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Does RomneyCare Inflate Healthcare Costs? Print E-mail
Written by Paul Gionfriddo   
Thursday, 19 January 2012 07:12

Our Health Policy Matters       

 
A column focusing on federal, state and local health policy  

What the New Mitt RomneyCare Means for Healthcare Costs

Click HERE to read more.  
Last Updated on Thursday, 19 January 2012 07:23
 
Drug Companies Should Pay for the Consequences of Oxycodone Misuse Print E-mail
Written by Bernd Wollschlaeger, MD, FAAFP, FASAM   
Monday, 16 January 2012 12:56

IN MY OPINION

On December 29th, the Sun-Sentinel published an interesting article titled "Stronger form of Oxycodone means more pain for the US".

In this commentary the author points out that "several drug companies are completing FDA trials to introduce a new, much stronger form of Oxycodone to the $10 billion opiate prescription drug market in 2013. Unlike the more than 400 opiate pain killers already on the market that blend the powerful narcotic with other medications, the new drug is solely composed of pure Oxycodone. It will be very potent, delivering up to 10 times more pain relief than present prescriptions." 

Whereas all of us are struggling to contain the prescription drug epidemic, pharmaceutical companies, driven by the profit motive, seem to have found a business opportunity to sell more powerful narcotics to the ever growing number of opioid dependent addicts. 

Therefore, I agree with the author's conclusion: "If tobacco companies are forced to contribute a portion of each sale of a cigarette pack to pay for the effort to curb tobacco use and the financial and medical consequences cause by American smoking cigarettes, why not the manufacturers of the most abused addictive prescriptive drug in the United States? It is time to make politically powerful drug companies responsible and accountable for their destructive products. They, not U.S. taxpayers, should have to bear the brunt of the financial and social burdens from rampant illegal misuse of Oxycodone."
 
Looking forward to your comments. 

Click HERE to send a message to Dr. Wollschlaeger.
Last Updated on Monday, 16 January 2012 13:02
 
A Dime's Worth of Difference in 2012 Print E-mail
Written by Paul Gionfriddo   
Saturday, 07 January 2012 15:08

Our Health Policy Matters        
A column focusing on federal, state and local health policy   

"...the 2010 Affordable Care Act and the individual mandate were not really health reform. They were efforts to preserve health insurance as we know it, by getting more people who can afford it to purchase private insurance, and more who cannot onto the Medicaid public insurance program."

Click HERE to read more. 
 
Last Updated on Saturday, 07 January 2012 15:13
 
Feds Approve Extension of Medicaid Pilot Project Print E-mail
Written by Bernd Wollschlaeger, MD   
Tuesday, 27 December 2011 20:07

IN MY OPINION

On Thursday the federal officials agreed to extend Florida's five-county Medicaid managed-care experiment to 2014 but required the state to make significant improvements to the program. They include the denial of the medical-loss-ratio waiver requiring the participating private health plans to spend 85 percent of funds on patient care and the denial to cap benefit levels for Medicaid beneficiaries preventing the termination of Medicaid services because recipients had already met their $500,000 maximum for the year. These requirements will protect patients from arbitrary insurance service denials and will force private health insurance plans to manage taxpayers dollars efficiently and responsibly. Meanwhile, we should continue to oppose any expansion of the pilot project UNLESS the State of Florida can provide solid and indisputable data that the pilot project improves access and enhances the quality of care for all  Medicaid enrollees. So far I have not found any evidence to substantiate Governor Scott's claim that "we've seen higher quality in administration of care, produced cost savings and consumers in the pilot have found improved access for Medicaid recipients." Looking forward to your feedback. Click HERE to send a message to Bernd.  

 For more information click HERE and HERE

 
New Year's Malpractice Insurance Resolutions Print E-mail
Written by Matt Gracey, Jr.   
Tuesday, 27 December 2011 19:54

In working with doctors and practice administrators throughout Florida for years on their malpractice insurance placement, I have often hoped that these simple resolutions would somehow make it on their resolutions lists.  Even as important as malpractice insurance coverage is to the health of every practice, I am reasonable enough to know that the reality of this happening is as close as experiencing a white Christmas in Miami, but just for kicks here they are:
  1. We will not just shop price this year for our coverage. If you don't understand this one there is no explanation necessary. Just know that our next crisis is not too far away and this is not a great time to hunt out the weakest insurer with the cheapest price. Move to the best, strongest, most experienced insurer now.
  2. We will prepare now for the "hard market" leading to our next crisis by forming or joining a purchasing group or program. You will need some strength in numbers soon.
  3. We will make sure we are getting all possible discounts from our insurer of choice. Many practices do not get good advice and overlook discounts to which they are entitled.
  4. We will educate ourselves on the most important points of our malpractice insurance coverage. Not understanding the importance of shared versus separate limits, the claims trigger, and the common exclusions, such as medical directorship activities, can sink your practice.    
  5. We will review our own group's contract with our doctors to fully understand the obligations in the event one of our doctors leaves the group. Many lawsuits filed each year could easily be avoided if policy tail issues were fully understood.
  6. We will fully educate ourselves on the liability issues surrounding the possibility of joining a hospital. There are many issues, so get good advice.
  7. We will request a risk management assessment from our insurer. These are usually free and can provide invaluable insights into a practice's weaknesses, which may lead to lawsuits.
  8. We will find and engage an experienced, specialized, passionate insurance broker to guide us through the maze of malpractice insurance issues. A professional agent's services are free and will save you considerable money and time throughout the years.       

Matt Gracey, Jr. is a medical malpractice insurance specialist with Danna-Gracey, an independent insurance agency based in downtown Delray Beach with a statewide team of specialists dedicated solely to insurance coverage placement for Florida's doctors. To contact him call (800) 966-2120, or email:    matt@dannagracey.com. 

Last Updated on Wednesday, 11 January 2012 06:40
 
Controlling Healthcare Costs Print E-mail
Written by Bernd Wollschlaeger, MD   
Wednesday, 07 December 2011 13:03

Florida Docs Blog

A progressive viewpoint and healthcare vision as articulated by Bernd Wollschlaeger, MD

"Unfortunately, few people really understand how much we spend on health care, how much we need to spend to provide quality care, and the difference between the two."
 
The New York Times published three articles by Ezekiel  Jonathan Emanuel, MD PhD focusing on how to control the escalating health care costs in the United States.  I highly recommend reading the articles published so far and have attached the links to each article below:

Spending More Doesn't Make Us Healthier 

Less Than $26 Billion? Don't Bother 

Billions Wasted on Billing

We have to realize that there are no "magic bullets" to solve our health care cost crisis. Any solutions offered so far  to provide universal health care coverage will fail UNLESS they are being combined with meaningful and sustained cost control measures. This requires a total reform of our reimbursement system transforming it from a quantity to a quality focused service industry utilizing state-of-the-art information technology tools.  Unless we are willing to change, we are going to be forced to further ration medical services. What do we prefer? 

 
Increasingly Strained Relationship Between Jackson Health System and the University of Miami Print E-mail
Written by Bernd Wollschlaeger, MD   
Wednesday, 07 December 2011 12:44

IN MY OWN WORDS

An interesting Miami Herald article by John Dorschner titled "Finances strain the marriage between Jackson and the University of Miami" details the increasingly strained relationship between Jackson Memorial Hospital and the University of Miami. At the center of the dispute are insured patients seeking medical care at Jackson Memorial hospital. UM critics claim that UM physician direct these patients to the UM hospital across the street, and that Jackson Memorial hospital is left with treating the uninsured patients.

Miami-Dade taxpayers pay Jackson Memorial $330 million a year to treat uninsured people who seek treatment in the county-owned Jackson system. As part of the system that has evolved over the years, Jackson also pays UM when its doctors treat the uninsured at Jackson. UM critics also claim that once an uninsured patient gets insurance UM doctors are shifting their care to the UM hospital, which then receives the Medicare reimbursement money. UM calls that patient choice. Jackson counters that its paying patients shouldn't be siphoned off to UM facilities.

What troubles me is that patients are being considered as milkable cash cows and once they lose their production value they are being pushed back into Jackson Memorial Hospital. It's a sick system which encourages overutilization of medical services and drives up healthcare costs even further.

Last Updated on Tuesday, 27 December 2011 20:19
 
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