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    Dr. Marcinko is originally from Loyola University MD, Temple University in Philadelphia and the Milton S. Hershey Medical Center in PA; as well as Oglethorpe University and Emory University in Georgia, the Atlanta Hospital & Medical Center; Kellogg-Keller Graduate School of Business and Management in Chicago, and the Aachen City University Hospital, Koln-Germany. He became one of the most innovative global thought leaders in medical business entrepreneurship today by leveraging and adding value with strategies to grow revenues and EBITDA while reducing non-essential expenditures and improving dated operational in-efficiencies.

    Professor David Marcinko was a board certified surgical fellow, hospital medical staff President, public and population health advocate, and Chief Executive & Education Officer with more than 425 published papers; 5,150 op-ed pieces and over 135+ domestic / international presentations to his credit; including the top ten [10] biggest drug, DME and pharmaceutical companies and financial services firms in the nation. He is also a best-selling Amazon author with 30 published academic text books in four languages [National Institute of Health, Library of Congress and Library of Medicine].

    Dr. David E. Marcinko is past Editor-in-Chief of the prestigious “Journal of Health Care Finance”, and a former Certified Financial Planner® who was named “Health Economist of the Year” in 2010. He is a Federal and State court approved expert witness featured in hundreds of peer reviewed medical, business, economics trade journals and publications [AMA, ADA, APMA, AAOS, Physicians Practice, Investment Advisor, Physician’s Money Digest and MD News] etc.

    Later, Dr. Marcinko was a vital and recruited BOD  member of several innovative companies like Physicians Nexus, First Global Financial Advisors and the Physician Services Group Inc; as well as mentor and coach for Deloitte-Touche and other start-up firms in Silicon Valley, CA.

    As a state licensed life, P&C and health insurance agent; and dual SEC registered investment advisor and representative, Marcinko was Founding Dean of the fiduciary and niche focused CERTIFIED MEDICAL PLANNER® chartered professional designation education program; as well as Chief Editor of the three print format HEALTH DICTIONARY SERIES® and online Wiki Project.

    Dr. David E. Marcinko’s professional memberships included: ASHE, AHIMA, ACHE, ACME, ACPE, MGMA, FMMA, FPA and HIMSS. He was a MSFT Beta tester, Google Scholar, “H” Index favorite and one of LinkedIn’s “Top Cited Voices”.

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On Prior Authorization [PA]

A Physician Survey CIRCA: 2018

[By AMA]

DEFINITION: Prior authorization is a utilization management process used by some health insurance companies in the United States to determine if they will cover a prescribed procedure, service, or medication. The process is intended to act as a safety and cost-saving measure although it has received criticism from physicians for being costly and time-consuming.

LINK: https://www.amazon.com/Dictionary-Health-Insurance-Managed-Care/dp/0826149944/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1275315485&sr=1-4

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AMA TO TEACH MEDICAL STUDENTS ABOUT HEALTH ECONOMICS?

AMA TO TEACH MEDICAL STUDENTS ABOUT HEALTH ECONOMICS?

Courtesy: www.CertifiedMedicalPlanner.org

LINK: https://medicalexecutivepost.com/2009/06/08/dictionary-of-health-economics-and-finance/

Did you know that the American Medical Association is calling on medical schools and residency programs to include specific information about healthcare economics and financing in their curriculums.

But, is health economics heterodoxic, or not? And; what about demand-derived economics in medicine?

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economic freedom

LINKS

ESSAY: https://medicalexecutivepost.com/2019/08/31/is-health-economics-heterodoxic-or-not/

ESSAY: https://www.modernhealthcare.com/education/ama-adopts-new-policy-training-physicians-healthcare-economics

MORE: https://medicalexecutivepost.com/2019/11/10/ricardian-derived-demand-economics-in-medicine/

MORE: https://medicalexecutivepost.com/2014/08/27/financial-and-health-economics-benchmarking/

MORE: https://healthcarefinancials.files.wordpress.com/2019/01/big-data.pdf

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Your thoughts are appreciated.

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THANK YOU

Physician Insurance Payments 2019 – AMA

Private Insurors VERSUS Medicare and Medicaid

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Conclusion

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***

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Retirement Planning and Physicians [An Oxymoron]?

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Confidence Eluded

By Shikha Mittra MBA CFP® AIF® http://www.feeonlynetwork.com/Shikha-Mittra

Shikha-MittraAccording to a survey from the Employee Benefit Research Institute [EBRI] and Greenwald & Associates; nearly half of workers without a retirement plan were not at all confident in their financial security, compared to 11 percent for those who participated in a plan, according to the 2014 Retirement Confidence Survey (RCS).

Retirement Money

In addition, 35 percent of workers have not saved any money for retirement, while only 57 percent are actively saving for retirement. Thirty-six percent of workers said the total value of their savings and investments—not including the value of their home and defined benefit plan—was less than $1,000, up from 29 percent in the 2013 survey. But, when adjusted for those without a formal retirement plan, 73 percent have saved less than $1,000.

Debt

Debt is also a concern, with 20 percent of workers saying they have a major problem with debt. Thirty-eight percent indicate they have a minor problem with debt. And, only 44 percent of workers said they or their spouse have tried to calculate how much money they’ll need to save for retirement. But, those who have done the calculation tend to save more.

Shifting Demographics

The biggest shift in the 24 years has been the number of workers who plan to work later in life. In 1991, 84 percent of workers indicated they plan to retire by age 65, versus only 9 percent who planned to work until at least age 70. In 2014, 50 percent plan on retiring by age 65; with 22 percent planning to work until they reach 70.

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Physician Statistics

Now, compare and contrast the above to these statistics according to a 2013 survey of physicians on financial preparedness by American Medical Association [AMA] Insurance.

The statistics are still alarming:

  • The top personal financial concern for all physicians is having enough money to retire.
  • Only 6% of physicians consider themselves ahead of schedule in retirement preparedness.
  • Nearly half feel they were behind
  • 41% of physicians average less than $500,000 in retirement savings.
  • Nearly 70% of physicians don’t have a long term care plan.
  • Only half of US physicians have a completed estate plan including an updated will and Medical directives.

Assessment

More:

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.

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

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Comprehensive Financial Planning Strategies for Doctors and Advisors: Best Practices from Leading Consultants and Certified Medical Planners(TM)

EHRs – AMA versus ADA

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Will Electronic Health Records Ever Be Usable?

[By Darrell K. Pruitt DDS]

1-darrellpruittThe American Medical Association

The AMA attempts to address the frustration EHRs create, especially for doctors and other healthcare workers. ‘It’s easy to use, once you know where everything is,’ the instructor said during an EHR training session I recently attended.

Most EHR companies seem to believe this is an acceptable way to design software. EHR usability has been greatly ignored by vendors, and last week the American Medical Association issued eight usability priorities in an attempt to address the issue.

This directive comes as a result of a joint study by the RAND Corporation and the AMA highlighting EHRs as a significant detractor from physicians’ professional satisfaction.” Commentary by Stephanie Kreml for InformationWeek, September 26, 2014.

http://www.informationweek.com/healthcare/electronic-health-records/will-electronic-health-records-ever-be-usable/a/d-id/1316071

The American Dental Association

On the other hand, “EHRs provide long-term savings and convenience,” no byline, ADA News, December 6, 2013.

http://www.ada.org/en/publications/ada-news/2013-archive/december/ehrs-provide-long-term-savings-convenience

boxing-gloves-1053702

[POW – SPLAT – BIFF – UGH]

More:

  1. The Percentage of Office-Based Doctors with EHRs
  2. Do Nurses like EHRs?
  3. EHRs – Still Not Ready For Prime Time
  4. The “Price” of eHRs
  5. Borges versus Kvedar Video eHR Debate

EHRs versus the Federal Government

Government mandated EHRs – what a waste!

“Doctors, Hospitals Went Digital, But Still Can’t Share Records – After spending billions to switch from paper to digital records — much of it taxpayer subsidized through the economic stimulus package — providers say the systems often do not share information with competitors.”

[Kaiser Health News, October 1, 2014]

http://www.kaiserhealthnews.org/Daily-Reports/2014/October/01/marketplace.aspx

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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How the Medical Executive-Post Survived to our 8th Anniversary?

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And … Why the American Medical News was Shuttered after 50 Years!

[Some Musing on our Eighth Anniversary]

Ann Miller RN MHA

[Executive-Director]

Happy BirthdayAccording to well known healthcare industry journalist Kevin B. O’Reilly, a dramatic drop in medical-publishing revenues caused the recent closure of the American Medical News, effective with a final edition of the newspaper published just last month.

Published for more than five decades, AMNews was hit hard by industrywide trends. The newspaper’s revenue fell by two-thirds during the last decade, as reported by Thomas J. Easley, senior vice-president and publisher of periodic publications for the American Medical Association [AMA].

Unsustainable financial losses forced the move despite the newspaper’s editorial quality, the AMA’s senior management reportedly said. But, the Association’s other news operations will be enhanced.

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amn

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What the Death of American Medical News Says About the Future of American Medicine

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How we survive!

We’ve been online for eight years now. We have a skeleton staff, a scalable business model, an almost free distribution model, no print analog, and a tiny electronic advertising revenue stream.

Oh, let’s not forget some brilliant essayists, contrarian contributors, insightful commentators and controversial opinions that are often the elephant in the virtual room. 

Our gratitude to you all is without limits.

So, how else do we do it?

Interestingly – Our print books are good, better and best sellers. We’ve been releasing one major, semi-peer reviewed text each year …. and sales are brisk. And, we are now negotiating to begin our next and ninth volume for 2014-15. We maintain our own copy-rights, perform in-house editing, seek out the best contributing authors, and reduce the cost of numerous channels of distribution. How do we do it, year after year? In a word, professional crowdsourcing.

Our consulting business is increasingly robust, too. Cudos to healthcare reform, managed care, and the PP-ACA!

And … another thing

I ask again. How do we do it? How do we stay in business?

Here are some more ways to help-us, do just that:

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  22. Visit us often to review, read, rant and rave.

Bottom Line Eight Years Out

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Assessment

So, does the demise of the American Medical News really say anything at all about the ME-P; in addition to the future of domestic medicine? How do we avoid the same fate? Please tell us. Question Everything … Trust No One … Paddle your Own Canoe … Keep the Faith!

Conclusion

Your thoughts and comments on this ME-P are appreciated. Did the AMNews forget the aphorism; No margin – No Mission?

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The Healthcare Industry’s Unrecognized Cancer

The Untreated Cancer of Health Informatics Leads to Painful and Unrestrained Growth

By D. Kellus Pruitt DDS

A few days ago, Daniel Palestrant MD, Founder of par8o & SERMO, compared the American healthcare system to a patient with cancer.

The clinically blunt article includes a graphic photo of a fresh tumor the size of a cantaloupe, labeled “AMA.” It is appropriately titled, “I Know Cancer When I See It.”

I believe him. What’s more, Dr. Palestrant shows no respect for cancerous growth in healthcare. That’s Hippocratic cool.

http://par8o.com/wordpress/i-know-cancer-when-i-see-it/

I think we all know which presidential candidate’s think tank is to blame for selfishly stimulating metastasis of their harmful information. Like the American Medical Association, the ADA unwittingly developed informatics cancer years ago. Now, a similar, energy-sapping tumor is becoming increasingly difficult for stoic ADA officials to quietly schlepp around.

My Dental Analogy

If one replaces every mention of “AMA” in Dr. Palestrant’s excerpt below with “ADA,” every “CPT® code” with “CDT® code” and every “physician” with “dentist,” his analogy becomes strikingly similar to one I wore out long ago, but without an ugly photo (My apology to Dr. Palestrant):

1. Divert resources – The ADA’s CDT system creates a maze of payment infrastructure and rules that diverts resources to administration and makes transparency impossible.

2. Fool the immune system – The ADA has fooled the American public into believing they represent the opinion of America’s dentists.

3. Self perpetuate – Like a cancer, the ADA perpetuates itself through special interest lobbying, and most importantly, by updating the CDT codes as frequently as possible and forcing the entire dentalcare system to use them.

Assessment

If it weren’t for CDT® copyright royalties, ADA members’ dues would double – undoubtedly causing members to naturally demand better accountability to their patients’ welfare instead of HIT goals even Newt Gingrich abandoned a few months ago.

He’s a smart politician – arguably smarter than dentistry’s embarrassed leaders who own autographed photos of him.

Conclusion

And so, your thoughts and comments on this ME-P are appreciated. Please 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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Medical Risk Management: http://www.jbpub.com/catalog/9780763733421

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On Open Letter to Dental Economics

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Fun on a Slow Day [will that be paper or electrons?]

[By Darrell K. Pruitt DDS]

As anyone following the ME-P knows by now, Dental Economics’ officials have been suspiciously unhelpful in locating experts capable of responding to concerns about the cost and safety of EHRs in dentistry – quite the opposite.

The CR Foundation

In addition, Dr. Gordon Christensen’s CR Foundation has also suspiciously avoided discussion of EDRs with this dentist. Nevertheless, I’m certain that like most other EDR stakeholders, employees of DE and CRF at least secretly agree that this consumer has tolerated good ol’ boy behavior in the marketplace far longer than any vendor anywhere else in the free world could ever expect – no matter how important.

Dentrix, too!

At some point, Dental Economics, CR Foundation and Dentrix will either have to answer at least one dentist’s sincere questions about EDRs or censor me from their Facebooks. Over time, not-anonymous censorship would be second only to anonymous censorship as the worst possible choice. If I’m given the opportunity, I’ll prove it.

As readers can tell, sometimes on slow days, even silence from rude people who profit off of my profession irritates me – causing me to want to grab them by the attentions. I’m feeling especially itchy today, so I also posted the following on Dental Economics Facebook:

Dear Dental Economics:

If the AMA finally admits that EHRs are a poor substitute for thinking, don’t you agree it’s time for shy stakeholders in dentistry to accept ownership of their products’ weaknesses? And for other stakeholders to either help me or get out of the damn way?

“EHRs Linked to Errors, Harm, AMA Says — Clinicians can introduce errors when they copy and paste sensitive patient data into electronic health records, according to AMA research.”

http://www.informationweek.com/news/healthcare/EMR/232400325

Or, do you think if dentists remain silent like good little professionals, those who profit from EDRs and related advertisements will suddenly become honest with our patients? I’m not that optimistic. I think if interoperable EDRs are ever to succeed, dentists must pester the unresponsive leaders even while hangers-on would shield them for their own selfish reasons. For example, dentists are unlikely to ever read in Dental Economics the following hints of the imminent failure of EHRs in dentistry: 96% of EHR systems have been breached in the last 2 years and the frequency of breaches rose 32% in the last year – costing over $6.5 billion. The fantasy is over, DE. It’s becoming increasingly difficult for even stakeholders to get giddy about EDRs.

Once the high risks of identity theft from dental offices can no longer be suppressed by stakeholders, our patients’ trust will be forever lost – just to protect the most selfish of people in the healthcare industry from accountability.

Where are you Dentrix?

And what’s the opinion of your CRF investigators, Dr. Gordon Christensen? Are EDRs cheaper than paper dental records or not? As you know, a few months ago your former CEO stated in an article on Dentistry iQ that EDRs offer dentists a “high return on investment,” yet failed to produce evidence supporting his incredible claim.

http://www.dentaleconomics.com/index/display/article-display/2974000845/articles/dental-economics/volume-101/issue-10/features/digital-dentistry-is-this-the-future-of-dentistry.html

Regardless of an institution’s reputation and market share, deceiving doctors and patients for personal gain is just wrong.

Since the misleading statement from the influential CEO has never been corrected, his lie which is still featured on Dentistry iQ continues to harm naïve dentists and clueless patients – but not without the help of 8 Dental Economics editors who voted the CEO’s article as a tie for the “Most important story for the dental profession in 2011.”

http://www.dentistryiq.com/index/display/article-display/9721317527/articles/dentisryiq/hygiene-department/2011/12/best-of_2011_articles.html

Assessment

Way to go, Dental Economics editors! Any of you have enough confidence to discuss why you chose the former CEO’s article? I think your readers would like to hear your reasons. I certainly would. What could it hurt?

Conclusion

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The AMA says “Power to the Patient” … Finally!

The American Medical Association Recognizes Shared Decision Making

By Staff Reporters

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Some readers of the ME-P may be surprised to learn that the American Medical Association [AMA] now “recognizes” shared decision making.  A document recommending precisely that is available for your reading pleasure here.

Assessment

The AMA also recognizes that shared decision making can make the physician-patient relationship stronger, opposes any effort to link it to insurance coverage and supports more pilot programs.

Of course, with AMA influence waning at less than 18% of allopathic members, and health 2.0 strategic initiatives rising along with a plethora of other related medical professionals, was there even a choice? 

As one doctor we interviewed said:Congratulations AMA for recognizing the obvious and abandoning your command-control philosophy … and welcome to Y 2012.” 

Conclusion

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Health-Care Reform Rules Would Restrict Public Reporting

 Information Restricted to “qualified entities” Only

By Marshall Allen

ProPublica, Sept 15th, 2011, 10:46 am

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It’s estimated that hundreds of thousands of patients die annually from preventable harm suffered while undergoing medical care. The infections, injuries and errors could rank as a leading cause of death in the United States.

The PP-ACA of 2010

Last year’s sweeping health-care reform law — the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act — promised to improve the problem by allowing outside groups to use Medicare billing records to analyze and publicly report on the quality of care. But proposed rules that would guide the release of the data are being criticized by consumer groups that say the rules would make independent accountability impossible.

CMS  

Agencies typically adopt rules to administer laws like the health-care act. The rules being developed [1] by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) propose restricting the release of Medicare billing data to “qualified entities.” To qualify, a group would have to:

  • Pay up to $200,000 for the data.
  • Have its methods pre-approved before obtaining the data.
  • Already possess billing information from other sources to combine with the Medicare data — an advantage to insurance companies.
  • Limit public reporting to quality measures approved by the health-care industry.
  • Present its reports and findings to every doctor and facility being measured before they are released to the public — a requirement that would make large-scale reports difficult.

Medicare officials declined to discuss the proposed rules because they are being finalized after a public comment period ended Aug. 8th. But interviews and a review of comments show that the rules have sharply divided consumer-oriented groups and health-care providers.

Safe Patient Project

Lisa McGiffert, director of the Safe Patient Project run by Consumers Union, the nonprofit publisher of Consumer Reports magazine, said the new law was seen as “a real opportunity” because, for the first time, Medicare data could be used to tell the public about the performance of doctors. But the proposed rules would make it impossible for Consumers Union to use the data, she said.

“The best-kept secret inAmericais what doctors are doing,” McGiffert said. “People should be able to find out information about outcomes of care, whether their docs are using appropriate practices and whether they’re providing too much of something that people don’t need.”

Bruce Boissonnault, president and CEO of the Niagara Health Quality Coalition, a nonprofit that’s been independently measuring the quality of health care since 1995, said the rules are needlessly complex and designed to suppress freedom of information. He said the rules would make it impossible for all but industry insiders to access the new data, giving them control over what’s released.

“We will only see the scraps of information that the industry wants us to discuss,” Boissonnault said. “It’s advertising wrapped in a lab coat.”

Boissonnault [2] and Consumers Union [3] submitted public comments, urging Medicare to reconsider the restrictions.

Enter the AMA

The American Medical Association submitted comments [4] mostly supporting the access limitations and in some cases urging more restrictive rules. For instance, the proposed rules say doctors would need 30 days to review any analysis before it’s publicly reported, but the AMA wants that review period increased to 90 days. The AMA also wants Medicare to consider complaints by physicians against an organization before allowing the organization access to the data.

Assessment

The Federation of American Hospitals, which represents investor-owned health-care facilities, said in its comment [5] that it is “very troubled” by the proposed rules, despite the increased restrictions, because billing data have a limited ability to measure quality. The federation wants a limit on the number of qualified entities that have access to the data.

Link: http://www.propublica.org/article/health-care-reform-rules-would-restrict-public-reporting

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Understanding Healthcare Conflicts of Interest

A Modern Ethical Dilemma

By Render Davis

www.BusinessofMedicalPractice.com

Conflicts of interest are not a new phenomenon in medicine. In the fee-for-service system, physicians controlled access to medical facilities and technology, and they benefited financially from nearly every order or prescription they wrote.  Consequently, there was an inherent temptation to over-treat patients.  Even marginal diagnostic or therapeutic procedures were justified on the grounds of both clinical necessity and legal protection against threats of negligence. 

Traditional Medical Care

While it can be construed that this represented a direct conflict of interest, it could also be argued that most patients were well served in this system because the emphasis was on thorough, comprehensive treatment – where cost was rarely a consideration.  It was a well known adage that physicians “could do well, by doing good.” 

Managed Medical Care

In managed care, the potential conflicts between patients and physicians took on a completely different dimension.  By design, in health plans where medical care was financed through prepayment arrangements, the physician’s income was enhanced not by doing more for his or her patients, but by doing less.  Patients, confronted with the realization that their doctor would be rewarded for the use of fewer resources, could no longer rely with certainty on the motives underlying a physician’s treatment plans.  One inevitable outcome was the continuing decline in patients’ trust in their physicians.  This has been exacerbated to some degree by revelations of significant financial remuneration to physicians by pharmaceutical and medical products firms for their services as researchers or active participants on corporate-funded advisory panels, calling into question the physician’s objectivity in promoting the use of company products to their peers or patients.

Higher Concerns

Conflicts of interest may also create concerns at a much higher level, as evidenced by the issues raised in 2008 litigation against Ingenix, a company that for more than a decade, provided information to the insurance industry on payments to out-of-network physicians for their “usual and customary rates (UCR).” As noted in court documents, Ingenix was a wholly-owned subsidiary of United Healthcare and the UCR information sold by the company to insurers may have been fundamentally biased in favor of the insurers, causing patients to pay larger out-of-pocket fees.  As a result, New York attorney general Andrew Cuomo filed suit against Ingenix.  This action was followed by suits brought against major insurers by the American Medical Association and several state medical groups for systematic underpayment to members, based on the biased data. 

Assessment

To date, there have been monetary settlements, but the issue continues to raise growing concerns regarding conflicts of interest among the key payers for health care.

Conclusion

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Dr. David Blumenthal Spins “Professionalism”

My Take on “Meaningful Use”

D. Kellus Pruitt DDS

Recently, lawmakers complained that the federal criteria for “meaningful use” of eHRs – usage required before providers who risk purchasing electronic health record systems can be reimbursed – aren’t strict enough to justify the billions of dollars in incentive payments that the government promised physicians and hospitals. Matthew DoBias, writing for ModernHealthcare, quoted Rep. Wally Herger (Calif.) – the senior Republican on the Ways and Means Committee’s health subcommittee – who said:

“The new HIT regulations are a step in the right direction and should put Medicare on a path to improved quality and efficiency. However; by watering down the final regulations, we have missed an opportunity to advance healthcare delivery and ensure wise use of taxpayer money.”

http://www.modernhealthcare.com/article/20100721/NEWS/100729995/1153

Rep. Wally Herger

“Improved quality” you say, Rep. Herger? That proves that politicians like Herger will say whatever it takes to get elected, even if it’s transparently misleading. Herger’s confident claim of improved quality of care from using eHRs is typical of Washington even though quality claims are widely disputed in most medical circles. And if eHRs were as efficient as Herger and his campaign donor’s claim, then the billions of dollars in incentive payments that have already been billed to our grandchildren wouldn’t be wasted to bribe physicians to purchase eHR systems that are too lousy to move off the shelves. If HIT stakeholders’ products offered value for Americans in the land of the free, they would sell for natural reasons of consumer demand and wouldn’t require a government mandate and Herger’s deception. Besides, what does any politician know about “wise use of taxpayer money” even outside of the medical field, Mr. Herger?

[picapp align=”none” wrap=”false” link=”term=doctor+computer&iid=107036″ src=”http://view3.picapp.com/pictures.photo/image/107036/medical-professional-using/medical-professional-using.jpg?size=500&imageId=107036″ width=”337″ height=”506″ /]

The Criteria

The criteria for meaningful use have been cut down to 15 issues allegedly because demanding all 25 risked improving care and saving money far too ambitiously. Tony Trenkle, director of the Office of E-Health Standards and Services at CMS, puts his special spin to the “watering down” of requirements. He is quoted in an article by Emily Long in NextGov:

“We set the bar where we felt it was appropriate and also signaled for future stages that we would be setting the bar much higher, We’re going along with ways we can modify to reflect real-life experiences we hit once the program begins.”

Why didn’t Trenkle just say, “We at CMS are making this sucker up as we go”?

http://www.nextgov.com/nextgov/ng_20100720_9874.php?oref=topnews

Dr. David Blumenthal

Dr. David Blumenthal, the national coordinator for health IT, has given up apologizing for bankrupt ideas like the CMS’s criteria for “meaningful use” of electronic health records – as if they made sense. They don’t, and Blumenthal must know that the clicking-for-cash busywork plan he inherited is a waste of time and money. Otherwise, the AMA wouldn’t be complaining.

(See “AMA Weighs in on ‘Meaningful Use’ Requirements For E-Records” – Wall Street Journal Blog)

http://blogs.wsj.com/health/2010/07/21/ama-weighs-in-on-meaningful-use-requirements-for-e-records/  

Surely Dr. Blumenthal recognizes that naive lawmakers like Rep. Wally Herger are foolishly demanding unwanted and dangerous micromanagement of healthcare, not in the interest of patients’ welfare, but for political power. (Do Americans really want Wally Herger from California regulating healthcare?) Rather than attempting to sell systems to doctors based on disingenuous claims of unproven value, Blumenthal chose to punt. All he could offer was a lame appeal to pride: “Much more important than incentives will be a professional sense of obligation,” (Emily Long, NextGov, ibid).

The Oath

Doesn’t the Hippocratic Oath, as well as business survival trump the dangerous nonsense Dr. Blumenthal calls “professional obligations”? As if to emphasize that point, just hours ago, some relevant news was posted concerning the danger of eHRs: “A Massachusetts hospital is under scrutiny after hundreds of thousands of patient and employee records went missing earlier this year. The missing files underscore the problems health care providers face when balancing patient privacy and the need to store massive amounts of data, especially as new federal rules for electronic health records come into play.” (See “Massachusetts Hospital Reports 800,000 Personal Records Missing” by Brian T. Horowitz for eWeek, 7/21/10).

http://www.eweek.com/c/a/Health-Care-IT/Massachusetts-Hospital-Reports-800000-Personal-Records-Missing-638660/ 

Assessment

How does risking such harm to patients rise to the level of a “professional obligation”? I think Dr. Blumenthal might be confusing professionalism with patriotism. They are both traditional, flexible buzzwords that start with the letter “P” and are often used for just about any bureaucratic chore – even so far as to prove diametrically opposing views.

Conclusion

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On American Health Care and Financial Services Competitiveness

A MEMORIAL DAY OPINION – EDITORIAL

[Innovation – Not Nationalization – Can Again Lead]

By Dr. David Edward Marcinko; FACFAS, MBA, CPHQ, CMP™

[Publisher-in-Chief]

By Hope Rachel Hetico; RN, MHA, CPHQ, CMP™

[Managing Editor]

Ann Miller; RN, MHA

[Executive-Director]

American Flag

On this 2010 Memorial Day weekend, please allow us to directly reflect for a moment on the decline of the healthcare, banking and financial services industry in America. And; then somewhat indirectly comment on the hopeful emergence of the web 2.0 phenomena of which we all are a part. The competitive applicability to these sectors should be appreciated by the insightful ME-P reader.

Collapse of Command and Control Monopolies and Oligarchies   

Old monopolies everywhere are crumbling because of tougher new competitors and the transparency wrought by electronic connectedness. For example, our old newspaper has to compete with the internet, your electric utility company battles low-cost local start-ups, telephone companies must begin installing fiber optic lines to fend off cable companies; and RIAs and fiduciary focused financial advisors [FAs] will supplant BDs and stock brokers in the financial services sector.

www.CertifiedMedicalPlanner.com

cmp-logo

The airline industry collapsed a few years ago, the banking industry has just collapsed, and the auto industry is recovering as we pen this post. [We have a particular affinity for the auto sector however, as the son of a UAW member and step-daughter of Michiganders]. Regardless, the rush to more intense competition cannot be stopped. As a doctor, FA or other business competitor; you either keep pace or get crushed by quasi-oligarchic organizations like the American Medical Association [AMA], American Podiatric Medical Association [FPMA], American Dental Association [ADA], American Osteopathic Medical Association AOMA], Financial Planning Association [FPA], Certified Financial Planner Board of Standards [CFP BoS], College for Financial Planning [CFP] or the National Association of Personal Financial Advisors [NAPFA], etc. What have they, and Wall Street, done for you … lately? Scandal, taint, doubt, lost-credibility, a business-as-usual ennui, lethargy and ruin! Enter www.Sermo.com

Link: https://healthcarefinancials.wordpress.com/2009/04/19/calling-for-cfp%c2%ae-fiduciary-status-real-education-and-higher-duty/#comment-4136

Health Insurance Companies

In the last-generation of health insurance companies and related fraternal medical organizations, patients exercised great control over physician selection, had quicker access to specialists and encountered fewer restrictions on care. The reverse was true with financial services. But, because of advancing technology, aging demographics, intense R&D, global manufacturing, and escalating domestic HR costs – competitive market forces against traditional and structured staff model managed care companies – many industry analysts [like us] predicted growth would decline [Yes, greed was also involved as healthcare was presumed a recession-proof sector; and didn’t we all own behemoth big-pharma and HMO stocks in our 401-K, and 403-B plans]? But now, many former stock-brokers and FAs are going rogue; er – independent!

“Although inefficiencies in any business often open up in the short term, and can be greatly exploited by creative and visionary entrepreneurs – as in most business structures – market forces will prevail in the long run”.

Leo F. Mullin, MBA

[Former CEO – Delta Airlines]Shadows

Next-Gen with “Fly”

Fortunately, a new generation of enlightened physician and FA entrepreneurs is coming “out-of-the-shadows” as new-wave web 2.0 corporations and RIAs are becoming more flexible, competitive and market responsive. Simultaneously, monolithic and collectivist political ideas keep trying to regulate the medical and financial services workplace with rules, regulations and contracts to control entire populations. Yet, in the new healthcare economy, this new generation of doctors and FAs with “fly,” is headed toward more competition; not less – with more collaboration with patients and clients – regaining self autonomy.

Physician and FA Advocates

Meanwhile, as medical professionals, FAs and patient advocates, we must all choose between staying flexible to ride out tough times – or – adopting a hard, brittle line that will crack under the pressure of competition. We know where we stand at the ME-P, do you?

Flexibility and Virtual Reality

In recent years, many large corporations and top-down business models were not market responsive and change was not inherent in their DNA. These traditional organizations represented a rigid or “used-to-be” mentality, not a flexible or “wanna-be” mindset; according to business columnist Alan Webber. Some financial advisory corporations, and today’s emerging health 2.0 initiatives, may possess the market nimbleness that cannot be recreated in a controlled or collectivist [nationalistic] environment. And so, going forward, it is not difficult to imagine the following new rules for the new financial and virtual medical ecosystem.

[A] Rule No. 1

Forget about “SEC suitability and FINRA rules”, large office suites, surgery centers, fancy equipment, larger hospitals and the bricks and mortar that comprised traditional medical practices or financial product delivery systems. One doctor or niche focused FA with a great idea, good bedside manners or competitive advantage, can outfox a slew of public servants, the AMA, SEC, ADA or FINRA “faux copy-cat examiners”, while still serving the public – and patients – and making money. It’s now a unit-of-one economy where “Me Inc.”, is the standard. Physicians and FAs must maneuver for advantages that boost their standing and credibility among patients, peers, payers, customers and clients. Examples include patient satisfaction surveys; outcomes research analysis, evidence-based-medicine, physician economics credentialing and true integrated fiduciary-focused financial planning.

However, we should also realize the power of networking, vertical integration and the establishment of virtual RIAs or medical practices, which come together to treat a patient, or help a client, and then disband when a successful outcome is achieved. Job security is earned with more successful outcomes; not necessarily a degree, automatic AUMs, certifications or onsite presence. In fact, some competition experts, like Shirley Svorny PhD, a professor of economics and chair of the Department of Economics at California State University, wonder if a medical degree is a barrier – rather than enabler – of affordable healthcare.

Link: https://healthcarefinancials.wordpress.com/2009/01/08/medical-licensing-obstacle-to-affordable-quality-care

Others even presume the establishment of virtual medical schools and hospitals, where students and doctors learn and practice their art on cyber-entities that look and feel like real patients, but are generated electronically through the wonders of virtual reality units. The same can be said for the financial services industry, although much farther down-line given its current slow rate of real education and quasi-professional acceptance.

[B] Rule No. 2

Challenge conventional wisdom, think outside the traditional box, recapture your dreams and ambitions, disregard conventional gurus and work harder than you have ever worked before. Remember the old saying, “if everyone is thinking alike, then nobody is thinking”. Do collective-nistas and nationalized healthcare advocates react rationally; or irrationally? [THINK: Wall Street, medical unions]

[C] Rule No 3

Differentiate yourself among your healthcare and financial advisory peers. Do or learn something new and unknown by your competitors. Market your accomplishments and let the world know. Be a non-conformist. Conformity is an operational standard and a straitjacket on creativity. Doctors and FAs should create and innovate, not blindly follow organization or political “union” leaders [shop stewards, BDs, etc] into oblivion.

[D] Rule No 4

Realize that the present situation is not necessarily the future. Attempt to see the future and discern your place in it. Master the art of the quick change with fast but informed decision making. Do what you love, disregard what you don’t, and let the fates have their way with you. Then, decide for yourself if you are of this ilk – and adhere to any of the above rules? Or, just become an employed [government, BD] doctor or FA shill. Just remember that the political party, or monopoly that can give you a job, can also take it away [THINK: LB, ML, Wachovia, national healthcare, etc].

CP 1

Memorial Day Considerations

Finally, on this Memorial Day weekend, consider that life and career is a journey, and that in this country we have the choice to ponder or pursue any, and all of the above options, and more. We have the ability to think, cogitate and ruminate, as we have done here today. So – please – thank those who have helped turn this idealistic philosophy, into pragmatic daily reality.

For us personally, we thank Bonze Star Medal Winner Captain Cecelia T. Perez, RN. Now – ponder and consider – who do you thank? If no one has impacted you up-close on this Memorial Day weekend and national holiday, please visit our military channel to reflect, comment and opine.

Link: https://healthcarefinancials.wordpress.com/category/military-medicine

Conclusion

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The Scott Brown versus Healthcare Reform Poll

The Sott Brown Opinion Poll

By Staff Writers

In what some pundits are calling the “Boston Massacre” in liberal Massachusetts, Republican Scott Brown rode a wave of voter anger to win the US Senate seat held by the late Edward M. Kennedy for nearly half a century, leaving President Barack Obama’s health care overhaul in doubt and marring the end of his first year in office.

Our ME-P Audience

As a financial advisor, we know you are aware of the rise in healthcare stocks yesterday. And, as a medical executive or healthcare professional, we know you have been against the public option, and healthcare reform, in its current version.  The AMA is not your friend – nor does it represent you.

The Question Is?

And so, do you believe that last Tuesday’s Republican victory in Massachusetts means the current Democratic health care bill will not be on the President’s desk in 2010?

Please VOTE:

Understanding Medical Billing Methodologies

The Cash Conversion Cycle

[By Staff Reporters]

Most patients and financial advisors don’t have a clue about how doctor’s get paid in our current system; but it’s not by magic. Yet, a number of different steps occur during the processing of a medical claim that can be seen in a flow chart. Each step in the process can be mapped out and each is subject to claim payment-or-claim rejection. A payment time line for a typical FFS or PPO can also be subjected to a number of variables, depending on different factors including staff competency, time, outside vendors, information management, management decisions in general, or regulatory requirements. The total transit times may take weeks for electronic claims or up to two-years for some paper based claims.

First Make the Diagnosis

• ICD-9 alpha numeric code for disease classes, not billing.

• HHS offers ICD-9 [CM] for MDs and facilities.

• WHO-1900, updated every 3-10 years, e-ICD-10 [2013].

• Diagnostic Statistical Manual Mental Disorders, 4th Edition [DSM-IV].

Then Select the Current Procedure Terminology® Code

Medical, surgical and diagnostic task & service billing code numbers [5-digit] of AMA used by payers:

• Thousands updated annually

• Secretive with registered mark ®

• Office Visits: [brief, inter, extended, etc]

• # 99214 physical exam

• # 90658 H1N1 flu shot

• # 12002 one-inch laceration suture

• CDT® and HCPCS codes, too!

Document the Visit in Patient Progress Notes

Subjective:

“I was gardening and noticed my wrist was swollen and itched like crazy”

Objective:

A 4 inch linear red rash with circular oozing papules and swollen skin is present. Patient is wearing a small tennis bracelet which was tight.

Assessment:

Rule out rues dermatitidis versus nickel allergy.

Plan:

Soap soaks, with OTC calamine lotion with Rx oral diphenhydramine or [benadryl].

Submit the “Super Bill”

Not a “big bill” or expensive medical invoice; just an invoice

• Official standard billing form used by doctors submitting MC/MD claims.

• Also used by some private insurers and managed care plans.

• Contains patient demographics, diagnostic codes, CPT®, HCPC codes, etc.

• Generic billing form, like the generic HCFA 1500 claim form.

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Conclusion

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Don’t Tread on Me – Obama

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Bite Me – CMS

[By D. Kellus Pruitt; DDS]pruitt

Shy but proud Texas Dental Association leaders still direct employees to encourage members to volunteer for permanent, mandated National Provider Identifier numbers. Why? “Just ‘cause.”

As part of an agreement the TDA made with the state to help politicians out of a lawsuit they brought upon themselves for not providing adequate dental care for the poor in the state, TDA leaders followed someone’s bad advice to encourage Texas dentists to accept CHIP (Medicaid) – which requires dentists to have arbitrary 10 digit NPI numbers to participate.

Don’t get me wrong. I have the highest respect for dentists who treat the poor for pay that doesn’t even cover overhead. That is compassion to a fault – even before CMS investigators arrive with subpoenas based on vague, nuisance complaints from disappointed patients, disgruntled employees and hungry competitors. Getting even with rich, greedy, or otherwise mouthy dentists has never been easier because I’ve heard that CMS intends to investigate all complaints.

Yes, low pay is only part of the nasty package that TDA officials are officially discouraged from discussing with membership – even as they beg for us to sign up for CHIP and “do our part to return our debt to society by helping those who cannot care for themselves.” So who would dare question the reason for the faux sentiment expressed by a long string of TDA Presidents? That would be me.

There are simply so many other charitable ways of publicly and privately returning help to the community that don’t add to the risk of donating one’s skill. Even if one does not help local free clinics, how hard can it be to quietly give away care, Doc, in these hard times? It’s just between you and God anyway, isn’t it? One simply enters N/C in the fee column. Confidentially I sometimes get hugs that so far can be neither controlled nor taxed.

It appears to me that CMS is arguably more influential with TDA leaders than common TDA members like me. If I am correct, this means that dentistry is at risk of being overrun by authoritarian bureaucrats hired by ambitious politicians who often promise more than they can deliver before ducking accountability for earthly bad decisions. The business model even reminds me of the TDA’s.

So now that the TDA played its hand with regard to its fondness for BCBSTX and the NPI number, what does it mean for Texas dentists if Obama’s imminent “Public Plan Option” turns into “Medicaid for All” – as some naively hope and others justifiably fear? This week, the AMA gave its support to the Public Option. Will the ADA be next? 

Dentistry unhurried is value-added service. One cannot get rich at it, but it’s an honorable living.

Regardless of whether you approve of my tactless vitriol or not, I have to say that when it comes down to feeding my family, even this special bastard could be silenced if there is no longer a market on the east side of Fort Worth for dentistry unhurried. Especially if it meant a monthly visit by CMS inspectors like Dr. Annie Bukacek is going through right now. Like me, she also gives her patients the time they deserve. But unlike me, she doesn’t have time to pick fights with shy bullies who hide behind employees.

I’ll get to the physician’s story in a moment. But first, just how important are secrets to the leaders of the nation’s preeminent non-profit dental organization? It’s important enough that many in the ADA House of Delegates want the power to mete out punishment to fellow officers who cannot keep their mouths shut. Some of those we elected even want to make the sanctions retroactive to deal with colleagues who have already broken the traditional unwritten good ol’ boy code of stoic conduct. At the same time, the TDA is begging dentists in the state to run for ADA office – starting on the local level. Why do you think dentists in Texas don’t want to get involved? Nobody accepts delivery from the cluetrain in Austin. It probably stops there at least a couple of times each week day.

I copied below three of the ADA Delegates’ referred resolutions from Judy Jakush’s November 2 ADANews article, “Delegates vote on Association business matters,”

http://www.ada.org/prof/resources/pubs/adanews/adanewsarticle.asp?articleid=3821

1] Res. 70 states that if any member of the ADA, including delegation member, council, committee or task force member, or Board of Trustees member has been acknowledged as breaking the attorney-client privilege or executive session, that member is, at a minimum, barred from ever again participating in an attorney-client or executive session within the ADA. This shall include such acts which have been acknowledged as occurring prior to the enactment of this resolution.

2] Res. 67 would specify that candidates for elective or appointive officers may not have had any sanctions bestowed upon them by the Association. Also referred was Res. 67RC, which would direct that anyone found by the Committee on Credentials, Rules and Order to have violated his or her duties to the Association would be disqualified from holding elective or appointive office.

3] Res. 68 was referred to the Council on Ethics, Bylaws and Judicial Affairs for report to the 2010 House with recommendations for Bylaws changes. The proposal calls for CEBJA to review the Bylaws and craft language that would define the mechanism for sanctions up to and including removal from office of a delegation member or Board of Trustee member if there is found to be cause for removal as shall be defined. That cause, at a minimum, should include those causes as delineated currently for council members. Res. 68 also calls for a method for fair and impartial hearings to be recommended and the establishment of an authorized House committee that can be held on an ad interim basis between annual sessions of the House of Delegates with authority to determine and impose any such sanctions deemed appropriate. 

Remember, the ADA is a non-profit, professional organization whose only purpose for existence is to serve dental patients through dentist members who support it with dues. When one reads these and other resolutions in Jakush’s article, it looks like ADA President Dr. Ron Tankersley is running the Pentagon. We’re only dentists for crying out loud!

Dr. Annie Bukacek’s 6-month battle with CMS

This morning I read what has turned out to be a popular article titled “Investigators descend on doctor,” written by Candace Chase, writing for the Daily Inter Lake which serves northwest Montana.

http://www.dailyinterlake.com/news/local_montana/article_d8cde54e-cc2d-11de-9ddd-001cc4c03286.html

“Dr. Annie Bukacek of Hosanna Health Care in Kalispell was surprised when a 30- to 40-foot-long command-post vehicle pulled up unannounced last week, along with a posse of state and federal health-care fraud investigators.”

“Bukacek points out that anyone – a disgruntled ex-employee or patient or someone who doesn’t like a physician’s looks or politics – could trigger an investigation and cost a physician as well as the government thousands of dollars.” 

I wonder what would happen if a dentist openly taunts CMS leaders? As I previously mentioned, it is Dr. Bukacek who claims, “They said they have to followup every allegation made.” 

When all American dentists are required to volunteer for NPI numbers and can no longer be legally paid in cash at the time of service, we’ll all be hung by an ADA-approved mistake of historic proportions. I suggest that ADA members take time right now to jot down names so that when judgment day inevitably arrives, one will be prepared to hold accountable the ADA employees who recommended the numbers. After reading how ADA leaders are hunkering down, it looks like going through employees will probably be the only way to touch the bosses they bravely try to shield.

Oh yeah. I posted the 5th of almost 30 comments that so far follow Candace Chase’s provocative article:

“Dr. Annie Bukacek’s experience is why as a US citizen in the land of the free, I simply refuse to do business with the US government. Bite me, CMS. Did you hear me? I said bite me!”

Assessment

It’s not likely that I’ll regret those words because I am powerless to stop myself from typing them anyway.

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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A Doctor – Economist’s Solution for Health Reform

My Laundry Wish List for all US Healthcare Stakeholders

By Dr. David Edward Marcinko; MBA, CMP™

[Publisher-in-Chief]Fox News

As President Obama speaks, prods and cajoles, and Congress returns to session to begin work again on HR 3200-3400 or similar, I believe that for any healthcare reform effort to work successfully for the American people – not necessarily be adopted – we need to consider the following in no particular prioritized order:

  • Insurance portability uncoupled from patient employment
  • Health insurance regional exchanges with inter-state purchase competition
  • Doctor, drug, DME and hospital pricing and payment transparency for HSAs, and all of us
  • Modifying or eliminating AMA owned CPT Codes®; a huge money maker for them
  • Abandoning ala’ carte medicine for values-based outcomes
  • Reduce JCAHO influence; encourage competition from Norwegian Det Norske Veritas [DNV]
  • Reduce big-pharma influence thru-out the entire medical education, career and care pipeline
  • End DTC advertising from big-pharma
  • Promote wholesale drug purchase competition, MC bidding and generic drugs
  • Encourage evidence-based medicine, not expert-based medicine
  • Less pay for medical specialists with a  re-evaluation of the hospitalist concept
  • Advance the dying art of physical diagnosis, teach and embrace Paretto’s 80/20 rule for clinic issues
  • Reduce lab test, diagnostic imaging and testing
  • Encourage private 24/7/365 medical offices and clinics; and on-site and retail clinics
  • Abandon P4P, medical homes and disease management ideas
  • Give more economic skin-in-game to patients relative to health benchmarks
  • Concretize the “never-event” prohibitions and include a list of patient health responsibilities
  • More pay for primary care docs and internists
  • Adopt digital records and cloud computing for patients
  • Phase in true eHRs incrementally; and abandon CCHIT for open source SaaS
  • Promote Health 2.0 social media.
  • Augmented scope of practice, numbers and pay for NPs and DNPs, etc
  • Reduce pay for CRNAs and increase it for staff RNs
  • Develop step down triage and treatment units to reduce the number of full service ERs
  • Increase medical, osteopathic, dental, optometric and podiatric medical school classes
  • Increased practice scope for dentists, podiatrists and optometrists
  • Make some sort of catastrophic HI mandatory, much like auto insurance for all
  • End pre-existing conditon health insurance contract clauses
  • More choice  and end of life control for the terminally ill patient
  • Increase marketplace competition with fewer political and financial “externalities”.
  • Teach basic healthcare topics in school and encourage physical exercise
  • Health and insurance education should be, but is not, the “answer” for Americans
  • Protect borders and discourage undocumented illegals
  • Adopt medical malpractice tort reform
  • Make all stakeholders fiduciaries 
  • No public “option” unless you like food stamps, Section 8 housing, public transportation and schools
  • Budget deficit neutrality
  • Joe Wilson is both a bright guy – and a jerk
  • Slow down!

Assessment

Recently, while in the Baltimore/Washing area, I was asked by several reporters to opine on the healthcare debate; which I did so freely having never been known as the shy type. And, regular readers will note that many of these items have been used as posts or comments on this ME-P. Unfortunately, my “laundry list” interview was pre-empted by two local but boisterous town-hall meetings with respective passionate politicians. It was redacted no doubt, but never broadcast. Thus, I missed the potential for my “five minutes” of fame. C’est la vive!

Conclusion

There you have it; direct and straight forward. And so, your thoughts and comments on this Medical Executive-Post are appreciated. Feel free to review our top-left column, and top-right sidebar materials, links, URLs and related websites, too. Then, be sure to subscribe to the ME-P. It is fast, free and secure.

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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 

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Meet Brian J. Knabe MD CFP™ CMP™

A New ME-P Thought-Leader

By Ann Miller; RN, MHA

[Executive Director]Brian J. Knabe MD

Brian J Knabe MD is a financial advisor with Savant Capital Management www.SavantCapital.com. He uses his experience from the medical field in his work with clients, portfolio managers, physicians and other financial advisors to develop comprehensive planning, investment, and tax strategies for professionals.

Medical and Financial Background

Brian is a magna cum laude graduate of Marquette University with an honors degree in biomedical engineering. He earned his medical degree from the University Illinois College of Medicine. Brian also attended the University of Illinois for his family practice residency, where he served as chief resident. Brian is currently pursuing his Certified Financial Planner (CFP®) designation, and he recently passed the exam.

Certified Medical Planner™

Dr. Knabe is also matriculating in the online www.CertifiedMedicalPlanner.org [CMP™] charter-designation program for financial advisors and medical management consultants, from the Institute of Medical Business Advisors, Inc.

Personal Background

As if the above were not enough to keep him busy, Brian is also a clinical assistant professor in the Department of Family Medicine with the University of Illinois. He is a member of several professional organizations, including the American Academy of Family Physicians, the American Medical Association [AMA], and the Catholic Medical Association. Brian has also served as the vice president of membership for the Blackhawk Area Council of the Boy Scouts of America.

Our Congratulations

And so, we trust all ME-P readers will give a congratulatory “shout-out” to Brian J. Knabe MD, our newest “thought-leader.” Read his position paper here:

Evidence Based Investing [A Scientific Framework for the Art of Investing]

Link: Evidence Based Investing[1][1]

We trust we will hear much more from him in the future.

Conclusion

And so, your thoughts and comments on this Medical Executive-Post are appreciated. Tell us what you think about the credentials of Dr. Knabe. Is this extreme education a new-wave of fiduciary focus for all financial advisors and planners in the healthcare space? Feel free to review our top-left column, and top-right sidebar materials, links, URLs and related websites, too. Then, be sure to subscribe to the ME-P. It is fast, free and secure.

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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

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Sponsors Welcomed

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Evaluating a Sample Physician Financial Plan I

Stress Testing Our Results a Decade Later

By Dr. David Edward Marcinko; CPHQ, MBA, CMP™

By Hope Rachel Hetico; RN, MHA, CPHQ, CMP™dave-and-hope4

We are often asked by physicians and colleagues; medical, nursing and graduate students, and/or prospective clients to see an actual “comprehensive” financial plan. This is a reasonable request. And, although most doctors who are regular readers of this Medical Executive-Post have a general idea of what’s included, many have never seen a professionally crafted financial plan. This not only includes the outcomes, but the actual input data and economic assumptions, as well.

The ME-P Difference

And so, in a departure from our pithy and typically brief journalistic style, we thought it novel to present such a plan for hindsight review. But; we present same in a very unusual manner befitting our iconoclastic and skeptical next-generation Health 2.0 philosophy. And, we challenge all financial advisors to do same and compare results with us.

How so?

By using a real life plan constructed a decade ago and letting ME-P reader’s review, evaluate and critique same. 

  • Part I is for a married drug-rep, then medical school student [51 pages] with no children.
  • Part II is for the same, now mid-career practicing physician [28 pages] with 2 children.
  • Part III is for the same experienced practitioner at his professional zenith [56 pages].   

Link: Sample Financial Plan I

Fiduciary Advisors?fp-book2

As reformed financial advisors and former licensed insurance agents; and a former certified financial planner – it is now  our professional duty to act as health economists and fiduciaries for our clients and colleagues. In other words; to put client interests above our own. This culture was incumbent in our participatory online www.CertifiedMedicalPlanner.com educational program in health economics and medical practice management; since inception in 2000.

 

Assessment

And so, as Edward I. Koch famously asked as Mayor of New York City from 1978-1989: “how am I doing”; we sought to ask and answer same. What did we do right or wrong; and how were our assumptions correct or erroneous?  As Certified Professionals in Healthcare Quality this is the question we continually seek to answer in medicine. And, as health economists, this is the financial advisory equivalent of Evidence Based Medicine [EBM] or Evidence Based Dentistry [EBD] etc. It is a query that all curious FAs should ask.

Note: Sample plans II and III to follow; so keep visiting the ME-P

Conclusion

And so, your thoughts and comments on this Medical Executive-Post are appreciated. As a financial advisor, accountant, financial planner, etc., we challenge you to lay bare your results as we have done. And, be sure to “rant and rave” – and – “teach and preach” about this post in the style of Socrates, with Candor, Intelligence and Goodwill, to all.  

Feel free to review our top-left column, and top-right sidebar materials, links, URLs and related websites, too. Then, be sure to subscribe to the ME-P. It is fast, free and secure.

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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 

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Healthcare Organizations: www.HealthcareFinancials.com

Health Administration Terms: www.HealthDictionarySeries.com

Physician Advisors: www.CertifiedMedicalPlanner.com

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Sponsors Welcomed

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ASSUMPTIONS

Sample Mega Plan for a New Physician 

Joe Good, a 30-year-old pharmaceutical sales representative, and his pregnant wife Susie Good, a 30-year-old accountant, sought the services of a certified financial planner because of a $150,000 inheritance from Joe’s grandfather. The insecurity about what to do with the funds was complicated by their insecurity over future employment prospects, along with Joe’s frustrated boyhood dream of becoming a physician, along with only a fuzzy concept of their financial future. 

After several information-gathering meetings with the CFP, concrete goals and objectives were clarified, and a plan was instituted that would assist in financing Joe’s medical education without sacrificing his entire inheritance and current lifestyle. They desired at least one more child, so insurance and other supportive needs would increase and were considered, as well. Their prioritized concerns included the following:

1. What is the proper investment management and asset allocation of the $150,000?

2. Is there enough to pay for medical school and support their lifestyle?

3. Can they indemnify insurance concerns through this transitional phase of life,  including the survivorship concerns of premature death or disability?

4. Can they afford for Susie to be the primary bread winner through Joe’s medical school,   internship, and residency years?

5. Can they afford another child?

Current income was not high, and current assets were below the unified estate tax-credit. Therefore, income and estate-planning concerns were not significant at that time.

After thoroughly discussing the gathered financial data, and determining their risk profile, the CMP™ made the following suggestions: 

1. Reallocate the inheritance based on their risk tolerance, from conservative to long-term growth.

2. Maximize group health, life, and disability insurance benefits.

3. Supplement small quantities of whole life insurance with larger amounts of term insurance.

4. Create simple wills, for now. 

Sample Mega Plan for a Mid-Life Physician 

A second plan was drawn up 10 years later, when Joe Good was 40 years old and a practicing internist. Susan, age 40, had been working as a consultant for the same company for the past decade. She was allowed to telecommunicate between home and office. Daughter Cee is nine years old, and her brother Douglas is seven years old. 

The preceding suggestions had been implemented. The family maintained their modest lifestyle, and their investment portfolio grew to $392,220, despite the withdrawal of $10,000 per year for medical school tuition. The financial planning aspects of the family’s life went unaddressed. Educational funding needs for Cee and Douglas prompted another frank dialogue with their CMP. Their prioritized concerns at this point were as follows:

1. Reallocation of the investment portfolio

2. Educational funding for both children

3. Tax reduction strategies

4. Medical partnership buy-in concerns

5. Maximization of their investment portfolio

6. Review of risk management needs and long-term care insurance

7. Retirement considerations

The following suggestions were made:

1. Grow the $392,220 nest egg indefinitely.

2. Project future educational needs with current investment vehicles.

3. Maximize qualified retirement plans with tax efficient investments.

4. Update wills to include bypass marital trust creation, and complete proper testamentary planning, including guardians for Cee and Douglas.

5. Retain a professional medical practice valuation firm for the practice buy-in.

Sample Mega Plan for a Mature Physician 

At age 55, Dr. Joseph B. Good was a board-certified and practicing internist and partner of his group. Susan, age 55, was the office manager for Dr. Good’s practice, allowing her to provide professional accounting services to her husband’s office and thereby maximizing benefits to the couple from the practice. Daughter Cee was 24 years old, and her brother Douglas was 22 years old. The preceding suggestions had been implemented.  They upgraded their home and modest lifestyle within the confines of their current earnings. They did not invade their grandfather’s original inheritance, which grew to $1,834,045. Reallocation was needed. The other financial planning aspects of their lives had gone unaddressed. Retirement and estate planning issues prompted another revisit with their original CMP’s junior partner.

Their prioritized concerns at this point were as follows:

1. Long-term care issues

2. Retirement implementation

3. Estate planning

4. Business continuity concerns

The following suggestions were made:

1. Analyze the cost and benefits of long-term case insurance, funded with current income until retirement.

2. Reallocate portfolio assets and  plan for estate tax reduction, with offspring and charitable planning consideration..

3. Retain a professional practice management firm for practice sale, with proceeds to maintain current lifestyle until age 70.

If you want the opportunity to reach a personalized weekly audience of health care industry insiders, innovators and watchers, the Medical Executive-Post and its educational forums may be right for you?

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Ann Miller; RN, MHA

[Executive Director]

Medical Executive-Post

Medical Coding and Billing Vocabulary

Join Our Mailing List

Basic HIT Nomenclature and HIPAA

[By Richard J. Mata; MD, MIS, CMP™ [Hon]

For the Health Information Technology [HIT] department of a hospital, clinic or medical practice and its coders, the following medical vocabularies are mandated by the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act [HIPAA].

Diseases 

For diseases: the 9th or 10th International Classification of Diseases (ICD) Clinical Modification should be used.  ICD9-CM is maintained by the Centers for Disease Control National Center for Health Statistics, while ICD-10 is maintained by the World Health Organization.

Procedures

For medical procedures: a combination of ICD-9-CM, Current Procedural Terminology maintained by the American Medical Association, the Current Dental Terminology maintained by the American Dental Association, and Healthcare Common Procedure Coding System (HCPCS) maintained by CMS, which is also used for medical devices.

Pharmaceuticals

For drugs: these should be coded according to their National Drug Code classification.

Assessment

“A recent change to Medicare policy made by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) helps ensure claims processing isn’t delayed when the only missing information on the CMS-1490S form is the provider or supplier’s National Provider Identifier (NPI).

CMS Transmittal 1747, Change Request 6434, issued May 22, notifies A/B Medicare Administrative Contractors (MAC) and carriers of editorial changes to Medicare policy in Pub. 100-04, Medicare Claims Processing Manual, chapter 1 regarding the monitoring of claims submission violations and the handling of incomplete or invalid claims.

In either case, as stated in the transmittal, “If the beneficiary furnishes all other information but fails to supply the provider or supplier’s NPI, the contractor shall not return the claim but rather look up the provider or supplier’s NPI using the NPI registry.”

http://www.aapc.com/news/index.php/2009/06/missing-npi-no-reason-to-deny-says-cms/

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.

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

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Why Coding Professionals?

More on the NPI, the AAPC, Censorship and Quality Health Care

By Darrell K. Pruitt; DDS

pruittFor those who have been following me recently on Twitter (Proots), you know that unlike me, John Hamm has not yet been kicked off of DrBicuspid, and is awaiting a response from Dr. David J. Pettigrew – a dental coding expert with 14 years of experience as Chief Dental Officer for BCBS of New Jersey. I can only shadow the conversation because, as I said, I was kicked off.

Through John Hamm, I sent word to Dr. Pettigrew that he should just shut up and not enter into a discussion about the NPI number. Pettigrew told Johnhamm that I should come onto the DrBicuspid forum and say that in front of everyone. Of course, I am unable to do that because as shameful as it is to my family, I am still banned from posting anything on DrBicuspid.

For real-time developments concerning Dr. Pettigrew’s public defense of the NPI number, it would be better to follow that chunk of drama on Twitter or DrBicuspid. I’ve got other things cooking here. Can you smell it yet?

As you can see, sports fans, I have had Internet contact with a new class of fat, slow-moving healthcare IT stakeholders, and I haven’t been building long-term relationships fortified by good will – if you know what I mean. 14 years of employment at BCBS of New Jersey fails to impress me much.

American Academy of Professional Coders

Those who have studied alphanumeric science have a national organization called the American Academy of Professional Coders [AAPC] which represents business consultants in a growing healthcare niche. Most are employed by providers who are too busy actually performing healthcare to play games with insurance companies for the money owed them. Like SEO professionals who know gimmicks to increase a client’s page rank in relation to competitors, or perhaps a bolus of bad news from a special bastard, professional coders maximize providers’ profits by keeping on top of the ever-changing hoops involved in paying doctors almost all that is owed them following a shorter than average delay.

ICD-10 is Coming 

Learning coding is job security these days because in a few years the mandated ICD-10 codes will force even dental offices to hire IT staff, which also cuts down on the nation’s unemployment. I’ve taken a peek at the ICD-10, and it makes the ICD-9 look like simple algebra. I’d stick with well-trained coding professionals. They’ll cost more but you do want to approach making a profit, don’t you?

Of Censorship

I submitted the following stinker to be posted on the AAPC Website. To their credit, it was posted almost immediately. That could be a good sign … OOPS! Several minutes later it went back under moderation. I think someone is having problems with it. You’ll have to read it to understand why. It’s tricky to let go of, yet if it remains posted, it looks like a concession. Some poor slob in the AAPC is in a bad position. I hope you are enjoying this as much as I am.

-Darrell

“A recent change to Medicare policy made by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) helps ensure claims processing isn’t delayed when the only missing information on the CMS-1490S form is the provider or supplier’s National Provider Identifier (NPI).

CMS Transmittal 1747, Change Request 6434, issued May 22, notifies A/B Medicare Administrative Contractors (MAC) and carriers of editorial changes to Medicare policy in Pub. 100-04, Medicare Claims Processing Manual, chapter 1 regarding the monitoring of claims submission violations and the handling of incomplete or invalid claims.

In either case, as stated in the transmittal, “If the beneficiary furnishes all other information but fails to supply the provider or supplier’s NPI, the contractor shall not return the claim but rather look up the provider or supplier’s NPI using the NPI registry.”

http://www.aapc.com/news/index.php/2009/06/missing-npi-no-reason-to-deny-says-cms/

“How does an NPI number improve patient care?”

By D. Kellus Pruitt DDS – posted on AAPC Website, 6.4.09

Boxing Gloves I see that nobody from the American Academy of Professional Coders has yet attempted to answer my question. Some visitors to the AAPC Website who have followed the comments to the article “Missing NPI Won’t Delay Processing – CMS” (no byline) may think the lack of an answer is odd – that is if they happen to notice. The novice professional coder who still does not know much about HIPAA could easily assume that since the article itself is almost a week old, the lack of a response to my question is nothing more than the natural fading of interest. At some point, people logically move on to newer posts and other parts of their lives.

But I know a secret.

Based on nothing more than glaring silence from anonymous officials of AAPC, I know that my question of whether the NPI number improves care did not go unnoticed by a few knowledgeable and sharp individuals. They know enough not to touch a transparently trick question. The answer of course is:

The NPI number does nothing to improve patient care (Gasp!)

There’s more. Five years ago informatics experts (coders), promised that the ten digit identification number for providers will speed payments lightning fast. When is the last time you heard that fib? I cannot fault abundant optimism, AAPC, but by now you are surely aware that physicians have had to wait for a year or more for payment because of foul-ups at NPPES. Some have had to take out loans to pay the salaries of coding professionals and other new IT members of their staffs.

Improving Healthcare?

And as far as “improving” patient care? That would be worse than a fib. That would be called a harmful lie that upsets me in a very personal way. I know where it is documented that dental patients have been forced to leave dentists they preferred simply because one-third of the dentists in Texas do not have NPI numbers. BCBSTX requires that their clients only see dentists who have the numbers. Otherwise, the client has to pay their dental bill in full and BCBSTX isn’t even obligated to refund the employer the insurance premium. Yet BCBSTX sales reps tell these employers that their employees can see any Texas dentist they choose.

I’m sorry. Sometimes I ramble.

To keep it fair, I will ask if there is anyone who would like to point out the benefits of the NPI number. Your AAPC members and many others, including enthusiastic newbie coders, are interested in hearing from leaders of the organization. Many careers are built upon the complexities caused by digitalization and informatics. I don’t blame you for the complications. After all, you don’t make the rules – you just get along with them really well. It’s like our unavoidably complicated tax code and accountants. Accountants call themselves professionals. So why the hell shouldn’t you?

The Medical Executive-Post

Let me say that I am grateful that you believe enough in transparency that this comment remains posted. It wouldn’t surprise me if someone briefly considered deleting it until they discovered that it will be on the PennWell forum and probably on the Medical Executive-Post anyway. And of course, we can all see that you chose the honorable thing to do.

NPI Fallacy

The NPI fallacy reminds me of a scene in the Mike Judge movie “Idiocracy,” when a character 500 years in the future named Frito is asked why fields are fruitlessly irrigated with a politically-correct brand of green colored sports drink instead of water. Frito, who got his law degree from Costco, doesn’t even have to suffer minimal thought before he quickly repeats what he’s heard so many times, “’Cause it’s got ‘lectrolytes.”

Grnerod finds it incredible that I don’t have an NPI number. “How on earth are you billing and getting paid without an NPI?”

I told him (?) that I don’t work if I don’t get paid. Call me an old school radical.

Conclusion

And so, your thoughts and comments on this Medical Executive-Post are appreciated. What are your feelings on the NPI situation? Does it really improve health care, or not? Feel free to review our top-left column, and top-right sidebar materials, links, URLs and related websites, too. Then, be sure to subscribe to the ME-P. It is fast, free and secure.

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American Recovery and Reinvestment Act Primer for Physicians

Free ARRA Webinar Series

By Staff Reporters

Resident LaptopAre you ready to maximize American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) opportunities in your medical practice?

The Webinar Series

This webinar series is designed to support physician practices as they prepare for a new health care environment. As new information becomes available, experts and health care leaders representing diverse sectors will review key components of ARRA and offer insights on the impact to the physician community.

Topic: Stimulus 101: Basics of the Health Information Technology Provisions

When: Thursday, May 21, 12:00 PM CST

Presenters:

  • Glen Tullman, Chief Executive Officer – Allscripts
  • Margaret Garikes, Director of Federal Affairs – AMA

Assessment

Plus, hear from practices using eHR systems and how they made the transition.

Registration: https://cc.readytalk.com/cc/schedule/display.do?udc=1ip8sqjax7frw

Conclusion

And so, your thoughts and comments on this Medical Executive-Post, and webinar series, are appreciated; especially from seminar participants. Feel free to review our top-left column, and top-right sidebar materials, links, URLs and related websites, too. Then, be sure to subscribe to the ME-P. It is fast, free and secure.

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More JAMA [Hypocritical] Censorship on Big-Pharma Funding

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Janus-Like Opposing Views Becoming Contentious

[By Staff Reporters]

mac-runningAccording to Tracy Staton, the Journal of the American Medical Association may be fighting to keep long-running internal arguments over conflicts-of-interest with big pharma a secret. But, in public, it’s advocating strict limits on industry funding for medical associations.

JAMA Proposals

A set of proposals published recently in JAMA, calls for associations such as the American Society of Clinical Oncologists, to refuse general budget support from drug and device companies. Currently, many specialty physicians’ groups are partly funded by industry. Companies also sponsor conferences, physician fellowships and buy ads in the societies’ journals. The proposed guidelines would allow associations to continue to accept industry advertising and to allow industry-sponsored booths at conferences.

Distinction

The key distinction, the article’s lead author said, is that ads and booths are clearly presenting a company’s point of view. “You can read the ads, skip the ads, but there’s nothing hidden,” David J. Rothman, a professor at the College of Physicians and Surgeons at Columbia University, told the Wall Street Journal. “What I don’t like is when I can’t tell if what I’m hearing is science, or marketing in the guise of science.”

Opposing Viewpoints

But others disagree. For example, the American College of Cardiology’s chief allegedly told the paper that industry funding has “zero impact on the content of any program here.” And PhRMA said that the guidelines could limit the information doctors receive. “It’s important to realize that [doctors] have their own sense of integrity,” a PhRMA spokeswoman.

Assessment

ME-P publisher, Dr. David Edward Marcinko, on the other hand, believes that Columbia University’s torturous verbal parsing is

“merely a distinction with little substantive difference.”

Link:http://online.wsj.com/article/SB123854648226076095.html

Conclusion

And so, your thoughts and comments on this Medical Executive-Post are appreciated? Do you agree with the current – but aging medical establishment – or the emerging generation of young and idealistic medical students and physicians who increasingly abhor the big-pharma practices? Is this another example of tawdry JAMA censorship? Is the AMA running away from its moral ethos of professional integrity?

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Defining Current Procedural Terminology [CPT®] Codes

What they are – How they work

By Staff Reportersdhimc-book

The American Medical Association’s Physicians’ Current Procedural Terminology® is contained in the CPT user guide. The maintenance of these codes is the responsibility of the American Medical Association with consultation from the AMA CPT Editorial Panel, Advisory Committee, and the AMA CPT Health Care Professionals Advisory Committee. Procedure codes in the CPT user guide are reviewed and revised annually. The Health Care Financing Administration’s – now CMS – Common Procedure Coding System [HCPCS] lists three levels:  

Level I National Codes

CPT codes are five-character, all numeric configurations (e.g., 99215). Contact the American Medical Association to obtain a current copy of the CPT® Users Manual.

Level II National Codes

The HCPCS Level II National codes are contained in the HCPCS user’s guide and are published in the Federal Register. The maintenance of these codes is the responsibility of the Health Care Financing Administration [CMS]. Procedure codes in the HCPCS user guide are reviewed and revised annually. HCPCS codes are five characters with one alpha and four numeric configurations (e.g., A0042). Contact any publishing company that provides medical coding reference books to obtain a current copy of the current HCPCS User Manual.

Level III Medicare Local Codes*

Historically, local Medicare carriers developed local procedure codes which were published in the local Medicare Newsletters. The maintenance of these codes was the responsibility of the local Medicare carrier. Medicare local procedure codes were all five-character configurations with the following alpha/numeric configuration: one alpha, (W, X, Y or Z) with four numeric configurations (e.g., Y5523); and two alphas, (W, X, Y or Z) same character with three numeric identifiers (e.g., XX001). Contact your local Medicare carriers to obtain their Medicare Newsletters.

* Note: Due to HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act) requirements, Medicare Local codes and the Office of Medicare Assistance Program Unique [OMAPU] codes were replaced with national standard procedure codes. 

Assessment

For more terminology information, please refer to the Dictionary of Health Economics and Finance.

Conclusion

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

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Evaluate our 2-Volume Institutional Print Guide

Healthcare Organizations [Financial Management Strategies]

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Our 1,200 pages, 2-volume, quarterly institutional print guide Healthcare Organizations [Financial Management Strategies] is available on a 30-day, risk-free trial.

You may contact http://www.STPub.com at (604) 983-3434, fax (604) 983-3445, or e-mail at custinfo@stpub.com to place an order, or ask questions regarding pricing and/or availability.

All shipments arrive within 5 to 10 days. Prepayment is required for all international shipments and a small courier charge will be added to the subscription price.

After hours, we suggest you review the STP website FAQs section for answer to your inquiry: www.stpub.com/pubs/custinfo.htm

Assessment

Rest assured, Healthcare Organizations: [Financial Management Strategies] will become an important peer-reviewed vehicle for the advancement of working knowledge and the dissemination of research information and best practices in our field. In the years ahead, we trust these principles will enhance utility and add value to your subscription. Most importantly, we hope to increase your return on investment [ROI] by some small increment.

Review and Ordering Information:

Specialty Technical Publishers

8 – 14th Street

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1-800-251-0381

orders@stpub.com

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Note: The guide is sponsored by www.MedicalBusinessAdvisors.com with contributions from www.CertifiedMedicalPlanner.com and is edited by ME-P’s Dr. David E. Marcinko and Professor Hope R. Hetico; RN, MHA. Definitions and terms supplied by www.HealthDictionarySeries.com

Conclusion

And so, your thoughts and comments on this Medical Executive-Post are appreciated? Reviews from current journal-guide subscribers are encouraged and 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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Is JAMA Censoring Physician Dissent?

Allegedly Stoops to “Name-Calling”

By Dr. David Edward Marcinko; MBA, CMP™dem24

According to the Wall Street Journal Health Blog, Jonathan Leo, a professor of neuro-anatomy from a small university in Tennessee, critiqued a study published in the Journal of the America Medical Association [JAMA], and pointed out an association between the study’s author and a pharmaceutical company. He posted his thoughts on the website of the British Medical Journal [BMJ].

JAMA Responds

According to the report, a none-too-happy Leo then received calls from JAMA’s executive deputy editor, one Mr. Phil Fontanarosa. And surprisingly, Editor-in-Chief Dr. Catherine DeAngelis, MD got involved by asking Leo’s superiors to retract his post from the BMJ’s site. Sound familiar ME-P readers? According to Keven Pho MD, the WSJ called Dr. DeAngelis for comment, and this is how the interview allegedly went:

“This guy is a nobody and a nothing.”

She said of Leo.

“He is trying to make a name for himself. Please call me about something important.”

She added that Leo

“Should be spending time with his students instead of doing this.”

When asked if she called his superiors and what she said to them, DeAngelis supposedly said,

“It is none of your business.”

Environmental Scanning

One can only wonder if the AMA has adopted the strategy of former CDC Director Julie Gerberding, of Atlanta, GA. Local gossip suggests that one initiative under her noxious leadership was her so-called policy on “environment-scanning” or, monitoring the news-media, internet space, blogs, wikis and other venues to identify “emerging threats to the agencies” reputation.” WOWSA!

Link: https://healthcarefinancials.wordpress.com/2009/02/05/goodbye-julie-gerberding-md/

An Alternative Theory

My alternative opinion is the AMA might be taking censorship lessons from Blue Cross and Blue Shield of New Mexico [BCBSNM], and its’ public-relations representative and former reporter, Ross Blackstone of the Health Care Service Corporation [Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois, New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas].

Monitoring the ME-P?

Or, perhaps they are reading [Think: monitoring] this Medical Executive-Post itself? They may even be teaming up with Becky Kenny [media relations specialist with Blue Cross and Blue Shield of New Mexico] who goaded [threatened?] the trade magazine ModernHealthcare. As ME-P readers know, ModernHealthcare is an advertiser-driven media outlet that removed a perfectly acceptable post of diverging eHR opinion from its blogsite?

Industry Shame

Such acquiescence is both a sign of shameful health insurance industry [BCBSNM] heavy-handedness, and poor journalistic ethos from ModernHealthcare’s leadership. The BCBSNM public relations hacks, and media representatives, also appear as clueless shills who are no-doubt glad they are employed in these troubling economic times.

In other words, do they do what they are told? Jump Rover! Fetch Fido; etc! Or; are they more like the innocent child who spills grape juice on a white carpet? Let’s simply forgive them for their brainless duplicity. Yet, MH capitulated; how unfortunate!

Link: https://healthcarefinancials.wordpress.com/2009/03/04/don%e2%80%99t-rush-ehrs/

Doctors Censoring Patients [The Retro-Evolution]

By the way:

“What’s up with all this censoring?

The Internet has been publically available to the masses since 1995, and I was using electronic bulletin boards [eBBs] years before then. The next thing you know, doctors will start trying to censor the opinion of their patients, much like customers rate restaurants.

Ops! My bad! This has already occurred. Sorry!

The ironic thing here is that patients don’t know about quality care. But, they do know if they’ve been kept too long in the waiting room; or, if the doctor’s office staff was surly; or, if the doctor had a miserable bedside manner. So, the doctors are really being rated on their personality; not their medical acumen. I pity the fools. These medical guys, and healthcare guru gals, just don’t seem to realize that “perception is reality.”  But, they sure feign outrage at poor patient reviews.

Link: https://healthcarefinancials.wordpress.com/2009/03/02/doctors-censoring-patients/

Assessment

From my perspective, this is another public-relations disaster for JAMA, and especially Dr. DeAngelis, who must have known she was on the record with a national newspaper. After all, she is the editor of JAMA. Maybe not however, as we have previously opined that professional experts are not necessarily professional journalists.

Link: https://healthcarefinancials.wordpress.com/2009/03/09/healthcare-experts-versus-health-journalists

Of Cover-Ups and Crimes

“But, one must still wonder aloud; is this cover-up becoming worse than the proverbial crime?”

Resorting to personal attacks is somewhat unbecoming of the editor-in-chief of a prestigious medical journal, and reflects poorly on JAMA; don’t you think? Then again, JAMA and the AMA itself, is not as prestigious as it once was; is it?

In fact, when I asked ME-P managing-editor and Professor of Health Administration, Hope Rachel Hetico; RN, MHA, CMP™ to opine on admitted third-party limited information; she graciously replied with the utmost gentleness:

“With less than 25% of the nation’s MDs in the AMA; JAMA is probably still somewhat prestigious to those who don’t know any better; but many of us do know better. The older generation just needs some-time to catch up to modernity, and transparency – or resign. The top-down and command-control model of leadership is long gone – please be patient with them.”

Link: www.CertifiedMedicalPlanner.com

Link: www.MedicalBusinessAdvisors.com

Conclusion

And so, your thoughts and comments on this Medical Executive-Post are appreciated. Should Catherine DeAngelis MD resign over this incident? Please criticize or defend her actions. Is healthcare industry censorship on the rise – or is the industry just following-the-money? What do you think of ModernHealthcare or BCBSNM?

Is personal integrity – or scrutiny – the reason Joseph Biederman MD [Harvard’s controversial chief of pediatric psychopharmacology] ended his ties to the pharmaceutical industry recently for diagnosing bipolar disorder in children [as well as for the nature of big-pharma’s support behind his research]? Please opine.

Industry Indignation Index: 63

Disclaimer: I am not a member of the AMA. But, for a decade I was on the editorial staff of both a leading national medical, and surgical journal, back-in-the-day. I am currently the Editor-in-Chief of Healthcare Organizations [Financial Management Strategies] a 1,200 page, quarterly premium print-journal, available on a subscription basis.

Link: www.HealthcareFinancials.com

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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Usual and Customary UnitedHealthcare?

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More on “Sleazy” Healthcare Stakeholders

1-darrellpruitt

[By Darrell K. Pruitt; DDS]

If the leaders of the American Dental Association have the power and stoic determination to casually sweep aside trouble-making members who might tarnish their image, one would think that they could certainly avoid associating with sleazy healthcare stakeholders; such as UnitedHealthcare.

The Insurance Giants 

Have you ever suspected that insurance giants like UnitedHealthcare, WellPoint, Aetna and Cigna (and other members of the National Association of Dental Plans) lie to patients when the say a dentist’s fees are above “usual, customary and reasonable” levels?  You could be correct.  NY Attorney General Andrew Cuomo says UnitedHealthcare, WellPoint, Aetna and Cigna lie to physicians’ patients – understating New York state physician’s fees up to 28 percent.  Why would the crooks treat dentists’ patients any differently?

Employing Tapeworms to Control Fat

Cuomo caught UHC and others cheating their customers with smoke, mirrors and Ingenix – its wholly-owned data mining and consulting subsidiary.  Who would have guessed that UHC would tweak Ingenix to manipulate claims data to favor UHC and other insurance companies who subscribe to their services?  These are the same parasites who want to run the nation’s Pay-For-Performance (P4P) mandate – a cornerstone of President Bush’s healthcare reform ideas.  They want to tweak professional reputations for healthcare reform and the common good. 

And of Ingenix 

Ingenix is a full-service consulting business for insurers, backed with the credibility of 14 years of accumulated health claims it is privy to.  The “friend in the business” not only cooks the data to produce profit-enhancing Usual, Customary and Reasonable (UCR) fee schedules, Ingenix is also active in “pay-for-performance program assessment, strategy, planning, design, implementation, evaluation and improvement.” 

http://www.ingenixconsulting.com/about_history.html

So if you like the way UnitedHealthcare dental consultants treat you now, just wait until they are given authority to determine your worth to society using Ingenix leveraging tools.

P-4-P 

I first read about pay-for-performance [P4P] in dentistry in February 2006 in an email from Patrick Cannady who is an employee in the ADA Department of Dental Informatics.  He told me that nation-wide quality control in dentistry is an important benefit of having a HIPAA-compliant, paperless dental practice – and that the Department of Dental Informatics is very excited about the opportunity to help prepare US dentists for the future.  A month or so later, I learned that the NPI number the ADA still pushes on membership is the crucial legal link to government-approved P4P data-mills like Ingenix – a wholly-owned UnitedHealthcare profit center.  Do you think it is odd that the NPI is “voluntary,” yet irreversible?

AMA’s Award 

In January, the AMA was awarded $350 million in a lawsuit against UnitedHealthcare and Ingenix on behalf of physicians, and they plan to sue other major insurance companies as well.  So what has the ADA done to discourage UnitedHealthcare’s and other NADP members’ atrocious behavior that undeniably harms dental patients?  You won’t believe it when I tell you. Here’s more:  In a recent Associated Press interview, Sen. Jay Rockefeller, chairman of the Senate Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee, said UnitedHealthcare is nothing but a company of cheats.  He says, “They’re lowballing deliberately. They deliberately cut the numbers so the consumer has to pay more of the cost.”

http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5gL4XFckx9sah3eFEMuHYD3V2WGhQD97763800

So if Cannady’s department is all for P4P and other benefits from interoperable digital records, the question on most ADA members’ minds should be:  What does the ADA think of UnitedHealthcare?

ADA News Online

Two weeks ago the ADA News Online posted an advertisement that looks like an article (with no byline) for the spring meeting of the American Association of Dental Consultants (AADC) on May 7-9 in Scottsdale, Arizona.

http://www.ada.org/prof/resources/pubs/adanews/adanewsarticle.asp?articleid=3493

Since it is so well known that UnitedHealthcare is the major funding sponsor of the AADC, the word in the neighborhood says AADC, like Ingenix, is another UnitedHealthcare profit center awaiting the wrecking-ball.

Link: http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5gL4XFckx9sah3eFEMuHYD3V2WGhQD97763800

Assessment

Last year’s annual meeting of the dental consultants – who deny dental claims to protect the ethics in dentistry – featured ADA Senior Vice-President Dr. John Luther as a guest speaker.  Dr. Luther is Cannady’s boss.  He oversees the Department of Dental Informatics.  Yep.  The ADA is tight with UnitedHealthcare. One can tell a person’s character by the company he or she keeps. 

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.

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

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Obama on the SGR Physician Payment Formula

Solo Doctors and and Small Group Practices May Benefit

By Staff Reporterscoins3

According to Diana Manos of Healthcare Finance News, on March 23, 2009, small medical group practices and solo and/or independent physicians may benefit most from the recently proposed Obama healthcare budget. In it, President Obama asked Congress for $76.8 billion for the Department of Health and Human Services [DHHS] for fiscal year 2010. Some funding would come from changes to the way healthcare is provided, with a new emphasis on pay-for-performance [P4P] for Medicare providers.

The AMA’s Response   

It was reported that, Joseph M. Heyman, MD, chairman of the American Medical Association’s Board of Trustees, said the AMA is pleased with the administration’s proposed new baseline – or projected spending over a period of time – or Medicare physician payment updates.

“Unlike previous budget forecasts, the administration’s new budget baseline recognizes that Congress needs to and will act to avert the serious access crisis that looms as physicians face drastic payment cuts in the coming decade due to the failed Medicare physician payment formula,” he is reported to have said. Furthermore,  

“The AMA strongly supports the use of a realistic baseline as a foundation for Congress to move forward with a permanent solution to the flawed SGR physician payment formula, and urges the committee and Congress to ensure that a new Medicare physician payment baseline is adopted in the 2010 Fiscal Year (FY) Budget Resolution.”

Assessment

Under the president’s budget request, Medicare Advantage would be revamped; physicians and hospitals could expect to be paid for performance [P4P] under Medicare; pharmaceutical companies would face steeper competition from generic drug companies and the government would clamp down on inadvertent and fraudulent overpayments under Medicare. The budget also calls for “comprehensive, but fiscally responsible reforms” to the physician payment formula [Sustainable Growth Rate], moving toward rewarding doctors for efficient quality care.

Link: http://www.healthcarefinancenews.com/news/small-physician-practices-can-expect-real-changes-healthcare-under-obama-budget

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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Independent Medical Practitioner as Solo Primary Care Surrogate

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Doctors Facing a Bleak Future Business and Financial Planning Model

By Dr. David Edward Marcinko; MBA, CMP™

[Publisher-in-Chief]dem2

According to Physicians News, on March 19, 2009, the demand for family physicians is growing. Proposals for health system reform focus on increasing the number of primary care physicians in America. Yet, despite these trends, the number of future physicians who chose family medicine dipped this year, according to the 2009 National Resident Matching Program. What gives?

NRMP

The National Resident Matching Program [NRMP] recently announced that a total of 2,329 graduating medical students matched to family medicine training programs. This is a decrease in total student matches from 2008, when 2,404 family medicine residency positions were filled.

Primary Care Demand Explodes

Meanwhile, demand for primary care physicians continues to skyrocket. For example, in its most recent recruitment survey, Merritt Hawkins, a national physician recruiting company, reported primary care physician search assignments had more than doubled from 341 in 2003 to 848 last year. 

The Decline of Solo Medical Practitioners

Regular readers and subscribers to this Medical Executive- Post are aware of the declining number of solo medical practitioners; we have been sounding the alarm here, in our books, journal, speaking engagements and elsewhere for years now.dhimc-book4

In fact, the statistic that we often cite is that more than 40% of the nation’s physicians are employed doctors; not employers as in the past. This business model shift has occurred over the past decade or so, and has accelerated of late. The decline in solo and independent doctors has occurred elsewhere as well, but much more slowly [i.e., dentistry, podiatry and osteopathy] as these specialties have been somewhat isolated from the traditional allopathic mainstream.

Going forward, this solitary model seems to be a good thing, and a fortunate result of the un-intended consequence of previously keeping these folks out of the healthcare mainstream.

The Decline of Independent Medical Practitioners

Now, in the March 2009 issue of Healthcare Finance News, we learn that the number of hospital owned physician practices has been climbing over the last four years, according to the Medical Group Management Association [MGMA]. Think: PHOs back-in-the-day. ho-journal3

And, while this trend only marginally affects patients and patient care, it is quite disruptive to physicians, their families, personal wealth accumulation, retirement and estate planning endeavors.

For example, according to Professor Hope Rachel Hetico, RN, MHA, CMP™ of our firm www.MedicalBusinessAdvisors.com

“The professional good-will valuation component of a medical practice is being decimated. Today, some practices are being bought and sold for tangible asset value, only.

Assessment

Therefore, allow me to identify this emerging trend which suggests independent medical practice as reflective of solo primary medical care. In other words, as independence goes the way of the “dodo-bird”, so goes primary care practitioners precisely at a time when the later is needed more than the former.

Why? Employed doctors stay that way by making money for their employer and hospital-bosses. Specialists make more money than primary care doctors. So, if you want to stay an employed doctor; which specialty would you pursue?

Answer: The NRMP class this year spoke out loud and clear. Any specialty but primary care!

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Avi Baumstein and HIPAA Compliancy

A Ten-Step Process

By Darrell K. Pruitt; DDSpruitt

HIPAA inspections are coming. Are you still computerized? If so, are you prepared? The fines are steep if a dentist’s [optometrist, podiatrist, allopath or osteopath’s] computer is hacked and he or she is found to be not in compliance.

About Avi Baumstein

Avi Baumstein is an information security analyst at the University of Florida’s Health Science Center in Gainesville. He posted an article recently; on InformationWeek titled “Time to Get Serious about HIPAA.” Baumstein is one expert who should know.

Link: Ten Step Process

http://www.informationweek.com/news/industry/health-care/showArticle.jhtml?articleID=214600332&pgno=1&queryText=&isPrev=

Mr. Baumstein notes that in October, the HHS inspector general issued a report that was sharply critical of CMS (Medicare and Medicaid) for not enforcing HIPAA security. The embarrassing dope-slap of CMS leadership causes Baumstein and other experts in the security industry to anticipate more “proactive enforcement” (unannounced inspections) in the next year. 

From his article, I am led to believe that the last prerequisite for meaningful action to enforce security is a tax-paying and otherwise acceptable nominee for Secretary of Health and Human Services. Whoever Obama finally digs up [Kathy Sibelius] I think providers are in for significant changes. 

For example, it will be the Secretary who will ultimately decide if HIPAA inspections will be performed by new federal employees or PriceWaterhouseCoopers personnel – which was the former President’s administration’s “market approach” to helping the GDP by outsourcing policing duties, as well as accountability, to favored big businesses. (For those who are sensitive about political affiliations and become upset with me for saying unflattering things about your heroes, please don’t feel too hurt.  I’m a bi-partisan critic for natural reasons).

The ADA’s imaginary playing field and toy soldiers

“The electronic health record may not be the result of changes of our choice. They are going to be mandated. No one is going to ask, ‘Do you want to do this?’ No, it’s going to be, ‘You have to do this.’ That’s why we absolutely need the profession to be represented in the discussions about EHR to make sure our ideas are enacted to the greatest extent possible.”

ADA President-Elect Dr. John S. Findley,

In-house interview ADA News

October 7, 2008

In spite of President Findley’s manicured and traditional cause-I-say-so sound bite, the actual invisibility of ADA leadership in healthcare IT matters clearly hints that whatever happens in Obama’s healthcare reform, dentists’ and patients’ concerns stand little hope of being adequately represented by ADA representatives. 

For example, when I recently contacted CCHIT to ask about EHRs in dentistry, I was told that I was one of the first to even mention dentistry to the private and reclusive non-profit EHR certification club. I think that chunk of unexpected news blows a huge hole in President Findley’s boat. Want to see something hilariously scary in a darkly humorous way? The President’s campaign motto this time last year was “Findley for the future.” Get it?

In spite of the silent neglect of dentists’ interests by dental leaders from the top down, I would like to proclaim that there is accidental hope that future HIPAA inspectors will know more about dentistry than the jobless OSHA hired in the late 1980s during the HIV panic. I heard a rumor back then that OSHA sent an inspector to a dental office who didn’t know the difference between a microwave and an autoclave.

Panic and Urgency

Panic, a favored US government bureaucratic response, occurred when OSHA leaders found themselves suddenly under pressure from Congress over a mysterious disease that was raging out of control. Since immediate action was demanded, even if it was irrelevant and wasteful, OSHA leadership was so busy chasing shadows that it was hiring almost anyone just to cover their lower backs. Eventually, the panic subsided and yielded to a low level of common sense, thanks in large part to the intervention of the late Rep. Dr. Charlie Norwood of Georgia – a dentist and a courageous statesman. Nevertheless, because of the momentum of institutional panic, millions of healthcare dollars have been wasted on 99% superstition; incredible? Consider this.

In the last two decades, how many lives have been saved by covering dental chairs with plastic between patients? Now, how much does the effort raise dentists’ fees – thereby lowering accessibility and increasing disease and suffering among Americans? Furthermore, after each dental patient is released, the “contaminated” sheet of petroleum-based polyethylene is thrown away. I ask this: Are the reasons for inevitable environmental problems caused by regularly adding non-biodegradable plastic to the city dump based on evidence-based science? 

Of course not! This and other related acts of foolishness are nothing but lingering, costly superstition – now accepted as standard of care without proof of effectiveness. Here is how such absurdity happens: Some of those weekend miracles quickly hired by OSHA in the ‘80s went on to become prosperous and influential consultants with lots of ideas.

Since the US government is prone to panic followed much too quickly by careless and expensive overkill, national responses to adversity often stimulate lots of employment – evidence of need be damned. The OSHA surge of the 80s followed the AIDS scare. More recently, coming on the heels of the banking collapse, auditing has become one of the fastest growing fields in the industry. The feds cannot hire people with accounting skills fast enough. I contend that one should expect that for reasons and attitudes similar to those surrounding the increased funding for OSHA, it follows that news of frightening breaches of EHRs by the hundreds of thousands at a time has created a new nidus of power in a fresh, enthusiastic administration, as well as an enormous employment opportunity for anyone with knowledge of dentistry – like super-hygienists.

A hazy glimpse of the future and a promise to tie all this together soon

This brings us to a fanciful peek over the edge of the event horizon in dentistry. At the same time that HIPAA inspections of dental offices appear unavoidable, there is currently a turf war between fully licensed dentists and expanded duty “super-hygienists” who wish to be able to practice independently – limiting their invasive work to only easy fillings and simple extractions that in their assessment will not turn complicated.

Link: www.HealthcareFinancials.com

Turf Wars

This kind of war has been fought before, and physicians lost. Nurse-practitioners annexed physician turf like Sudetenland, and they are still grabbing lebensraum. CMS loves it. 

However, dentistry is different. It is my opinion that because of dental patients’ very personal reasons that include under-rated motivation from primal fear and terror, they will shun almost-dentists almost immediately – leaving graduates with huge student loan payments and lots of unused knowledge about dentistry.

Furthermore, I predict that when super-hygienists consider the expense of finishing out and leasing space at a shopping mall or department store, in addition to monthly loan payments to cover the price of dental equipment, or perhaps even the buy-in price to an insurance-sponsored dental franchise, a few will be discouraged from their initial intention to increase accessibility to dental care by lowering cost and quality.  

I think reality will cause a few super-hygienists to be readily lured from their initial goals upon entering two-year junior college programs that taught them nomenclature and the easy parts of doing dentistry. Unless they agreed to work in underserved areas in exchange for paid tuition, some will consider the benefits of working for commission for the US government as HIPAA inspectors. And later, the most successful of these will have the opportunity to continue their careers as HIPAA consultants with lots of ideas.

Are you following me so far? In conclusion, within two years, instead of real-dentists and almost-dentists being faced with uninformed HIPAA inspectors like OSHA’s shock-and-awe weekend miracle crews of the ‘80s, there will accidentally be thousands of nomenclature-savvy super-hygienists graduating across the nation looking for work about the time an acceptable HHS nominee finds his or her stride. What a story! 

Did I ever tell you that I once did a short stint as a screenplay writer? 

I guess I am being a little bit silly concerning super-hygienists, but do you see how all these pieces of history can conceivably come together at a time when the nation couldn’t be more vulnerable to wasting money on foolishness? Common sense about patients’ security is just not that common in Washington DC, and the absurdity of HIPAA is so great that the stunned silence it evokes actually causes the enforcement of folly to fit in well with the traditional Democratic tendencies of using big government to handle all possible contingencies caused by human frailties – even if that means micromanaging everyone. Who needs that? 

Every day, I am increasingly thankful that my office is not computerized. The sheet-metal box that contains my patients’ ledger cards does not have a USB port. Preparation for inspection is tricky by design.

Link: www.MedicalBusinessAdvisors.com

Assessment

Baumstein concedes that preparing for a HIPAA inspection is difficult because the law is intentionally vague:

“One goal of HIPAA was to be a one-size-fits-all, technology-neutral regulation.” 

Incredible; when you read the ten obligations Baumstein says a dentist must complete to be compliant with a vague mandate, you too may want to go back to a pegboard system – carbon paper and all.  

It seems to me that in 2003 or so, someone in the ADA Department of Dental Informatics should have warned ADA leadership about the obvious fact that as long as there is a dependable supply of cheap carbon paper in the nation, HIPAA enforcement has the potential to drive computers smoothly out of dentistry. Instead, there was silence followed by increased funding for the department’s budget, and the game was on. By 2005, at the urging of the former administration and healthcare IT stakeholder Newt Gingrich, the ADA News was posting articles pushing ADA members to quickly volunteer for irreversible NPI numbers for no good reason.  A trusting majority of members dutifully followed the tainted command. I am saddened by the loss few yet comprehend.

Link: www.HealthDictionarySeries.com

Conclusion

And so, your thoughts and comments on this Medical Executive-Post are appreciated. In bringing a close to this contiguous, here is something some may find interesting about the University of Florida, where Avi Baumstein works. Do you remember the 330,000 dental patient records that were hacked this fall from the Dental School located in Gainesville, Florida?  You guessed it; same college town – same health science center

And, as of last week that the dental school was still hemorrhaging patient data to who knows where. I bet by now, Baumstein knows more about HIPAA and dentistry than anyone in the nation How about you? 

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The Future of Hospitals

Between a “Rock and Hard Place”

By Dr. David Edward Marcinko; MBA, CMP™

By Hope Rachel Hetico; RN, MHA, CMP™rock-and-hard-place

A recent white paper by the Joint Commission suggests that hospitals must respond in new ways to meet the increasing complexity of patient care and to address rising health care costs. Duh! What an insight. Why did it take so long for them to declare same?

 

The Hospital Accreditation Competition Heats-Up

Was it because of competition from DNV Healthcare Inc? Was it their new ability to determine if hospitals are in compliance with Medicare Conditions of Participation [COP]? DNV joins the Joint Commission on the Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations [JCAHO], and the American Osteopathic Association [AOA], as the only national hospital accrediting agency approved by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services [CMS].

Link: https://healthcarefinancials.wordpress.com/2008/10/03/hospital-accreditation

Recommendations

Nevertheless, the JCAHO report recommends action in five areas:

  • Economic viability and ROI
  • Technology adoption and use
  • Patient-centered collaborative care
  • Medical and human resources staffing
  • Hospital architectural design

Patient Centered-Philosophy

Of course, it is no surprise that patient-centered care should be philosophically at the core of any partnership between a patient and his/her hospital and medical providers. Yet, just think of the last time you saw your HMO doctor and tried to engage in a collaborative health 2.0 discussion with him/her? Na-da!

Health Information Technology

The Joint Commission, despite the interoperable eHR controversy often presented on this blog, suggests that technology adoption can play a major role in improving patient care, safety and quality.

Link: https://healthcarefinancials.wordpress.com/2008/12/19/the-case-against-inter-operable-ehrs

This transformation from paper to electronic records, according to the report, will involve:

  • Making the business case for ROI and funding
  • Redesigning business processes with HIT implementation
  • Extending the digital footprint to the “medical-home”
  • Engaging IT leaders for guidance on prior mistakes 
  • Improve workflow – minimize labor intensive activities

Of Hospital “Insider” Administrators

One local hospital administrator insider, here in Atlanta, confidentially tells us that a single hospital bed is currently worth about a million bucks a year to the institution; private or public. And, the mantra of most hospital CEOs to staff doctors, is: “fill the beds”; “schedule the procedures”; and/or “book the operating rooms.”  So, the priorities outlined in the report really don’t seem appropriate; do they?

IOW: Put the hospital first; not the patient? And, this echoed our experience in hospital administration two decades ago. Has anything changed?

Assessment

Nevertheless, it may be refreshing to see an approach to healthcare technology implementation that seems to leverage the experience and knowledge of other industries. Privacy concerns however, are the biggest obstacle to HIT and true inter-operable eMRs, in our opinion. Yet, it doesn’t need to be. Who cares if grandma has a bunion, or dad had his cataracts repaired. They aren’t running for public office; are they?

The road to the Hospital of the Future will be bumpy, but we are hopeful enough to trust the benefits will be great once we arrive.

Full report: hosptals-future 

Conclusion

And so, your thoughts and comments on this Medical Executive-Post are appreciated. Are hospitals today “between a rock and hard place?” Is technology and business process reorganization being offered as a substitute for critical thinking and true collaborative medicine? Especially, in light of the healthcare capitalistic thrust to: “do more – in order to earn more.”

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Maintenance of Medical Board Certification

Status Growing in Importance – or Sham

Dr. David Edward Marcinko; MBA, CMP™

And Staff Reporters

dr-david-marcinko11Increasingly, efforts to boost quality and gain better value from the world’s most costly healthcare system are including attention to Maintenance of Board Certification [BOBC], a little-understood but rigorous process by which physicians maintain board certification status and then keep it.  

Hillary-Care Redeux

Back in the day, circa late 1970s – early 1980s, medical board certification was indeed a rigorous process; and still is to a very large extent. For example, Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton, in laying out the quality portion of her three-part healthcare reform plan last year, specifically touted these programs as a key step in enhancing quality. From the presidential campaign trail to hospital and health plan board rooms, Board Certification and the Maintenance of Board Certification is a growing force in the industry.

But, is maintaining recertification status another matter of true quality import?

Major Health Plans On-Board

Several of the nation’s biggest health plans—including Aetna, Cigna, Humana, UnitedHealth Group and national and regional Blue Cross and Blue Shield organizations—are embracing Maintenance of Certification as part of their recognition and reward programs. Physicians who do not participate are not highlighted in plan directories and miss out on higher plan reimbursements.

Yet, why do we have “red flag” issues, “never-events” policies and/or the rise of “checklist-medicine” for risk reduction if these continuing education programs are so effective?

Allow me to cite the raging over-treatment epidemic, especially in specialties like arthroscopic orthopedics, radiology imaging [CT and MRI scans] and invasive cardiology, etc. Not to mention recent, and not so recent, Institute of Medicine [IOM] quality chasm reports for in-hospital patient deaths, complications and infections, etc.   

Assessment

Of course, savvy hospital administrators and physician executives, of all stripes, are examining ways to use elements of board certification maintenance to respond to the Joint Commission’s new requirements for physician credentialing and privileging. Furthermore, the National Quality Forum [NQF] and the AQA quality alliance will be considering Maintenance of Certification for quality measurement endorsement.

Source: Cary Sennett and Christine Cassel, Modern Healthcare

Joint Commission Relevance in Modernity

But, is the Joint Commission itself even as relevant today, as in the past? Or – is its [political, quality and economic] status, might and swagger being reduced in favor of modern new-wave insights from health 2.0 collaboration activities and emerging formal organizations like DNV Healthcare Inc., a division of the Norwegian company.

As subscribers and Medical Executive-Post readers are aware, Det Norske Veritas [DNV] has recently been charged with immediately determining if hospitals are in compliance with the Medicare Conditions of Participation [COP]. The company’s authority to accredit hospitals runs through September 26, 2012. DNV joins the American Osteopathic Association [AOA] as the only other national hospital accrediting agency approved by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Servicers [CMS].

Conclusion

And so, your thoughts and comments on this Medical Executive-Post are appreciated. Is medical board certification and maintenance status of real value – or just fluff – much like the continuing education and licensure requirements of insurance agents, stock-brokers and financial advisors, etc? Is it less for medical education – and more for liability risk reduction – or PR – you decide? 

Disclosure: I am a reformed insurance agent, stock-broker, board certified quality review physician and Certified Financial Planner®.

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AMA Sues to Keeps Medicare Claims Data Private

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AMA Wins Appeal to Blind Consumers’ Checkbook

[By Dr. David Edward Marcinko; MBA]human-drones

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services [CMS] does not have to turn over physician-specific Medicare claims data requested by not-for-profit Consumers’ Checkbook under the Freedom of Information Act, the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia ruled in an opinion delivered January 30th.

AMA and DHHS

According to Gregg Blesch of Modern Healthcare, on 2/2/09, the American Medical Association [AMA] joined the Department of Health and Human Services [DHHS] in appealing a 2007 decision that the data should be subject to disclosure, but the appeals court concluded the physicians’ privacy interest outweighs the consumer group’s assertions that the data would be used in the public interest.

Three Decade DHHS Legal Conundrum

DHHS, meanwhile, was not concerned so much with privacy as with its own legal conundrum involving a 1979 federal injunction barring the release of Medicare data that identifies individual physicians. A 2008 statement explaining the decision to appeal said the department “recognizes and shares the goals of Consumers’ Checkbook” and was seeking a legal way for the government to share Medicare claims data as part of its own quality initiatives.

Link: http://www.ama-assn.org

About Consumer’s Checkbook

Consumers’ Checkbook/The Center for the Study of Services is an independent, nonprofit consumer organization founded in 1974 with the help of funding from the U.S. Office of Consumer Affairs. Its’ purpose is to provide consumers information to help them get high quality services and products at the best possible prices. The organization is supported entirely by subscription payments and donations from individual consumers who subscribe to its magazines, and by fees for surveys, and information services and books. They do not accept donations from businesses and their publications carry no advertising.

Link: http://www.checkbook.org

About the AMA

The home page of the AMA website states the organization is “helping doctors help patients.”  Is this really the case; or mere rhetoric? Is it true that less than 20% of the nations MDs are members?

Assessment

Consumers’ Checkbook said it would use the data to show the frequency with which physicians performed certain procedures; expose how much Medicare pays physicians who have disciplinary histories or poor evaluations; and determine whether they were fulfilling standards of recommended care. The court found each argument wanting.

Industry Indignation Index Rating: 85

Conclusion

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Office Based EMR Cost Report

A Preliminary BC/BS Cost-Benefit Analysis

By Staff Reporters  Stethoscope

BlueCross-BlueShield of Massachusetts recently announced that it will not require physicians to install or use electronic medical records [EMRs] to participate in its new bonus program. The health plan came to the conclusion that the financial benefits of office-based electronic medical records systems are just not worth the cost to doctors.  

Little Office-Based Value 

Relying on information from past studies, the American Medical Association [AMA] estimated that office-based doctors see only 11 cents of every dollar saved through the use of information technology, according to AMNews reports. 

More Hospital Value 

But, the Massachusetts Blues did find value in health information technology [HIT] that physicians would need to use, as its own cost-benefit analysis concluded that computerized physician order entry makes financial sense in the hospital and enterprise-wide healthcare setting. 

Assessment 

The MA-Blues will require hospitals and health systems to install computerized physician order entry systems [CPOEs] by 2012, in order to participate in the bonus program.

Conclusion

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