ACHP Media Monitoring Report: October 17, 2016

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Medicare pays doctors based on quality
A Medicare payment overhaul announced on Friday aims to reward quality, penalize poor performance and avoid piecemeal payments. The change in the payment system is a part of legislation Congress passed last year, which will require several years to implement. According to the Associated Press, some doctors are concerned small practices will be forced to join larger groups to adapt to the new system. Administration officials reviewed more than 4,000 formal comments before releasing the final rule.

Doctors worry patients’ health, finances do not mix
Physician recommendations do not always line up with procedures covered by insurance. Doctors’ offices are becoming responsible for tracking down overdue bills, checking network eligibility and asking for co-payments upfront as high-deductible plans increase in popularity and networks narrow. Steve Twedt at Pittsburgh Post-Gazette shares some physicians feel incorporating finances into conversations with patients is at odds with looking out for an individual’s health.

New ACA outreach plans
The Obama administration is using new outreach tactics to help insure more young people under the Affordable Care Act, including partnering with social platforms and increasing television impressions. Peter Sullivan of The Hill explains increasing awareness of the various plans and financial assistance available is intended to bring in approximately 7 million uninsured.

Americans frustrated by frequent exchange changes
Consumers who have purchased insurance on the health care marketplace are frustrated to find the plans they previously selected may no longer be offered. Many insurers have cancelled plans or withdrawn from the exchange forcing consumers to choose new options that may not let them keep their preferred provider or benefits. The marketplace is entering its fourth year of open enrollment and experiencing increasing instability. Jordan Rau of Kaiser Health News reports 43 percent of returning customers switched policies last year, before many insurers announced withdrawals.

Successes and failures highlight different experiences under ACA
Insurers’ experiences have varied widely since the Affordable Care Act (ACA) altered the American health care system. While some have suffered losses and withdrawn from the exchange, others have managed to find ways to thrive in the new marketplace. Bob Herman of Modern Healthcare explores how different strategies and circumstances have helped certain insurers succeed while others face challenges.

Blog Review

Our weekly Blog Review features insightful posts from around the web and keeps an eye on medical industry and health news via the Trend Watch. This week we review posts on the trend of increasing deductibles. This week’s Trend Watch compiles posts about funding for treatment of mental health issues.

Dealing with High Deductibles

Editorial: A Promising Fiddling with Health Insurance
Modern Healthcare
Editor Merrill Goozner views value-based insurance design (VBID) as a promising health insurance reform, as it will offer Medicare beneficiaries quality care with lower co-pays and deductibles. Goozner calls VBID the “antidote” to the trend of high deductibles among employers.

The Missing Debate Over Rising Health-Care Deductibles
Washington Wire: The Wall Street Journal
Rising deductibles are creating higher out-of-pocket costs for consumers, yet are not the topic of legislative debate, according to Kaiser Family Foundation President and CEO Drew Altman. The next administration will be tasked with choosing to focus on ACA fixes or health care costs for consumers, writes Altman.

Trend Watch

Funding Mental Health

In Mental Health Research, NIH Needs to Focus Less on Tomorrow and More on Today
Washington Post
Columbia University Clinical Psychiatry Professor Roberto Lewis-Fernandez, M.D., believes The National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) overemphasizes neuroscience at the expense of the development of effective treatments. Dr. Lewis-Fernandez calls on the NIMH to shift funding toward already identified public health crises to better alleviate suffering.

National Depression Screening Day: We Need to Tackle Stigma
The Hill
The Retreat at Sheppard Point Medical Director Thomas Franklin, M.D., argues mental health issues are disproportionately underfunded compared to physical health. Dr. Franklin blames the stigma surrounding mental health for the disparity and advocates for a more open public discussion on the topic. By combatting stigma, Franklin hopes to convince the public to dedicate the resources necessary for developing treatments.