Highlights of the Month, Latest News
Wednesday, February 12th, 2014
In this first Issue Brief of the new CHPRE series, Stuart Butler of the Heritage Foundation, Dave Kendall of Third Way and Len Nichols of CHPRE explain why and how policy makers can create incentives for states to engage private and federal stakeholders in health care cost containment activities that need to be jumpstarted, but likely will not without state engagement.
Highlights of the Month, Latest News, News & Events
Thursday, February 6th, 2014
Len Nichols, Director for the Center for Health Policy Research and Ethics, served as a panelist at the AcademyHealth’s inaugural National Children’s Health Policy Conference in Washington, DC. on February 5th. Dr. Nichols joined other health policy leaders from across the country as a member of the panel entitled, “Child Health Coverage: What Will the Future Hold?” This panel examined an overview of the latest data on coverage trends, the status of CHIP and Medicaid, and early results from health insurance exchange enrollment.
Some of Dr. Nichols’ ideas were very well received during this session, even being tweeted by @AcademyHealth:
· RT @smithcass: Can we lower cost trajectory? If we don’t, we can’t maintain consensus for universal coverage @LenMNichols
· Be willing to be creative & think about diff ways we can maintain this commitment & make sure our families stay strong @LenMNichols
And, was even rated as one of the Top Influencers of #CHPC14 by Symplur Hashtags @healthhashtags! Other topics discussed and presented at the NCHPC included opportunities and threats to child health insurance, the CHIPRA national evaluation findings, systems of care for children at the state and local level, new research tools and data to inform child health policy, and child health equity. For more information on NCHPC sessions and presentations, check out AcademyHealth’s blog.
Highlights of the Month, Latest News
Monday, December 16th, 2013
The event was sponsored by the nonpartisan Alliance for Health Reform and The Commonwealth Fund. Panelists talked about both long-term overall health care spending and spending on programs such as medicare. They also proposed solutions for slowing down spending on both. Watch C -Span video
Friday, December 13, 2013 - Alliance for Health Reform
Despite slower health care spending growth over the last few years, long-term forecasts for overall health spending – and for public programs like Medicare – signal continuing concern.
The idea behind numerous recent proposals is to find lasting solutions, and some areas of consensus are beginning to emerge.
Many proposals recommend paying for value instead of volume through such delivery models as patient-centered medical homes and accountable care organizations. Some encourage improvements in market competition, by instituting competitive bidding and increasing the availability of information. There is also some agreement on establishing spending targets.
Which proposals can garner support from various policymakers and stakeholders? How much money would these proposals save and what would be their effect on quality of care? What would it take to get the ball rolling on consensus proposals, and what are the challenges to widespread adoption?
Tuesday, December 3rd, 2013
Editorial by Harry P. Selker, William H. Frist, and Stuart H. Altman
Primarily created to expand healthcare access, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) has secondary features that all researchers should be excited for. The authors note that the ACA creates flexible provisions to innovate in many dimensions of healthcare delivery: payment, care coordination, information technology, and organizational structure. After an easy-to-digest overview of the main functions of the ACA, this article encourages informing the American public of the value of policy experimentation (much like biomedical experimentation) to improve healthcare for everyone. Read article here.
Monday, November 25th, 2013
By Jenny Gold
Kaiser Health News Staff Writer
NOV 21, 2013
This Kaiser Health News story was produced in collaboration with
For years, Phil Bretthauer was one of the most expensive patients at Unity Point Health in Fort Dodge, a small town in western Iowa. The 70-year-old was frequently in and out of the hospital with heart attacks, COPD and prostate cancer.
“I always keep thinking, there’s something else coming,” says Bretthauer. “If it’s going to happen, it’s going to happen to me.”
Home health nurse Tammy Bennett visits Phil Bretthauer’s apartment and goes over all 17 of his medications (Photo by Jenny Gold/KHN).
His primary care physician, Dr. Lincoln Wallace, was worried about the same thing. “It’s a demoralizing position to be in to watch a guy like Phil go out the door and to anticipate that he’ll have some event that will likely either threaten his life or end up in the end of his life, and you have little or no way to stop it from coming,” says Wallace.
But this year, Unity Point – which includes multiple hospitals and doctor practices in Iowa — decided to do something to stop the expensive cycle of illness and readmission for patients like Bretthauer. The hospital signed on to become an accountable care organization, a Medicare program created by the Affordable Care Act that economists say could be a pathway to the holy grail of health care—providing better care at a lower cost.
Here’s how it works: a group of doctors and hospitals get together to form a network responsible for taking care of a group of Medicare patients—in this case, about 9,000 Iowans. If the network can prove it’s keeping those patients healthier and spending less money to do so, it gets to keep some of the savings. The ACO can then use that money to do things Medicare doesn’t usually cover—like reaching out more to patients at home. But if the ACO does not succeed, it may face a financial penalty.
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Latest News, News & Events
Tuesday, September 17th, 2013
by Treniese Polk, CHPRE staff member
On August 17, 2012, Private First Class (PFC) Joshua Polk received orders that he and his unit were headed to Afghanistan; he knew that if he’d ever wanted to learn about leadership, discipline, focus, and teamwork now was his opportunity.
For six months prior, Joshua and his unit trained intensely. Little did they know that their unit would receive a highly sensitive Special Operations mission. He would later learn that his unit would be the only Military Police (MP) unit to receive such a special assignment. Joshua set off to Konduv, Afghanistan on Sept 11, 2012 with his entire camp, equipped and ready for whatever was in store.
Sister and CHPRE staff member, Treniese Polk held her breath for nine months, until the day that Joshua and his entire camp landed safely on American soil in late June 2013. While Treniese felt a sense of relief, Joshua returned with a sense of accomplishment- the unit’s mission had not only been completed, but completed successfully.
When asked what exactly his missions entailed overseas Joshua remains tight-lipped, as he should. He understands the importance of security and confidentiality. There however, are many things that Joshua did share about his first overseas deployment. He gives a brief account of one of the most life changing experiences of his life.
What did you learn overall?
JP: The true value of camaraderie- working together and learning the value of team work. We worked jointly to accomplish the mission; before the actual mission, we trained for six months completing mock runs, and the unit also received 100% completion rate for measures including accountability, training, and certifications.
What did you learn from your overseas experience?
JP: I have learned to be more appreciative, and that breaks into 2 categories: things I valued stateside and things that I valued in Afghanistan. For example, stateside I appreciate being close to family. It was also nice to sleep in a normal bed after sleeping in beehuts and tents for 9 months. Being able to see trees is something else that I appreciate. In-country, I valued having encouraging people around me. We kept each other motivated during hard times.
JP: This was also my first time in a developing country. It was a complete culture shock to see kids not attending school, because many were shepherds. This made me grateful for the educational opportunities that we have in the States. It was also common to see kids playing with scraps of airplanes leftover from previous battles over the years.
JP: Another lesson that I learned is to maintain focus at all times in a combat zone. There is a general sense of cohesion; everyone looks out for everyone else. One wrong move could cost the team the entire mission and potentially someone’s life.
What was your scariest moment? What were your most enjoyable moments?
JP (Scariest): One of our missions was a flight mission on a Blackhawk. During the entire mission the team was deadly silent. The thought that we could be shot down at any moment while flying in a hazardous airspace made everyone a little anxious.
JP (Most Enjoyable): Some of the best times were spent hanging out with other battle buddies on top of one the buildings in the operating base looking at the Afghan city skyline with night vision goggles, telling battle stories, and having a good time.
What’s your next adventure?
(JP): (Sighs)…life after deployment- I will continue to transition to the civilian world and next make the transition from the civilian world to student life. I will definitely take what I’ve learned from deployment and apply it to my daily life. Deployment touched every area of my life and completely changed my perspective on life -it’s one experience that I will never forget.
Medals and patches PFC Joshua received during his service: Special Operations and Command (SOCOM) patch, Afghan Campaign medal w/ Campaign Star, NATO medal, Global War on Terrorism Service medal, National Defense service medal, Army Service Ribbon, Overseas Service Ribbon, and the Armed Forces Reserve Medal w/ Mdevice ; Joshua is also pending promotion to E4 (Specialist) in late October 2013.
From Left to Right (Abdul (bazaar worker), SPC Hannibal, SPC Abbot, and PFC Polk
Barracks in Afghanistan
Together again! Joshua, Gabriel, and Treniese Polk