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Health Management Technology News
  May 14, 2014
In this issue:
 

 Health Management Technology’s Resource Guide sign-up

 MERS symptoms seen in two Florida health workers exposed to patient

 Bill would allow undocumented immigrants to practice healthcare

 5 essential facts about healthcare

 Summit on model based systems engineering in healthcare to take place in Boston, MA

 Golden Life Healthcare shaves $10M in Medicare costs

 Healthcare to undergo serious surgery in tough Australian budget


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MERS symptoms seen in two Florida health workers exposed to patient

Two health workers at a hospital in Orlando, Florida, who were exposed to a patient with Middle East Respiratory Syndrome have begun showing flu-like symptoms, and one of the two has been hospitalized.

Officials at the Dr. P. Phillips Hospital said on Tuesday the two healthcare workers were exposed to the patient - the second confirmed case of MERS on U.S. soil - in the emergency department before it became clear that he might be infected with the virus, which is often deadly.

The second healthcare worker is being isolated in his home and watched for signs of infection.

Hospital and local health officials said at a press conference that the MERS patient, also a healthcare worker, had made a visit last week to the Orlando Regional Medical Center to accompany another person who was having a medical procedure. The MERS patient was symptomatic at the time, but did not seek treatment.

Five healthcare workers from the regional medical center and another 15 from the Dr. P. Phillips Hospital are being tested for MERS, including the two patients who have developed symptoms.

Hospital officials said they are awaiting test results to determine whether any of the exposed hospital workers have MERS.

Health officials stress that MERS is not a risk to the general public, but it does spread among healthcare workers who have close contact with infected patients.

Hospital officials said the MERS patient, who works in a hospital in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, is doing well and currently has a low-grade fever and a slight cough.

Read the full article from Chicago Tribune here

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Bill would allow undocumented immigrants to practice healthcare

California lawmakers are considering a bill that would allow undocumented immigrants to practice the occupation they have been trained for, including those trained as dentists, doctors and nurses, the Los Angeles Times reports.

According to an estimate by the Public Policy Institute of California, about 1.85 million individuals in the state workforce are undocumented immigrants.

To obtain a medical license in California, applicants must provide a valid Social Security number.

Under the legislation, about 40 occupational licensing boards across the state would be able to accept a federal taxpayer identification number as proof of identification instead of a Social Security number.

Read the full article from California HeathLine
here


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5 essential facts about healthcare

Could you explain what a health insurance premium is? What about coinsurance? Just under half of Americans with health insurance feel confident that they understand such basic insurance terms, according to a recent study in the journal Health Affairs. Among uninsured Americans, fewer than a quarter have that confidence.

As the Affordable Care Act creates millions of new health insurance customers and provides new options for the already-insured, confusion about basic insurance concepts could make it difficult for people to make the right choices.

"The vast majority of consumers do not know the ins and outs of health insurance because they never have needed to," says Eric Stauffer, a former insurance agent who now rates and reviews insurance companies online.

"For years, most people have received health insurance through their employers. They get a card in the mail, and that is their ticket to health insurance," he says. "Consumers rarely saw much more than a bill for a few hundred dollars here and there."

But it's no longer so simple. "Years of being naive about the entire industry are starting to catch up with people now," Stauffer says.

Here are five things a wise health insurance consumer needs to know.

The premium isn't everything.

Every health insurance plan includes a number of variables, so just looking at the monthly payment, or premium, doesn't tell the whole story.

To determine whether a plan fits your situation, you must understand the big picture. That includes the annual deductible, which is the amount a consumer must pay out of pocket before the insurance company will pay any expenses.

"If you are a healthy person, there is no reason to have a deductible lower than $5,000," says Ashley Hunter, president of HM Risk Group, a niche insurance brokerage serving the U.S. and the Middle East.

"Purchase a policy with a higher deductible and an option that allows you to have at least two doctor visits with a copayment for emergencies," she says, adding that you might then invest your premium savings.

Read the full article from MSN Money here

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Summit on model based systems engineering in healthcare to take place in Boston, MA

The Object Management Group is pleased to announce that it will be holding the Model Based Systems Engineering (MBSE) in Healthcare Summit at the Omni Parker House in Boston, MA. The summit will take place on Wednesday, June 18th and is being sponsored by IBM.

The summit will highlight the challenges facing the healthcare industry and, in particular, the challenges associated with developing integrated and cost effective healthcare solutions including: integrated devices in the operating room and integrated IT systems that support the effective delivery of healthcare services. The keynote presentation will be delivered by Tracy Rausch, Co-founder of DocBox, Inc and will discuss the challenges faced in developing safe interoperable systems in healthcare.

“This summit provides a ground-floor opportunity to participate in shaping the directions for MBSE in the healthcare industry,” said Sandy Friedenthal, MBSE Consultant, SAF Consulting and Chair of the OMG Systems Engineering Domain Special Interest Group.

Dr. Keith Collyer, a thought leader in requirements management at IBM added: “[You’ll] hear from practitioners how they are using MBSE in healthcare and join in sessions to discuss how to overcome challenges.”

The Summit will bring together thought leaders and practitioners from multiple healthcare areas to discuss the challenges, current and emerging practices, and MBSE application, and begin to formulate a path forward to enable more integrated and cost effective healthcare solutions. Attendees will have the opportunity to hear from thought leaders and exchange experiences and ideas in group discussions.

Read the full press release here

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Golden Life Healthcare shaves $10M in Medicare costs

The group of 65 Sacramento-area doctors at Golden Life Healthcare LLC cut the cost of caring for their Medicare patients by $10 million last year.

Claims costs were $959 in December, less than half the $2,112 spent per member per month in January 2013. Costs went up slightly in May and a lot in October, but the trend line for the year is a definite down.

The key is keeping patients out of the hospital, says president and CEO Dr. Venu Kondle. The group focused on chronic conditions. The company built its own software to analyze health data and predict outcomes. Care teams tagged patient charts, focused on transitions and managed patient movement through care for 60 days.

The payoff was huge. Quality of care improved. The group earned a Medicare quality score of 71.4 percent in 2013, up from 66.8 percent in 2012. Patient satisfaction is up and costs are down on a group of 8,500 Medicare patients who have never been managed before.

These are fee-for-service Medicare patients who can go wherever they want for care. Golden Life went to independent primary care doctors in the Sacramento region and asked them to try a new model of care for their patients.

Read the full article from Sacramento Business Journal here

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Healthcare to undergo serious surgery in tough Australian budget

Healthcare in Australia is set for its biggest shake-up since the introduction of universal coverage in the 1970s, as part of a tough federal budget on Tuesday that critics fret is taking the country towards a U.S.-style system.

An audit of the Australian economy released last month recommended broad structural changes and a tight rein on costs to stem what the government warns is a looming "fiscal crisis" as the country's decade-long mining boom slows.

But of the sectors examined by the National Commission of Audit it was healthcare, which accounted for 8.9 per cent of GDP in 2010-2011 according to OECD figures, that was singled out as the country's most serious long-term fiscal challenge.

In support of that position, the audit recommended an A$15 ($14) fee for doctors' visits and proposed a U.S.-style healthcare model in which all Australians would be required to buy private health insurance, with lower wage earners receiving a subsidy.

That puts Australia in the odd position of moving away from universal coverage even as U.S. President Barack Obama has spent years of political capital trying to introduce it in his country, the last holdout against universal coverage in the developed world.

"Australia is the only country heading in the opposite direction," Lesley Russell, an Adjunct Associate Professor at the University of Sydney's Menzies Centre for Health Policy, who advised Obama's administration on its healthcare reforms, told Reuters.

Read the full article from Reuters here

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