Tag: Uncategorized

Do the Dems Have the Money to Pay for Reform?


Robert Laszweski has been a fixture in Washington
health policy circles for the better part of three decades. He
currently serves as the president of Health Policy and Strategy
Associates of Alexandria, Virginia. You can read more of his thoughtful
analysis of healthcare industry trends at The Health Policy and Marketplace Blog.

If I knew anything about computer graphics I'd post this really neat picture of a meter–sort of like a your car's gas gauge.

The full point would represent the cost of a health care bill–somewhere in the $1.2 trillion to $1.5 trillion range.

Each time someone put up scoreable savings I'd post it toward achieving the ultimate objective.

So, you will have to imagine my meter.

Here's where I think we stand today.

First, the President's original budget proposing to cut $309 billion over ten years from providers–including a lot from Medicare HMOs and elder care providers–looks to me to be on track to end up in any final bill and scoreable.

So, I feel pretty confident about posting $309 billion on my health care reform meter–the tank is about a quarter full.

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Calendar: NIH Conference on the Future of Telehealth June 25-26, 2009

The National Center for Research Resources (NCRR) at the National Institutes of Health (NIH), in collaboration with Internet2 and the American Telemedicine Association presents: The Future of Telehealth: Essential Tools and Technologies for Clinical Research and Care

This two-day event will bring together stakeholders from government agencies, academic institutions, health care organizations and technology companies to:

  • Review the state of telehealth science and technology
  • Identify gaps in knowledge that can be addressed through targeted research and evaluation initiatives
  • Explore ways to leverage evolving information and communication technologies to advance the field

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The Infrastructure Chronicles

 Paul Levy is the President and CEO of Beth Israel Deconess Medical
Center in Boston. He blogs about his
experiences at, Running a Hospital, one of the few blogs we know of maintained by a senior hospital executive.

Longwood+Bridge-1A recent Boston Globe story
by Stephanie Ebbert about squabbling between two state agencies
involved in the rehabilitation of a local bridge has prompted me to
start a new occasional series on this blog. People who don't know about
my lives before health care may not know that I am an infrastructure
junkie. For reasons my daughters consider very odd, I love roads,
bridges, sewage treatment plants, electricity cables, and the like. If
you are not interested in this topic, stop reading, but from time to
time, I'm going to relate stories to you about this field, but mainly
positive ones, where creative public officials and others have made the
fabric of urban life better for the public — in ways that never, ever
make the newspapers.

Here's the first. Back in 1999 or so, I was
Administrative Dean at Harvard Medical School. Connie Cepko, one of our
faculty members, called one day. Her complaint: Riding to work on her
bicycle every day, she noticed that the Longwood Avenue bridge over the
Muddy River and the MBTA tracks was full of dangerous potholes. What
could I do about this, she wondered.

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The Kennedy Plan

Roger collier this past weekend included news of what it described as Senator Ted Kennedy’s
reemergence in the health care reform debate, with proposals “distinctly
to the left” of those of Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus.
It also included the staff
working paper
being circulated among members of Kennedy’s
Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee, and which presumably
reflects Kennedy’s positions. 

The Politico report and a parallel piece in the New York
both claimed significant policy differences
between Kennedy and Baucus, reflecting Kennedy’s liberalism and Baucus’
more moderate (or conservative, depending on one’s politics) views.
The New York Times focused on the public plan issue as a defining difference
between the two senators, and noted Baucus’ efforts to develop compromises
with Republicans as potentially moving a Senate Finance reform bill
further to the right. So, what’s the truth? 

Comparison of Finance Committee comments
with those of the HELP Committee working paper does show differences,
but in most cases ones of nuance. The working paper is often vague
on details (What are “reasonable limits” for premium variations?
is there any real evidence of the effectiveness of “medical homes”?)
but it is also quite comprehensive in scope, including a major section
on long-term care, something that has been almost totally ignored in
the reform debate. Other than the long-term care issue, though, there
is little in the HELP paper that is truly at odds with the Finance Committee’s
own policy outline—the November 2008 White Paper.

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Calendar: Health 2.0 NYC Chapter June 11, 2009 Meeting Announced

This post was submitted by Eugene Borukhovich, of the New York Healthcare Technology Organization – Health 2.0 New York Chapter

The last meetup had a great turnout and we are gearing up to have the 99%
"show-up rate" once again! Please make sure to RSVP and please make it
firm since we have limited seating. Space will be opened up to 55
members but it will be tight so please only breath when you need to 🙂
(Disclaimer: that was not a medical advice).

June Presenters:1. HealthWorldWeb, LLC – Dan Kogan, CEODan will present a private beta launch of our reincarnation MyHealthExperience.comMyHealthExperience helps healthcare consumers identify best resources and providers of healthcare by virtual word of mouth

2. Hello Health – Jay Parkinson, MD + MPHJay does not need any introductions as he is "The Doctor of the Future"Hello Health
is a revolutionary new experience with your neighborhood doctor. They
mix office and online visits to give you personal attention when and
how you want it.

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Call for Submissions:

2.0 is working on a new documentary focusing on the experience and
outcomes of patients using Health 2.0 tools and technologies to manage
their health. We are currently looking for both enthusiastic users of
online services and innovative Health 2.0 companies to participate in
this exciting project.

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Kaiser Health News Debuts Today and Features an Important Insight Into a Likely Health Care Bill


Kaiser Health News (KHN) debuted today and is a critically important addition to America's debate over health care reform.As the media has downsized in recent years, we have lost many reporters who were health care specialists. KHN
will provide news outlets across the country with an important
specialized source of solid reporting from an organization that has
come to be known as uniquely expert and unbiased.In their inaugural issue today, Julie Appleby has an interesting interview with Nancy Ann DeParle, the President's point person on reform.

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Calendar: Tufts Summer Institute on Web Strategies for Health Communication

What do millions of people do online and why does this matter to
healthcare? That question, and many related ones about how to take
advantage of the Web for health communication, will be answered in a
new course offered by Tufts University School of Medicine on Web
Strategy for Health Communication
This one-week intensive course will be offered July 19-24 to help heath
communication professionals develop, justify, and implement a coherent
Web strategy for their organization.
Students will learn from Tufts faculty and industry experts, including:
will learn best practices through case studies from leading healthcare
organizations. For some organizations, including Consumer Reports
Health, they will conduct Web strategy "makeovers". "Our challenge is
how to leverage our trusted brand to engage consumers online, explain
the scientific evidence behind their healthcare options, and ultimately
empower them to change their behavior so that they can live healthier
lives," said Tara Montgomery, who will be presented with the results
from student teams.

Another case study is Families for Depression Awareness.
“We started a Facebook page hoping it would bring more people to our
Web site but we don’t think it’s working,” Ritu Gill, Staff Member.
They also use twitter
but have one person they are following (moi), two tweets, and three
followers. Given limited staff and budget, how can they best use their
resources to help patients?

Other case studies are from the Road
Back Foundation, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, CureTogether,
Weight Watchers, and While the organizations differ in
many respects, they share the goal of how to best leverage Web
technologies today and in the future.

For more information go to:

Helping Each Other Take Care of Each Other

Steve Adams

  • How many billions of dollars in volunteer health care services are donated in this country?
  • How can HIT stimulus dollars help to provide development of businesses or business models that provide an economic multiplier effect to the value of volunteer health services work?
  • How can volunteer health care services be attached to the coordinated care team? (Clinicians, family, friends, volunteers)

I attended a “Health Fair” today.  I confess that it is the first one I have experienced.  While I have been working in health care information technology longer than I will admit, I have been aware of “health fairs” but never actually participated.  I have always been able to afford health insurance throughout my adult life and in my childhood my parents had access to employer sponsored health coverage.  When I am due for a check up or need other attention to my aging body, I have been quite fortunate to have very talented and dedicated physicians and other providers who accommodate me and take care of me.

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