Sherlock Health Plan Management Navigator

Information System Implications on Health Plans

By Douglas B. Sherlock; MBA, CFAcomputer-hardware

Messrs. and Mesdames

Attached, please find the February 2009 edition of our Health Plan Management Navigator.
Link: sherlock-company

The Sherlock Expense Evaluation Report

In this month’s edition, we endeavor to better understand the functional area of information systems [IS] and its implications on health plans. Information systems, based on the results from out 2008 Sherlock Expense Evaluation Report (SEER) displayed overall anti-scalability in costs. In order to better comprehend IS and its influence on health plans overall, we performed numerous analyses that looked at relationships between IS and other aspects, such as scalability, variety of product offerings, commitment to ASO products and other functional areas.

Assessment

The results suggest that scale does not appear to play a role in IS costs and that more of a concentration in ASO products seemed to lower IS costs. It also appears that management of information systems, in the context of its support to other functional areas, is an inexact science.

Conclusion

Additional information about SEER is available at www.sherlockco.com/seer.shtml or; by contacting me at: sherlock@sherlockco.com

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Debt Consolidation for Physicians

Advantages and Disadvantages

By Staff Reportersfp-book5

The main advantage of debt consolidation is that it allows a doctor to make one payment instead of many, and this helps avoid late fees for missed payments. The doctor may save time by having to make only one payment per month instead of many.

Other Advantages

Another advantage is that debt consolidation promotes self-discipline by transferring credit card debt (and other lines of credit) that does not require mandatory principal payments into a fixed-term loan – with mandatory payments that include both principal and interest. This is a useful tool for doctors who may find it difficult to make more than the minimum payments on their loans because they spend too much. It should be obvious that budgeting should go hand-in-hand with this process, because if the doctor continues to spend at the former level, yet now has a mandatory payment, the result can be financially devastating.

A final advantage to debt consolidation is it may result in a lower overall interest rate. This is, of course, conditional on the lender providing the consolidation.

Disadvantages

One disadvantage of debt consolidation is that it can lock a doctor into mandatory payments. Depending on the situation, this can be either a blessing or a curse. It becomes a curse when the fixed payments are so high that he/she can no longer make the full debt payments each month. Depending on the lender, and the terms of the consolidation loan, this could result in the loan being called. The effects of this are obviously detrimental to the doctor.

Other Disadvantages

A second disadvantage is that the doctor loses flexibility when he or she takes on a fixed payment that is larger than the combination of all smaller minimum payments. The fixed-payment schedule becomes detrimental when h/she has an unexpected reduction in income. The doctor without a fixed-payment schedule can increase payments to many small individual loans, and if income reduction occurs, drop the payments back down to the lower level. Then; when normal levels of income return, the higher payments can be resumed.insurance-book2

Assessment

Making larger payments requires discipline; because a lack of same was likely causative of the debt in the first place.

Conclusion

Your thoughts and comments on this Medical Executive-Post are appreciated. Have you ever been in this situation? Feel free to opine anonymously.

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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Our Other Print Books and Related Information Sources:

Practice Management: http://www.springerpub.com/prod.aspx?prod_id=23759

Physician Financial Planning: http://www.jbpub.com/catalog/0763745790

Medical Risk Management: http://www.jbpub.com/catalog/9780763733421

Healthcare Organizations: www.HealthcareFinancials.com

Health Administration Terms: www.HealthDictionarySeries.com

Physician Advisors: www.CertifiedMedicalPlanner.com

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Problems with HIT in Minnesota

The Continuing eHR Saga

By Darrell K. Pruitt; DDSpruitt2

If you were one of fifty governors who decide to jump off a cliff because flying looks so cool, would you proudly race to be the first to grab the air? Blissfully, Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty is way ahead of the pack. He’s so confident in healthcare information technology [IT]  that he doesn’t even have to watch where he’s going – leaving him free to smile for the cameras. Now that’s cool.

Initial Ambitious Plans

Attention ME-P readers! Please gather around to watch a world-class belly-flop of a gutsy statewide eHR mandate. A few years ago, Governor Pawlenty had ambitious plans to lead the nation with an interoperable eHR system that was touted to include all providers – that means Minnesota dentists as well. Your landing could be vertical and abrupt, Pawlenty.

CCHIT Approved? 

In fairness to a brick, back in 2005 Pawlenty could not have predicted the economic collapse that began three years later, nor could he have known about the subsequent $19 billion eHR money that would be made available to providers – but only if they purchase healthcare IT software that is approved by the Certification Commission for Healthcare Information Technology (CCHIT).

CCHIT Laggards 

Even if the descending Pawlenty could have predicted the recent changes in the terrain, including the CCHIT qualification, he would have never guessed that to this day in March of 2009, the certifying commission would still be yet to certify even one single electronic dental record – thereby blocking Minnesota dentists from copious federal help in their efforts to become compliant in Pawlenty’s brave new state.

“The government is actually looking for places to spend the money where there is a strong likelihood of success stories”.

Mike Ubl

Executive Director Minnesota Health Information Exchange

[Owned by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Minnesota, HealthPartners, Medica, Fairview Health Services, UCare and the Minnesota Department of Health].

Link: http://www.twincities.com/ci_11830085

And that after this is accomplished, and the brave new world begins – When all men are paid for existing and no man must pay for his sins”.

-Rudyard Kipling

The CCHIT qualification was incredibly bad luck for Pawlenty’s nifty ideas of interoperability with all providers. When Minnesota dentists discover that they must pay $30 thousand for software they don’t want in order to practice in paradise, some may just swallow their pride, sell the portable ice-fishing house, and move to slow-moving Iowa.

Dentists, MDA and the ADA News

Why the surprisingly quick landing? If Pawlenty actually gave any consideration for dentistry at all, just like everyone else, he must have assumed that dentists’ concerns about digital records would be adequately attended to by the Minnesota Dental Association [MDA] and the American Dental Association. It was easy to make that mistake because of the enthusiasm for eDRs radiating from ADA Headquarters and expressed in confident terms in ADA News Online articles that have since stopped appearing.  Most eDR enthusiasts naturally assumed that by now the majority of dentists in the nation would be saving money, lives and trees with paperless practices. However, the ADA has been nowhere to be found for a long time. As it turns out, the professional organization has still not yet even contacted the certifying commission. We know this, because when I personally contacted CCHIT a few weeks ago, it caught them off guard. I was told that I was one of the first to ever mention dentistry.

Link: https://healthcarefinancials.wordpress.com/2009/03/02/cchit-is-prejudiced-and-lacks-diversity-%e2%80%93-an-indictmen

No Endorsements

To show how far the ADA has slipped, and as an example of its flagging influence on membership, I doubt that more than 5% of American dentists have made the ADA-endorsed leap from paper to digital. Why should they? It makes good business sense to wait, and most dentists are not techno-silly. Consider this; Even if a dentist is happy with a costly eDR system that demanded unanticipated time and effort to learn, in less than a year, CCHIT could determine that his or her favorite system is not worthy of certification because it does not integrate with physicians’ one-size-fits-all, CCHIT-certified eMRs. Tough luck, Minnesota dentists! Uncertified eDRs will be outlawed, while favored, large healthcare IT companies in Madison and Chicago will profit and pay more state taxes with Twin-Cities’ dollars. By then, all the stimulus money will be gone and lawmakers will no longer be giddy about eHRs due to the imminent explosion of data breaches everywhere caused by moving too fast. No return on investment [ROI] there. 

Assessment 

Still, Tim Pawlenty could have never known, yet away he sails with a stupid grin on his face.

Conclusion

And so, your thoughts and comments on this Medical Executive-Post are appreciated.

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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Our Other Print Books and Related Information Sources:

Practice Management: http://www.springerpub.com/prod.aspx?prod_id=23759

Physician Financial Planning: http://www.jbpub.com/catalog/0763745790

Medical Risk Management: http://www.jbpub.com/catalog/9780763733421

Healthcare Organizations: www.HealthcareFinancials.com

Health Administration Terms: www.HealthDictionarySeries.com

Physician Advisors: www.CertifiedMedicalPlanner.com

Subscribe Now: Did you like this Medical Executive-Post, or find it helpful, interesting and informative? Want to get the latest E-Ps delivered to your email box each morning? Just subscribe using the link below. You can unsubscribe at any time. Security is assured.

Link: http://feeds.feedburner.com/HealthcareFinancialsthePostForcxos

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