Dr. Donald Berwick’s 15-month tenure at the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services was marked by ambitious efforts to improve the nation’s health care system.
With the real estate market depressed, thousands of seniors are unable to move because they can’t sell their homes.
The billing can get complicated if doctors find a polyp during a screening: Some insurers
The CLASS Act, part of the health care overhaul, will provide about $75 a day to people who sign up for the long-term care insurance policy. Advocates say it could help people stay in their homes. But critics raise concerns about the financial viability of the program.
A directive passed last November in Tulsa, Okla., raises fresh questions about the ability of patients to have their end-of-life treatment wishes honored – and whether and how a health care provider should comply with lawful requests not consistent with the provider’s religious views.
The Food and Drug Administration is trying to get some unapproved drugs off the market. But sometimes the brand-name replacement is much more expensive.
A number of insurers are replacing jargon with plain English. Aetna has published a book called “Navigating Your Health Benefits for Dummies.” CIGNA employees are taught, for example, that they should use “doctor” instead of “provider” in communicating with the public.
Insurers sometimes make it difficult for consumers to understand and use their benefits. One U.S. senator has drafted legislation to hold insurers to higher standards, but the industry is already moving to make changes.
Public and private insurance plans say they evaluate medical services for coverage by looking at published scientific research, rating the evidence and making comparisons based on effectiveness and safety. But their approaches vary widely in terms of transparency, comprehensiveness in reviewing evidence, openness to outside suggestions and explicit consideration of cost.
A Washington state program decides whether to cover new treatments and tests by comparing them with the standard alternatives. If there’s no real difference, a panel of medical professionals can pick the least expensive. Decisions are binding for employees insured by the state, workers’ compensation claimants and patients in Medicaid, the state-federal program for the poor.