Health Wonk Review from the Health Business Blog

Welcome to the February 7, 2008 edition of the Health Wonk Review. We have some serious wonkery on tap today, so lap it up.
On the policy front:

Bush’s jab at “junk medical lawsuits” in the State of the Union is itself junk, says New York Personal Injury Law Blog. Bush doesn’t cite any evidence because there isn’t any.

Individual mandates get a thumbs down from GoozNews, who notes that Clinton is for them and Obama against. Colorado Health Insurance Insider isn’t backing Clinton, but likes her plans for mandate enforcement.

Though he’s not saying so anymore, Huckabee thinks fixing the system “is as simple as getting smokers to put their butts down and fat people to pick theirs up,” according to the Health Affairs blog. In the keep on tokin’ category, Paul would abolish HMOs, sprinkle some tax breaks around for cancer patients and the terminally ill, and relax restrictions on marijuana, says LiveSmarter. Not sure how these would-be-leaders of the free world feel about alternative medicine –which doesn’t cost too much, at least– but Evolved says homeopathy’s three main tenets: Like Cures Like, Minimal Dose, and The Single Remedy are bunkum.

Two who aren’t running for President, Health Care Blog contributor Jeff Goldsmith and InsureBlog’s Bob Vineyard provide more nuanced and sophisticated views on reforming the system.

HealthCare Vox expects technology, marketing and social media firms to exert more influence on health care reform than politicians.

Neil Versel’s Healthcare IT Blog notes that even though the US government isn’t putting much money into achieving health IT interoperability at home, that hasn’t stopped it from funding such initiatives in Rwanda.
Insurance for individuals:

Just because there’s no mandate doesn’t mean foregoing health insurance is a good idea. Money Blue Book suggests that even basic coverage can fend off bankruptcy.

What does $7000 look like to you? To Brass and Ivory it’s four months’ of daily self-injectable meds that she has to pay for herself, even though she has insurance. And by the way the drug might not even retard the progression of her MS.

Consumers Health Insurance Blog suggests reformers provide credit for prior coverage and better options when moving from group to individual insurance.

Insurance company CEO’s may not be brilliant, but you at least have to admire their propagandists. Health Care Renewal makes the case.

Attention Wal-Mart Shoppers!

If there’s any entity that can do something about health care costs in this country, it’s probably Wal-Mart. Health Populi explores Wal-Mart’s potential to reshape the PBM industry. Drug Channels thinks there are major implications for retail pharmacy, too.

If Wal-Mart’s too impersonal for your tastes, maybe Carol, an online retail health care marketplace, will be a little more comfy. The Health Care Blog’s Matthew Holt interviews the CEO.

Let go your long-held beliefs:

Incentives often have perverse effects, especially in health care, says TrustedAdvisor. Speaking of incentives, Disease Management Care blog asserts that Vytorin’s commercial success is partly due to payers focusing on short-term HEDIS rates rather than important population-based measures, e.g., heart attack reduction.

The Nourisher lets on that modern bread making techniques are killing us and Health Business Blog points out the dangers of CT scans for kids and what to do about it. But, always looking on the bright side, Workers’ Comp Insider reassures us that one can fall from floor 47 and live to tell the tale.

The next Health Wonk Review will be hosted February 21 at GoozNews. Use the Blog Carnival submission form if you’d like to contribute.

19 thoughts on “Health Wonk Review from the Health Business Blog

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  4. The Nourisher

    David, I can see you are well Nourished by the wealth of information you attract by hosting this blog. It’s obvious you’ve read everything and it helps you in your career.
    Thanks for including my post, even though it was a bit skewed of the topic. I understand why you put it in the dessert section. I just had some of the traditional long ferment sourdough for breakfast. 20 hours it sat before he baked it. It was so sweet and light, I don’t know how he does it. Any way, while you’re doing all this great work, remember to Nourish your body as well as your mind.

    Blessings

    Joane

    Reply
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  7. James Edward Hicks III

    Vanderbilt Understands Hospital Marketing 2.0

    Who is the marketing guy/gal at Vanderbilt Hospital? She/he is a genius. They know how to turn a negative customer service problem into a new sale. Here’s what happened. I was being treated for sinus problems in the Asthma Sinus and Allergy Clinic. My nurse practitioner decided that I needed a referral to the Gastroenterologist, because some of my sinus problems may be related to my hiatal hernia. This was all very well and good until I needed a referral for my insurance company.

    I was informed by Vanderbilt that I needed to contact my Primary Care Physician to get the referral before my insurance company would allow the visit to the Gastroenterologist. I contacted my PCP and was informed by them that they would need to see the notes from the Asthma Sinus and Allergy Clinic before he would provide a referral.

    This is now getting interesting because I had been working with Vanderbilt’s Asthma Sinus and Allergy Clinic for several months and have asked on at least two occasions that they keep my PCP informed about my condition and progress. This had obviously not been done. So I called back to Vanderbilt’s Asthma Sinus and Allergy Clinic and informed them for the situation. The clerk told me to come in and pick up a copy of my records and deliver them to my PCP. I told her that I wasn’t about to do that and she hung-up on me.

    Knowing that I am the customer and this was a case for a patient advocate, I contacted the patient advocate’s office at Vanderbilt. This is where the sales job came in. The patient advocate was very pleasant and apologized for my trouble and promised to get the problem straitened out in short order. She asked me if my PCP was a Vanderbilt Doctor and I said no. She said, “Well sir you should know that if your PCP was a Vanderbilt doctor this wouldn’t of happened because Vanderbilt doctors have computer access to all the Vanderbilt clinic patient reports”.

    Now she didn’t say you need to change your PCP to a Vanderbilt PCP, she didn’t need to. It was the first thing that crossed my mind. I’m not particularly in love with my current PCP, but I think he’s competent. The only reason I did not consider changing my PCP was because I recently had a bad experience with a Vanderbilt trained doctor at one of their urgent care clinics. Otherwise, I would have taken the very subtle advice the patient advocate offered.

    Now here’s the point of this. Vanderbilt could allow any doctor access to patient electronic records if they chose to, but why should they. By not allowing access to non-Vanderbilt doctors, they are encouraging patients to consolidate their business with Vanderbilt and insuring more referrals to their specialists. This is some of the best marketing tactics I have seen in a long time. My hat is off to these guys. They want customer service complaints because they know how to turn them into new sales.

    by James Edward Hicks III

    Reply
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