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Should Your Organization Sell Health Care Subscriptions?

How many subscription memberships do you have? With very little thought, many come to mind—Netflix, HBO, Hello Fresh, Amazon Prime, Kindle Direct, and Consumer Reports to name a few. And the subscription market is expanding—bacon, clothing, shoes, beauty products, wine, and more. The subscription e-commerce market has grown by more than 100% a year over the past five years, with the largest players reaching $2.6 billion in sales (see The State Of The Subscription Economy, 2018).

Now, consider subscription health care, where consumers can pay a weekly, quarterly, or yearly fee to receive some type of health care services. These models give consumers a way to budget for specific health care costs and gives provider organizations a consistent, reoccurring stream of revenue. Subscription health care can take on many different forms to cover a variety of different services, including software, medical devices, pharmaceuticals, concierge care, and direct primary care (see Subscription Medicine: On-Demand Healthcare For Everyone and Digital Healthcare In A Subscription-Based Economy).

Let’s think more about direct primary care (DPC) models. These models provide consumers with access to primary care services for a flat fee—or as the American Academy of Family Physicians defines it, “a meaningful alternative to fee-for-service insurance billing, typically by charging patients a monthly, quarterly, or annual fee … [that] covers all or most primary care services including clinical and laboratory services, consultative services, care coordination, and comprehensive care management” (see The Direct Primary Care Model: How It Works).

 

Read the full article at Open Minds.

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Central planning destroys health care innovation

I am a direct primary care (DPC) physician.  DPC doctors have determined ways to improve health care access, include telemedicine, and offer deeply discounted rates on medications, labs, and imaging for a low-cost monthly membership, similar in design and value to Costco.  If matched with appropriate health insurance coverage, DPC can save patients thousands of dollars annually compared to the current broken, highly inefficient system.

DPC is one of the most innovative areas of the current health care system for one reason: it is not part of the centrally controlled (socialized), government-managed system.  DPC doctors offer fantastic care, and they do so without the artificial restrictions imposed by governments and insurance companies, who exert significant power over the practice of medicine.

The freedom enjoyed by DPCs has provided them with the opportunity to innovate in creative ways to improve medical care and medical financing.  DPC doctors, along with free-market entrepreneurs, are competing to find solutions to the problems facing our health care system in ways the government/insurance-controlled system can’t or won’t.

Read the full article at American Thinker.

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What I Learned About Medicare for All While on Vacation

Many millennials continue to support socialist policies, including Medicare for All, demonstrating their willingness to ignore history and the world around them. I suspect many millennials couldn’t even find Venezuela on a map, never mind explain why the country’s economy has collapsed into chaos.

However, recently I stumbled on a story that might make sense to many young Americans, and it involves one of their favorite annual events: spring break.

For my daughter’s senior year spring break trip, the group of students chose to go to an “all-inclusive” resort. The deal they purchased boasted all-you-can-eat dining and drinking, including alcohol. At first, it sounded like a great deal, but the feeling didn’t last long.

After we arrived, we discovered that despite the fact there were many dining facilities, only two served breakfast. At the buffet, I couldn’t even manage to chisel the French toast off the bottom of the serving pan — it had clearly been there for several days. At the coffee shop, a nice lady was glad to push the buttons on the espresso machine for visitors and hand them a still-frozen donut. We were happy to see her every morning, but we could have pushed the buttons and picked up the donuts ourselves.

Read the full article at The Western Journal

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Britain’s Version Of ‘Medicare For All’ Is Struggling With Long Waits For Care

Nearly a quarter of a million British patients have been waiting more than six months to receive planned medical treatment from the National Health Service, according to a recent report from the Royal College of Surgeons. More than 36,000 have been in treatment queues for nine months or more.

Long waits for care are endemic to government-run, single-payer systems like the NHS. Yet some U.S. lawmakers want to import that model from across the pond. That would be a massive blunder.

Consider how long it takes to get care at the emergency room in Britain. Government data show that hospitals in England only saw 84.2% of patients within four hours in February. That’s well below the country’s goal of treating 95% of patients within four hours — a target the NHS hasn’t hit since 2015.

 

Read the full article on Forbes

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FDA Chief Calls For Stricter Scrutiny Of Electronic Health Records

Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Scott Gottlieb on Wednesday called for tighter scrutiny of electronic health records systems, which have prompted thousands of reports of patient injuries and other safety problems over the past decade.

“What we really need is a much more tailored approach, so that we have appropriate oversight of EHRs when they’re doing things that could create risk for patients,” Gottlieb said in an interview with Kaiser Health News.

Gottlieb was responding to “Botched Operation,” a report published this week by KHN and Fortune magazine. The investigation found that the federal government has spent more than $36 billion over the past 10 years to switch doctors and hospitals from paper to digital records systems. In that time, thousands of reports of deaths, injuries and near misses linked to EHRs have piled up in databases — including at least one run by the FDA.

Gottlieb said Congress would need to enact legislation to define when an electronic health record would require government oversight. He said that the digital records systems, which store a patient’s medical history, don’t fit neatly under the agency’s existing mandate to regulate items such as drugs and medical devices.

Read the full article at Kaiser Health News.

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Billionaires Can’t Fund Single-Payer, but Universal Coverage Is Possible Without Raising Taxes

In February, House Democrats introduced a “Medicare for All” bill, which features more than 100 co-sponsors, despite the fact the plan’s supporters have absolutely no concrete plans to fund their massive expansion of government-sponsored health care coverage.

Just days before Democrats released their bill, Campus Reform’sLawrence Jones asked Californians how they propose funding Medicare for All. Unsurprisingly, a common refrain was that billionaires should be on the hook. One person even quipped that taking $1 million from every billionaire in the nation would work.

The suggestion that taxing the wealthy can pay for a massive single-payer health care scheme is commonly made, but it’s nothing less than a pipe dream. In fact, raising taxes on the highest-income earners to pay for universal health care coverage wouldn’t even put a dent in the total bill for Medicare for All.

Read the full article at Townhall

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The Case for Health Reimbursement Arrangements and DPC

In October 2018, the U.S. Departments of the Treasury, Health and Human Services, and Labor issued a proposed regulation that would expand the usability of Health Reimbursement Arrangements (HRAs). The proposed regulation was the final in a series of proposed rules in response to President Trump’s October 2017 Executive Order on “Promoting Healthcare Choice and Competition”. The Treasury Department estimates that 800,000 employers would take advantage of this change, empowering approximately 10 million American workers to have more consumer-driven healthcare choices.

The regulation, if finalized, will affect plans beginning January 1, 2020. The proposed regulation would allow employees to use HRAs to purchase individual coverage on a pre-tax basis. This gives an individual the same tax-preferred advantage as the business, while allowing them additional choices beyond the typical single health plan offering of the employer. In addition, the regulation would also allow employers offering traditional employer-sponsored coverage to offer an HRA of up to $1,800 per year to reimburse an employee for certain qualified medical expenses, including certain health plans.

Read the full article on Free Market Healthcare Solutions

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Right to health care gives gov’t power

Every American should have access to quality, affordable health care.

This is not a controversial claim. Almost everyone, on the right and left of the political spectrum, can agree with this statement. However, recently it has become fashionable to proclaim that health care access isn’t just something we should strive for, it’s a human right. Unfortunately, those who oppose this statement have been branded as hateful and uncaring.

Before one reflexively endorses the notion that health care is a right, he or she should think carefully about the meaning of these words and their possible application.

A right is a moral or legal entitlement to have or do something. Under this definition of a “moral” right, universal access to health care is an ideal, and one we should all work for. As an ideal, it is neither controversial nor legally binding.

Read more on The Detroit News

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Badly designed electronic records can be hazardous to your health

It isn’t easy to ruffle my friend of 30 years, one of the best gastroenterologists in Boston, a town known for top-notch medicine. But he was ruffled when he told the story of giving a patient anesthesia and performing a medically unnecessary procedure—only he hadn’t known it was unnecessary because the patient’s electronic health record, or EHR, didn’t function as promised.

If you’ve heard of EHRs, you know that many doctors consider them a pain in the neck. Not much is said, however, about the harm EHRs can cause to patients. There’s a reason for that: Gag clauses prevent EHR users from talking publicly about their specific problems.

At its core, the electronic health record is a great idea. The technology is intended to replace paper records in the interest of efficiency, quality and safety. For millennia, physicians have written notes to record what we see, think and do in the care of our patients. Those notes began to develop into primitive electronic medical records as early as the 1970s, but things changed dramatically during the Great Recession.

Read more on WSJ

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Direct primary care empowers doctors, patients

Scores of doctors are taking a page from Netflix’s playbook and getting into the subscription business.

They’ve adopted a business model called “direct primary care,” whereby patients pay a periodic fee for access to primary care physicians. Since 2014, the number of direct primary care practices in America has grown more than six times over.

Doctors appreciate its simplicity; no longer do they have to fight with insurance companies over payment or getting a particular treatment approved. Patients, meanwhile, love its flexibility – they have essentially unlimited access to their doctors, sometimes for less than they’d spend with conventional insurance.

Direct primary care could inject some sanity into our health care system by relying on the same market forces that have resulted in higher-quality products at lower cost everywhere else in our economy.

 

Read more over on The Buffalo News

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