AURORA, Colo. (March 4, 2016) – – Researchers at the University of Colorado School of Medicine, along with experts from across the country, have developed a set of policy recommendations that would improve the quality of behavioral health care patients receive in clinical settings.
The Eugene S. Farley, Jr. Health Policy Center, with support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, released recommendations in a report, “Creating a Culture of Whole Health,” that offers practical improvements that would eliminate the artificial separation of “mental health” from “physical health.” The report provides recommendations that call for creating a new approach to health care.
“The health care system differentiates physical and behavioral health care, patients don’t,” said Benjamin Miller, PsyD, director of the Eugene S. Farley, Jr. Health Policy Center and assistant professor of family medicine at the CU School of Medicine. “They seek care in a single setting with providers they trust in clinics that are convenient for them to visit. There should be no ‘wrong door’ preventing patients from accessing appropriate care.”
To improve the quality of care, Miller and the project team make several recommendations. Among them:
- policymakers and payers should establish payment methodologies that support team, not individual, providers;
- policymakers and payers should invest in a national technical assistance center focused on how to improve care by revising federal, state and local policy and regulatory barriers;
- providers should engage communities in service to advancing needs for behavioral health and assure consistency across care delivery;
- providers should share information on how to operationalize successful strategies, such as telehealth; and
- businesses and philanthropies could create resources and technical assistance strategies that improve access to data for patients and other providers.
But I did want to share a few links to some of the more thoughtful (or provocative) articles and reviews, representing critics on both the left and right. I also wanted to draw your attention to another recent book providing a conservative perspective on health reform.
- Here’s a Sunday New York Times book review by Zephyr Teachout.
- Here’s Malcolm Gladwell in the New Yorker.
- And Peter Orszag (who was in the Obama administration when the bill was being written and appears in the book) at Bloomberg View writes about what he thinks Brill got wrong.
- Avik Roy at Forbes has a conservative perspective.
The second book (and I should say that while I have a copy, I loaned it to a colleague before I read it myself…) is by the Washington Examiner‘s commentary editor, Philip Klein, who looks at the options and thoughts on the right in “Overcoming Obamacare: Three Approaches to Reversing The Government Takeover of Health Care.” It hasn’t been as widely reviewed as Brill’s book but Aaron Carroll gives it an interesting write-up in the Incidental Economist blog.
[News article]NerdWallet Health Study: Medical Debt Crisis Worsening Despite Policy Advances – Health
From the 8 October 2014 article
Despite recent advances in health care policy, American households continue to struggle with medical debt, and it’s only getting worse. Americans are putting more of their take-home pay toward medical costs than ever before.
- NerdWallet Health has found that Americans pay three times more in third-party collections of medical debt each year than they pay for bank and credit card debt combined. In 2014, roughly one in five American adults will be contacted by a debt collection agency about medical bills, but they may be overpaying – NerdWallet found rampant hospital billing errors resulting in overcharges of up to 26%.
- NerdWallet found 63% of American adults indicate they have received medical bills that cost more than they expected. At the same time, 73% of consumers agree they could make better health decisions if they knew the cost of medical care before receiving it.
- Between 2010 and 2013, American households lost $2,300 in median income, but their health care expenses increased by $1,814. Out-of-pocket spending is expected to accelerate to a 5.5% annual growth rate by 2023 – double the growth of real GDP.
In a follow-up to last year’s study that found medical debt is the largest cause of personal bankruptcy, NerdWallet Health investigated the mounting financial obstacles facing the American patient.
From the Krafty Librarian blog (May 2014)
Engage with McGovern Lecturer Prior to MLA 14
It is crunch time and I know everybody going to MLA 14 in Chicago is scrambling to tie up lose ends at work or for Chicago. But as you go over your schedule for MLA you might want to check out the McGovern Lecturer, Dr. Aaron Carroll’s blog or his Facebook page. Dr. Carroll has invited MLA members and attendees to begin a conversation with him in advance of the annual meeting on topics of interest by posting on his blog, friending him on Facebook, following him on Twitter, or emailing him.
For his lecture, Dr Carrol will be addressing issues on the Affordable Care Act and health care policy. His blog, “The Incidental Economist: Contemplating health care with a focus on research, an eye on reform,” is “mostly about the U.S. health care system and its organization, how it works, how it fails us, and what to do about it.” Dr Carroll is one of the Editors in Chief of the blog which also has several contributors who have “professional expertise in an area relevant to the health care system” as researchers and professors in health economics, law and other health service areas.
The Affordable Care Act and its impact on libraries and how librarians can help hospitals deal with certain aspects of it is a bit of a interest for me. I have taught several classes to library groups in the past year about librarians can better align their goals to that of the hospital. Since many hospitals goals are now focused around parts of the Affordable Care Act it makes sense that medical libraries develop strategies to support their institution’s Affordable Care Act goals.
For example…How can the medical library help the hospital
- Prevent readmissions
- Increase focus on preventive care
- Improve patient satisfaction
- Deal with Meaningful Use (not exactly ACA but very entwined)
Depending on the focus of the library or librarian, we might be able to help more than we or our administration realize. Here is what some libraries are doing already…
- Partnering with IT or CIO to provide evidence based medicine resources within the EMR
- Partnering with IT or CIO to make sure that order sets are based on best available evidence
- Embedded librarians rounding with patient care teams to help provide necessary information for patient care
- Help provide patient education documents and information and make them accessbile to patients through the patient portal
- Work with doctors to provide a prescription for health information to the patient through the EMR
Not only is it important the librarians do these things to help their institutions (BTW no one librarian can do it all but they should be doing something) achieve their goals, but it is equally important that we need to be MEASURING our impact. If we don’t measure it, it didn’t happen. Measuring can be tricky but it is necessary, especially if you want to keep your library and your job. Gone are the days where you can say I did 103 MEDLINE searches for doctors and that helped them treat patients. Really? How do you know those MEDLINE searches helped them? Did you ask what became of the search? Did you track how your information was being used? All you know is that you did 103 searches. You don’t know whether that was a benefit to the institution or not. We assume it was, but administration doesn’t assume anything.
I am looking forward to hearing Dr. Carroll speak. But before I see him at MLA, I am going to try and start to engage with him to find out what we librarians can do to help our institutions deal with the ACA and make our ourselves more valuable to the institution. I encourage everyone else to do the same with their own thoughts and questions prior to MLA.
The comments section was the most interesting part of this Web page.