Health Law Rollout Effects: Delivering ‘Accountable’ Care, Device Tax, Nursing Mothers
Today's updates on the continuing implementation of the health law include Medicare chief Don Berwick's behind the scenes push for 'accountable care organizations,' tax anxiety in the medical device industry, and the promise of new help for pregnant women.
The Boston Globe: "Newly installed Medicare chief Donald Berwick, keeping a low public profile after encountering controversy over his appointment, is moving quickly behind the scenes to seed the US health care system with 100 to 300 sites to test new models of caring for patients." These are the "accountable care organizations" -- which will include doctors and hospitals -- created in the health law. They are expected to be in place by the end of 2011, and lobbyists are already working to influence which groups are included (Rowland, 9/6).
The Detroit News reports that medical device makers are concerned a new tax in the health law will consume much of their profits. "The expansive health overhaul package imposes a 2.3 percent tax on medical device sales, one way the government seeks to pay for its estimated $940 million price tag. The tax -- set to go into effect in 2013 -- is expected to generate $20 billion in revenue over a 10-year period, experts say. That windfall, however, could come at the expense of fledgling medical device makers across the nation..." (Rogers, 9/6).
Kansas Health Institute: "New federal health reform legislation over the next several years will pump millions of additional dollars into home visitation programs for new and expecting mothers with the goal of reducing rates of premature birth and infant mortality." The program will pay for health workers to visit soon-to-be mothers at home and educate them about what to expect (Green, 9/7).
Kaiser Health News / The Washington Post: "Many people may not realize that, in some ways, the new law will expand options for patients at the end of life. One of these involves hospice care, in which a team of specially trained providers treats dying patients' pain and other symptoms but don't try to cure the underlying disease. The new law establishes a three-year 'concurrent care' demonstration program at 15 sites nationwide, in which Medicare would cover both kinds of treatment simultaneously" (Andrews, 9/7).