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12/10/2018

Rosemary Gibson Discusses Her Recent Work, "China Rx" (December 7th)

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During this 31 minute discussion Rosemary Gibson unpacks her latest work, co-authored with Janardan Prasad Singh, titled, China, Rx, "Exposing the Risks of America's Dependence on China For Medicine.  As the title suggests the authors discuss the problems with relying on China for the production of essential ingredients for thousands of medicines, or the implications of relying on China regarding the quality and availability of essential drugs.  

Rosemary Gibson is Senior Adviser at The Hastings Center.  She is also board chair of the Altarum Institute, a non-profit health Rosemary_gibson[1]system research organization, she is a board member of the Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education, she serves on the MedStar Health System Institute for Quality and Patient Safety advisory board, is faculty for the Academy for Emerging Health Care Leaders and for the Dartmouth Summer Symposium on Quality Improvement.  While at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Rosemary was the chief architect for it's $250 million, decade-long national strategy to establish inpatient palliative care programs that now number over 1,600.  She is also author of Medicare Meltdown (2013), Battle Over Health Care (2012), Treatment Trap (2010) and Wall of Silence (2003).  Among other awards, Rosemary is the recipient of highest honors from the American Medical Writers Association for her contributions to the field of medical communication. 

Information on China Rx is at: https://www.penguinrandomhouse.com/books/566043/china-rx-by-rosemary-gibson-and-janardan-prasad-singh/9781633883819/

11/18/2018

Dave Chase Discusses His New Work, "The Opioid Crisis Wake-Up Call: Health Care is Stealing the American Dream” (November 16th)

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Listeners may recall, I have previously discussed the opioid epidemic this past February 2 with Dr. Steve Passik concerning abuse deterrent formulations and on November 16, 2016 with Dr. Ann Lembke regarding her work, "Drug Deal MD."  Tragically, the opioid epidemic continues unabated.  In 2017 there were 72,000 drug overdose deaths, among these 29,000 were from synthetic opioids, predominately fentanyl.  While Mr Chase's work examines the cause of the opioid epidemic and what could be done to reduce fatalities, it is moreover a study that attempts to explain what accounts for massive dysfunction in health care delivery that causes, as I note in the podcast's introduction, Americans to spend $1 trillion annually on health care coverage and services that do not improve their health.

During this 30 minute conversation Mr. Chase explains what prompted his writing this work and what explains, in his view, the opioid crisis.  Moreover, he explains the problem with health care as one moreover one of pricing failure, how payers, moreover self-insured employers, can more competently purchase more affordable coverage for their employers and provides examples or organizations that have lowered their health care spending.  He also discusses direct primary care, ERISA, insurance risk pool size, medical loss ratios (MLRs) and his efforts at credentialing use of The Health Rosetta blueprint. 

Mr. Dave Chase is the co-founder of The Health Rosetta, described as an open source blueprint for the next generation's Dave chase headshothealth ecosystem.   Mr. Chase's first book, "The CEO's Guide to Restoring the American Dream: How to Delivery World Class Healthcare to Your Employers at Half the Cost," became a Kindle #1 best seller.  Mr. Chase and The Health Care Rosetta focus on replicating health economies that rebuild hope and community through improved outcomes, lower spending and higher performing models.   

Information on Mr. Chase's book is at: https://healthrosetta.org/friends/

For more on The Health Rosetta, go to: https://healthrosetta.org/

 

11/15/2018

Professor Kristie Ebi Discusses the IPCC Report's Findings Related to Global Warming on Human Systems (November 14th)

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The below November 7th podcast post provides a link to an essay that, in part, provides an overview of the United Nation's International Panel on Climate Change's (IPCC's) recent report titled, "Global Warming of 1.5°C."  As noted in the essay, what is particularly noteworthy about the IPCC's report is its conclusion that keeping or holding temperature increases to below 2°C, the goal of the Paris climate accord, would not avoid the more serious effects of global warming.  For example, at 1.5°C of warming a significant percent of vertebrates, insects and plants would lose half of their climatically-determined geographic range and 70 to 90 percent of coral reefs would be lost.   

During this 28 minute conversation Professor Kirstie Ebi begins by briefly explaining the IPCC's work, she then discusses several of the findings in chapter 3, that she co-authored and is titled, "Impacts of 1.5°C Global Warming on Natural and Human Systems.," Professor Ebi makes note of the international climate change research communities' upcoming meeting in Poland, next issue of the US's Climate Science Special Report, anticipated in December, and comments on the health care industry's responsibility and opportunity to contribute to solving the climate crisis. 

Professor Kristie L. Ebi, is the Director of the Center for Health and Global Environment (CHanGE) and the Rohm and Haas EbiEndowed Professor in Public Health Sciences at the University of Washington.  She is the author of multiple national and international climate change assessments, including the IPCC's recently published Report on Global Warming of 1.5C.  Professor Ebi co-chairs the International Committee on New Integrated Climate change assessment Scenarios (ICONICS) that created five scenarios of socioeconomic development over this century.  Professor Ebi's scientific training includes a MS in toxicology and a Ph.D. and a Masters of Public Health in epidemiology and two years of post-graduate research at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine  She has edited four books on aspects of climate change and over 200 publications.

The IPCC report is at: http://www.ipcc.ch/report/sr15/ 

Though not noted during this discussion, it's worth noting here the much discussed essay by Will Steffen and colleagues published this past August in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS) regarding "hothouse earth."  The essay, "Trajectories of the Earth System in the Anthropocene," is at: http://www.pnas.org/content/115/33/8252

 

11/07/2018

Essay, "The IPCC Confirms Life As We Know It Will Soon Cease to Exist" (November 7th)

Listeners of this podcast may recall I've written several essays concerning global warming over the past three years that I've posted links to via this website.  This is my latest, posted yesterday at THCB.  It is at: https://thehealthcareblog.com/blog/2018/11/06/the-ipcc-confirms-life-as-we-know-it-will-soon-cease-to-exist/.    

10/30/2018

Status of the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund, Will It Run Out of Funds, A Conversation with Michael Barasch (October 29th)

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Soon after the 9/11 attacks the Congress created the Victim Compensation Fund (VCF).  Initially, the VCF was created to award moneys to 9/11 victims or their families.   Awards were made through 2004.  In 201o1 the Congress passed the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act, named after a 34-year old NYC policeman who died in 2006 of 9/11 related illness, was created to compensate first responders and individuals who later developed 9/11-related health problems including numerous forms of cancer and PTSD.   The fund was re-authorized in 2015 by President Obama for five years (it will will sunset in December 2020).  Because of the ever-increasing number of 9/11-related illnesses the VCF Special Master, Rupa Bhattacharyya, recently noted the fund could run out of moneys before all claims are resolved.  Ms. Bhattacharyya recently posted a Federal Register notice soliciting comments asking the public how the remaining funds should be allocated.  

During this 28 minute interview, Mr. Barasch discusses his firms 9/11 experience.  Located at ground zero, half his employees have since succumbed to cancer or are currently battling the disease.  He provides an explanation why the EPA came to determine the air quality at ground zero was safe (it definitively was not), provides an overview of the VCF and the related World Trade Center Health Program, his firms work in representing 9/11 victims seeking VCF settlements, efforts to solicit the Congress to further fund the VCF and the prospects of a wrongful death civil suit filed against the Saudi Arabian government (15 of the 19 9/11 terrorists were Saudis).  

Michael Barasch is the Managing Partner of Barasch & McGarry, lawyers for the 9/11 community.  His firm has represented Michael Baraschover 11,000 victims of 9/11 in their pursuit of a VCF settlement.  Ms. Barasch is a graduate of Fordham Law School.  

For more on Barasch & McGarry go to: https://www.personalinjuryjustice.com/ 

Barasch and McGarry's VCF-related work can be found at: 911victimfund.com

The Department of Justice's VCF info is at: www.vcf.gov  & DOJ's VCF helpline is: 1.855.885.1555. 

Concerning the Federal Register notice "September 11th Victim Compensation Fund: Compensation of Claims" (comments due December 3), see:  https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2018/10/03/2018-21490/september-11th-victim-compensation-fund-compensation-of-claims 

 

10/25/2018

Jessica Wolff Discusses Efforts to Reduce The Health Care Industry's Carbon Footprint (October 24th)

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Earlier this month the United Nation's Inter-governmental Panel on Climate Change (IPPC), the world's definitive body on the subject, concluded we have just 12 years, or until 2030, to avoid global temperatures rising above 1.5 degrees Celsius (or 2.7F).  We've already warmed by 1C.   Among other consequences, if we warm to 2.0C (or 3.6F) we will lose 99 percent of our coral reefs.  We are presently on track to warm to 4C by the end of this century - that the Trump administration, via a National Highway and Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) environmental impact stated, admitted in August.  This means we will have to reduce carbon emissions by 50% by 2030 and achieve net zero emissions by 2050.  (The US is historically the largest emitter of greenhouse gasses and currently second behind China.  Worldwide, we currently dump 42 billion tons of greenhouse gasses into the atmosphere annually and the amount has been again climbing since last year.)  As I noted in a November 13, 2017 3 Quarks Daily essay (a link to which was posted on this podcast that month), there is no climate analog for this century for at least the past 50 million years.  Should the atmosphere warm by 2C (the Paris Climate Accord goal was between 1.5 to 2), the earth as we know it will largely cease to exist.   Therefore, it is a particularly good time to examine what the health care industry, the second largest emitter of greenhouse pollution after the food industry, is doing to reduce its carbon footprint. 

During this 28 minute podcast Ms. Jessica Wolff discusses, in sum, efforts  by Health Care Without Harm (HCWH) to achieve reductions in the health care industry's carbon footprint.  She explains why HCWH was formed, provides an overview of its current mission is to reduce the industry's carbon footprint, discusses how specifically the industry is addressing the problem (via mitigation, resilience and leadership), highlights related initiatives, e.g., the recently formed California Health Care Climate Alliance, identifies leaders in the industry and what they are doing, e.g., Kaiser, and discusses opportunities the industry is and can take to influence and/or reform state and federal climate change policy.

Ms. Jessica Wolff is the US Director of Climate and Health for Health Care Without Harm (HCWH).   Prior to her current Wolffposition she was the Environmental Sustainability Adviser at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Health.  Prior still she worked as a women's health nurse practitioner and as a health center director.  She holds an MBA from the Isenberg School of Management at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, a degree in Environmental Studies from Oberlin College and a Master's in Nursing from the University of Pennsylvania.

For information on HCWH go to: https://noharm.org/.

The IPCC report is at: https://www.ipcc.ch/report/sr15/.

On August 3 , 2017, I interviewed David Wallace Wells regarding his global warming article published in July 2017 in  New York Magazine.  It was titled, "The Uninhabitable Earth."  It is at: https://nymag.com/intelligencer/2017/07/climate-change-earth-too-hot-for-humans.html?gtm=bottom&gtm=top

10/04/2018

150th Interview: Tim Gronniger Discusses the Current Proposed Medicare Accountable Care Organization (ACO) Rule (October 3rd)

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Currently, CMS is accepting public comment on a proposed Medicare Shared Savings Program (MSSP), known more commonly as the Accountable Care Organization (ACO) program, rule.  The MSSP, created under the 2010 Affordable Care Act, is Medicare's flagship pay or performance program currently providing care to over 10 million Medicare beneficiaries.  MSSP or ACO performance, or to the extent the program has reduced Medicare spending growth, has been widely debated largely because CMS has failed to evaluate the program  Under this administration the program has come under substantial criticism.  The proposed rule, published this past August 17 in the Federal Register, is this administration's effort to improve the program's performance moreover by reducing the number of years an provider can participate in the program, from six years to two, without taking financial risk or participate in what are termed upside only contracts.  The administration argues absent financial risk providers do not fully engage in practice reforms to reduce spending.  This assumption is also widely debated.  Absent other substantial payment innovations, the success of the MSSP or ACO program is vital to the Medicare program, now forcasted to go bankrupt in 2026. 

During this 30 minute conversation Mr. Gronniger begins with a a brief overview of Caravan's work, he discusses or explains what success the ACO program has achieved to date and the program's background.  He moves onto discussing numerous elements of the proposed rule including earned shared savings percents, risk adjustment, aspects of financial benchmarking, low and high revenue ACOs, and beneficiary engagement and incentives, among others.     

Mr. Tim Gronniger is currently the Senior Vice President of Development and Strategy at Caravan Health.  Previously, he Gronnigerserved as Chief of Staff and Director of Delivery System Reform at CMS.  Previous to that, Mr. Gronniger  was Senior Adviser for Health Care Policy for the White House Domestic Policy Council.  Before that he served as senior professional staff to the Ranking Member of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce, Rep. Henry Waxman (D-CA, now retired).  Mr. Gronniger began his career in Washington, D.C. at the Congressional Budget Office where he studied or scored Medicare and Medicaid legislation.  Mr. Gronniger holds a Masters in Public Policy and Health Services Administration from the University of Michigan and a BA in Biochemical Sciences from Harvard. 

The proposed ACO rule is at: https://www.federalregister.gov/documents/2018/08/17/2018-17101/medicare-program-medicare-shared-savings-program-accountable-care-organizations-pathways-to-success

For information concerning Caravan Health go to: https://caravanhealth.com/

09/28/2018

Utah's Alliance for the Derterminants of Health Initiative: A Conversation with Mikelle Moore (September 27th)

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Despite the fact social circumstances and environmental factors account for approximately 20% of an individual's health status, twice that of medical care at approximately 10%, social circumstances or social determinants of health are frequently unaddressed by health or medical care providers.  This is largely because medical care providers are neither trained to provide social service supports such as housing and transportation nor compensated for doing so.   As a result persons left with unmet health-related social needs suffer more disease burden leaving them to over-utilize or seek comparatively more health care services, for example ED visits, - or services that could have been avoided had their health-related social needs been initially addressed.      

During this 24 minute conversation Ms. Moore begins by noting the current state of Medicaid expansion efforts in Utah.  She proceeds to explain Intermountain's reasons or motivations for creating the Alliance, she provides an overview of the Alliance's programming activities in Ogden and St. George that will address, for example, housing, transportation, food security and behavioral health services related, in part, to interpersonal violence, the initiative's relation to Intermountain's Medicaid insurance plan, SelectHealth, to the Medicare program's Accountable Health Communities demonstration, and what the Alliance's evaluation will measure in tracking the initiative's progress or success.  

Ms. Mikelle Moore is the Senior Vice President for Community Health at Intermountain Healthcare.  Her work is moreover focused on prevention and population health.  Prior to her current position, she served as Administrator of the LDS Hospital.  She joined Intermountain as an Administrative Fellow in 1998, serving as Assistant Administrator and Operations Officer in the Moore  Mikelle-06Central Region.  She is a Fellow in the American College of Healthcare Executives and serves on the national Advisory board for the Association for Community Health Improvement. She is also active on other not for profit boards and community initiatives.  Ms. Moore earned her MBA in health services administration from Arizona State University and her undergraduate degree in physiology from the University of Arizona.  

For more information on the Alliance go to, e.g., https://intermountainhealthcare.org/blogs/topics/transforming-healthcare/2018/07/new-alliance-seeks-to-address-the-social-determinants-of-health/.

 

09/23/2018

Accelerating Telehealth Adoption: A Conversation with Jonathan Shankman (September 21st)

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In the recent past the federal government has made several efforts to expand the use of telehealth and Remote Patient Monitoring (RPM) services.  Related provisions can be found, for example, in the 2017 CONNECT Act, the Bipartisan Budget Act of 2018 and in federal regulatory rule making, for example, the current 2019 proposed Medicare Physician Fee Schedule (PFS) rule, and in payment waivers for certain Medicare pay for performance models, for example, ACOs, where telehealth "originating site" and service area use restrictions are waived.  Even with these reforms telehealth/RPM spending in, for example, the Medicare program still amounts to approximately $30 million annually, or an almost immeasurable fraction of the program's $700 plus billion in annual spending.   Increased spending under Medicare (and Medicaid) aside, few are convinced adoption of these technologies should occur at the so called speed of government, where old or current IT solutions are largely validated, is adequate.   

During this 24 minute conversation Mr. Shankman briefly describes AMC Health's work, what explains the lag in telehealth/ RPM adoption and why now or what circumstances today hold promise for far more rapid adoption or use of telehealth/RPM.  He provides several examples or telehealth/RPM use and what outcomes are or can be achieved. 

Jonathan Shankman is currently Senior Vice President of Clinical Innovation at AMC Health, a New York-based remote and Jon Shankman Headshotreal time healthcare monitoring company.  Mr. Shankman has more than 25 years of experience as a research gerontologist, developing and analyzing new paradigms of chronic care delivery for the elderly and disabled across all segments of the care continuum.  At AMC Health, Mr. Shankman is responsible for development of products that weave technology and clinical best practices into virtual care solutions that address a broad array of chronic and acute illness challenges.  He also focuses on the application of analytics that support the development of clinical decision support tools.  Previously, at the Metropolitan Jewish Health System, Mr. Shankman held progressive leadership positions with the nonprofit, geriatric services organization serving the New York metropolitan area.  Mr. Shankman was graduated from Columbia University with a Masters of Public Health in gerontology, an MBA and a BA.  

For more on AMC Health go to: www.amchealth.com

 

09/03/2018

Essay: Salvaging the Merit-Based Incentive Payment System (MIPS): August 28th

This past August 28th, the Health Affairs Blog posted my essay, "Salvaging MIPS."  Followers of this podcast may recall last August I wrote a related essay for Health Affairs concerning the problems with the high MIPS exclusion thresholds.  I certainly does not appear we are making any progress in moving Medicare Part B (physician reimbursement) closer to higher quality and greater value.

Last week's essay is at: https://www.healthaffairs.org/do/10.1377/hblog20180822.309498/full/

The August 2017 essay is at: https://www.healthaffairs.org/do/10.1377/hblog20170803.061372/full/