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27 Nov

Health care\\\'s shrinking dollar squeezes doctors

Practices sell out as big hospitals and insurers angle for edge amid reforms.

By Gale Scott Trying to stem losses at his primary-care practice a few years ago, William Latreille faced a choice. He could sell his upstate office to a hospital, becoming its employee. Or he could sign an insurance-company contract that paid him more but dictated how he practiced medicine. "I was really in the red," he said. Dr. Latreille's circumstances have become increasingly...

14 Nov

Liberal group proposes billions in Medicare cuts

http://www.benefitspro.com/author/ricardo-alonso-zaldivar WASHINGTON (AP) — Hoping to head off wider health care cuts in upcoming budget talks, a think tank close to the White House is unveiling a plan for how to save $385 billion, mostly from Medicare. Medicaid and the new health care law are largely spared from cuts in the blueprint being released Wednesday by the liberal-leaning Center for American Progress....

24 Oct

Influx of newly insured a prompt for practices to rethink patient flow

It’s expected that practices are going to have to spend more time with patients who have put off care for years.

By Victoria Stagg Elliott, amednews staff. Posted Oct. 22, 2012. The crunch that physician practices, especially those in primary care, are likely to feel once the insurance mandate of the Affordable Care Act is in full force won’t be as much about the sheer numbers of newly insured who will walk through the door. Instead, odds are it will be more...

11 Oct

Will a “silent exodus” from medicine worsen doctor shortage?

Many physicians, nervous about the impact of health system reform and dispirited by trends in medicine, are exploring career options that involve treating fewer patients.

  By Kevin B. O'Reilly, amednews staff Frustrated by mounting regulation, declining pay, loss of autonomy and uncertainty about the effect of health system reform, doctors are cutting back the number of hours they work and how many patients they see. Between 2008 and 2012, the average number of hours physicians worked fell by 5.9%, from 57 hours a week to 53, and...

2 Oct

Medicare fines over readmitted patients

http://www.benefitspro.com/author/ricardo-alonso-zaldivar WASHINGTON (AP) — If you or an elderly relative have been hospitalized recently and noticed extra attention when the time came to be discharged, there's more to it than good customer service. As of Monday, Medicare will start fining hospitals that have too many patients readmitted within 30 days of discharge due to complications. The penalties are part of a broader...

19 Sep

Waste not, heal not

US health care system wastes $750 billion a year

http://www.benefitspro.com/author/ricardo-alonso-zaldivar WASHINGTON (AP) — The U.S. health care system squanders $750 billion a year — roughly 30 cents of every medical dollar — through unneeded care, byzantine paperwork, fraud and other waste, the influential Institute of Medicine said Thursday in a report that ties directly into the presidential campaign. President Barack Obama and Republican Mitt Romney are accusing each other of trying...

11 Sep

Women more proactive about health

Women are more proactive about their health than men are, according to the Truven Health Analytics-NPR Health Poll

  http://www.benefitspro.com/author/kathryn-mayer Women are more proactive about their health than men are, according to the Truven Health Analytics-NPR Health Poll. While nearly half of American women have had a mammogram over the past year, just a quarter of American men have undergone prostate screening over the same time period. Data also shows a stark difference in attitudes toward screening between genders. The vast majority (78...

11 Sep

Doctors shift focus to compliance as ICD-10 deadline set

Physicians win a one-year reprieve on upgrading to the more complex code sets as the administration finalizes a delay to October 2014.

By Jennifer Lubell, amednews staff Washington Now that organized medicine has secured a one-year delay in the deadline for moving to the ICD-10 diagnostic coding system, physicians and hospitals turn their attention to the work of transitioning from ICD-9. The American Medical Association and other physician organizations said the delay did not go far enough to alleviate concerns about the substantial...

3 Sep

500 practices selected for primary care management fee demo

A joint Medicare, Medicaid and private insurance program will pay doctors up to $40 in monthly fees for each high-risk patient enrolled.

By Charles Fiegl, amednews staff Washington More than 2,000 physicians and health professionals will care for Medicare, Medicaid and private plan beneficiaries under the same new payment model aimed at coordinating care and keeping patients healthy to avoid costly admissions for inpatient care. Roughly 500 physician practices in seven regions spread out over eight states successfully applied to participate in the Centers...

3 Sep

As more patients see physicians again, health plan earnings drop

The largest insurers note that medical spending has gone up after a long period of decreased office visits.

By Bob Cook, amednews staff Nearly every health insurer recorded declining earnings in the second quarter of 2012, mainly because of something that happened more often than they expected: patients going to see their doctors. While all of the seven largest publicly traded health insurance companies recorded growth in revenue during the quarter, only UnitedHealth Group and Health Net recorded gains in...

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