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3 posts from October 2013


How Best Can Medical Malpractice Policy Be Reformed: An Interview with Janice Mulligan (October 18th)

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US medical malpractice policy is considered to be substantially flawed.  Only a small percent of patients harmed file claims, awards even for similar injuries vary widely, and "defensive" medicine that leads to over-testing and treatment inflate health care costs by as much as $55 billion annually.  What reforms can be made to "medmal" policy to improve patient safety, reduce health care costs and create greater trust between the public and the health care industry. 

During this 22-minute interview Ms. Mulligan explains why there's actuallly been a recent downward trend in medical tort claims, she discusses the meaning and merits of "defensive medicine" and other alleged medmal-driven adverse affects on health care delivery, she critiques several proposed reform solutions including "safe harbors," "sorry works" and "health courts" along with state reforms in California and Texas, finally she offers her own prescriptions in improving medical malpractice policy.      

Ms. Janice F.Mulligan is a partner with the San Diego law firm of Mulligan and Banham.  Ms. Mulligan's particular expertise is in medical malpractice and personal injury.   Previously to forming her own practice, Jan worked in the California Attorney General's Office Janprosecuting physicians for malfeasance.  Jan has served in leadership positions in the American Bar Association, is a former President of the San Diego Inn of Court and a former Board member of the San Diego County Bar Association.   In addition to her full time law practice, Jan regularly teaches at the University of California San Diego, School of Medicine.  Jan attended the University of San Diego and St. Anthony's College at Oxford University and graduated with honors from the University of San Diego School of Law.


Interview with Robb Cohen on Proposed Changes to Maryland's Hospital All Payer System (October 17th)

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For nearly four decades, Maryland's “all payer” system has set hospital prices for the state's 53 hospitals.  The state regulates prices for every insurer including Medicaid, Medicare and patients who pay their own bills.  Last week the state proposed to substantially alter how it pays state hospitals by creating over time a capitated payment system (a hard cap) that would increase overall spending using a ten year rolling average.  Maryland would save a minimum projected $300 million over the first three years of the program if the state managed to keep the pace of hospital costs commensurate with the state's economic growth.  If successful, Maryland would join one other state, Massachusetts, in tying hospital spending to the growth of the state's economy. 

During this 21-minute interview Mr. Cohen explains why Maryland's all payer system remains unique, why the state is now proposing to reform its all payer system, he explains how specifically it intends to revise its reimbursement formula, how it will work practically, how it will generate cost savings (largely through health care quality improvements) and what challenges the state will face should the federal goverment approve its proposal to revise its payment system.    

Mr. Robb Cohen is currently Senior VP of Public Policy with the Gorman Health Group.  Prior to Robb founded XLHealth, a Special Needs Plan (SNP), and served as their Chief of Goverment Affairs.  Prior still Robb was the Founder and President of Phoenix Healthcare Consulting.  Robb graduated from the Wharton Robb_cohen_560x336[1]School of the University of Pennsylvania, the Leonard Davis Institute in Health Economics with an MBA in Finance and Healthcare Management.  Among other community activites Robb has served on a number of State of Maryland Department of Health & Mental Hygiene workgroups and task forces.

To learn more about the Maryland proposal go to: http://dhmh.maryland.gov/SitePages/Medicare%20Waiver%20Modernization.aspx.


Enroll America's Efforts to Maximize ACA Insurance Coverage: An Interview with Jessica Barba Brown (October 4th)

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This past October 1st uninsured Americans who qualify for coverage under the Affordable Care Act could begin choosing a health care insurance plan offered via their state's healthcare insurance marketplace or exchange.  The CBO estimates about 14 million Americans will buy health care insurance for 2014 and about 25 million will do so by the end of the decade (still leaving about 20 million Americans uninsured).  Those that make more than the Federal Poverty Level/FPL but less than four times that level, or $94,000 for a family of four, can buy subsidized insurance and for those making less that 133% of the FPL ($15,000 a year for a single adult or $31,000 a year for a family of four) can sign up for Medicaid if their state is participating in the ACA's Medicaid expansion program - currently 24 states.   Many American who can reasonably afford health care insurance do not buy it and approximately 40% of Americans who qualify for Medicaid do not subscribe.  Since policy is what policy does, the relevant question is how many Americans will sign up for health care insurance under the ACA.

During this 22-minute interview, Ms. Barba Brown discusses Enroll America's mission, its various activites, moreover in 10 states, to advocate for coverage and to educate the uninsured about obtaining either private insurance or Medicaid coverage and how and why she believes Americans will substantially sign up for health care insurance under the ACA.

Ms. Jessica Barba Brown currently serves as National Communications Director for Enroll America.  Headshot[1] Previously she was Vice President for Program Development at Faith in Public Life and prior still Communications Director for former U.S. Representative Tom Perriello.  Ms. Barba Brown began her career managing communications and branding efforts for nonprofit social service organizations such as City Year New York and CancerCare in New York City.  She holds a B.A. in Gender and Sexuality Studies from New York University.