Health-Wonk-Review

Welcome to the twelfth edition of the Health Wonk Review. I'm the lucky host this time around, presenting the best of the blogosphere in health policy, infrastructure, insurance, technology, and managed care. So grab a fresh cup of coffee, and enjoy!

First up we have Julie Ferguson, from Workers Comp Insider. In this submission, Jon Coppleman discusses an updated prescription drug study by the
National Council on Compensation Insurance (NCCI) in his post on the drug management learning curve and some snake oil - "snake oil" is mentioned.

Dmitriy Kruglyak of The Medical Blog Network, interviews Andy Kessler author of "End of Medicine" - a book that made Amazon's Top 10. The interview with the author highlights his vision of the future of health care delivery. The post, "The End of Medicine" is a great example of some of the original reporting in the health wonk blogosphere.

At Healthcare Economist, Jason Shafrin reviews a few academic articles which analyze whether or not nurse
practitioners are cost effective in both the hospital and out-patient
setting. Both studies find that nurse practitioners can reduce cost
while not reducing the quality of care to patients. Hmm, lower cost... same quality... The Cost Effectiveness of Nurse Practitioners is interesting stuff.

Hospital Buyer reports shocking news: New Medicare Rules Met with Opposition from Many Parties. Olivier Travers notes that the Deficit Reduction Act includes significant cuts in Medicare
reimbursements set to begin early next year. HospitalBuyer looks in
these two entries
at the current debate involving Congressmen, device manufacturers,
hospitals, imaging centers, and a number of trade associations. Several
parties are trying to delay the new rules by two years to evaluate cost
savings and impact on access.

William Marcus Newberry, MD, writes Fixin' Healthcare, a blog about health promotion, healthy lifestyles and disease prevention. The post, The Lifestyle Chronicles - The Light At The End Of The Tunnel looks at the shift in public opinion to support financial
incentives as a means to promote healthy lifestyle. The change in
public opinion will permit health plans to change their approach, which
might lead to more prevention and improved health status. Public policy
might shift from sickness to health.

Jared Rhoads, of the Lucidicus Project explores the intersection of capitalism and health care. Boston Globe columnist Steven Syre recently asked, "What do each of
this year's 10 worst-performing stocks in Massachusetts have in
common?" The answer is that all ten of the state's biggest losers are
public companies that deal with medicine. If you're a capitalist, or better yet if you're a socialist, check out Shares of medicine.

The blog Wellness Tips, by Vreni Gurd, looks at breathing. One of the most amazing things we do is breathe. From our first breath
as a baby to the last when we die, our breath continues whether or not
we notice. Hyperventilation is a common faulty breathing pattern that
can cause problems in many systems of the body by raising the pH.
Learn to recognize and correct this pattern and improve your health by checking out Breathe - Hyperventilation increases your pH.

At InsureBlog, Bob Vineyard asks the question, "Is simpler, better?" Bob takes a look at Oregon's efforts to
use the power of the state to solve a problem in the market. Alas, the post Health Reform, shows there are not simple answers to improving health care. Hint: the short answer is no - read the post to find out why.

In a classic case of "follow the money," Gary Mark Levin, MD, of Inland Empire RHIO News asks why payors aren't funding RHIOs (after all, they stand to benefit the most). The post, The Elephant in The Room looks at UnitedHealth Group's latest financial report and draws the obvious conclusions.

Tony Chen of hospital impact digs into the strategy and potential outcomes of the $21 billion HCA buyout. His analysis ends with a warning, "...so, look for the best HCA hospital in the country and start imagining that kind of hospital in your backyard." Good analysis as always.

The Health Business Blog, written by David Williams, asks, "Is the MA health care reform law built on shaky assumptions?" If it wasn't, would have written this great post? His post revolves around assumptions about ER utilization refuted by a recent Health Affairs paper. The implications are intriguing.

At Managed Care Matters, Joe Paduda asks, Who Is UHC's Customer? He notes a rather questionable business practice between UHC's Golden Rule subsidiary and their providers, resulting in a kind of bait and switch for the insured. Unlike many health care business relationships, the customer relationship in this situation would seem to be pretty clear.

Matthew Holt, of The Health Care Blog, takes on United Healthcare and their Golden Rule subsidiary in, You sleep with scumbags, you expect to catch nasty diseases. Matthew pulls no punches in his scathing review of the payor's current and past business practices. Matthew is like an elephant, he doesn't seem to forget anything.