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Upcoming Podcast: Visiting Nurse Services: A Conversation with VNAA's Tracey Moorhead (April 20th)


Street Sense's Effort to End Homelessness in DC: A Conversation with Brian Carome (April 14th)

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Street Sense is a tabloid newspaper that has been sold biweekly by the District of Columbia's homeless residents for the past 12 years.  The publication's focus is on homelessness and related issues confronting the poor.  DC has one the highest rates of homelessness in the country with over 2,000 individuals and families sleeping on the streets on any given night, a quarter of whom are veterans.  Unemployment, obviously a major cause of the problem, is 7.8 percent in the nation's capital or one and a half times the national average.  For DC's African Americans unemployment is 10 percent. Nearly 20 percent of DC's residents live in poverty.  Beyond homelessness, Street Sense vendors typically face a long list of health issues.  Recently however a city inter-agency council on homelessness unanimously endorsed a plan, that DC's new mayor supports, to end homelessness over the next five years.

During this 18 minute discussion Brian Carome discusses the purpose and success of Street Sense to date, it's vendors, the health and social issues they confront and his outlook for finally solving DC's homelessness problem.

Brian Carome has served as Executive Director of Street Sense since 2011.  Previously he was Unnamed[1]Executive Director at Housing Opportunities for Women, Project Northstar and A-SPAN.  He has also worked at new Hope Housing, Sasha Bruce Youthwork, the Washington Legal Clinic for the Homeless and the Father McKenna Center.  He has lectured on homelessness and at risk populations at the Catholic University of America's School of Social Service and Georgetown University Law School.  Brian was graduated from Boston College with a BA and earned an Executive Certificate form the Georgetown University's Center for Public and Non-Profit Leadership.  

To learn more about Street Sense go to




What's the Status of "Pay for Value" Contracting: A Conversation with David Muhlestein (March 18th)

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Health care payment is solidly moving, or moving once again, toward pay for value or value-based contracting.  This means a health care provider's reimbursement is incented or tied to a predetermined (typically annual) financial amount and/or is based on attaining certain quality care metrics.   The Medicare Shared Savings Program and private sector "accountable care organizations" are both endeavoring to lower health care cost growth and improve quality and patient outcomes via these value or performance-based contracts.  

During this 21-minute discussion Dr. David Muhlestein describes the various types of pay for value contract arrangements including use of quality metrics, what types of providers sign these contracts, what have the results been to date, the keys to success or what are the challenges in succeeding under these agreements and potential downsides for providers and/or patients .   

David Muhlestein is the Senior Director of Research and Development at Leavitt Partners (LP).  He David Muhlestein 2014 directs LP's study of pay for value and accountable care contracting through LP's Center for Accountable Care Intelligence and leads the firms' quantitative evaluation of health care markets. He is an expert in using policy analysis, predictive modeling and applied analytics to understand the evolving health care landscape.  His insights have been quoted by publications including The Wall Street Journal, The Seattle Times and Modern Healthcare.  David earned his Ph.D. at Ohio State University and his JD at Ohio State's Moritz College of Law.   

For information regarding Leavitt Partners' related work see:




What Health Care Coverage Do Immigrants Get?: A Conversation with Angel Padilla (February 19th)

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Over 20 million immigrants live in the US, approximately half of whom, or 11 million, are undocumented.  Because immigrants are frequently employed in low-wage jobs they largely lack health care coverage.  Legally residing residents are able to acquire coverage via the ACA's state marketplaces however they are typically required to wait five years to apply to qualify for Medicaid. Undocumented immigrants are neither able to buy marketplace coverage even if they pay the full premium nor are they typically allowed Medicaid coverage.   Last November the President announced a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants but whether this will improve their ability to obtain health insurance is unclear.

During this 23-minute discussion Mr. Padilla explains the genesis of the five-year waiting period for legal immigrants to apply for Medicaid, why undocumented immigrants are unable to purchase marketplace insurance at full cost, where (and how) immigrants typically get health care services and moreover what, if any, effect will the President's executive order actions announced last November have in providing health care coverage for undocumented immigrants.      

Angel Padilla is a Health Policy Analyst at the National Immigration Law Center (NILC) where APadilla Pic (1)he works to develop and implement NILC's federal immigrant health policy agenda.  Prior to joining the NILC in 2014 he was an immigration policy consultant at the National Council of La Raza.  Prior still he served as a Legislative Assistant to Rep. Luis Guiterrez (D-IL).  Mr. Padilla also interned at the Department of Homeland Security.  He holds an undergraduate degree from the University of California at Berkeley and a graduate degree form the Princeton University's Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Policy.

The National Immigration Law Center website is at:




CareConnect, New York's First Commercial Provider-Owned Health Plan: A Conversation with Alan Murray (February 10th)

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Over the past few years the lines between health care payers and health care providers have been blurring.  Some say these health care industry silos, insurance companies and acute and post-acute providers, will eventually merge.  For cost purposes, health care plans are ever-increasingly interested in improving their relationship with patients in order to provide more efficient and effective care.  Health care providers want to better control their revenue streams and be more competitive.  CareConnect, formed last year by North Shore-Long Island Jewish Health System, is New York State's first provider-owned commercial health insurance plan.  

During this 21-minute interview Mr. Alan Murray discusses the reasons CareConnect was formed, how it's structured, its patient population, how its physicians deliver care within the CareConnect network and what it is doing to improve its patient and service community's population health.  

Mr. Alan Murray is the Co-Founder, President and Chief Executive Officer of North Shore-LIJ MurrayCareConnect, the first provider owned health plan in New York State.  Mr. Murray is also currently President and CEO of North Shore-LIJ Health Plan whose offerings include a managed long-term care plan for Medicaid recipients.  Previously, Mr. Murray was VP of Managed Care for North Shore-LIJ Health System.  Mr. Murray also served for five years as a Vice President for UnitedHealthcare in New York and previously still as at WellPoint/Empire BlueCross BlueShield).  Mr. Murray's background also includes serving for over five years as a Second Officer in the British Merchant Navy.

For more on CareConnect see:


Blog Post: "Janitor's Insurance" (January 26, 2015)

Since we recently celebrated Martin Luther King's birthday and since, among numerous memorable comments, Dr. King observed, "of all forms of inequality, injustice in health care is the most shocking and inhumane," this blog post.  


Announcing an Accompanying Blog Feature: First Posting Is Titled, "Whither Primary Care?" (January 15, 2015)

Beginning today I am launching an accompanying blog feature to complement the podcast interviews.  Please click on the "Blog" tab to read the first posting titled, "Whither Primary Care?"   

To get back to the podcast page just click on "Podcast" on the tool bar.

As with all the podcasts please feel free to offer any comments regarding the blog postings.

Thank you.

David Introcaso 

The Rise of Medical Tourism: An Interview with Renee-Marie Stephano (December 22nd)

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Medical tourism has been defined moreover as people traveling from less developed to more developed countries to receive medical treatment.   Today, well over one million Americans travel both within the US and worldwide to receive a wide variety of medical interventions.  Medical tourism originating in the US is growing dramatically, it is today considered one of the fastest growing segments in our health care industry.  The primary reason for its popularity is of course cost or cost savings (though wait times can play a factor as well).  A recent NYT poll found for example 46% of respondents describe paying for health care as a "hardship".  Both self-employed companies as well as private insurance plans have offered tourism coverage for certain procedures for several years.  However, like all medical care, procedures received abroad are not without risk.

During this 22-minute interview Ms. Stephano provides a brief overview of her organization, the range of medical services sought, typically where and at what cost savings, its increasing use among self-insured employers, the quality of care received and what recourse patients have in the event of an error.  

Ms. Renee-Marie Stephano is the President and Co-Founder of the Medical Tourism Association Renee[1]and editor-in-chief of the Medical Tourism Magazine.  She works closely with governments, hospitals, business leaders and travel and tourism entities to develop sustainable medical tourism/international patient programs and strategies throughout the world.  She has authored and co-authored several books, has been a keynote speaker at hundreds of international conferences and is a resource regarding medical tourism initiatives for media outlets worldwide.  She earned her JD degree from the University of Pennsylvania.

For more onthe Medical Tourism Assocation see:



Housing IS Healthcare: A Conversation with Rebecca Morley (November 24th)

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Beyond the problem of an estimated 600,000 Americans being homeless each night (and 1.5 million in any given year), homelessness or unstable housing is strongly correlated with high rates of chronic illness, unmet healthcare needs and mortality. Inadequate housing impedes access to health care and  an ability to stay healthy such as caring for injuries or disease and taking medications. For the chronically homeless mortality is four to nine times higher than for the general population.   Though current federal Medicaid rules do not allow states to provide supportive housing, it appears the health care industry is nevertheless beginning to close the gap between health care and housing by recognizing and addressing the fact it is a key social determinate of health.

During this 20 minute interview Ms. Morely discusses the work of the National Center for Healthy Housing, the magnitude of the housing "famine," how housing serves as a health care "vaccine," why health care providers have been slow to recognize its importance as a key social determinate of health and opportunities to better intergrate supportive housing and health care.     

Rebecca Morley is the Executive Director of the National Center for Healthy Housing (NCHH), Rebecca photoa national non-profit dedicated to creating healthy and safe housing for children. Among other
things Rebecca spearheaded NCHH's recovery work in the Gulf Coast after hurricanes Katrina and Rita and she led the development of the National Health Homes Training Center. She is the author of numerous publications including the new book, "Healthy & Safe Homes: Research, Practice and Policy." Before joining NCHH, Ms. Morley worked with ICF Consulting on affordable housing and related issues, at HUD as a Presidential Management Fellow and as a Legislative Fellow for Senator Jack Reed.  She serves on numerous boards and commissions including Health Housing Solutions. Ms. Morley was graduated from Nazareth College (in Rochester, NY) with an undergraduate degree in environmental science and from the Georgia Institute of Technology with a master's in public policy.   

For more on the National Center for Healthy Housing go to:


Navigating Healthcare via "The Health Care Handbook:" A Conversation with Co-Author Nathan Moore (November 19th)

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Despite signifcant press coverage over the past four and a half years many provisions of the Affordable Care Act remain largely unknown to the American public.  Polling data shows slightly less than half of Americans know the ACA is still law, over half said they've heard nothing about the state marketplaces and over a third do not know there's a penalty for not having health insurance.  More generally, researchers have found Americans have a low health insurance literacy rate.  Less than half of those polled were unable to describe an insurance deductable.   None of this is surprising when you realize how complicated health care financing and delivery is.  For example, the recently published final rule that describes changes to how Medicare will pay physicians in 2015 was well over 1,000 pages.  

During this 20 minute interview Dr. Moore discusses the reasons he and Dr. Askin wrote the book, some of their findings, what he was surprised to learn and how health care is delievered in the US, how research and writing the volume changed his practice, reaction to, and use of, the work and changes in the soon-to-be-released second edition.       

Nathan Moore is an resident physician in internal medicine at Barnes-Jewish Hospital in St. Nathan Moore 2Louis. When he and his colleague Elisabeth Askin were in medical school at Washington University, they wrote The Health Care Handbook, A Clear and Concise Guide to the United States Health Care System. To date, approximately 60 medical schools and hospital residency programs have incorporated this handbook into their core curriculum.  Dr. Moore has been a featured speaker at dozens of medical schools, universities and health professions conferences and is currently working on the 2nd edition of the Handbook.  The 2nd edition is anticipated to be released this month. 

To learn more about "The Health Care Handbook" go to: