Vital Signs Blog

Blog: Healthier food options in hospitals require culture change

Hospitals' efforts to change the diets of staff and patients will require more than just replacing french fries with carrots. To really change a culture and behavior, leaders need to commit to the efforts, provide support to staff, collaborate with food vendors and work with dietitians to develop...


Blog: Are Paul Ryan's high-risk pools a better way to insure sick people?

House Speaker Paul Ryan and some other conservatives believe that putting the sickest Americans into tax-subsidized, high-risk insurance plans would reduce premiums in the commercial market and stabilize it.

Blog: Violence, abuse, rumors alleged in drama-filled healthcare staffing lawsuit

A federal jury recently awarded a former healthcare staffing company co-owner $27.6 million in a lawsuit that included allegations of fraud, violence, abuse and rumors.

Blog: Are high-volume facilities better? It depends on how you analyze it

It's often said that death rates and costs are lower and outcomes are better at facilities that perform high volumes of a procedure. But a report this week challenges that assumption and says more research is needed.


Blog: Despite early heresies, Trump likely to mostly fall in line with GOP health policy orthodoxy

House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) has downplayed any significant conflicts between his party's stance on healthcare and Donald Trump's opinions on the matter. Is that because Ryan thinks a President Trump would sign any bill Ryan presents him?

Blog: Hospitals prosper on commercial payers as Medicare margins sink to -9%

Margins on hospital Medicare business are expected to deteriorate this year, bottoming out at a negative 9% on average, according to a report by the commission that advises Congress on Medicare payments.

Blog: Healthcare providers take heat over debt collection lawsuits against patients

With surprise medical bills and high out-of-pocket costs getting increasing political attention, some hospitals and physician groups around the country are drawing criticism for their aggressive collection actions against patients.

Blog: 'Measure madness' consuming healthcare resources

The volume of measures that exist, promulgated by lack of alignment and poor coordination, has created an environment of measure madness, “consuming precious resources that could be directed toward meaningful efforts to continuously enhance quality and patient safety,” according to a...

Blog: In Arkansas, saving Medicaid expansion requires killing it first

The Arkansas Senate voted to kill the state's successful Medicaid expansion. The House is set to do the same Thursday. But it's all political maneuvering to get around conservative Republicans.


Blog: Revisiting Hillary Clinton's record on healthcare

Two people with first-hand knowledge of Hillary Clinton's history on healthcare say she has done outstanding work in expanding coverage and research funding, and that the Clinton they know is nothing like the self-serving politician described by her critics.


Blog: New price-transparency law puts Florida in the consumer vanguard

Florida just enacted one of the strongest state laws protecting consumers against surprise medical bills. What got less attention is that on the same day, Gov. Rick Scott also signed what could turn out to be one of the nation's most robust healthcare price and quality transparency systems.

Blog: Arkansas governor uses highway funding as a chip to protect Medicaid expansion

Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson warned fellow Republicans that if he doesn't get the 75% vote he needs from both legislative chambers to approve continued funding for the state's Medicaid expansion, he will cancel a special session on highway financing.

Blog: Objects left in patients and health IT issues among top safety woes

The ECRI Institute's third annual list of the "Top 10 Patient Safety Concerns" finds hospitals continue to struggle with long-standing safety concerns. Many safety woes also exist in ambulatory, nursing home and other care settings, according to authors of the report.


Blog: Ted Cruz's tax plan could make Medicare funding discretionary

Republican presidential candidate Ted Cruz has proposed repealing the payroll taxes that fund the Medicare hospital trust fund as well as Social Security, but he hasn't said how he would guarantee continued funding for those programs.

Blog: Uninformed docs buy into 'breakthrough' hype

Misconceptions about what constitutes a breakthrough drug and how the approval process works may lead to certain therapies being over-prescribed and patients being let down by the overstated benefits, according to the authors of a JAMA study published Tuesday.

Blog: States taking lead in healthcare cost control

A report from the Center for American Progress highlights several state-level programs that have reduced costs while maintaining or improving quality.


Blog: Kasich's Medicaid warning may haunt him

Republican presidential candidate Gov. John Kasich faces a tough task in convincing the CMS to approve Ohio's Medicaid waiver proposal that would allow it to disenroll beneficiaries with incomes below the federal poverty level.

Blog: Is the clinical registry for transcatheter valve therapy a burden?

Nobody doubts that registry's potential to inform research and ensure quality, but do the time and resources that it takes to enter data constitute a burden for providers?


Blog: Yelp provides untapped insight into patient experience

Excessively pricey bills, long waits for staff, rude doctors and difficulties setting up appointments drove people to rant about their hospitals on Yelp. But these factors are not included on surveys sent to patients discharged from U.S. hospitals.


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