Taming the MACRA Beast of Quantitated Madness

Guest Post from Barbara Duck: http://ducknetweb.blogspot.com/

The Rise of the Quants, Again! This Time In US Healthcare- Taming the MACRA Beast of Quantitated Madness For A Lot of Things That Are Probably Just Not True

I’ve been watching this for years with the way healthcare is changing in the US today and we certainly need and do use constructive and good measurements in what the industry does, but just like in the financial world, we’re starting to cross some borders here into madness where mathematical models with “no” proof of concept even are producing numbers that don’t compute and host environments that are hostile to the future of providing good care.  In other words, it’s time to take to take a step back and look at where we are and it’s not pretty nor productive in a lot of business areas today. Continue reading

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If You Are Insured by Cigna, Guess What You Have a New Pharmacy Benefit Manager Named United Healthcare

Guest Post From Barbara Duck, Proprietor of The Medical Quack Blog

imageFirst question out of the barrel might be “how can that be”.  It’s really not too difficult to figure out.  A short while back United Healthcare bought a pharmacy benefit manager named Catamaran, and actually took on $10 billion in debt to acquire them.  This has been in the news for a while actually, so how did you end up with United Healthcare.  It’s easy, Catamaran is the Pharmacy Benefit Manager for Cigna, so when United bought the company, it became a subsidiary of United Healthcare, so there you go.  The company is now a subsidiary of the huge too big to fail health insurer, who actually gets 2/3rds of their revenue from insurance policies and the rest from selling software and algorithms for a big chunk of the other third. Continue reading

MOC: This Abuse Has to End NOW

Dr. Ken Lee weighs in on KevinMD blog post “The Real Cost of MOC is Stunning” :

This profession is too used to abuse . It begins in pre-med, medical school and our training as “students” where our US labor rights are violated. Even college athletes have won a Federal case to get classified as employees of the colleges that were using them as “students”.

We have to influence our colleagues to stop swallowing each cup of poison they want us to drink. The costs of MOC for Int Med exceeds what I get paid from any contract I have with United, Aetna or Cigna, making the MOC a huge loss anyway you look at it. The summer months are supposed to be slow for medical care but I was seeing 23 patients a day with another 90 minutes of computer work at night to just do the documentation, MU, PQRS etc.

The only way I could do MOC is to not sleep or sacrifice my family time which my wife says will never happen again as she has seen hundreds of hours lost in the past due to the re-certification exams. I have lost entire weeks of my life for this certification scam.

The human cost of MOC is not fully exposed and must be. The hundreds of hours of our scarce free time is lost for trivial pursuit that we all know does NOT improve patient care ( 2 JAMA studies 2014 prove this ) . The psychological toll of fear , potential loss of income and actual loss of money on this coercion is glossed over, as if we were all CEOs making $4million a year at a non-profit hospital.

I never see written interviews of the families who suffer the absence of a parent who is hostage to recertification /MOC; what does it do to them? This abuse has to end now . People call us doctor which seems to elevate us but in reality we have become almost slaves. One of my long times friends finally got his BA degree and he runs a hospital physician system that employs 22 MD/DOs ; they have to answer to him . So much for the doctor title.

Ken Lee , Internal Medicine, private practice.