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  • Tom Boyd

1 in 7 harmed…

Star Tribune:  Health Care Penalty: A Cheaper Choice?

Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report, March 2, 2011

Health care reform presents hair care giant Regis Corp. with a dilemma.  The Edina-based company, which operates Regis Salons, Supercuts and MasterCuts among others, estimates it could cost $70 million to $90 million to provide health care coverage for roughly 32,000 workers that would be eligible in 2014, when the new law’s corporate mandates kick in.  If Regis dropped coverage and let workers purchase insurance on their own, the penalty could cost half that – $40 million.  “We’ll have to balance,” Regis President Randy Pearce said.  “It may be cheaper for us to pay the penalty and pay into the government pool than to pay into the plan that the government wants us to.”  Regis is one of the few companies talking publicly at this point about an issue that many will have to confront (Crosby, 3/2).


Roundup: States’ Angst And Anger Continues About Medicaid, Health Spending Cuts (excerpt)

Kaiser Daily Health Policy Report, March 2, 2011

San Francisco Chronicle:  Blue Shield Review Says Its Rates Are Reasonable

In response to public criticism about its plan to hike rates as high as 59 percent, Blue Shield of California hired a consultant to do a review.  The results are in, and the report says Blue Shield’s proposed rate increases are “reasonable, not excessive” and comply with the requirements of state and federal regulators. … (Colliver, 3/1) (Editor comment:  I find this funny; hiring a consultant to tell you what you want to hear.)


1 In Every 7 Medicare Patients Are Harmed In Hospital, Says Report (excerpt)

Medicare Compliance & Reimbursement

Eli Research Vol. 36, No. 22

In a recent post in, it said that following a government report that said that one in every seven hospitalized Medicare beneficiaries experience medical error during their stay… .

As per the inspector general for the Department of Health and Human Services, unexpected adverse events contributed to the death of about 1.5 percent of the hospitalized patients, or 15,000 people a month. …

Of the 134,000 Medicare patients who suffered at least one adverse event during their stay, 44 percent could have been prevented, the report said.


Government News of the Week (excerpt)

March 7, 2011

The HHS Office for Civil Right’s requests for funds and staff assigned to HIPAA compliance and enforcement hardly budged for fiscal year 2012 compared with requests over the past couple of years, according to the Obama administration’s FY 2012 budget …

Today’s Datapoint

$270 million … more would be available to fight Medicare fraud and abuse under President Obama’s FY 2012 budget request, even though his overall proposal for CMS is down $10 million from the FY 2011 level.  From REPORT ON MEDICARE COMPLIANCE.


Intuit survey:  Healthcare consumers want online control (excerpt)

March 3, 2011

A new survey from Intuit Health, the developer of patient portal and communication technology, finds two major trends when it comes to Americans and their healthcare:  They’re worried about medical bills, and they expect their physicians to be easily accessible online.

According to the survey:

  1. 70 percent said they are somewhat or very concerned about managing their healthcare bills…

  2. Two-thirds believe their healthcare costs will increase in the future; and

  3. 62 percent said their healthcare costs increased in 2010.

… the Intuit poll showed that 73 percent of respondents would use a secure online communication solution to pay medical bills, communicate with a doctor’s office, request appointments and get lab results.  That “anytime, anywhere” access is so important that nearly half of those surveyed would consider switching doctors for a practice that offers online services. …

  1. Many question the accuracy of medical bills.  Forty-one percent of consumers don’t have confidence that the billed amount is correct.

  2. Accounts receivable can become bad debt.  Fifty-seven percent have had at least one medical bill go to a collection agency.  Women are twice as likely as men to let a medical bill go unpaid.

Medical bill payments are stuck in the past.  Forty-five percent of patients wait more than a month to pay their doctor bill – and when they pay, half still send a paper check in the mail.

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