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The Power of Incentives: The Story of Electronic Medical Records

In 1999, The Institute of Medicine (IOM) issued a seminal report on the safety of health care in the U.S.: To Err is Human. The IOM noted that up to 98,000 deaths occurred annually as a result of errors in the health care system. They recommended systemic change to improve the safety of the system. One of the recommendations included …

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Obamacare seems to be Helping to Curtail Health Care Costs

Editor’s Note: This column previously appeared in Bridge Magazine. In recent months, a conversation has burgeoned in health and public policy forums about the slowdown in the growth of health care spending. We are all asking the same questions: Is this slowdown real? Are some of the past cost containment efforts and recent provisions in the ACA beginning to take …

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The Medicaid Expansion in Michigan Needs to Get Done Now

Editor’s Note: This column previously appeared in Bridge Magazine. On February 6, 2013, Governor Snyder announced his support for expanding Medicaid as envisioned in the Affordable Care Act. In his announcement, he talked about how the expansion would help hundreds of thousands of people in Michigan (our own estimates at the Center for Healthcare Research & Transformation put the numbers …

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The Disconnect Between Health and Mental Health

Editor’s Note: This column previously appeared in Bridge Magazine. Recent reports about a Medicaid experiment in Oregon reveal a major disconnect we have in the health care world: we make a historic —and unwarranted— distinction between “physical health” and “mental health.” Worse, that distinction actually interferes with both our investment in mental health treatment and patients’ willingness to seek treatment. …

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The ACA and the Hospital Readmissions Policy Debate

Of the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA’s) many provisions aimed at improving health care access, quality, and efficiency, one has been the subject of considerable recent debate: the hospital readmission reduction program. The program’s approach has some merit, but in the end, doesn’t do enough to address the systemic issues underlying the problems it aims to fix. This policy needs adjustments …

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New Approaches to Payment: Will They Work?

Great news! The latest and greatest approaches to reducing health care spending are here: paying primary care doctors more, bundling payments for doctors and hospitals; sharing savings and investing more in systems that integrate care. Hooray! New answers to the cost curve dilemma! The question is: will any of these approaches actually work? As it turns out, we’ve been down …

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What is “Value” in Health Care?

Lisa Rosenbaum wrote a terrific piece in the March 7 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine. Her article is a powerful reminder that views of medical appropriateness—what is “right” in health care—can be very different for physicians, patients, and analysts. She highlights the challenges inherent in a system of incentives that reward “value” without taking into account these …

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The Bitter Pill: Time Magazine’s Story on Health Care Costs

Steven Brill’s article on health care costs in the March 4 issue of Time magazine is the talk of the town in health care. While journalists have generally praised the piece, reactions from those in health care have been mixed. The American Hospital Association critiqued a number of Brill’s major points in a fact sheet, Setting the Record Straight on …

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