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D.C. Report: Think Tank Reveals Healthcare Cost Containment Roadmap

September 24, 2012
by Jeff Smith, Assistant Director of Advocacy at CHIME
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Washington Think Tank Reveals Roadmap on Healthcare Cost Containment The Bipartisan Policy Center this week laid the groundwork for a new initiative this week, identifying 15 primary drivers of health costs in the US.  BPC’s Health Care Cost Containment Initiative, is led by former Senate Majority Leaders Tom Daschle (D-S.D.) and Bill Frist (R-Tenn.), former Sen. Pete Domenici (R-N.M.) and former Congressional Budget Office Director Alice Rivlin.  Among the issues identified by the Center include:

  • Fee-for-service reimbursement;
  • Administrative burden on providers, payers and patients;
  • Population aging, rising rates of chronic disease and co-morbidities, as well as lifestyle factors and personal health choices;
  • Advances in medical technology;
  • Lack of transparency about cost and quality, compounded by limited data, to inform consumer choice;
  • Changing trends in health care market consolidation and competition for providers and insurers;
  • The health care legal and regulatory environment, including current medical malpractice and fraud and abuse laws; and
  • Structure and supply of the health professional workforce, including scope of practice restrictions, trends in clinical specialization, and patient access to providers

The center says its next report, due out early next year, will include specific strategies for dealing with each of the issues.

Readers of Advocacy Corner will know the BPC from CHIME’s contribution to their work on expediting health information exchange and exploring strategies to improve patient data-matching.  BPC is due to hold an event October 3 to update stakeholders on accelerating information sharing to improve quality and reduce costs in healthcare.  CHIME staff and member CIOs will be in attendance.

Senator Sends Fortune 500’s Survey on Cybersecurity If you’re a CIO at a Community Health Systems hospital, part of Tenet Healthcare, Kindred Healthcare, Vanguard Health Systems or any of the other Fortune 500 medical facilities odds are good that your boss may soon be asking questions about cybersecurity standards and protocols.  This is because Senate Commerce, Science & Technology Chairman John D. Rockefeller IV (D-W.V.) sent letters to the CEOs of all Fortune 500 companies, asking them to describe their cybersecurity best-practices and to lend their thoughts on a series of questions.  The House and Senate have been working on cybersecurity legislation for the better part of the 112th Congress, but legislation stalled over the summer, due (in large part) to efforts by the Chamber of Commerce.  Hill watchers say the Senators pushing for comprehensive cybersecurity legislation that includes some form of federal government role in best practices and critical infrastructure risk assessments aren’t giving up on the legislation yet.  So, even if you are not a Fortune 500 company, the increased level of attention to cybersecurity by congressional leaders means that industry-wide action may be a real possibility in 2013.

Community Colleges Receive Grants for Innovative Training Programs This week, the Department of Labor announced an award of $550 million in grants for colleges and universities to develop innovative training programs related to healthcare, health IT, science and other important industries. Schools can qualify for funds individually or as part of a consortium.  According to the DOL website, the Palm Beach State College in Florida will receive $3 million to develop HIT programs using online and technology-enabled learning.  The program hopes to prepare unemployed veterans and other dislocated workers earn high-demand HIT careers.  The Bossier Parish Community College in Louisiana, a consortium leader, will receive almost $15 million to develop programs to meet the growing demand for “IT specialty pathways and certifications in health informatics, cyber security and industrial IT.”  Under the Trade Adjustment Assistance Community College and Career Training initiative, the administration is promoting skills development and employment opportunities in advanced manufacturing, transportation and health care, science, technology, engineering and math careers.

PSA: ONC Unveils Second Set of Draft Test Procedures for 2014 Edition CEHRT The Office of the National Coordinator for Health IT has released a second wave of draft test procedures to be used for testing and certifying electronic health record systems against the Stage 2 standards and certification criteria for the meaningful use program, the agency said.  The first set of draft procedures deals with allergy lists, computerized provider order entry, problem lists and vital signs.  The second set of draft test procedures deals with demographics, patient lists, electronic notes and family history.  Draft Test Procedures will be posted throughout September and October 2012, ONC said, and the final set of Test Methods is expected to be available for use in testing and certification in early 2013.