In trying to understand the morass that is the way Americans have designed our healthcare system, and in trying to understand ways in which costs can be cut, an idea that continually floats to the top (of said morass) is: maybe Americans don’t need as many medical tests as doctors and healthcare organizations foist on them.

“UnitedHealth Group Inc, Humana Group, Cigna Corp. and others are compensating medical providers if they meet targets in areas such as cancer screening or managing diabetics’ cholesterol levels. While robust data is still scant, a study published last year in the Journal of American Medical Association showed these plans – called Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs) – can produce savings of 5 percent to 10 percent, which are typically shared between the provider and insurer.”

It’s a step in the right direction: cutting out unnecessary tests while also meeting screening targets for conditions that, if left too long, result in incredibly costly healthcare bills later on.

“Insurers say they are seeing financial benefits. Aetna Inc, for instance, said hospital admissions have dropped by up to 45 percent in a small Medicare Advantage program – private insurance for seniors – it ran in Maine.

UnitedHealth aims to more than double by 2017 its pay-for-performance medicine, to $50 billion, from $20 billion now.”

Tuesday headlines:

That’s One Way to Do It: Rotech Healthcare Inc. (ROHI), a provider of home respiratory products,
filed for bankruptcy
saying its plan to cut debt by about half and reorganize is supported by a majority of its noteholders.”

Turns Out, It’s Not Just Civilians!: “Pentagon struggles with high cost of healthcare.”

Now There Should be No More Questions: “To increase public awareness of the implications of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, the Brown Bag lecture series hosted a seminar March 27 regarding America’s health care reform plan.”

An Interview with That Guy Who Made That Film No One Watched: “America’s healthcare system is broken. As a nation, we spend up to $300 billion a year on pharmaceutical drugs. About 65 percent of Americas are overweight, and almost 75 percent of America’s health care costs are spent on preventable diseases. A recent documentary entitled Escape Fire: The Fight to Rescue American Healthcare is working on bringing attention to these issues.

FINALLY! Someone is Thinking of the Executives!: In the years she has spent recruiting health care executives to San Antonio, Brigitta Glick has gotten used to hearing a recurring theme. “More often than not… the client will say, ‘I’m absolutely certain you’re not going to find that talent here (in San Antonio). You’re going to need to go outside of here to find the talent,’” Glick said. That’s not necessarily true, she said. That’s why she and two others launched The Health Cell — an initiative that brings together leaders in San Antonio’s medical, biotech, military and academic fields to promote collaboration and professional development.”

Maybe No One in the World is Getting Healthcare Right?: “As for me, when asked this question, I sigh. I’ve learned too much in my travels around the U.S. and the world, and spent too much time with people involved in their nation’s health systems, to believe that any of them is perfect.”

What Might Cut $35 Billion from Health Care Costs? Medical Device Interoperability: “A new study from the West Health Institute, or WHI, says that $35 billion of that waste could be eliminated by focusing on one area: medical device interoperability. That’s the term used to describe what basically translates to making the devices and equipment seen in hospitals talk to each other and to other health systems. In a recent report, WHI identified four ways that this idea could achieve huge savings.”

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