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The Importance of Federally Qualified Health Centers and the ACA

Editor’s Note: This column appeared in Bridge Magazine. About six months after the Affordable Care Act (ACA) was passed in 2010, our Center hosted a symposium in Ann Arbor on the future of the health care safety net. Sara Rosenbaum, an expert on both the ACA and federally qualified health centers (FQHCs), spoke at the event and her remarks emphasized …

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Patient Engagement and Shared Decision Making: Is This the Moment?

Patient engagement is a hot topic in health care right now. Providers, regulators and health plans are all trying to figure out how to better involve patients in their own medical care. Shared decision making—a concept that grew out of Jack Wennberg’s work on regional variation in the use of health care services—is a tool that fits right into the …

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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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