Take a Team Approach to Managing Incoming Regulations

10/26/16
An alphabet soup of regulations, guidelines and standards, all competing for resources, some financial and almost all involving human capital to implement and execute, are coming at clinicians and hospital administrators faster than the F-18s that fly over my neighborhood in Virginia Beach. The speed and pace of change in our industry have managers’ and staffs’ heads spinning. The first challenge is staying on top of the information that is coming fast and furious while also... More

Unraveling of the Public Health Insurance Exchange Markets: Now What?

10/21/16
In the early spring, we smelled smoke in the public health insurance exchange markets. There were accounts of consumers stopping payments on their premiums and a few notable insurers were reporting financial losses. Those early signs of smoke have given way to a raging, 5-alarm fire that threatens to bring the roof down on the 11 million Americans who buy their health coverage on the exchanges—along with the doctors and hospitals who care for them. More

A Hammer, a Chisel and a Bus Token

10/12/16
The news of Dartmouth’s withdrawal from the accountable care organization (ACO) program, as reported in a recent article in The New York Times, caught many by surprise since the ACO model can be traced back to concepts initially proposed by Dartmouth researchers. Citing unsustainable financial results, Dartmouth discontinued its participation in the federal ACO program. More

Another Drug Shortage. Another Price Hike?

09/24/16
While attending the National Nuclear Security Administration 2016 Mo-99 conference in St. Louis last week, I learned of a report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NAS) citing the 50% likelihood of a shortage of molybdenum-99 (Mo-99). Mo-99 is used to produce technetium-99m (Tc-99m), which is used in millions of diagnostic procedures annually. More

A Systematic Approach to Caring for the Chronically Ill

09/21/16
Health care spending in the U.S. exceeds $3 trillion per year and 10% of the population – the chronically ill – accounts for approximately 60% of that cost. Those patients are distinguished by their complex medical conditions that often require costly interventions. As noted in a previous Vizient blog, more than two-thirds of Medicare beneficiaries have multiple chronic diseases and a staggering 93% of total Medicare spending goes toward beneficiaries with multiple chronic... More

As Your Mother Might Say ... Elections Have Consequences

09/14/16
Consider this your public service announcement for the day: VOTE! Given the current political climate, I would not presume to enter the debate over which of our presidential candidates should be in the White House come 2017; we could certainly discuss that for hours ... or days ... or for the next four years. However, regardless of anyone’s opinion on our candidates, the fact remains that we will have a new president in less than 60 days and thus, changes are on the way. More

The Hurricane That Never Came

09/14/16
In 1989, the National Weather Service retired its coastal warning display system in favor of electronic communication and other technological advances. For more than 100 years prior, colored pennants, flags and lights were used to warn mariners of impending storms. In the 19th century, those warnings often came as the result of sailors having beaten a path to port ahead of storms they had seen with their own eyes. More

New Episode Payment Model Furthers CMS’ Goal for Provider Alignment

09/12/16
Continuing with the effort to build on value-based payments, the recent announcement by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) regarding the new Episode Payment Models (EPM) for acute myocardial infarction (AMI) and coronary artery bypass grafting (CABG) reinforces the their long-held belief that physician alignment is the key component for the transition to value-based care. More

When Specialty Drugs Are No Longer in the Minority

09/02/16
One of the areas of greatest concern for pharmacy practice, in terms of both cost and impact on patient care, is the increasing development of pharmaceuticals that could be classified as “specialty.” While there is no universally accepted definition of a specialty drug, most characterizations include attributes such as: • High cost • Limited extent of use • Technical complexity of delivery and/or administration • Treatment of complex and/or... More