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Care Delivery


Trained community or lay health workers (LHW) helped a rural hospital in Kentucky lowered its 30-day readmission rates among a high-risk population by almost 48 percent, according to a study published in Health Education Research.

Anthem has been criticized and even sued over policies in several states where it won’t pay for emergency room visits it later determines to be unnecessary. The insurer has now softened those restrictions, but American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP) said the changes don’t go far enough.

Purdue Pharma, best known for making and selling OxyContin, announced Feb. 10 that it will stop marketing opioid drugs to physicians. The company also stated it will lay off half of its sales force, with the remaining staff of 200 focusing on other medications.

Medicaid patients face a host of challenges in accessing care, with reliable, timely transportation often being a major consideration. A recently published study, though, showed rates of missed primary care appointments were unaffected when Medicaid patients were offered free ridesharing services.

Some 11.8 million people signed up for coverage through the Affordable Care Act (ACA)’s insurance exchanges for 2018, down from 12.2 million the year before. Considering changes that were expected to depress enrollment—like HHS shortening the open enrollment period for and cutting its advertising budget by 90 percent—signups “remained generally stable,” according to a report from the National Academy for State Health Policy (NASHP).


Recent Headlines

Hospital and physician office visits increase thanks to the Affordable Care Act

When the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act is fully implemented, hospital outpatient departments will see a 2.6 percent increase in visits and primary care providers will see a 3.8 percent increase in visits, according to a new Commonwealth Fund analysis.

Physician shortages expected to grow in the next decade

During the next decade, physician demand will grow at a faster rate than supply, causing a shortage of primary care and specialty doctors at a time when the health of U.S. citizens is declining and the average age of the population is increasing.

Popular hospital rating systems differ in terms of quality and safety measures

Four hospital rating systems aimed at consumers vary in their conclusions on how facilities are performing because each uses its own methodology.

Hospital outpatient departments and physician offices differ in treatments and costs

Patients who receive non-emergent medical care in a hospital outpatient department are more likely to be minority, poorer and have more severe chronic conditions than patients treated in physician offices, according to an American Hospital Association report.

CMS seeks comment on advanced primary care models

CMS is asking for comments through March 16 to test primary care models and move toward more value-based payments instead of the traditional fee-for-service approach.

Physicians receive increased payments for value-based care

For 2015, nearly 7,000 physicians in 14 group practices are receiving an increase in their Medicare payments because they met quality of care goals and kept costs down.

New initiative focuses on value-based care and other alternative payment models

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has established a new initiative that would bring together various healthcare stakeholders and focus on transitioning to value-based care and other payment models.

Hospitals, doctors sharing medical records with patients

As of December 2014, nearly five million patients in the U.S. had received online access to their clinicians’ notes.

Uninsured rate falls in 2014 to lowest point in at least seven years

The uninsured rate fell to 13.8 percent last year, the lowest annualized rate in the seven years of the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index measurement.

Patients prefer physicians who wear formal attire

Patients preferred physicians who wore formal attire in the majority of studies evaluated by researchers conducting a systematic review of published literature.