Rogers Scholars Blog

NCHC Writer
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This space allows the Paul G. Rogers Memorial Scholars to share their insights and interests as they relate to health system reform, education and advocacy. The views expressed here do not necessarily express the views of the National Coalition on Health Care, NCHC Action Fund, their employees, members or partners.

Candid Doctors: Can We Handle it?

By Ami Patel

I recently started looking for a new primary care doctor, and when doing my research, both on the web and by referrals through friends, the doctors with the most enthusiastic support were the ones who were approachable and established a positive, communicative relationship with their patients. As I noticed this trend in categorizing a doctor as great or mediocre based on their communication level, I began to question why the rhetoric of provider groups has not transitioned into focusing more on patient engagement. After all, the doctor is a resource for healthcare information, and when we seek healthcare, there should be full disclosure of what is best for our body and lifestyle. It seems counterproductive when the provider withholds their true opinion in fear of offending or frightening the patient. How can the patient be empowered to take a multifaceted approach to maintaining a healthy lifestyle when the doctor fears the patient is not capable of handling such a diagnosis?

Health: What Does Farm Policy Have to Do with It?

By Nishi Singhal

Why should we care about the Farm Bill? Isn’t it policy that supports America’s farms and farmers? Well partially, but it also influences food policy: the availability of certain foods, prices, clean drinking water, chemical-free healthy food, food stamps, etc. It covers a wide range of issues that will, in some form, affect you and your health.

A Medicare Wellness Program!

By Nishi Singhal

When talking about wellness programs, seniors are often left out of the conversation. But many seniors are obese or engage in less physical activities as they age. It is no surprise then that the most frequently occurring conditions among seniors are linked to hypertension, arthritis, heart disease, cancer, and diabetes. Studies have established the effectiveness of senior wellness programs that improve the overall health through increased physical activity, better nutrition, smoking cessation, and support of other healthy behaviors. They’ve demonstrated reduced inpatient admissions, health care costs, and improved health-related quality of life. With chronic disease and high health care expenditures plaguing our health care system, why not promote a large-scale senior wellness program through a program that directly cares for the group? A Medicare Wellness Program!

Combating Fraud in Medicare and Medicaid

By Rachel Lynn Wilson

Fraud in Medicare and Medicaid is a serious problem in America’s health care system. Improper payments currently cost our government $70 billion per year. Congressional action is needed to eliminate improper payments in Medicare and Medicaid. We must increase our investment in fraud prevention and enforcement programs and increase penalties, without impeding the delivery of health care services to beneficiaries.  The FAST Act, a bipartisan bill introduced by Sen. Thomas Carper and Sen. Thomas Coburn, includes essential policy changes to help combat fraud.

Trends in Adopting EHR Systems

By Ami Patel

In an era where technology has seemingly permeated the majority of our lifestyle, the health system continues to struggle with the application and utilization of information technology to create a more efficient and accessible system. The implementation of an Electronic Health Record (EHR) seems like a no-brainer solution to organize the health system, especially in a world where technology has replaced traditional forms of organization and communication with spreadsheets, emails and apps. Then why is the American health system still struggling to adopt a widespread EHR? The answer lies in a fragmented system characterized by a continuum of provider care ranging from traditional, small physician practices to larger, high-tech health centers.  

Obesity and Sugar-Sweetened Beverages: By the Numbers

By Nishi Singhal

Obesity is a major public health crisis in the United States that affects over 1 in 3 adult men and women and about 1 in 5 children and adolescents. Obesity and its associated problems comprise about 10% of all medical spending nationally and have a large economic impact on our health care system. Increased consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages is a key factor driving this growing problem, but evidence shows that the implementation of a penny-per-ounce excise tax on sugar-sweetened beverages will reduce consumption and its associated problems. Preventing disease saves money and will improve the health status of Americans.

Medical Malpractice Reform

By Rachel Lynn Wilson

Medical Malpractice lawsuits cost the system $54.4 billion per year, which is 2.4 percent of total health care spending. A large amount of medical malpractice awards are usurped by legal fees and administrative costs and thus do not end up with the injured patient. There is an urgent need for medical malpractice reform to ensure the patient receives a just reward, curb the rising cost of health care and foster better patient-centered outcomes.

Pathways to Value-Driven Care: Progress on Hospital Value Based Purchasing

By Brandie Hollinger

Despite slowing rates in health care expenditures in recent years, health care services delivered during a hospital admission remain the largest proportion of health care dollars spent in the US. Under a provision of the Affordable Care Act, CMS released a rule Act that calls for reimbursement and incentive payments to be based on value, known as the Hospital Value Based Purchasing Program (HVBPP). The Hospital Value Based Purchasing Program helps to reorganize the focus of health care delivery. This policy is pivotal and deserves more attention because it has the potential to change societal views on health care delivery.

Safety Continues to Elude Drug Development and Manufacturing

By Shelley Jazowski

Drug safety is an issue that has been and continues to remain a hot topic amongst patients, health professionals and the media. Although strides have been made in addressing issues, thus decreasing the advent of adverse events and increasing the quality of some pharmaceutical products, much work remains. Safety concerns are not singular to one specific component of the drug industry, but pervade development, manufacturing and marketing. In order to properly address these issues, the federal government, regulatory agencies and drug manufacturers must come together to not only ensure the safety and quality of medicines, but also to increase patient compliance.

Do New Hurdles Spell an End to Blockbuster Drugs?

By Shelley Jazowski

Although the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is on pace to approve more drugs in 2011 than the previous year, numerous hurdles remain that can impede a newly approved drugs path to “blockbuster” status. Obstacles, such as improper promotion and marketing and competition from both brand-name and generic drugs do and will continue to stall profits. Above all, the primary factor affecting newly approved drug sales is cost – cost of the product, payment methods and slow reimbursement. Each one of these hurdles, either working in tandem or singularly, could spell the end to “blockbuster” drugs.