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Wednesday, August 16, 2017                                                                                                                              

CMS cancels two bundled payment model programs
Yesterday, CMS confirmed plans to cancel two pending bundled payment models–the Episode Payment Models and Cardiac Rehabilitation Incentive payment model–and reduce the number of providers required to participate in the existing Comprehensive Care for Joint Replacement models. “We thought [the models] would probably be switched from mandatory to voluntary … but we didn't think it would be eliminated, just because there is demand for these programs on the voluntary side,” Dave Terry, CEO of Archway Health, told McKnight's. (McKnight's; American Journal of Managed Care)

Experts and regular folk want to salvage ACA
A group of conservative and liberal health policy experts is pressing the Trump administration and Congress to take steps to quickly shore up coverage under the Affordable Care Act. The average American wants action, too. Nearly 80 percent want President Trump to make the ACA work, according to a poll conducted by the Kaiser Family Foundation. This includes 95 percent of Democrats and 52 percent of Republicans polled. Only 17 percent of the public--and 40 percent of Republicans--think the administration should try to make it fail. (Kaiser Health News; AP)

Deadline extension doesn't ease uncertainty
Insurers received a three-week extension on deciding how much their exchange plans will cost, but it may not be much help. The administration failed to address the fate of the cost-sharing reduction payments, which compensate insurers for subsidizing the out-of-pocket costs of certain enrollees. It has been funding the payments on a monthly basis, but President Trump has indicated he may end them. (The Hill)

Despite the uncertainty in Washington, employers are confident they can provide health benefits for employees, according to a new survey from Willis Towers Watson. The survey also finds that employers are increasingly turning to telehealth and recommending apps and wearables to employees--and more plan to do so by 2019. mHealthIntelligence suggests a connection between the two: “Are telehealth programs and mHealth [mobile health] tools giving employers more confidence that they can support employee healthcare needs despite rising costs and chaos in the nation’s capital?” (mHealthIntelligence; Willis Towers Watson)

Study: Price transparency tools don't reduce spending
Simply offering a price transparency tool doesn’t meaningfully decrease health care prices or spending, according to research published in Health Affairs. “Broadly, our findings support the emerging evidence that simply increasing deductibles and introducing price transparency tools will not induce consumers to price-shop and thus lead to declines in spending. Price transparency tools may result in lower prices for a selected set of services, but the tools have little impact on overall spending because of the small percentage of people who use them.” (Health Affairs)

Empowered patients are annoying, say 20 percent of docs...
Here’s the good news: Most of the 1,000+ physicians and nurses who responded to a recent Medscape poll said they see patient empowerment as helpful in their practice. The breakdown is telling: While 82 percent of nurses answered that way, only 54 percent of physicians said patient empowerment was helpful. And now, the bad news--at least, for patient advocates: One-fifth of doctors said empowerment is annoying (compared to 5 percent of nurses). Both doctors and nurses agreed--when patients do their own research it adds time to an office visit. (Medscape)

...But patients value attention from doctors
What do patients value in health care? Interpersonal and clinical qualities. A survey from Public Agenda focused on three groups: those recently diagnosed with type 2 diabetes; those who recently had joint replacement surgery; and those who recently gave birth.  Among the findings: Few are aware that quality and price vary for doctors or hospitals. About half say there’s enough information available about quality. Fewer say there’s enough information about price. The most common quality people across the groups deem very important for high-quality care is that the doctor makes time for patients’ questions and concerns. (Managed Healthcare Executive; Public Agenda report)

Allscripts gets a bigger footprint: Allscripts is buying McKesson’s Enterprise Information Solutions--its health IT unit--for $185 million. (Healthcare IT News)

Whatcha lookin' for? Most (80 percent) of adult internet users in the United States turn to the internet with health care questions. So what are they searching for? Google came up with a state-by-state list. There aren’t many surprises, but brace yourself for Hawaii's top-searched question. (Prevention)

Learn about Amazon's role in health care
Modern Healthcare hosted a Facebook Live discussion Aug. 11 on Amazon’s growing role in the health care space. (replay of the session)

MarketVoices...quotes worth reading

“In this era of doing more with less I feel totally justified in being sometimes a pain in the ass, because it is my ass that is on the line."--a comment from a nurse-turned-patient on a survey about patient empowerment, quoted by Medscape.


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