Shortage Of Primary Care Doctors Raises Concerns
As the administration moves toward implementation of the health law, officials are seeking to bolster the number of primary care doctors. Also, hospitals are concerned about a possible measurement that would grade their efforts on patient safety.
The Washington Post: The Health Reform Law's Biggest Threat: 30,000 Too Few Doctors
On a chilly afternoon at a community clinic in Southeast Washington, three young doctors are busily laying the foundation for the health-care law’s success. ... They are primary-care residents at Children’s National Medical Center. A third of their class has more than $200,000 each in student loan debt. At the end of residency, they can stay in primary care and earn $29.58 an hour. Or they can specialize and make $74.45 an hour. ... The Obama administration — and, arguably, the American health-care system — desperately needs them to choose primary care (Kliff, 2/11).
Kaiser Health News: Experts Question Medicare's Effort To Rate Hospitals' Patient Safety Records
Medicare's first public effort to identify hospitals with patient safety problems has pinpointed many prestigious teaching institutions around the nation, raising concerns about quality at these places but also bolstering objections that the government's measurements are skewed (Rau, 2/12).
Meanwhile, one news organization offers a novel take on accountable care organizations.
WBUR's Commonhealth blog: Cartoon Solves Health Care Puzzler: What The Heck Is An ACO?
Ladies and gentlemen! Announcing a whole new film genre: Wonk Cinema!! And what we hope will be the first in a series of CommonHealth cartoons dedicated to helping people stay awake as they learn about important health care changes that affect their lives. Our first topic: "What the heck is an Accountable Care Organization?" (Goldberg, 2/10).
Earlier, related KHN story: FAQ On ACOs: Accountable Care Organizations, Explained (Gold, 10/21/11)
And the Wall Street Journal looks at a provision of the health law that has already taken effect.
The Wall Street Journal: Preventive Tests Covered By Medicare
Thanks to the health-care law, Medicare now covers the full cost of an expanding list of preventive services. On Jan. 1, the private, federally subsidized Medicare Advantage plans that cover 25% of those in the federal health-care program began offering the same coverage. All Medicare recipients can now obtain almost two dozen preventive services without owing co-payments or deductibles, including mammograms, annual flu vaccines and an annual "wellness" examination (Tergesen, 2/12).