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National Health Expenditures Continued Slow Growth in 2013

Health spending continued to grow at a slow rate last year the Office of the Actuary (OACT) at the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) reported today. In 2013, health spending grew at 3.6 percent and total national health expenditures in the United States reached $2.9 trillion, or $9,255 per person. The annual OACT report showed health spending continued a pattern of low growth—between 3.6 percent and 4.1– percent for five consecutive years. The report is being published today in Health Affairs.

The recent low rates of national health spending growth coincide with modest growth in Gross Domestic Product (GDP), which averaged 3.9 percent per year since the end of the severe economic recession in 2010. As a result, the share of the economy devoted to health remained unchanged over this period at 17.4 percent.

“This report is another piece of evidence that our efforts to reform the health care delivery system are working,” said CMS Administrator Marilyn Tavenner. “To keep this momentum going, we are continuing our efforts to shift toward paying for care in ways that reward providers who achieve better outcomes and lower costs.”

Total national health spending slowed from 4.1 percent growth in 2012 to 3.6 percent in 2013.  The report attributes the 0.5 percentage point slowdown in health care spending growth to slower growth in private health insurance, Medicare, and investment in medical structures and equipment spending.  However, faster growth in Medicaid spending helped to partially offset the slowdown.

Other findings from the report:

  • Medicare spending, which represented 20 percent of national health spending in 2013, grew 3.4 percent to $585.7 billion, a slowdown from growth of 4.0 percent in 2012. This slowdown was primarily caused by a deceleration in Medicare enrollment growth, as well as net impacts from the Affordable Care Act and sequestration.  Per-enrollee Medicare spending grew at about the same rate as 2012, increasing just 0.2 percent in 2013.
  • Spending on private health insurance premiums (a 33 percent share of total health care spending) reached $961.7 billion in 2013, and increased 2.8 percent, slower than the 4.0 percent growth in 2012. The slower rate of growth reflected low enrollment growth in private health insurance plans, the continued shift of enrollees to high-deductible health plans and other benefit design changes, low underlying medical benefit trends, and the impacts of the Affordable Care Act.
  • Medicaid spending grew 6.1 percent in 2013 to $449.4 billion, an acceleration from 4.0 percent growth in 2012. Faster Medicaid growth in 2013 was driven in part by increases in provider reimbursement rates, some states’ expanding benefits, and early Medicaid expansion.
  • Out-of-pocket spending (which includes direct consumer payments such as copayments, deductibles, spending by the insured on services not covered by insurance, and spending by those without health insurance) grew 3.2 percent in 2013 to $339.4 billion, slightly slower than annual growth of 3.6 percent in both 2011 and 2012.
  • Among health care goods and services, slower growth in spending for hospital care and physician and clinical services contributed to slower growth in national health care spending in 2013. However, faster spending growth for retail prescription drugs in 2013 partially offset the overall slowdown.
  • Hospital spending increased 4.3 percent to $936.9 billion in 2013 compared to 5.7 percent growth in 2012. The lower growth in 2013 was influenced by slower growth in both price and non-price factors (which include the use and intensity of services). Growth in private health insurance and Medicare hospital spending decelerated in 2013 compared to 2012.
  • Spending for physician and clinical services increased 3.8 percent in 2013 to $586.7 billion, from 4.5 percent growth in 2012. Slower price growth in 2013 was the main cause of the slowdown, as prices grew less than 0.1 percent. Growth in spending from private health insurance and Medicare, the two largest payers of physician and clinical services, experienced slower spending growth in 2013, while Medicaid growth accelerated as a result of temporary increases in payments to primary care physicians.
  • Retail prescription drug spending accelerated in 2013, growing 2.5 percent to $271.1 billion, compared to 0.5 percent growth in 2012. Faster growth in 2013 resulted from price increases for brand-name and specialty drugs, increased spending on new medicines, and increased utilization.
  • In 2013, households accounted for the largest share of spending (28 percent), followed by the federal government (26 percent), private businesses (21 percent), and state and local governments (17 percent).

Since 2010, the share of health spending financed by the federal government decreased—from 28 percent to 26 percent in 2013. At the same time, the share financed by state and local governments increased—from 16 percent in 2010 to 17 percent in 2013. These shifts resulted primarily from the June 2011 expiration of additional Medicaid funding provided by the federal government to the states through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.

The report includes all of the net impacts of the Affordable Care Act provisions as well as the budget sequester through 2013.  The Affordable Care Act provisions that exerted downward pressure in 2013 were:

  • productivity adjustments for Medicare fee-for-service payments
  • reduced Medicare Advantage base payment rates
  • increased Medicaid prescription drug rebates
  • the medical loss ratio requirement for private insurers

The Affordable Care Act provisions that exerted upward pressure in 2013 included:

  • early Medicaid expansion initiatives
  • a temporary increase in Medicaid primary care provider payments
  • reducing the size of the Medicare Part D donut hole
  • the implementation of prescription drug industry fees

The OACT report will appear at http://www.cms.gov/Research-Statistics-Data-and-Systems/Statistics-Trends-and-Reports/NationalHealthExpendData/NationalHealthAccountsHistorical.html

December 3, 2014 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Vermont Selects Edifecs to Integrate its IT Systems with Vermont’s Health Insurance Exchange (HIX)

Off-the-Shelf Integration Solution will Help Insurer  Maximize Opportunity, Minimize  Disruption and Deliver a Smooth Experience to Individuals and Small Business Participating on the Exchange

BELLEVUE, Wash.—May 22, 2013— Today, Edifecs, Inc., a leading healthcare solutions provider specializing in healthcare information management and compliance technology, announced that Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Vermont (BCBS of VT) has chosen the company as its technology integration partner in anticipation for preparing to  integrate with Vermont Health Connect, the state’s health insurance exchange (HIX). Beginning in October of this year, more than 100,000 Vermont residents, individuals and small groups with 50 or fewer employees, will be required to transition to Vermont Health Connect for their health care coverage as part of what may be the largest open enrollment period in history nationwide. Health insurance exchanges are mandated as part of the Affordable Care Act.

BCBS of VT is deploying the Edifecs HIX Integration Solution, a hosted solution that integrates member enrollment and billing transactions among insurers, state health insurance exchanges and the federal government to reduce the implementation and operational risk of participating on an HIX. Of key concern for health plans during the first year or two of operating on an HIX are the expected changes and disruptions that will occur as state exchanges, the federal government and the healthcare industry work toward stable and predictable processes and system integration.

The Edifecs HIX Integration Solution serves as a “guardian” for a health plan’s HIX business—shielding and monitoring interactions with HIXs, financial institutions and the federal government. It ensures that only accurate and timely information is sent to core membership systems or reported to the federal government.

“As is the case with most of the health plan industry, we continue to be concerned about the operational readiness of the State and the Federal Governments HIX technical integration with us and we are doing everything we can to not let that impact the consumer experience and to ensure our members and all eligible Vermonters are able to enroll on day one,” said Dan Galdenzi, CIO of BCBS of VT.

“To feel more comfortable implementing a project as large as the State’s exchange in such an abbreviated time period we chose Edifecs for its ability to help reduce the impact on our existing IT infrastructure and streamline our integration timeline. Edifecs is a proven partner of ours and their experience with enrollment and claims management made this solution the right technology fit for BCBS of VT.”

Healthcare industry experts view HIXs as central to the effectiveness of the Affordable Care Act because they provide an online marketplace where consumers can shop for, compare and purchase health insurance. According to a recent survey of healthcare professionals at the 2013 Healthcare Mandate Summit, HIX participation in 2014 will be high. The survey also revealed the country’s health insurers are confident they will be ready by the October 1, 2013 launch deadline, but have reservations about how HIXs will be implemented and run.

“While most of the country is focused on the scheduled open enrollment date, the real challenge comes with the operational changes to the business and the long term sustainability of participation in the exchanges,” said Sunny Singh, CEO of Edifecs. “Edifecs is committed to supporting Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Vermont through the process of readying its IT systems for the state exchange, maintaining an outstanding member experience, and ensuring the long term success of its participation.”

BCBS of VT has taken a leading role in helping Vermont residents understand their health insurance options on the new HIX. It recently launched a new phone line staffed by trained representatives who can answer questions and provide detailed information about Vermont Connect. BCBS of VT has also held more than 35 community meetings all across the state with more than 1,600 small businesses and has many more planned in the weeks and months ahead.

In addition to the new phone line and trained staff, the company will also host webinars, enrollment meetings and provide one-on-one support at a new retail location in South Burlington, which opens in early May to help Vermonters find the coverage that is right for them.

On January 1, 2014, enrolled members will start using their health benefits, which means all qualified health plans, benefit tiers and payment contracts must be loaded and integrated with insurer IT systems to ensure members receive appropriate benefits and providers are paid promptly.

About BCBS of VT

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Vermont is the state’s oldest and largest health insurer, providing coverage for about 180,000 Vermonters. It employs about 340 Vermonters at its headquarters in Berlin and branch office in South Burlington, and offers group and individual health plans. More information about Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Vermont is available on the Internet the Internet at www.bcbsvt.com. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Vermont is an independent corporation operating under a license with the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, an association of independent Blue Cross and Blue Shield Plans.

About Edifecs, Inc.

An industry leader since 1996, Edifecs provides healthcare software solutions that improve operational performance by streamlining the exchange of information among health plans, hospitals, and other healthcare organizations, while enabling compliance with current mandates such as HIPAA, Operating Rules and ICD-10.

Today, more than 250 healthcare customers use Edifecs technology to unify transactions from any information channel source and input mechanism, while automating manual business processes such as enrollment, claims and payments management.

Edifecs is currently recognized as one of the 100 Fastest Growing Private Companies in the state of Washington, 100 Best Places to Work in the state of Washington, an Inc. 5000 fastest-growing private company and one of the 500 Fastest Growing Companies in North America by Deloitte. Edifecs is headquartered in Bellevue, WA. For more information, please visit http://www.edifecs.com.

June 7, 2013 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

Study: Health Insurance Exchanges Represent Immense Opportunity and Potential Risk for Health Insurers

Survey of 2013 Healthcare Mandate Summit Attendees Reveals Major Concerns, Though the Vast Majority Still Plan to Participate as Early as 2014

Bellevue, WA (PRWEB) February 20, 2013

Coming on the heels of last week’s deadline for states to inform the federal government of whether they intend to leverage a partnership health insurance exchange (HIX) or participate on the federally facilitated exchange, a study released today by Edifecs, Inc., shows that health insurers recognize both the promise and peril of HIXs. At the recent 2013 Healthcare Mandate Summit, more than 95 percent of senior healthcare professionals surveyed said they plan to participate in at least one HIX. Of those, a surprisingly large majority—80 percent—will do so in 2014. However, the study also reveals skepticism among respondents that state or federal exchanges will be ready to launch by the October 1, 2013 deadline. And once HIXs are up and running, respondents fear potential disruption to existing IT infrastructure and the difficulties in reconciling premium, enrollment and payment records from the HIXs.

Healthcare industry experts view HIXs as central to the effectiveness of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) because they provide an online marketplace where consumers can shop for, compare and purchase health insurance. The Congressional Budget Office projects that nearly 12 million Americans will buy health insurance via an HIX in 2014(1).

The potential upside for a health insurer participating in an HIX is significant. According to a November 2011 PwC Health Research Institute report, the 12 million people who buy insurance through an HIX in 2014 will together pay approximately $60 billion in premiums. By 2019, those figures will grow to 28 million consumers paying nearly $200 billion in premiums(2).

The special report, “HIX Insights from the 2013 Healthcare Mandate Summit,” includes survey results from more than 125 senior healthcare professionals attending the 2013 Healthcare Mandate Summit that took place February 4-6 in Austin, Texas. The report reveals that while HIX participation will be high and the country’s health insurers are confident they will be ready by the launch deadline, they also have reservations about how HIXs will be implemented and run.

Key findings from the 2013 Healthcare Mandate Summit special report on HIX include:

    • Health insurers recognize the HIX opportunity and are taking preparations very seriously. When asked about their plans for participating in an HIX, 80 percent reported they plan to participate on an exchange in 2014—the first year HIXs will offer coverage and expected to be one of the largest open enrollments in history. When asked about meeting the October 2013 deadline, 70 percent of respondents said they were “very confident” or “somewhat confident” that their organization would be ready.

 

 

    • There is an urgent, immediate need for more information sharing and collaboration among health insurers and the HIXs they plan to join. Like any major business or technology project, transparency with stakeholders is imperative. However, most of the survey respondents reported a lack of good information coming from the state exchanges they are targeting for participation. Sixty-nine percent rate the quality of information as “poor” or “very poor.” In addition, an overwhelming 93 percent expressed a strong desire for exchanges to solicit input from them on how to define and operate their enrollment processes.

 

 

  • Health insurers are far more concerned about the ongoing challenges of operating on an exchange than the process of actually joining one. Each state has considerable leeway in determining how it will run its exchange, which means health insurers operating on multiple state exchanges face the daunting task of supporting multiple exchange formats and added levels of complexity. Just over 31 percent of those surveyed indicated they plan to participate on three to five exchanges, with another 15 percent planning to participate on more than eight.

 

“The message we heard from Summit attendees is that while compliance with mandates such as Health Insurance Exchanges is no easy feat, there are considerable benefits to be gained, including increasing member enrollment,” said Jamie Gier, vice president of Corporate Marketing for Edifecs. “The value of the Healthcare Mandate Summit was in helping healthcare organizations confirm whether they are on the right path toward compliance and where they can improve. And as the results of the survey demonstrate, many health insurers are embracing the opportunities that exchanges can provide.”

To download the report, visit http://www.edifecs.com/downloads/2013SummitSpecialReport_HIXs.pdf .

About the Report: “HIX Insights from the 2013 Healthcare Mandate Summit”
The survey was conducted among health insurers and healthcare provider attendees of the 2013 Healthcare Mandate Summit, an industry conference hosted by Edifecs that took place February 4-6, 2013 in Austin, Texas. The results are from a survey of more than 125 senior healthcare professionals—each of whom self-selected which questions they chose to answer, and this accounts for the variation in sample size by question. All respondents are actively involved in their organization’s compliance initiatives and carry significant responsibility for ensuring compliance with government mandates. Attendees represented a wide range of healthcare organizations, including commercial health insurers (68%), healthcare providers (11%), government entities and agencies (9%), and other healthcare industry organizations (12%).

The survey is not based on a probability sample, and therefore, no estimate of theoretical sampling error can be calculated. All decimals in this report are rounded to the nearest percentage point. This may result in certain numerical totals adding up to slightly more or slightly less than 100 percent.

The estimates and opinions expressed in this report are based on the survey results only, and the results do not purport to represent all entities or professionals in the healthcare industry.

About Edifecs, Inc.
An industry leader since 1996, Edifecs provides healthcare software solutions that improve operational performance by streamlining the exchange of information among health plans, hospitals, and other healthcare organizations, while enabling compliance with current mandates such as HIPAA, Operating Rules and ICD-10.

Today, more than 250 healthcare customers use Edifecs technology to unify transactions from any information channel source and input mechanism, while automating manual business processes such as enrollment, claims and payments management.

Edifecs is currently recognized as one of the 100 Fastest Growing Private Companies in the state of Washington, 100 Best Places to Work in the state of Washington, an Inc. 5000 fastest-growing private company and one of the 500 Fastest Growing Companies in North America by Deloitte. Edifecs is headquartered in Bellevue, WA. For more information, please visit http://www.edifecs.com.

February 22, 2013 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

HIMSS, AHIMA Release Results of HIE Staffing Environmental Scan

CHICAGO, (February 11, 2013) – Healthcare information exchange (HIE) organizations have become prime employers for both aspiring and experienced health information technology (IT) and healthcare information management (HIM) professionals, with the escalation of healthcare reform initiatives, such as HITECH and the Affordable Care Act. Noting this trend, plus the need for more formal research on necessary education, training, resources, talent and experience to effectively and efficiently staff HIE organizations, HIMSS and the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) have released the findings of their 2012 HIE Staffing Model Environmental Scan.

HIMSS and AHIMA established a joint workgroup to explore both current and planned HIE staffing models with the goal of providing a clear understanding of the professional skill sets and experience critical to HIE organizational success.  Representatives from 35 HIE organizations, encompassing a wide range of sizes, locations, funding strategies and stages of implementation, responded to a detailed survey on their operational strategies, current staffing profiles and anticipated hiring needs.

 “The laudable goal of HIEs – to connect healthcare providers electronically to facilitate higher quality care – can only be realized if we ensure the right resources and staff are developed,” said AHIMA CEO Lynne Thomas Gordon, MBA, RHIA, CAE, FACHE, FAHIMA. “This study outlines recommendations for moving this industry forward.”

Trends in Health Information Exchange Organizational Staffing: AHIMA/HIMSS HIE Staffing Model Environmental Scan presents the results of this effort, including:

  • Detailed information on current and planned staffing for HIE organizations of all sizes, including the use of full-time, part-time, job-sharing, outsourcing and on-site contractor positions;
  • Trends in staffing needs across the life span of an HIE organization;
  • Use of federal programs, such as the HITECH Workforce Development Consortiums;
  • Common staffing challenges encountered by HIE organizations;
  • Recommendations for both HIE organizations and health IT professionals; and
  • Suggestions for future research.

“Deployment and effective use of information technology is complex, challenging work   requiring skilled staff.  This study provides unique insight into the world of HIE organizations, focused on skill sets and experiences required for today’s and future expectations.  This first study also sets a benchmark for additional workforce studies in this critical area,” says Carla Smith, MA, CNM, FHIMSS, Executive Vice President, HIMSS.

Access this environmental scan research through HIMSS and AHIMA.  For additional discussion on this topic, join the conversation in the HIMSS LinkedIn group and the AHIMA LinkedIn group.

About HIMSS     

HIMSS is a cause-based, not-for-profit organization exclusively focused on providing global leadership for the optimal use of information technology (IT) and management systems for the betterment of health and healthcare. Founded 52 years ago, HIMSS and its related organizations are headquartered in Chicago with additional offices in the United States, Europe and Asia. HIMSS represents more than 52,000 individual members, of which more than two thirds work in healthcare provider, governmental and not-for-profit organizations. HIMSS also includes over 600 corporate members and more than 225 not-for-profit partner organizations that share our mission of transforming healthcare through the best use of information technology and management systems. HIMSS frames and leads healthcare practices and public policy through its content expertise, professional development, research initiatives, and media vehicles designed to promote information and management systems’ contributions to improving the quality, safety, access, and cost-effectiveness of patient care. To learn more about HIMSS and to find out how to join us and our members in advancing our cause, please visit our website at www.himss.org.

About AHIMA

Celebrating its 85th anniversary this year, the American Health Information Management Association (AHIMA) represents more than 67,000 educated health information management professionals in the United States and around the world. AHIMA is committed to promoting and advocating for high quality research, best practices and effective standards in health information and to actively contributing to the development and advancement of health information professionals worldwide. AHIMA’s enduring goal is quality healthcare through quality information. www.ahima.org

February 14, 2013 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

California HealthCare Foundation President Mark Smith to Step Down

Founding leader of Oakland philanthropy will depart in late 2013

Dr. Mark D. Smith, who has led the California HealthCare Foundation (CHCF) since its founding, plans to step down as president and CEO at the end of year, the foundation announced today.

“It has been a great honor to lead the California HealthCare Foundation in its mission to improve the quality of health care for all Californians,” Smith said. “I leave the foundation knowing it is well positioned to continue this important work.”

During his tenure, Smith focused CHCF on catalyzing efforts to improve health care quality, promote greater access, and reduce the cost of care for the state’s most vulnerable and underserved residents. The Oakland-based philanthropy makes grants totaling approximately $37 million annually from a fund of $700 million. CHCF has granted over $500 million since Smith became the founding president and CEO in 1996.

“Mark Smith’s remarkable leadership over the last 16 years has focused the California HealthCare Foundation on a vision to improve the health care system where it matters most: in the clinics, the hospitals, doctors’ offices, and wherever Californians go to find care,” said Ian Morrison, PhD, chair of the CHCF Board of Directors. “While he recognized that the problems in health care are huge, Mark and his team were smart and innovative in targeting the foundation’s resources where they could most make a difference.”

Smith, 61, a physician and expert on state and national health policy, will continue his work as a member of the clinical faculty at the University of California, San Francisco, and as an attending physician at the Positive Health Program for AIDS care at San Francisco General Hospital, where he has practiced since 1992, including during his tenure at CHCF.

Under Smith’s leadership, CHCF focused on improving the way health care is delivered and financed in California through a number of initiatives, including:

Promoting research and policy analysis. From its founding, CHCF has supported sound decisionmaking using evidenced-based research and nonpartisan policy analysis. CHCF has become a prolific publisher on issues of quality, access, and the financing of care covering both the commercial and public sectors.

Promoting transparency. The foundation has made significant investments in supporting transparency in health care delivery through publicly reporting quality data on hospitals, nursing homes, and long term care facilities, and building public websites that allow consumers to compare local facilities and provide health care leaders with benchmarks for improvement.

Improving clinical care. Smith focused attention on innovative ways to improve care delivery, including being an early proponent of using information technology at the point of care, challenging providers to deliver high-quality and cost-effective care, and promoting disruptive innovations like retail clinics and process redesign. He has also championed redefining the scope of work among clinical team members, to help ameliorate the need to train more doctors to do work that lower-cost members of the clinical team can deliver safely and effectively.

Training new leaders. The foundation initiated the CHCF Health Care Leadership Program at UC San Francisco in 2001. The two-year, part-time fellowship has trained 355 clinicians in management and leadership skills required to lead the state’s health care institutions in a rapidly changing and challenging environment. The program’s alumni now occupy leading positions in hospitals, clinics, medical groups, and government throughout the state.

Fostering innovation. The $10 million CHCF Health Innovation Fund helps accelerate innovation in care delivery by investing in new and emerging companies focused on lowering costs and improving access to care. While supporting improvements to the health delivery system, CHCF also has focused on the rise of alternative care delivery models such as retail clinics and the adoption and effective use of information technology.

Modernizing enrollment. CHCF has been a leader in promoting more efficient and consumer-friendly ways for eligible Californians to enroll in public programs. In 1999 the foundation supported the development of the first web-based eligibility and enrollment application in the United States, which it licensed at no cost to the State of California. More recently CHCF led the successful national public-private development of a first-class user experience design to streamline enrollment under the Affordable Care Act (C. The foundation has also recently focused on supporting the implementation of the ACA in California, and continues to monitor and report on its progress.

Supporting health care reporting. Recognizing the important role that the media has in promoting improvements in health care, CHCF has devoted significant resources to supporting health care journalism. Since 1998, the foundation has produced California Healthline, a daily digest of news, analysis, and opinion on the state’s health care system. In 2009, the foundation established the CHCF Center for Health Reporting at the USC Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism, which collaborates with media across the state on in-depth, explanatory journalism on critical health care issues.

“Mark has built a strong staff that is set on a steady course, focusing on the medical delivery and financing systems in California, with an emphasis on quality improvement, increasing both access and efficiency, and addressing the unsustainable cost of care to individuals and society,” Morrison said. “The board expects the foundation to continue building on its successes in these areas.”

“There is still a lot of work to be done. While I will assist the board and staff in making a smooth transition to a new leader, I will also continue to look for ways to make our health care system work better for the people of California,” Smith said.

A native of New York City, Smith earned his bachelor’s degree in Afro-American studies at Harvard (1979), his medical doctorate from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (1983), and a master’s in business administration with a concentration in health care administration from the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania (1989).

Prior to joining CHCF, Smith was executive vice president at the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. He previously served as associate director of the AIDS Service and assistant professor of medicine and of health policy and management at Johns Hopkins University. He has served on the board of the National Business Group on Health, the performance measurement committee of the National Committee for Quality Assurance, and the editorial board of the Annals of Internal Medicine.

He was elected to the Institute of Medicine (IOM) of the National Academy of Sciences in 2001 and recently completed service as the chair of an IOM committee on “The Learning Health Care System in America,” which issued its report Best Care at Lower Cost in September 2012.

Smith will continue serving as CHCF’s president and CEO until a new leader is in place, which is expected by the end of 2013. The search for Smith’s successor will be conducted by the foundation’s board of directors. Inquiries should be directed to Carol Emmott of Russell Reynolds Associates at cemmott@russellreynolds.com or 415-352-3363.

About the California HealthCare Foundation

The California HealthCare Foundation works as a catalyst to fulfill the promise of better health care for all Californians. We support ideas and innovations that improve quality, increase efficiency, and lower the costs of care.

February 1, 2013 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.

GetWellNetwork Unveils the Future of Patient Engagement

As healthcare providers become more accountable and assume more risk across the care continuum, interactive patient care (IPC) will be essential in moving patient engagement well beyond the hospital walls in order to improve outcomes.  This video from GetWellNetwork illustrates how innovations in IPC will improve outcomes for patients and hospitals by becoming a part of everyday life.

With its interactive patient care technology (IPC) implemented in more than 20,000 hospital beds across the U.S., GetWellNetwork has been leading the charge in IPC.  This video provides a glimpse into how it has been successful in incorporating it into the healthcare landscape.

Moving Beyond the Hospital Walls to Just About Anywhere, Children to Adults Will Have the Capability to Better Manage Their Health

BETHESDA, MD–(Marketwire – Aug 2, 2012) –  Committed to keeping patients focused on their health long after their hospital stay, GetWellNetwork®, Inc., the leader in interactive patient care (IPC) solutions, is helping to define how patient engagement will take hold as a crucial element in the future of healthcare. The company has launched a video to illustrate improvements in healthcare outcomes for hospitals and patients through innovations in IPC that extend far beyond the walls of the hospital to everyday lives. Because of changing regulations in an increasingly challenging healthcare environment, new technologies are needed to engage patients and enable them to more readily and proactively manage their health conditions.

Patient engagement is now included throughout every significant healthcare law from Meaningful Use to the America Recovery & Reinvestment Act (ARRA), and from the National Patient Safety Initiative to the Affordable Care Act (ACA) recently upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court. Because of its ability to engage, educate and empower patients and families throughout the patient journey, IPC is recognized as a driving force behind strategic and actionable change needed in the face of today’s healthcare challenges and changing regulations.

With its interactive patient care technology implemented in more than 20,000 hospital beds across the U.S., and, as the only IPC vendor to provide a specific pathway for pediatrics and exclusive education content from KidsHealth®, GetWellNetwork has been leading the charge in IPC. Now the company is building on its platform to extend the technology beyond the hospital and integrate IPC into any place people’s lives take them, whether it’s at home, on the soccer field, in the grocery store or at the doctor. GetWellNetwork’s goal is to engage individuals in their care and encourage positive healthcare transformation.

“Along with our hospital partners, we are beginning an exciting new chapter in the interactive patient care journey,” said Michael O’Neil, founder and CEO of GetWellNetwork. “As healthcare providers take on accountability and risk across the care continuum, we are moving our patient engagement solutions well beyond the hospital walls to improve outcomes. It’s a dynamic time for our growing GetWellNetwork community, and we are confident of the profound impact we will have on healthcare delivery for years to come.”

This video provides a sneak peek into how GetWellNetwork is succeeding at incorporating interactive patient care into the healthcare landscape.

About GetWellNetwork

GetWellNetwork, Inc. entertains, educates, and empowers patients throughout the patient journey using the bedside TV and iPad in the hospital, mobile devices, Web or Cable TV at home. This patient-centered approach improves both satisfaction and outcomes for patients and hospitals. Additionally, the company extends the value of existing IT investments by integrating seamlessly to leading HIT systems including Cerner, McKesson, Epic, Meditech, GE and Siemens.

GetWellNetwork is recognized by KLAS® as the leader in the Interactive Patient Systems category and exclusively endorsed by the American Hospital Association. More information about GetWellNetwork can be found at www.GetWellNetwork.com.

August 15, 2012 I Written By

House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi Visits Practice Fusion

Leader Pelosi speaks from Practice Fusion headquarters on the future of healthcare and technology, job creation: “Jobs being created here at Practice Fusion are for a better, healthier America.”

San Francisco, CA – March 29, 2012 – Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi joined Practice Fusion CEO Ryan Howard and local physicians last Friday, March 23, at an event marking the second anniversary of the Affordable Care Act and the official opening of the company’s new headquarters in San Francisco’s Enterprise Zone. Practice Fusion, the fastest growing Electronic Medical Records (EMR) company, has grown rapidly since 2005 and now brings free technology to over 150,000 healthcare professionals.

“I want to congratulate Ryan Howard for his leadership because I believe that what is happening here at Practice Fusion is making our country, and certainly our community, healthier,” said Leader Pelosi during the event. “It is bringing down costs, improving quality, and expanding access—as is the purpose of the Affordable Care Act.”

Additional Highlights:

  • Leader Nancy Pelosi spoke alongside Practice Fusion CEO Ryan Howard, primary care physician Dr. Paul Kim and Justine Matison, who was unemployed before joining the company two years ago
  • The event included a community health fair with representatives from Clinic by the Bay, The American Heart Association, Walgreens, South of Market Health Center and Healthy San Francisco
  • Practice Fusion also hosted a job fair for more than 75 local jobseekers and students to learn about the company’s 40+ job openings in San Francisco
  • With just four employees in 2009, Practice Fusion has grown to over 150 team members and expects to double in 2012
  • Practice Fusion’s growth has been aided by the 2009 Stimulus Plan (ARRA), which provides $44,000+ in incentives for physicians using EMR technology. The Affordable Care Act continues the work of ARRA to improve care coordination using health technology
  • Full video of Leader Pelosi’s remarks during the press conference is available online

“Practice Fusion pledges to work with the US government to provide every doctor with access to health technology with the goal of ensuring that every American receives safe, high quality health care,” said Howard. “We’re honored to have Leader Pelosi acknowledge us as a major innovator in this effort.”

To learn more about current job openings, please visit practicefusion.com/careers

About Practice Fusion

Practice Fusion provides a free, web-based EMR system to physicians. With medical charting, scheduling, e-prescribing (eRx), lab integrations, referral letters, Meaningful Use certification, unlimited support and a Personal Health Record for patients, Practice Fusion’s EMR addresses the complex needs of today’s healthcare providers and disrupts the health IT status quo. Practice Fusion is the fastest growing Electronic Medical Records community in the country with more than 150,000 users serving 33 million patients. The company closed a $23 million Series B round of financing led by Founders Fund in 2011. For more information about Practice Fusion, please visit http://www.practicefusion.com.

March 29, 2012 I Written By

Sandlot to Debut Quality Reporting and Measures Application at HIMSS11


Community Quality Reporting and Measures Delivered

To Physicians at the Point-of-Care

Fort Worth, TX, Feb. 22, 2011 – Sandlot, LLC, a healthcare solutions company founded by practicing physicians, will debut SandlotQRM®, a quality reporting and measures application at HIMSS11, the prestigious annual conference for the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society in Orlando, Fla. (Feb. 20 – 24, 2011). SandlotQRM helps physicians integrate care delivery and “move the needle” on quality as they transform their clinical practice in the new era of accountable care.

With SandlotQRM, physicians will have the tools they need to improve quality outcomes before, during, and after the patient’s visit. Physicians and other clinicians can:

  • Prospectively track patients falling outside care guidelines
  • Deliver care recommendations based on the patient’s electronic, longitudinal community health record at the point of care
  • Retrospectively monitor performance through the lens of HEDIS, PQRI, EHR Meaningful Use, and other measures.

SandlotQRM is integrated with SandlotConnect®, a health information exchange (HIE) solution developed and supported by Sandlot, LLC. SandlotConnect is a unique point of care solution – a blending of HIE technology with quality management tools – enabling healthcare providers to integrate care delivery and achieve measurable improvement in quality outcomes. SandlotQRM can integrate with any source of patient clinical information, including: HIEs, claims systems, or electronic medical records.

Until now, physicians and healthcare organizations relied on fragmented retrospective reviews of patient data to manage care. SandlotQRM will help ensure that doctors exceed their quality objectives by presenting patient-measures that are important to their specialty. The web tool enables physicians to determine what patients are not meeting the measures of quality care and allows doctors to take immediate action, such as: scheduling a diagnostic test, a procedure, e-prescribing or ordering a laboratory test. This will enhance the physician’s ability to treat patients more successfully at the point-of-care and increase patient satisfaction rates.

Sandlot’s quality module will also serve as a vital benchmarking tool for physicians. Doctors can determine how successful they are in meeting their quality objectives compared to national targets and other physicians utilizing Sandlot’s HIE application, SandlotConnect. This will be beneficial for doctors in helping them develop alternative protocols to provide better overall treatment plans and cost effective care for their patients. The current Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) incentive program in place will create increased demand for SandlotQRM.  Payments are rewarded to those physicians who satisfactorily report their specified measures during a reporting period.

The emerging era of accountable care induces hospitals and health systems to reduce costs and improve long-term financial objectives by participating in an accountable care organization (ACO). Based on the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), an ACO is described as collaborations that include groups of healthcare providers, hospitals, and others. SandlotQRM is the cornerstone of an ACO because of the prospective, point-of-care, and retrospective quality measurement reporting that will support a profitable and sustainable patient care organization.

From a health plan perspective, Sandlot’s quality module will help insurers meet their business objectives. Insurers can meet their Med-Loss Ratio (MLR) requirements by utilizing its sophisticated data analysis and population reporting capabilities so they can be defined as a medical cost. To assist health plans in reaching CMS Five-Star status, SandlotQRM also provides analytical data on HEDIS measures. NCQA publishes the top 20 private health plans, with similar lists for the top 10 Medicaid and Medicare plans each year. HEDIS scores are a significant factor in ranking each plan.

SandlotQRM, will be available for limited live demonstrations February 20-24th at HIMSS11. iPhone and iPad applications will be available for clinical use once SandlotQRM is generally available March, 2011.

About Sandlot LLC

Based in Fort Worth, TX, Sandlot, LLC is an innovative healthcare solutions company founded by practicing physicians who pursue ways to make better clinical decisions at the point-of-care and collectively share clinical information. Sandlot focuses on advancing healthcare by using technology, process and people working together. It is a wholly owned subsidiary of North Texas Specialty Physicians (NTSP). The company’s innovative HIE, SandlotConnect® launched in 2008, is based on Lawson Technology and is currently interoperable with many of the market’s leading EHR systems, including Allscripts, NextGen, and eClinicalWorks.   For more information, visit www.sandlotsolutions.com.

February 22, 2011 I Written By

John Lynn is the Founder of the HealthcareScene.com blog network which currently consists of 10 blogs containing over 8000 articles with John having written over 4000 of the articles himself. These EMR and Healthcare IT related articles have been viewed over 16 million times. John also manages Healthcare IT Central and Healthcare IT Today, the leading career Health IT job board and blog. John is co-founder of InfluentialNetworks.com and Physia.com. John is highly involved in social media, and in addition to his blogs can also be found on Twitter: @techguy and @ehrandhit and LinkedIn.