While larger hospital systems benefit by gaining more market share when a small, independent hospital shows interest in teaming up with a bigger name, the small hospital stands to save a lot of money. Sharing resources means the two entities can share a human resources department, marketing efforts and the smaller hospital can rely on the larger one for more aggressive rate negotiations with insurance companies.
MultiCare Health System and Humana Inc. will launch a new accountable care partnership for Humana’s Medicare Advantage members in South King County and Pierce County, the companies announced this week.
Accountable care partnership will provide Humana membership with more coordinated care that will emphasize preventive services, the companies said.
Humana offers Medicare Advantage HMO plans, a prescription drug plan and Medicare supplement policies to Medicare recipients in the Tacoma area.
MultiCare is made up of five hospitals including Allenmore Hospital, Auburn Medical Center, Good Samaritan Hospital, Mary Bridge Children’s Hospital and Tacoma General Hospital as well as outpatient specialty centers, primary and urgent care clinics.
The not-for-profit health care organization has more than 10,500 employees and a comprehensive network of services throughout Pierce, South King, Thurston and Kitsap counties.
Humana aims to work closely with doctors and hospitals through its Accountable Care Continuum, the companies said.
For a Primer on Accountable Care Organizations go here.
From the US Food and Drug Administration
How Many Calories? Look at the Menu!
When you eat in a restaurant, do you generally know how many calories you’re consuming? The answer is most likely, “no,” according to research findings examined by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
The good news is that FDA is now taking an important step to provide consumers with more information to help them make more informed choices about the food they eat away from home.
FDA has issued two final rules requiring that calories be listed on certain menus in chain restaurants and other places selling restaurant-type food and on certain vending machines.
“Americans eat and drink about one-third of their calories away from home,” says FDA Commissioner Margaret A. Hamburg, M.D. “These final rules will give consumers more information when they are dining out and help them lead healthier lives.”
The goal is to provide consumers with more information in a consistent, easy-to-understand way. Continue reading
Marketplaces Will Automatically Renew Consumers’ Plans But Take A Look First
By Michelle Andrews
So far, the open enrollment period on the federal and state marketplaces—which started Nov. 15 and continues until Feb. 15 for 2015 coverage—is proceeding much more smoothly than last year. But people remain confused about plans, premiums and provider networks. Here are answers to several readers’ questions.
Q. I understand the federal marketplace will renew my coverage automatically this year. That seems really simple. Is there any reason I shouldn’t do it? Continue reading
King County is offering free Flood Alerts to help keep you informed of flood conditions you can sign up for phone or text messages — or get an app.
- Get Alerts by e-mail and/or phone (voice or text messages)
- Select the rivers that affect you
- Select the flood phase levels of interest to you.
Some Experts Dispute Claims Of Looming Doctor Shortage
By Julie Rovner
You hear it so often it’s almost a cliché: The nation is facing a serious shortage of doctors, particularly doctors who practice primary care, in the coming years.
But is that really the case?
Many medical groups, led by the Association of American Medical Colleges, say there’s little doubt. “We think the shortage is going to be close to 130,000 in the next 10 to 12 years,” says Atul Grover, the group’s chief public policy officer.
While few dispute the idea that there will be a growing need for primary care in the coming years, it is not at all clear whether all those primary care services have to be provided by doctors.
Ninety-six percent of Americans believe that knowing their family history is important. Yet, only one-third of Americans have ever tried to gather and write down their family’s health history. The Surgeon General’s My Family Health Portrait tool is a free resource that helps people collect and privately share their family history information through a secured system.
Acting Surgeon General Boris D. Lushniak, M.D., M.P.H. today declared this Thanksgiving day, November 27, as the eleventh annual Family Health History Day.
Over the holiday or at other times when families gather, Americans are encouraged to talk about and keep a record of the health problems that seem to run in their families. Continue reading
By Michael Ollove
MINNEAPOLIS, Minn.— For years, proposals to raise the minimum wage in Minnesota bogged down over economic concerns: Would a raise impel businesses to leave the state? Would it decrease employment? Would it touch off inflation?
The supporters’ main argument, that raising the minimum wage would put more money into the pockets of low-wage workers and their families, fell short.
This year, proponents seized on a new strategy: They convinced the legislature to ask the Minnesota Department of Health to analyze the health impact of the state’s minimum wage of $6.15 an hour, which is among the lowest in the country.
The department’s subsequent analysis revealed that health and income levels were inextricably linked. Whether it was rates of adequate prenatal care, infant mortality, diabetes, suicide risk, or lack of insurance, the results for poorer Minnesotans were vastly inferior to residents with higher incomes.
In fact, Minnesotans living in the highest income areas of the Twin Cities region lived eight years longer than those living in the poorest.
The report virtually ended the debate. The legislature voted to phase in an increase in the minimum wage to $9.50—one of the highest in the country—with automatic subsequent increases indexed to the rate of inflation. Continue reading
By Lisa Aliferis
KHN and the Washington Post
Dean Schillinger is a primary-care physician at San Francisco General Hospital. He first came to the city in 1990 at the peak of the AIDS epidemic. “At that point, one out of every two patients we admitted was a young man dying of AIDS,” he says.
Today, that same ward is filled with diabetes patients.
“I feel like we are with diabetes where we were in 1990 with the AIDS epidemic,” Schillinger said. “The ward is overwhelmed with diabetes — they’re getting their limbs amputated, they’re on dialysis. And these are young people. They are suffering the ravages of diabetes in the prime of their lives. We’re at the point where we need a public health response to it.”
Schillinger and other researchers at the University of California at San Francisco are setting up a project called Sugar Science, to spell out the health dangers of too much added sugar in our diets.
The project aimed at consumers includes a user-friendly Web site and materials such as television commercials that public health officials can use for outreach. Health departments from San Francisco to New York City have agreed to participate.
By Julie Appleby
A group of Wall Street analysts predicted Friday that enrollment in health law insurance plans will be higher than the 9 million projected by the Obama administration because insurers are aggressively courting new customers and more small businesses are likely to send workers to the online exchanges in 2015.
Health sector analyst Carl McDonald of Citi Investment Research said he expects about 11 million people to enroll in individual health plans, based on his firm’s survey of clients in October.
“I’m more optimistic,” McDonald said at the 19th annual “Wall Street Comes to Washington” roundtable, sponsored by the Jayne Koskinas Ted Giovanis Foundation for Health and Policy.
More aggressive outreach by insurers and fewer glitches with the online marketplaces will create a “robust 2015,” agreed Ralph Giacobbe, an analyst at Credit Suisse. Continue reading