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To scan or not to scan

There is an increasing consensus that many high tech radiology procedures are overused but no agreement on what to do about it. An important review study reported in the Archive of Internal Medicine concluded that exposure to even one CT scan can produce cancer later in life. The editorial in the Archive notes that every day more than 19,500 CT …

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Pain Should Be Getting Our Attention!

The Affordable Care Act was signed into law on March 23, 2010. As health care reform is implemented and the United States continues to devote extensive resources to health care; there are real opportunities to improve health care quality and equity by improving pain care. Specifically, pain research practice and policy can substantively inform the broader national health care policy …

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The Fundamentals of Insurance Reform: A Reminder

On August 1, 2010, the U.S. District Court in Virginia ruled that the lawsuit against the Affordable Care Act (ACA) can proceed. Judge Hudson defined the issue as: “whether or not Congress has the power to regulate – and tax – a citizen’s decision not to participate in interstate commerce [by choosing not to buy health insurance.]” A summary judgment …

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The Cost of Chronic Disease and What To Do About It

This past week, our Center released a report on the cost of chronic disease in Michigan. As we noted in that report, nationally, five percent of the U.S. population accounts for almost half of all health care spending and 20 percent accounts for 80 percent. In addition, according to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, chronic disease accounts …

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What’s Early Childhood Got to Do with Health Care Reform?

One of the provisions I particularly like in the Affordable Care Act is the section that provides $1.5 billion over five years to states for home visiting programs for new mothers. Under the Maternal, Infant, and Early Childhood Home Visiting Program, nurses, social workers, or other professionals are expected to meet with at-risk families in their homes, evaluate the families’ …

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Prognosis on Electronic Medical Records: The Long Slog to Come

On July 13, 2010, HHS released final rules telling providers of care how to demonstrate the “meaningful use” of electronic medical records in order to be eligible for incentives starting in 2011. By 2015, most providers who don’t adopt electronic medical records will face penalties. The originally proposed rules were considered too rigid by many, and would have made it …

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Physicians: To employ or not to employ – that is the question!

While my personal thoughts frequently center around issues such as “being,” on a professional level I have probably given more thought to the issue of physician employment than any other. I am old enough to recall when an employed physician was actually an oddity. During my many years working on the provider side of the business, I experienced the rush …

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Health Reform: The Early Days

Early reviews are in and they are favorable! Public opinion polls show support for the Affordable Care Act (ACA) creeping up to 48 percent. All of that is good news, and a well-deserved commentary on health reform: States and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services have been moving quickly to put in place the most immediate requirements of the …

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The Berwick Confirmation and Irrationality

The confirmation process for Don Berwick as President Obama’s nominee to be director of the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services within the Department of Health and Human Services should be a most distressing sight to anyone who has spent their careers in health policy – or who even has a passing interest in the policies and politics of health …

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