Three new pro-Medicaid expansion governors elected last week, plus the success of two pro-expansion ballot measures, mean that five majority-Republican states will soon expand health care coverage under that program. Advocates estimate about 500,000 more uninsured adults will now be eligible for Medicaid coverage. To date, 32 states and the District of Columbia have expanded access to Medicaid services under the Affordable Care Act. (Kaiser Health News)
Tech giant Google hired Geisinger Health CEO David Feinberg last week. The company says the move is designed to integrate the company’s disjointed health care business. According to analysis by Robert Pearl, who interviewed Feinberg shortly before he joined Google, It's likely a strategic play to marry Google’s artificial intelligence, search and business capabilities to Feinberg’s health IT philosophy. Some areas to watch: advancing home-based monitoring and care delivery; applying big data to predictive analytics and precision medicine; new entries in wearable health trackers; and expanding the use of health-focused AI applications. (Forbes)
Do you subscribe to H2RMinutes? Get the top stories of the week in health care transformation with a free subscription here
No one wants to waste time on tasks that don’t matter, and when staff starts to click through alerts they don’t find useful, patient safety is at risk. Hawaii Pacific Health embarked on a mission to eliminate “stupid” documentation tasks that add burden and contribute to burnout. Front-line nursing staff identified the trouble spots. One unnecessary set of clicks needlessly burned 1,700 hours a month across the system’s four hospitals. Several other items were identified where training could increase efficiency and help staff understand why certain tasks matter. The effort both boosted morale and helped decrease staff burnout. (Fierce Healthcare)
More mid-size and large employers are offering services to help employees better manage chronic disease and access needed health services. According to a Mercer employer survey of nearly 2,500 employers, telemedicine benefits are offered by 80 percent of employers, and 51 percent offer an expert medical opinion service. Enhanced care management programs that help patients navigate clinical care, support services and financial maze are now offered by 36 percent of employers. (Benefits Pro)
The H2R Team wishes our readers a happy Thanksgiving. The next issue of H2RMinutes will publish Nov. 29, 2018.
The vast majority of patients (86 percent) responding to a Harris Poll said they believe they have a great deal of control over their health, and 92 percent understand health is “so much more than just not being sick.” A majority (53 percent) said they wish their physicians talked to them about topics like nutrition, acupuncture, massage therapy and meditation. Nearly as many (45 percent) said they would like to discuss the reasons they want to be healthy with their personal physician. (Becker’s Hospital Review; AAFP News)
Mice that are genetically altered to exhibit Alzheimer’s symptoms showed positive memory results when given a synthetic form of THC, the chemical that gives marijuana its psychedelic effects. The treated mice not only performed as well as healthy mice on memory tests, they also lost fewer brain cells and exhibited 20 percent less of the plaques associated with Alzheimer’s. Although the experiment showed positive results, human testing isn’t yet in the works; it’s too soon to say if marijuana will have the same outcome for people with memory loss. (NPR)
New Medicare bundled payments are back on the table: In a speech to the Patient-Centered Primary Care Collaborative last week, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar said providers should expect bundled payment programs that were delayed last year to come back as mandatory models for cardiac care. The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services has reviewed successful pilot outcomes when paying for value versus volume of services. CMS wants to expand both demonstration projects and mandatory bundled payment for some diagnoses under Medicare. (Healthcare Informatics)
Athenahealth sold:After a year of public parrying, two venture capital subsidiaries of Elliot Management finalized a $5.7 billion deal to acquire athenahealth. The health IT firm resisted a hostile takeover by Elliot in May, but after athenahealth’s founder and CEO stepped down (amid allegations he assaulted his ex-wife), the company’s prospects plummeted. The board voted unanimously to approve the buyout. (Healthcare Dive)
This week, the federal government updated physical activity guidelines for the first time in a decade. The overall message was clear: stop siting all day and get moving. The Department of Health and Human Services guidance says even a few minutes of exercise each day offers some health benefits. Doctors and researchers agree: “Once you get the blood rushing through the vessels, you already start having physiological benefits,” says physician and researcher Tim Church. (NPR;Live Science)
“I believe that we need to be able to test hypotheses, and if we have to test a hypothesis, I want to be a reliable partner, I want to be collaborative in doing this, I want to be transparent, and follow appropriate procedures; but if to test a hypothesis there around changing our healthcare system, it needs to be mandatory there as opposed to voluntary, then so be it.”-- Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar, in keynote remarks to the Patient-Centered Primary Care Collaborative, as quoted by Healthcare Informatics.