Act.”  Patients have seen soaring premiums, deductibles, and medical costs, while at the same time often losing access to their doctor and other medical facilities of their choice. Physicians have suffered continued suffocation by ACA red-tape. But the AMA supports propping up this disaster of a law and throwing more good money after bad. 
  2. AMA looks for gold in mining patient and physician data. Why is the AMA advocating against the best interests of doctors and patients? Follow. The. Money. The AMA has discovered it is more lucrative to sell patients and doctors out than to support their interests. Since 1983 the AMA has been making millions of dollars per year from the CPT monopoly it secured in a secret deal with the feds back in 1983. CPT has metastasized into the EHR fisaco that now plagues nearly every office and facility. Now the AMA is hoping to find another pot of gold by mining the data CPT helped to create… patient and physician medical data to be exact. How much can the AMA make of the data? Who knows, but you can read more about the new initiative here: https://healthitanalytics.com/news/ama-launches-integrated-healthcare-big-data-analytics-platform.

Danger, Will Robinson! Danger!