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Adobe Acrobat PDF Toolkit: Training the Workforce for a Changing Health System, GME-Toolkit_160.pdf

10/17/2014: Questions about how to best prepare health professionals to practice in an evolving health care delivery system are receiving increased attention. Graduate medical education (GME)—the training that medical school graduates receive as residents, typically in teaching hospitals—has been an ongoing focal point in the discussion about how health care workforce training is conducted and financed. This issue brief provides an overview of the GME system, highlights core policy issues, identifies new training strategies and provides a synthesis of key resources.

 

Adobe Acrobat PDF Replacing the SGR, SGRToolkit_January2014_158.pdf

1/27/2014: With the cost of repealing the Sustainable Growth Rate for Medicare Physician Payment lower than ever, many suggest that 2014 is the year that permanent change may finally be realized. This toolkit provides a brief summary of the history of the SGR, including the recent actions by the House Energy and Commerce, House Ways and Means, and Senate Finance committees to repeal and reform the flawed physician payment system.

 

Adobe Acrobat PDF Toolkit: Health Care Consolidation, Health-Care-Consolidation-Toolkit_157.pdf

10/22/2013: The pace of health care consolidation is accelerating. Over half of hospitals were exploring a possible merger in 2013, and half were also planning to purchase physician practices. The dollar value of those acquisitions declined, however, as recent purchases have been less about megamergers and more about smaller entities as the newer targets of acquisition.

 

Adobe Acrobat PDF The Employer Mandate of the Patient Protection Affordable Care Act, Employer-Mandate-Toolkit_156.pdf

10/7/2013: The Toolkit, available here, details the ACA’s employer requirements and penalty. It also includes information about the delay in the mandate to 2015, and analysis about its impact on employer-based coverage. The Toolkit includes:

  • Key facts about the employer mandate
  • Data about trends in employment-based health coverage
  • Links to news articles and reports explaining and analyzing the issue
  • Health care experts who understand the issue and its implications, along with contact info
  •  

Adobe Acrobat PDF ABCs of the ACA – What You Need to Know, ABCs-of-the-ACA-Resource-Guide_155.pdf

10/3/2013: The Alliance for Health Reform answers key questions about the insurance marketplaces that opened for enrollment October 1 in this new FAQ, available here. The document also provides links to websites that go into detailed explanations of how the law and the exchanges work. Some links point directly to state marketplaces and other government resources.

  • Who can use, or has to use, the marketplaces?
  • Who can I call with questions?
  • How much will insurance cost? What is the penalty if I don’t enroll
  • How do I contact the marketplace in my state?
  • Who can help guide me through the process? Will I have a choice of plans?
  •  

Adobe Acrobat PDF Marketplace Enrollment Helpers, Marketplace-Enrollment-Helpers-Toolkit_154.pdf

9/27/2013: Beginning October 1, insurance marketplaces open for enrollment, and millions of people will be eligible to purchase plans. To guide them in the application process, the federal government has invested in programs to train community organizations and hired staff. Most of the money has gone to so-called navigators and assisters, which are tasked with helping individuals, families and small businesses compare and contrast plans, identify what type of financial assistance may be available and help complete and send application forms for insurance.

 

Adobe Acrobat PDF Medical Malpractice Reform: A Toolkit, Medical-Malpractice-Toolkit_151.pdf

8/7/2013: Medical malpractice reform has been a contentious area of debate among health care policymakers. The resources in this new Toolkit, co-written by Shane Durkin and Erin Buchanan of the Alliance, will help you understand why this has been a partisan debate throughout the years and describe the research behind traditional tort reform. It will also help you understand the more innovative approaches being tested and what we should look forward to in the effort to reform the medical liability system.

The Toolkit includes:

  • Key facts about medical malpractice, including costs and types of physicians most at risk
  • An explanation of why medical malpractice reform has fallen to the states and what innovative approaches are being tested
  • Links to articles and reports explaining and analyzing these and past reforms
  • A list of health care experts who have been involved or written extensively on medical malpractice reform

     

Adobe Acrobat PDF Hospital Readmissions: A Toolkit, hospitalreadmissions_132.pdf

5/21/2013: Beginning on Oct. 1, 2012, hospitals for the first time faced a financial penalty for readmitting a Medicare patient whom they had already cared for in the past month. Data shows that readmissions have already fallen, although the policy remains controversial.

The Toolkit includes:

  • An explanation of the penalties included in the ACA
  • Key facts about hospital readmission rates and costs
  • Links to news articles and reports explaining and analyzing the issue
  • A list of health care experts who understand the issue and its implications

 

Adobe Acrobat PDF The Sustainable Growth Rate: Seeking a ‘Doc Fix’, SGRToolkit_Apr52013_120.pdf

4/5/2013: The public is keeping a close eye on federal budget deficit reduction efforts this year, including potential automatic spending cuts initially mandated by the Budget Control Act of 2011. Yet one component of the debate has been largely ignored - the Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR). Indeed, because of the SGR, physicians in January 2013 faced a 26.5 percent cut in Medicare reimbursement rates. Last-minute congressional intervention delayed the cut until January 2014 as part of the American Taxpayer Relief Act of 2012. Without intervention, physicians will receive a 25 percent reimbursement cut in January 2014. At the same time, according to the most recent Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates, if Congress and the president agree to permanently eliminate the SGR, the deficit will grow by another $138 billion over 10 years. The cost of repealing the SGR has fallen significantly since last year, spiking a new interest in permanently fixing the problem.

 

Adobe Acrobat PDF The Presidential Health Care Plans: What You Need to Know, Presidential_Candidate_Health_Care_Plans_114.pdf

10/11/2012: Health care is an increasingly important issue in this year's close presidential election, but sorting out what the candidates are proposing - and what it all means - is difficult. The resources in this new Toolkit will help you to move beyond the rhetoric. The debate can be boiled down to three central questions. Should the country continue to implement the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, should states receive federal block grants to run Medicaid as they wish, and how can the federal government lower costs in Medicare, the health care program for seniors and the disabled?

The Toolkit includes:

  • An explanation of the candidates' positions
  • Key facts about the status of health care coverage, Medicare and Medicaid
  • Links to news articles and reports explaining and analyzing the proposals and listing advisers to the candidates
  • A list of health care experts who understand the plans and their implications

 

Adobe Acrobat PDF Health Care Workforce: Direct Care, Direct_Care_Toolkit_118.pdf

10/10/2012: In the move to increase access and coverage while enhancing the value of the health care dollar, the direct care workforce provides an important contribution to coordinated care in a high quality system. This toolkit, co-written by Bill Erwin and Deanna Okrent of the Alliance, aims to provide an array of resources and perspectives that describe numerous challenges to assuring an adequate workforce and some of the proposed solutions by the ACA. Supported by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

 

Adobe Acrobat PDF Health Care Workforce: HIT Shortage, HIT_Workforce_Shortage_119.pdf

10/10/2012: Health care providers are scrambling to find their way in the fast-paced world of technology, and the federal government is making billions of dollars available to help them do it. But while cost has traditionally been the big hurdle, the lack of a qualified workforce now poses a significant barrier, according to major surveys. This toolkit offers links to many resources. Includes a list of experts and websites. Supported by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

 

Adobe Acrobat PDF Health Care Workforce: Physicians, Physician_Workforce_Shortage_110.pdf

10/10/2012: A shortage of more than 90,000 physicians is predicted to occur within the next 10 years--including 45,000 primary care physicians and 46,000 surgeons and specialists. This toolkit, written by Beeta Rasouli of the Alliance, aims to provide an array of resources and perspectives that describe numerous challenges to assuring an adequate physician workforce and some of the proposed solutions under consideration. Supported by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

 

Adobe Acrobat PDF Health Care Workforce: Nurses, Nursing_Toolkit_FINAL_8-27-12_111.pdf

10/10/2012: It is projected that 260,000 additional nurses will be needed by 2025 to care for the increased population, the increase in insured population and the explosive care needs for chronic diseases in the population and geriatric care in older age groups. This toolkit, written by Deanna Okrent of the Alliance, aims to provide an array of resources and perspectives that describe numerous challenges to assuring an adequate physician workforce and some of the proposed solutions under consideration. Supported by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

 

Adobe Acrobat PDF Mental Health Policy: A Toolkit, mental_health_toolkit_112.pdf

9/10/2012: Mental health problems have been rising in the public consciousness -- with recent mass shootings, with the recession and with the passage of the health reform law. This toolkit offers links to many resources on the scope of the nation's mental health problems and promising ways of addressing them. Includes a list of experts and websites. Supported by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

 

Adobe Acrobat PDF Reporting on Health Reform Between Now and 2014, Reporting_on_Health_Reform_99.pdf

6/17/2010: Now that health reform is law, reporters covering this subject have a new challenge: keeping readers, viewers and listeners engaged through the long implementation process. This toolkit will help. Features story ideas from seasoned reporters and links to dozens of resources. Also included: a list of experts with contact information and helpful websites.

 

Adobe Acrobat PDF Legal Challenges to the New Health Reform Law, Legal_Challenges_to_New_Health_Reform_Law_97.pdf

5/18/2010: Constitutional challenges health reform were already in the works before President Obama signed the new reform law on March 23. On what grounds are states objecting? Are any of the lawsuits filed likely to succeed? This toolkit, written by Kevin Arts, addresses both questions.

 

Adobe Acrobat PDF Budget Reconciliation: An Updated Toolkit, Budget_Reconciliation_Toolkit_95.pdf

3/3/2010: Health reform passed in March 2010 thanks, in part, to a budget reconciliation bill that made changes to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. This toolkit explains how reconciliation works, and offers links to resources that go into more detail on subjects such as the “Byrd rule” and the important role of the Senate parliamentarian.

 

Adobe Acrobat PDF Abortion and Health Reform Resource List, abortion_and_health_reform_93.pdf

12/4/2009: The coverage of abortion in a reformed health care system has become a topic generating considerable emotion in health reform debates. This resource list will help readers better understand what drives the positions of those taking sides on abortion within health reform.

 

Adobe Acrobat PDF A Toolkit: Health Insurance Cooperatives, Co-Op_Toolkit_Master_--_91.pdf

10/16/2009: Health insurance cooperatives, or co-ops, have drawn attention as an alternative way for Americans to buy health insurance. Owned by their members, co-ops are seen by some as more palatable than a government-run public plan. What exactly are health insurance co-ops? What’s been their track record? Why do they succeed, or fail? Why do proponents like them, and what objections do opponents have? This new toolkit from the Alliance for Health Reform addresses these questions and others and also includes fast facts, links to 31 resources including case studies, story ideas for reporters, 34 selected experts with contact information, links to 17 selected websites, and a glossary.

 

Webpage A Reporter's Toolkit: Health Information Technology, Toolkit_Health_Information_Technology_78.asp

1/3/2008: This toolkit, supported by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, will help you understand how health information technology (IT) is slowly changing health care, and how analysts disagree about the value of some technologies. We offer an introduction to issues such as protecting patient privacy and the cost of new technologies. This resource also offers story ideas, selected experts with contact information, selected websites of interest and a glossary.

 

Webpage A Reporter's Toolkit: Health Care Costs, Health_Care_Costs_77.asp

11/27/2007: (Updated 8/1/2008) This toolkit, supported by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, will help you understand trends in U.S. health spending, and some of the reasons why spending is going up. We also cover some ideas for restraining health care costs. In addition, this resource offers story ideas, selected experts with contact information, selected websites, and a glossary.

 

Webpage A Reporter's Toolkit: Child Health Coverage, Child_Health_Coverage_76.asp

11/14/2007: This toolkit, supported by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, offers links to resources that will help you understand how children in the U.S. get health coverage, and the importance of employer-sponsored coverage and public programs to children. We offer an overview of the State Children's Health Insurance Program (SCHIP), with an update on congressional reauthorization of the program. This resource also offers key facts, story ideas for reporters, selected experts with contact information, selected websites, and a glossary.

 

Webpage A Reporter's Toolkit: Medicaid, Medicaid_Toolkit_75.asp

11/9/2007: A Reporter's Toolkit: Medicaid This toolkit, supported by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, will help you understand who the Medicaid program covers, how it is financed, how it differs from Medicare, how states can alter Medicaid through federal waivers, and what the future holds for the program. This resource also offers key facts, brief background, story ideas, selected experts with contact information, selected websites and a glossary.

 

Webpage A Reporter's Toolkit: The Uninsured, uninsured_toolkit_74.asp

11/1/2007: This toolkit, supported by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, is designed for reporters covering health issues during Campaign 2008, but will be useful for others looking for up-to-date resources on the uninsured. The toolkit features dozens of links to useful websites and articles, including links to websites tracking presidential candidates' health reform plans. It also includes key facts, background, story ideas, lists of experts and websites, and a glossary.

 

Adobe Acrobat PDF Toolkit: Crowd-out and SCHIP, Crowd-out_and_SCHIP_toolkit_70.pdf

9/12/2007: Congress and the White House are gridlocked on SCHIP reauthorization beyond November. President Bush has vetoed the first SCHIP bill to cross his desk. CMS has issued tough new rules governing when states can open up their SCHIP programs to children above 200 percent of the federal poverty. One reason for all of the above: crowd-out – the phenomenon of people dropping private health coverage when public coverage becomes more easily available. This toolkit, supported by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, helps explain why crowd-out occurs and offers links to late-breaking developments affecting SCHIP enrollment. A list of experts and websites is also included.

 

Adobe Acrobat PDF Toolkit: ERISA and State Health Reform, ERISA_and_State_Health_Reform_68.pdf

8/7/2007: Many policy experts believe that sweeping general reform to our national health system is not likely to happen without success stories from state-level reforms. Yet many state reforms may be in conflict with the federal statute known as the Employee Retirement Income Security Act, or ERISA. This toolkit, supported by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, covers the basics and ERISA and presents expert opinion on both sides of the ERISA vs. state reform issue.

 

Adobe Acrobat PDF Toolkit: Medicare Private Fee-for-Service Plans, Medicare_Private_Fee-for-Service_Plans_65.pdf

7/13/2007: Over the past three years, enrollment in Medicare private fee-for-service (PFFS) plans has increased significantly. These plans offer a potentially greater choice of providers than beneficiaries will find in Medicare HMOs or PPOs. They often provide extra benefits not found in traditional Medicare. Beneficiaries attracted to the plans hope to lower their out-of-pocket costs compared to what they would pay in traditional Medicare. However, the plans have drawn the interest of federal budget cutters since they cost more per beneficiary than traditional Medicare. Moreover, beneficiaries have been reporting confusion about the plans and sometimes, enrollment fraud. Some private fee-for-service beneficiaries have been denied services by physicians who previously accepted their traditional Medicare coverage. This toolkit, supported by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, contains resources that describe the basics of PFFS plans, advantages and incentives included in the plans, and the challenges that PFFS enrollees have encountered along the way.

 

Adobe Acrobat PDF Massachusetts Health Reform Toolkit, Massachusetts_Health_Reform_Toolkit_61.pdf

7/5/2007: Starting July 1, every adult in Massachusetts is required to have health coverage (except for 60,000 people exempted by the state). This toolkit, supported by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, is designed to help you understand the state's pace-setting near-universal coverage plan and its implications, with links to representative articles and documents from across the ideological spectrum. You will also find a list of selected experts and websites. We recommend these articles and experts to you, and welcome your suggestions for additions to our list. You may email those to info@allhealth.org

 

 


Uwe Reinhardt Questions Bundled Payment Savings Prospects


Video (2:58)

A new Alliance for Health Reform video features Princeton’s Uwe Reinhardt questioning whether bundling payments for medical services might actually lead to higher – not lower – costs.

"The ACO's, the accountable care organizations, could create local monopolies that could dictate to you what that bundled price would be, and some of us fear that bundled prices might be even more than what the fee-for-service for that bundle would be today. … You really should align all the payers and say, 'Let us jointly negotiate with the ACOs what those bundles should be so that they cannot divide and rule and sort of make us on the buy side weak.'"

FULL TRANSCRIPT

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Sister Carol Keehan on Health Law Enrollment Challenges this Year


Video 3:00

A new Alliance for Health Reform video features Sister Carol Keehan of the Catholic Health Association of the United States addressing the challenges of quickly enrolling millions of Americans for health insurance this fall. Open season begins October 1 of this year, yet she says that up to 85 percent of those who will be newly eligible for Medicaid or for subsidies to buy private insurance in state-based exchanges don't know it.  FULL TRANSCRIPT

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Jonathan Blum on CMS Efforts to Keep Medicare Spending Growth Down


Video (2:54)

Jonathan Blum, acting principal deputy administrator and director of the Center for Medicare at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), addresses the slower growth of Medicare spending over the last few years, and what his agency is doing to try and continue the trend. “There are promising signs that this strategy to change the payment system, to change the payment models, to focus on waste and abuse, is paying off," he said. "We are taking a whole new approach to addressing fraud in the program. Much more data resources, much more on the ground reaction. We have seen dramatic spending declines in areas of spending, such as home health and durable medical supplies that historically fueled lots of the fraud.”  FULL TRANSCRIPT

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Two Former Medicare Administrators Discuss How to Save the Program


A new Alliance for Health Reform video features two former Medicare administrators -- Gail Wilensky and Bruce Vladeck -- on their ideas about how to save the program.

Ms. Wilensky, who ran Medicare in a Republican administration, argued for increasing the eligibility age of Medicare for future retirees, while still making the program available at age 65 for those who are disabled.

Watch at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GQjsfam9-w0

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Douglas Holtz-Eakin: Health Care Spending Lull Only Temporary


Video (3:11)

A new Alliance for Health Reform video features Douglas Holtz-Eakin of the American Action Forum, and a former director of the Congressional Budget Office, arguing that recent slower spending growth in health care won’t continue.

"We also saw a slowdown in the mid-90s, and we all declared victory and it came right back. I think next year we’ll see a noticeable uptick. There will be lots of new people entering the insurance markets because of the exchanges and the subsidies that come along with them, and those subsidies are very generous. … These are an invitation for people to get coverage and to buy more health care. I think that’ll place a lot of pressure on spending."

FULL TRANSCRIPT

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Marketplace Enrollment Helpers Toolkit


Beginning October 1, insurance marketplaces open for enrollment, and millions of people will be eligible to purchase plans. To guide them in the application process, the federal government has invested in programs to train community organizations and hired staff.

Read More 

The Employer Mandate of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act


The Toolkit, available here, details the ACA’s employer requirements and penalty. It also includes information about the delay in the mandate to 2015, and analysis about its impact on employer-based coverage.

Read More 

Toolkit: Replacing the SGR


A new Alliance for Health Reform Toolkit summarizes the recent policy debate surrounding the decade-long problem In the last six months, the House Energy and Commerce Committee, House Ways and Means, and Senate Finance committees all put forth similar bills to repeal and reform the flawed Medicare physician payment formula. Further, with the CBO estimating the cost of repeal at $116.5, the lowest since 2006, many health policy experts are speculating that 2014 is the year that policymakers enact a permanent change to the SGR.

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