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?

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…

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…

The Vicious Cycle of Winners and Losers

Ask any Public Health Practitioner what the biggest public health success story is and they will mention the eradication of smallpox. Across the globe, this accomplishment is seen as the biggest contribution public health brought onto society and a sort of proof-of-concept that illness can be dealt with even before onset. Yet if you ask the Public Health Community what the current most pressing public health concern should be, you will never get consensus. Infectious disease¬†connoisseurs will bring forward the re-emergence of infectious diseases, chronic disease experts will point to the majority of top 10 leading causes of death (in the US) as being chronic. HIV/AIDS researchers will underline the fact that HIV/AIDS can lead to other infectious/chronic diseases, yet diabetes researchers could state the same. Continue reading…