The phenomenon of rural hospital closures has gotten a fair amount of attention in the last few years with all the Affordable Care Act finger-pointing. But as the University of North Carolina’s Cecil G. Sheps Center notes, the problem really emerged and caught the attention of policymakers in the late 1980s.
For a few years, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services published an annual report, but closures slowed down about 20 years ago, and interest waned. The pace of closures picked up again during the Great Recession of 2008-09, before the ACA’s passage. Continue reading
When it comes to access to long-term supports and services (LTSS) for older or disabled Americans, where you live matters.
Washington edged out Minnesota this year as the best state for supporting older adults and family caregivers, according to the 2017 Long-Term Services and Supports State Scorecard. The state ranks highest for affordability and access, and choice of provider. Even so, Washington – like every state on the list – has room to improve. Continue reading
Last week’s announcement that the Department of Veterans Affairs would replace its homegrown electronic health record system VistA with a Cerner product came ahead of the expected July 1 deadline for a decision on the matter.
The move made waves in the health IT sector for several reasons. Most notably, Secretary of Veterans Affairs David Shulkin, M.D., chose to invoke a “public interest exception” in the Cerner pick, bypassing the usual competitive bidding process for government contracts. Continue reading
No fewer than four of the 2016 winners of the Awards for Excellence in Health Care Journalism covered the opioid epidemic from different angles. No surprise — former Surgeon General Vivek Murthy noted last year that more Americans suffer from addiction than from cancer. During his tenure, Murthy made the opioid crisis a top priority.
Murthy’s 2016 report on addiction has been compared to an influential report on smoking decades earlier, and he created a website devoted specifically to addressing the opioid crisis. But how much of it could have been prevented with a bit less complacency on the part of researchers? Continue reading
Population health was a term that became popular as Congress was passing the Affordable Care Act in 2010. In the seven years since then, hospitals and health systems have struggled to define the term consistently.
For example, you see from this article by Tamara Rosin for Becker’s Hospital Review that health system administrators use the terms “population health” and its twin “population health management” to describe what they do to keep patients healthy and out of the hospital. The problem is that settling on one definition is a challenge, Rosin wrote. Continue reading