Medicare SGR Formula Fix

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The Daschle Imperative

[By Staff Reporters]caduceus

According to American Medical News, January 19, 2009, Tom Daschle, appearing at his first confirmation hearing to be Health and Human Services [HHS] secretary, pledged to replace Medicare’s sustainable growth rate [SGR] formula with a system that bundles payments in an attempt to reward good patient outcomes.

Recommendations

Apparently, Daschle also promised to examine inefficiencies in private Medicare plans, discourage tobacco use, support the training of primary care physicians and work with lawmakers in a bipartisan manner. Reports suggested that Medicare’s SGR formula “just isn’t working right.”

Expiring Patches

The latest in a series of temporary SGR reform payment patches expires at the end of 2009. If Congress doesn’t act before Jan. 1, 2010, doctors will undergo an estimated 21% Medicare pay cut. Any new formula should focus on bundling payments based on episodes of care instead of paying per procedure. Daschle said in the News reported, “I’m not one who supports the so-called performance- based approach, but I do believe that there are episodic ways with which to look at reimbursement that give us a lot more latitude” to reward better outcomes.

Assessment

He did not elaborate further.

Conclusion

Your thoughts and comments on this ME-P are appreciated. Feel free to review our top-left column, and top-right sidebar materials, links, URLs and related websites, too. Then, subscribe to the ME-P. It is fast, free and secure.

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Protecting Your Pension

A Book Report for “Dummies”

Staff Reportersnyse

According to one review, this aptly-titled book Protecting Your Pension for Dummies [Wiley-July 2007, 978-0-470-10213] has proven to be prophetic in its early warnings against money-hungry financial advisors [FAs].

Watch the “Advisors”

The text, written by pension litigators Robert D. Gary and Jori Bloom Naegele, cautioned about hidden fees for financial advisors, lack of benchmarks for financial performance, inappropriate and risky investments, and heavily weighted distribution of plan investments in shaky company stock; etc. In other words, the traditional industry “bar of suitability”, is both ethically and legally low.

Assessment

For example, did you know that the financial services [read “sales”] industry has no definition for the term “financial advisor?”  According to one source, it can be a “butcher, baker or candle-stick maker.” Of course, there are many fine financial services salesmen and consultants “out-there”. But, finding one may be difficult. And, does it not seem that an increasingly number of pundits, like the authors of this book, and others, suggest their numbers are fewer and farther between than the industry itself suggests?

Terms: www.HealthDictionarySeries.com

Conclusion

And so, your thoughts and comments on this Medical Executive-Post are appreciated. Are medical professionals, and the lay public, finally realizing that far too many of these FAs [read stock-brokers] are not fiduciaries working on your behalf; do not have to disclose conflicts of interest, and do not put client interests first?

Speaker: If you need a moderator or speaker for an upcoming event, Dr. David E. Marcinko; MBA – Publisher-in-Chief of the Executive-Post – is available for seminar or speaking engagements. Contact: MarcinkoAdvisors@msn.com  or Bio: www.stpub.com/pubs/authors/MARCINKO.htm

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