Cover Story

Improving hospital discharge

As physicians, hospitals and payors continue to ramp up their efforts to reduce preventable adverse medical events, relatively little attention has been paid to a moment in the care process when the patient is particularly vulnerable: the hospital discharge.

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Overhauling diagnosis coding

Moving to the ICD-10 code sets may be the most complex change for the U.S. health care delivery system in decades, requiring massive system and workflow changes, including coordinated actions among medical groups, their vendors and health plans.

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Redefining the war on obesity

Physicians play a central role: helping the patient redefine success. Encouraging overweight and obese patients to sustain a modest, but realistic weight loss of only a few pounds can bring significant health improvement even in the absence of much cosmetic change.

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Value-based health care reform

The health care overhaul debate appears to have moved beyond how to expand health insurance to cover all Americans and how to reduce health care spending, as two separate questions. The focus now is working out details of how to structure incentives appropriately to optimize cost, quality and access.

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Reducing administrative costs

Health plans, provider groups and the information technology sector are collaborating on ways to standardize some administrative tasks such as credentialing and patient benefit determination, and to expedite other tasks by replacing paper-based data exchange with electronic tools.

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MCARE abatement stuck in stalemate

The connection of medical liability premium subsidies to health insurance expansion has led to a political impasse, which could cost Pa. health care providers billions of dollars over the next ten years and severely impair efforts to recruit physicians to the state for years to come.

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Growing role of nurse practitioners

Reality has outpaced the debate over nurse practitioner autonomy and scope of practice, given the intensifying shortage of primary care providers and health care workforce demands that place a premium on collaboration with physicians.

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