We were able to support these fellows this year thanks to funding from the Missouri Foundation for Health. Continue reading
Hospitals and post-acute care providers, Medicare drug providers, and older adults could see substantial changes in payments and benefits if President Obama’s 2015 fiscal year budget proposal is passed as presented.
The president’s $3.9 trillion plan includes more than $400 billion in cuts over the next decade in Medicare and Medicaid spending, as well as changes in provider reimbursement to place greater emphasis on quality. As Politico reported, additional savings would come from higher premiums of wealthier beneficiaries, changes in Medicare Part D payments to drug companies, and reimbursement cuts to post-acute providers like skilled nursing facilities and home health care agencies.
AARP criticized the proposal for “simply cost shifting.”
“We know that brand name prescription drugs are one of the key drivers of escalating health care costs, so we appreciate the President’s inclusion of proposals to find savings in lower drug costs, said AARP Executive Vice President Nancy A. LeaMond in a statement. “But instead of shifting additional costs onto Medicare beneficiaries, we must look for savings throughout the entire health care system, as the rising cost of health care threatens people of all ages.” Continue reading
Cleveland-area health care journalists and writers learned about grant writing as an option for freelancers to use their journalistic skills to make a living at a Feb. 27 AHCJ chapter meeting.
Ten journalists attended the Cleveland-Akron chapter’s first 2014 event, “Expanding freelance options I: Grant writing,” to hear about the pros and cons, ins and outs, and challenges and rewards of freelance grant writing.
Following a light dinner, University Hospitals/Case Medical Center development officer Sandra Erlanger discussed how she got into grant writing from journalism.
“It’s a learn-by-doing process,” she said. She also discussed the variety of writing she does – “everything from grant proposals to thank-you notes” – within the development department.
We’ve had some discussion on AHCJ’s electronic discussion list and I’ve gotten some emails about why insurance rates or premiums vary regionally. Also, people wondered what happens to someone if they enroll in one of the ACA insurance exchanges and later move to another part of the country.
Let’s start with the second question, which is simpler. Yes, if you move, you can get a new health plan on the exchange. You’d get a special enrollment period, which is also what happens if you change jobs (in a way that affects coverage), have a child, get married, etc.
The regional variations are more complicated. It’s not as simple as labor costs in New York being higher than those in Arkansas.
Competition is a big factor. The highest prices aren’t necessar Continue reading
There are more than 300,000 dental assistants at work across America and their ranks are expected to increase 25 percent in the next decade, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, as a result of the recognition of the link between oral health and overall health.
Their work often includes helping dentists with procedures, taking and developing X-rays, preparing and sterilizing instruments, making appointments, keeping records, and giving patients post-operative instructions.
But, from state to state, duties, credentialing, and training standards vary widely.
Oral health topic leader Mary Otto provides some background, the latest news on what’s happening in various states and links in a new tip sheet to help reporters learn what changes may be in the works in their state – just in time for Dental Assistants Recognition Week, March 2-8. It might be an opportunity to take a look at this changing profession and write about what dental assistants are doing in your state.
Kentucky has gotten a lot of attention for the largely unexpected success of its health insurance exchange.
The Washington Post’s Stephanie McCrummen has looked at another aspect of the Kentucky story: Who is getting covered and what is that going to mean?
Her first feature was published Nov. 23 (when most of us were focused on the final week of the “tech surge” to fix HealthCare.gov). She followed up in February. McCrummen looked at the faces behind the numbers – and asked questions about the numbers.
Her stories took her to Breathitt County in the foothills of Appalachia, one of the poorest and unhealthiest counties in the U.S with high rates of diabetes and heart disease. She focused on Courtney Lively, who is a human link between being covered and not being covered. Lively works at a clinic near a fast food joint, helping people get coverage, some for the first time. Among those walking through her office door were “cashiers from the IGA grocery, clerks from the dollar store, workers from the lock factory, call-center agents, laid-off coal miners, KFC cooks, Chinese green-card holders in town to teach Appalachian students.”