An Open Letter to Andy Slavitt, CMS Acting Administrator

Dear Acting Administrator Slavitt:

At MPIRICA, our goal is to promote the ability for patients to make informed decisions based on doctor and hospital quality, and we have been pushing the industry as a whole to empower consumers with unambiguous quality measures based on clinical outcomes.

We saw the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ (CMS) plan to consolidate 60+ disparate quality metrics, into a single 5 star ratings system on the Hospital Compare website as a generally positive step for patients and the industry as a whole. So when CMS announced in late April that they will delay the release of the updated star ratings, in response to letters from 60 senators (April 11) and 225 congressional leaders (April 18th), we were disappointed. The lawmakers offered no recommendations for CMS to achieve its laudable goal of a greatly simplified medical quality measure. Read more »

A Top Scoring QB Deserves a Top Scoring MD

Peyton Manning by Jeffrey Beall (Flickr) [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons / captioned and attributed

Peyton Manning is THE man at the center of whirlwind attention as the Denver Broncos battle for the title of World Champion in Sunday’s historic Super Bowl 50. This week, ESPN (and dozens of news outlets) ran stories and video clips detailing how the multi-MVP quarterback was told that he would “eventually” need hip replacement. USA Today even suggested that the news “may be surprising,” but with over 300 sacks and countless other tackles taking Manning down during his 17 year career in the NFL, it should surprise no one that his hip has taken a beating along with the rest of his body.

Nevermind Manning’s conversation with his doctor occurred over two years ago, or the fact that a hip replacement likely won’t happen for at least a decade or two, the “news” does beg a more serious question: how should Manning pick his next doctor? Especially given that he hasn’t had the best of luck with surgeries?
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Navigating the Murky Waters of Healthcare Decisions

Making good health care decisions is something all of us struggle with. The question that matters most to healthcare consumers is simple: how do I get the best care possible?

Unfortunately, getting answers to this question is far from simple. While most people rely on their doctors and healthcare network for referrals, the internet revolution has seen consumers turning to review sites for healthcare research. This is problematic because reviews are subjective, and lack the data needed to support proper healthcare decisions. Everyone wants a better solution, but accessing physician performance data is difficult and interpreting it overwhelms even the most sophisticated consumers. Read more »

Three things you need to know about accountable care

Three things you need to know about accountable careThe cost of providing healthcare in the United States has skyrocketed1. U.S. healthcare is among the most expensive in the world, yet the amount of money being spent isn’t translating into better care for patients.

Enter accountable care organizations (ACOs). Introduced by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), ACOs are designed to encourage providers to collaborate and communicate with each other – and, ultimately, deliver higher-quality, more cost-effective care to patients.2 Read more »

Healthcare transparency = better surgeries at a lower cost

Healthcare transparencyYour employees are assuming more of the cost of their healthcare – a trend that’s seen an uptick over the last 20 years. According to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, out-of-pocket costs shot up at a compound annual growth rate of 3.9 percent from 2000 to 2011. Employees who are responsible for an increasing share of their healthcare dollars need access to unbiased, accurate information about the quality and cost of the healthcare they receive. Read more »

Healthcare trends: our report from the road

Report from the roadThere’s a sea change happening.

Over the course of the last 2 weeks, MPIRICA has been to 3 conferences in 3 states. We’ve presented to health benefits brokers in Texas, self-insured employers in Ohio, and hospitals and employers in Washington.

The audiences were varied and the event topics were diverse, but three take-aways were quite clear to us: Read more »

Washington got an ‘A’ for effort

Washtington got an ABut 40 other states FAIL when it comes to healthcare quality transparency.

The Health Care Incentives Improvement Institute (HCI3) released a State Report Card on Transparency of Physician Quality Information in December, and MPIRICA’s home state of Washington was one of two states to receive an ‘A’ (Minnesota was the other).

The report highlights states which are “making an effort” to aid consumers in their health care decision making, and reveals the overall lack of objective quality information available. Read more »

Is healthcare price transparency useless to consumers?

Quite a blasphemous question from a new company in “healthcare transparency!”

So let us qualify the question to give you insight into MPIRICA’s position: isn’t price transparency useless to healthcare consumers unless the prices are put in the context of quality?

Many industry watchers last week hailed Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina for publicly releasing price information for a variety of procedures throughout the state. Granted, this is a huge step for a large carrier. But aren’t most consumers left scratching their heads with these prices? Which one is the best? Does highest price mean the highest quality? Read more »

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