Vital Signs Blog

Blog: High-deductible plans, less chronic disease care

High deductibles have already been linked to an increase in bad debt at some health systems, but now they may be responsible for holding down volume as well.


Blog: Too much reporting = less patient care

Too much data documentation may distract hospital infection preventionists from their main job—reducing the prevalence of hospital-acquired conditions, a new case report suggests.

Blog: The 10 costliest catastrophic claims for self-insured employers

What medical conditions are most likely to bankrupt a self-funded employer? Not surprisingly, cancer and several other costly, complicated diseases.

Blog: When it comes to narrow networks, one size may not fit all

A study released Wednesday examines the use of narrow physician networks by insurers to lower premiums. Researchers, who tout this study as the first to look at individual doctors, presented the results in the same way consumers would sort through the T-shirt rack at a department store: by size.


Blog: Docs accused of fraud get more Medicare bucks (a lot more)

Of the 18 physicians identified so far in last week's national Medicare fraud takedown, more than half collected at least three times as much from Medicare as the average doctor in their specialty, according to Medicare physician payment data for 2013.


Blog: CBO report on ACA repeal pits economic growth against personal freedom

It's important to keep aspiring entrepreneurs mind when considering the Congressional Budget Office's projection that repealing the ACA would boost economic output—mainly by forcing more Americans to work to get health insurance.


Blog: UnitedHealth dumps AHIP

America's Health Insurance Plans lost its star leader a few weeks ago, and now a heavyweight member is heading out, too.


Blog: No King v. Burwell opinion today. So when?!

Everyone in healthcare has at least one big, potentially life-altering question on their minds this week.

Blog: Tufts Health Plan lifts wage floor to $15 an hour

Another healthcare company has bent to the economic weight of the tightening labor market and raised the minimum wage for employees.


Blog: AMA, state medical societies call on CMS to mitigate ICD-10 'disaster'

Texas, California, Florida and New York joined the AMA in blasting the federally mandated conversion to the ICD-10 codes set for Oct. 1, 2015. And they've got a strategy to mitigate the damage.

Blog: As congressional action looms, eminent informaticists define EHR interoperability

A pair of noted medical informatics researchers have come up with a five-point definition of what an open, interoperable EHR system must do.

Blog: The devil is in the details of mental health laws

During shared stories about the devastation of mental illness on families and the strides made in recent years, Rep. Jan Schakowsky (D-Ill.) opposed a reference in a proposed law that appears in a different bill she has co-sponsored.

Blog: No King v. Burwell ruling yet, but race for reporters' attention has begun

The U.S. Supreme Court hasn't reached a decision yet in King v. Burwell, but the race has already begun—that is, the race by public relations representatives and attorneys to get reporters' attention.

Blog: CIOs agree that IT optimization is a team sport

CIOs at 13 organizations gathered by the Scottsdale Institute, a not-for-profit organization of healthcare systems, say IT and clinical leaders need to get on the same page on what they want and how to get results that would optimize costly investment in computer systems.

Blog: New AMA leader rejects growing movement to regulate out-of-network doc bills

Insurers, hospitals and physicians likely recognize that out-of-network billing is a looming public relations nightmare, particularly with more Americans in health plans with limited provider networks. But the AMA's new president-elect says that the problem is the fault of insurers.

Blog: Here are the average payments Medicare makes to every medical specialty

Looking at Medicare physician payment data, it would appear that oncologists were among the highest-paid specialists in 2013. But this tool created by Modern Healthcare reveals that a lot of the money going to oncologists covers the cost of administered drugs.

Blog: Don't rush to analyze initial ACA premium rates

Two reports out this week show how difficult it is to draw conclusions about the proposed premium rate increases for next year's individual health plans.

Blog: AHIP Institute highlights growing focus on consumerism

Everyone was talking about the FitBit. The opening general session of the America's Health Insurance Plans wasn't about politics, rate negotiations or insurance exchanges—but about the growing influence of consumers and the digital tools that are key to building relationships with them.


Blog: Spreads between highest and lowest hospital charges vary widely city to city

There are vast disparities in hospital charges, or list prices, for similar treatments at hospitals in the same area, according to Medicare inpatient charge data released earlier this week. And those spreads vary dramatically from market to market, as seen in our interactive map.


Blog: Media isn't welcome at Bill Clinton's AHIP speech

Former President Bill Clinton will make closing remarks Friday at the America's Health Insurance Plans annual meeting, but members of the press will not be permitted inside.

Blog: Burwell asks IT entrepreneurs to help the government liberate health data

HHS Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell delivered the closing speech of the three-day Datapalooza conference in Washington, calling on entrepreneurs to partner with the federal government to help transform the American healthcare system.

Blog: NEJM's former editors blast conflict of interest series—in BMJ

Two former top editors of the New England Journal of Medicine and its former national correspondent have come out swinging against a recent three-part series in NEJM that called into question current conflict of interest policies at medical journals and on government advisory committees.

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