Readmission Penalites…Nice Job DC…

Kaiser Health News recently published a table with readmission rate penalties from Medicare data. The data shows the percentage of hospitals within a state who will be penalized for excessive readmissions as part of the Hospital Readmissions Reduction Program. Here’s a quick choropleth map showing the geographic distribution of these penalties. Interestingly, all seven hospitals in DC will be penalized in year two of HRRP. And California….you’re not doing so well either at 66%.To access the table with percentages, click here.

What makes the area bordered by Missouri & Arkansas moving East so poorly ranked in terms of most health indicators & rankings?

Did Low Uninsurance Rates Win Obama a Second Term?

Almost 122 million Americans visited the polls on November 6th to cast their votes in arguably one of the most controversial election cycles in decades. After three days of early ballots and a full day of voting, President Barrack Obama was re-elected and offered a second term as President of the United States of America, winning 332 of the 538 Electoral College votes. Voting behavior has been historically (and consistently) associated with values and attitudes related to beliefs, views on race, and even church attendance and reading a newspaper. Yet, in the wake of the Supreme Court’s decision to uphold the Affordable Care Act (popularly known as Obamacare), the outcome of the 2012 elections weighed heavily on voter’s decision to keep or repeal it. Provisions included in the ACA are designed to increase access to preventive health services, giving access to health insurance to over 50 million uninsured Americans. Continue reading…

How the ACA Affects Your Public Health Career

Is it a penalty or is it a tax? Or is it both? We’ve all heard that question being asked at least once. And if you watch TV for more than 2 hours a day, you’ve probably heard it multiple times. If you’re a patient (and if you haven’t been, you will eventually), this law comes with certain benefits and rights that I covered here (and also covered extensively by the media). If you’re a clinician, the law opens up new opportunities to form Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs) that reward doctors when their patients are healthy. However, little has been discussed about the ACAs impact on the public health realm (with no surprise since we only invest $251/person in public health dollars compared to $8,086/person in health care dollars link). So what’s at stake for us public health practitioners? Continue reading…

The Importance of ACA on Public Health

On June 29th, 2012, the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) largely upheld the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA, aka Obamacare), deeming it’s individual mandate as constitutional when viewed as a tax. While constitutional, the polarized nature of today’s political and news systems have made this act the “topic of the day” for weeks now. Today’s panel discussion hosted by George Washington University School of Public Health and Health Services sought to expand the discussion to understand the public health implications that the Affordable Care Act has on the public health community, for practitioners and consumers alike. Continue reading…

Public Health Alert: High Return on Investment

In a recent article written in The Nation’s Health, the American Public Health Association’s (APHA’s) newspaper, public health experts give reason to increase efforts in prevention and education as a better alternative to decreasing health care spending over simply investing in the treatment/medical sector. Titled “Bolstering public health investment can improve U.S. health,” the article advocates for doubling public health funding, from $11.6 bil to $24 bil per year, as a starting point, to meet needs of public health departments. As Dr. Marthe Gold, MD MPH mentioned: “Until we can turn off the flow of Americans who need to enter the medical system by changing social and physical environmental conditions that make them unhealthy, we are just going to keep putting more and more pressure on an expensive system and create needless suffering for people.” Continue reading…