Tying Telehealth to Better Rural Health Outcomes

From mHealthIntelligence (hat tip; Dr. Menadue):

The Federal Communications Commission’s “Mapping Broadband Health in America” tool, developed by the two-year-old Connect2Health Task Force with data from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the FCC, highlights states and counties with low broadband availability and Internet use, then compares health measures like diabetes, obesity, disabilities and physician access.

“The need amongst many rural healthcare providers for access to high quality broadband access is profound,” wrote Thomas Leary, vice president of government relations for the Healthcare Information and Management Systems Society, and Personal Connected Health Alliance Vice President Robert Havasy in a letter to the FCC. “This need for wireless and wireline broadband access represents a critical component to furthering a nationwide network optimized for tomorrow’s high-quality healthcare delivery systems. Benefits of expanded broadband access include the ability to conduct secure high quality eVisits such as telemedicine and expanded remote patient monitoring within the home.”

CMS selects hospitals for rural health demonstration

From Modern Healthcare:

Hospitals involved in the demonstration, known as the Frontier Community Health Integration Project, will receive additional Medicare reimbursement to pay for new services that make getting healthcare more convenient. New offerings include skilled nursing care, telemedicine and ambulance services.

Kaiser Study: Rural Hospitals Close for Many Reasons

From North Carolina Health News:

A new report by the Kaiser Commission on Medicaid and the Uninsured attributes rural hospital closings to a broad range of factors.

They include, but aren’t limited to, corporate decisions on profitability, lack of community expertise in dealing with large health-care organizations, changes in federal reimbursement policies, and some states’ decision not to expand Medicaid.

Cap CEO pay at that of the US President?

From Becker’s:

The current U.S. president makes $450,000 annually. Soon Arizona hospital CEOs may have their salaries capped at that amount, according to CBS News.

A new proposed amendment sponsored by Service Employees International Union-United Healthcare Workers West would force annual pay for Arizona health system executives, administrators and managers to remain at or below $450,000. The proposal claims CEO pay is “inconsistent with the provision of high-quality, affordable medical care” and that the additional funds could instead be used to “expand access to affordable medical care for all Arizonans.”

Satisfaction-centered model proves hard sell for docs

From Fierce Healthcare:

While many industries, such as the hotel and restaurant business, have embraced the idea of customer satisfaction, it’s been a hard sell among physicians, writes Paul Rosen, M.D., in a blog post on NEJM Catalyst.

Physicians have concerns with surveys that measure their performance, Rosen says. For instance, can a patient with no medical background really judge medical quality? Another worry is that under pressure to make patients happy, physicians might therefore prescribe an antibiotic for a viral infection or order a test that isn’t necessary.

Don’t give refills for opioids to help prevent addiction, study advises

From Fierce Healthcare:

Doctors who want to keep patients from becoming dependent on opioid painkillers should not provide refills to the addictive drugs for those just starting on the medication, a new study advises.

Clinicians should think twice before prescribing opioids, but if they do, they should err on the side of caution to when deciding dosages and whether to provide subsequent refills, according to the study published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine. The study’s findings support guidelines released in March by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to curb widespread opioid abuse. The guidelines advised primary care clinicians to prescribe treatments other than opioids for chronic pain outside of active cancer treatment, palliative care and end-of-life care, to prescribe the lowest effective dosage and limit prescriptions for acute pain to no more than seven days.