Tag: Uncategorized

What “reform” legislation will achieve

This from single payer advocate Don McCanne whose quote of the day is a rich source of nuggets. He gave a talk in Orange County (California’s equivalent of Kansas)

Health Care Council of Orange CountyJune 11, 2009Annual MeetingKeynote: “Health Care Reform – What Has to Be Done”By Don McCanne, M.D.Opening questions directed to the audience:How many here believe that it is probable – not certain, but probable – that Congress will pass health care reform and President Obama will sign it this year?(Most individuals raised a hand)How many believe that the legislation will provide insurance coverage to everyone or almost everyone?(Not one hand went up)How many believe that the legislation will be effective in slowing the rate of health care cost increases?(Not one hand went up)

Sounds about right to me.

On a side note, I had a great talk with Hal Luft yesterday which will be on THCB next week. Hal had an interesting perspective on whether we should aim for 100% coverage or slightly less. Basically if we get to 100% of citizens covered, then it’ll be easy to cut the funding to safety-net providers who are looking after the homeless, the mentally ill, the destitute and many undocumented aliens (and lots of documented ones too). If we aim for say 98%, then we could justify keeping the safety net providers in a separate system and the 10 million or so (2–3%) of undocumented aliens in the country would at least have somewhere to go for their care.

Can’t say it’s my preferred solution, but it’s an interesting point.

Health Care Cooperatives–An Old New Idea–So What’s a Blue Cross Plan?

6a00d8341c909d53ef01157023e340970b-pi As opposition to a Medicare-like public health plan option grows, there has been a lot of talk about the compromise idea of creating not-for-profit health insurance cooperatives
that would compete on a level playing field with existing private
insurers. The reasoning goes they would keep the existing insurers
"honest" by introducing a new element of competition.That's a great idea.And it was a great idea 60 years ago when the first Blue Cross plans were established.

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Problems with IE? Try Firefox or earlier versions of I.E.

For those of you using certain versions of Internet Explorer, we’re having some significant problems in the last day or so on THCB getting things like the right hand margins to appear, getting videos to appear and play properly, etc. (Issue seems to be limited to I.E. 8.)  For now, these appear to be resisting the easy fix, BUT the good news is that everything is working fine in FireFox. So to those of you having trouble, can we suggest you use FireFox for the moment to view THCB and we hope to have regular service resumed soon.

A Special Reform Edition of Health Wonk Review


Over at Managed Care Matters, the always thoughtful and energetic Joe Paduda has, once again, done us all a service. Tasked with hosting this edition of Health Wonk Review, he has assembled a great range of pieces on the current reform process, which make for enlightening, entertaining and sober reading. This one is useful, provocative and very educational. Check it out!

Alex Drane — Engage with Grace

Alex Drane is at AHIP in San Diego and she’s talking not about Eliza, or health plans, but is talking about Engage with Grace. It’s a wonderful interview, although Alex knows that associating end of life care with reducing costs makes me very nervous. BUT the point is, talk about it, give people the tools to make the choice. And people’s choices will as she says dovetail in general with less rather than more care at the end-of-life. And if they want more rather than less, that’s fine—so long as it’s a purposeful decision.

Listen to Alex describe the movement, and what the topic’s meant to her family. And then visit the web site at

Click here to watch the interview.

Launch! Calorie Tracker

LiveStrong is the second in our series of companies that presented at Launch! at the Health 2.0 Meets Ix conference in Boston in April. With the help of the Lance Armstrong Foundation, has created a way of setting goals and tracking calories on the go. And yes it’s new (which is the point of Launch!). Watch the short video below to get an idea and investigate further over at

HIT Adoption – Alignment & Simplification


David Hartzband is a Lecturer in Engineering
Systems at MIT, teaching courses in large-scale software systems and Director of Technology Research at the RCHN Community
Health Foundation. In his role at the Foundation, Dr. Hartzband spearheads the
organization’s continued evaluation, assessment and findings
dissemination related to health information technology.

if we didn't know already, most of the leadership of Health and Human
Services has now weighed in on the importance of health information
technology (HIT) in realizing goals for health care improvement and
reform. HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said in a House Ways and means
Committee hearing on May 6th that “health IT is critical
to health reform”. To her credit, she also said that “just shifting
our paperwork to computers won't work, unless we make sure they can
talk to each other.” We also know that substantial amounts of money
will be available through the ARRA and other sources for acquisition
of electronic heath care records systems (EHR) as well as incentives
to Medicare and Medicaid providers for meaningful use of such systems.
Those of us who have worked in HIT, for even short amounts of time,
realize that there is a step missing in this progression: acquisition,—–,
meaningful use. That missing step is the adoption of technology, and
adoption is considerably more difficult than either of these other steps.

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Cool Technology of the Week

Picture 1 This week’s Cool Technology is not about a product, but a concept.

I’ve had numerous companies (more than 5) approach me in the last 90 days with a product in development that I’ll call “Image Exchange in the Cloud”.

One of the great challenges we have in healthcare is that radiology/cardiology/GI/pulmonary/Ob-Gyn images are not easily sharable between organizations. Although DICOM is a generally accepted standard, there is not an easy to use health information exchange in most communities to send DICOM data from place to place.

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The Mission 2 End Diabetes

CHRISTUS St. Frances Cabrini Hospital is proud to present its Mission
to End Diabetes contest. When you have a moment, hop over to and have a look at the innovative contest
they've organized. You can send in your ingenious ideas in one of the
following four areas: (1). Improved ways to evaluate diabetes, (2)
More simplified ways to diagnose diabetes, (3.) Better treatment
options for diabetes, (4.) Any combinations of the above.

You'll also be able to read other people's questions and blogs and
then comment on them in the Discussion section of the website. Top
winner will receive a $20,000.00 cash prize and the possible
implementation of their idea with CHRISTUS St. Frances Cabrini.
Here is the official contest information:

The CHRISTUS Heritage:
In 1999, two historic Catholic charities became one, forming CHRISTUS
Health (facility map) and creating a unique purpose in the modern
health care market — to take better care of people. Ranked among the
top 10 Catholic health systems in the United States by size, the
CHRISTUS Health system includes more than 40 hospitals and facilities
in six American states and Mexico, with assets of more than $4.1

The Mission:

Today, we at CHRISTUS St. Frances Cabrini Hospital have a new purpose
— a mission to end diabetes. However, no one can do this alone, and so
we are inviting you to work with us on this special mission. CHRISTUS
St. Frances Cabrini Hospital is holding an international contest and
inviting inventors, entrepreneurs, and researchers from around the
world to participate. The rules are simple: Develop and submit a
proposal for a program that will aid in the evaluation, diagnosis and
treatment of diabetes in a rural area such as central Louisiana. The
program must be able to track results and outcomes within a budget of

The Prizes:
The first place winner(s) will be awarded a cash prize of $20,000 The
second place winner will receive a cash prize of $15,000 and the third
place winner will win a cash prize of $5,000.

For more info, go to