Health Services and Research Policy: September 2004 Archives

Health Insurance Costs Rise Faster Than Wages

Tue Sep 28, 2004 11:04 AM ET

By Maggie Fox, Health and Science Correspondent
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Health insurance premiums for workers are rising around three times faster than their wages, and health costs eat up a quarter of earnings for more than 14 million Americans, according to a survey on Tuesday.

While benefits are being cut, health insurance premiums are rising, the report from the nonprofit Families USA found.

"Working families were squeezed by runaway health care costs over the past four years," said Families USA executive director Ron Pollack.

Article from Reuters.com

Group: U.S. Health Care Worse Off

Associated Press
09.27.2004, 04:06 PM

American workers are paying more for their health insurance and getting less than they were four years ago, and the situation is particularly acute in several states important in the presidential race, said a consumer group that has been critical of President Bush.

Families USA also noted that the number of people without insurance jumped significantly since Bush took office, with more than 85 million people uninsured at some point during 2003 or 2004.

Articel from: Forbes.com

Friday September 24, 9:08 am ET

WASHINGTON, Sept. 24 /PRNewswire/ -- The Disease Management Association of America (DMAA) has formed a committee that will be dedicated to further engaging the disease management community to support national initiatives in patient safety. The first task, a definition of patient safety as it applies to disease management programs, has been completed. The full definition will be available to the attendees at the Disease Management Leadership Forum, October 21-23, 2004, Orlando, Florida and will be included in DMAA's new book of DM Definitions.

Press Release

Costliest New Drugs Escape Patient, Insurer Revolt

By Kim Dixon and Ransdell Pierson

CHICAGO/NEW YORK (Reuters) - When it comes to the price tag for the newest biotechology drugs for cancer and other hard-to-treat diseases, the sky is likely to remain the limit, insurers, drugmakers and industry watchers say.

Neither HMOs nor the government-sponsored Medicare program is seriously challenging unprecedented costs for the new drugs, which include rheumatoid arthritis and multiple sclerosis treatments.

Article from: Reuters.com

NCQA Releases State of Health Care Quality 2004:

Publicly-reporting plans post fifth straight year of gains; broader system still plagued by quality gaps

Annual toll: 42,000 - 79,000 avoidable deaths, 66.5 million sick days and $1.8 billion in excess medical costs

Download the Report (PDF, 680 kb)

View the news conference Webcast (kaisernetwork.org)

NCQA's recently released State of Health Care Quality 2004 finds that the quality of care delivered by health plans that publicly report on their performance improved markedly last year. Yet the U.S. health care system as a whole remains plagued by deadly “quality gaps” that contribute to 42,000 to 79,000 avoidable deaths every year. The findings suggest that the system is deeply polarized, delivering excellent care to some people, and generally poor care to many others. NCQA’s annual State of Health Care Quality report also found that nearly 66.5 million avoidable sick days and more than $1.8 billion in excess medical costs can be traced to the health care system’s routine failure to provide needed care.

Link To: National Center for Quality Assurance (NCQA)

NCQA Releases State of Health Care Quality 2004:

Publicly-reporting plans post fifth straight year of gains; broader system still plagued by quality gaps

Annual toll: 42,000 - 79,000 avoidable deaths, 66.5 million sick days and $1.8 billion in excess medical costs

Download the Report (PDF, 680 kb)

View the news conference Webcast (kaisernetwork.org)

NCQA's recently released State of Health Care Quality 2004 finds that the quality of care delivered by health plans that publicly report on their performance improved markedly last year. Yet the U.S. health care system as a whole remains plagued by deadly “quality gaps” that contribute to 42,000 to 79,000 avoidable deaths every year. The findings suggest that the system is deeply polarized, delivering excellent care to some people, and generally poor care to many others. NCQA’s annual State of Health Care Quality report also found that nearly 66.5 million avoidable sick days and more than $1.8 billion in excess medical costs can be traced to the health care system’s routine failure to provide needed care.

Link To: National Center for Quality Assurance (NCQA)

Poor Medical Treatment Kills Thousands

Poor Medical Treatment Kills Thousands in U.S., Says New Report on Health Care Quality

The Associated Press

WASHINGTON Sept. 23, 2004 — Requiring doctors and hospitals to report publicly on their performance and tying their pay to the results would dramatically reduce avoidable deaths and costs attributable to poor medical care, says a new report from an organization that works to improve health care quality.
Wild variations in medical care led to 79,000 avoidable deaths and $1.8 billion in additional medical costs last year, the private National Committee for Quality Assurance said in its annual report released Wednesday.

Article from: abc News

Shots Urged as Flu Rates Rise

By Janice Billingsley
HealthDay Reporter


THURSDAY, Sept. 23 (HealthDayNews) -- Recent flu seasons dominated by more severe strains of flu and an aging U.S. population that's more vulnerable to disease have caused a jump in the number of hospitalizations and deaths from the respiratory illness.

That's why it's crucial that people -- particularly those most vulnerable -- get a flu shot this fall, U.S. health officials said at a press conference Thursday in Washington, D.C.

"There has been a startling increase in the number of hospitalizations for flu, to approximately 200,000 last year, and Americans need to do better to protect themselves and their families," said Dr. Walter Orenstein, director of the National Immunization Program, part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Article from: Forbes.com

Health Care Quality Gap Blamed For Thousands Of Deaths

Annual Report Suggests Polarized Health System

POSTED: 10:11 am EDT September 23, 2004

WASHINGTON -- Routine failure to provide needed health care in the United States came with the price tag of $1.8 billion in additional medical costs and up to 79,000 avoidable deaths, according to a new study.

In its annual report, the private National Committee for Quality Assurance said there was some improvement last year in the care offered by the nation's managed care organizations.

Articel from: Channel 3000

Study: Too few minorities in health care

Tuesday, September 21, 2004 Posted: 9:51 AM EDT (1351 GMT)

WASHINGTON (Reuters) -- The United States needs more black, Hispanic and American Indian doctors and nurses if minorities have any hope of catching up to whites in terms of the quality and accessibility of health care, a special commission said Monday.

While blacks, Hispanics and Native Americans make up more than 25 percent of the U.S. population, they represent only 9 percent of the nation's nurses, 6 percent of doctors and 5 percent of dentists, the Sullivan Commission on Diversity in the Health Workforce said.

Article from: CNN.com

March of Dimes statement on newborn screening report

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y., SEPT. 22, 2004 -- The March of Dimes today issued the following statement on the report on newborn screening prepared for the Maternal and Child Health Bureau of the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration by the American College of Medical Genetics (ACMG):
The March of Dimes supports comprehensive newborn screening for all babies in this country, regardless of their place of birth. Our policy is to support screening for specific conditions when there is a documented benefit to the child and there is a reliable test that enables early detection from newborn blood spots or other means. We support parents' rights to be fully informed about their baby's screening results, and we support expansion of health care provider education about newborn screening. March of Dimes state chapters and their partners work closely with governors, state legislators, and health departments to improve state newborn screening programs.

The March of Dimes strongly commends the ACMG report for advancing the field of newborn screening, defining a uniform panel for newborn screening, and providing a policy framework for the states. We support the recommendations in this report and we urge the Secretary of Health and Human Services to accept them as a national standard for newborn screening.

Article from Eurekalert.com

Health affairs article: Federal oversight, increasing public coverage, data collection, and workforce diversity all key steps to improve care
New York City, September 14, 2004--Eliminating disparities in health care for minority children will take a concerted quality improvement effort throughout the fragmented U.S. health care system, best overseen by a national body housed within the Department of Health and Human Services, says an article in the September/October issue of Health Affairs.
In "Policies to Reduce Racial and Ethnic Disparities in Child Health and Health Care," Commonwealth Fund Senior Program Officer Anne C. Beal, M.D., details a strategy to eliminate pervasive disparities in the care received by children of color in the U.S. compared with white children while improving quality of care for all children. Key elements in any effort to achieve high quality care for all children, she writes, include increasing children's enrollment in public insurance programs, improving quality of care for beneficiaries enrolled in public programs and for patients who receive care from safety net providers, collecting data on disparities and monitoring progress to eliminate them, and training providers to treat an increasingly diverse patient population as well as increasing the diversity of the health care workforce to reflect the patient population.

Article from: EurekAlert

Study: More US jobs don't offer health care coverage

National-NBC) Sept. 13, 2004 - Health care costs are on the rise, and American workers are feeling the effects, according to a new survey.

Employers have cut health care coverage for five million jobs since 2001, according to a yearly survey of 3000 companies in the US.

Much of the loss is credited to small businesses that can't compensate for rising health care expenses.

Article from: WIS News 10

Applications Lag for Medicare Drug Coverage

Few patients with cancer and other serious illnesses have applied for early Medicare prescription drug coverage, according to the Associated Press.

The Bush administration had planned on a lottery to see who would get the 50,000 slots that were created as part of last year's Medicare prescription drug law. But, just 6,364 people have submitted early applications for insurance for expensive medications such as oral cancer drugs and self-injectable drugs for multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, and other serious diseases, the AP said.

Article from: Dr. Koop

Few apply for Medicare drug coverage

Friday, September 10, 2004 · Last updated 2:32 p.m. PT

By MARK SHERMAN
ASSOCIATED PRESS WRITER

Nancy Davenport Innis, chief executive of the not-for-profit Patient Advocate Foundation is shown in Washington Friday, Sept. 10, 2004. Far from the expected deluge, applications have lagged for generous, early Medicare prescription drug coverage for patients with cancer and other illnesses.The Bush administration was planning a lottery to fill 50,000 slots that were included in last year's Medicare prescription drug law. Instead, just 6,364 people have applied for the head start on drug insurance for costly oral cancer medicines and self-injectable drugs for multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis and other diseases. (AP Photo/Lauren Burke)

WASHINGTON -- Far from the expected deluge, relatively few patients with cancer and other serious illnesses have applied for generous early Medicare prescription drug coverage.

The Bush administration was planning a lottery to determine who would get the 50,000 slots included in last year's Medicare prescription drug law. Instead, just 6,364 people have applied for the head start on drug insurance for costly cancer medicines taken orally and self-injectable drugs for multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis and other diseases.

The Medicare Web site now advises: "There are still many enrollment slots available!"

Article from : Seattle Post Intelligencer

Health insurance cost up 11.2% this year

Some companies are offering workers financial incentives to be healthy.

JULIE APPLEBY
USA TODAY

The cost of health insurance provided by employers rose an average of 11.2 percent this year and is expected to rise again in 2005, adding to the economic anxiety of workers and businesses.

It is the fourth-straight year of double-digit premium increases.

For the first time, the average cost of a family policy in the most popular type of insurance - known as a PPO - went above $10,000, according to an annual survey of more than 3,000 large and small employers conducted by the nonpartisan Kaiser Family Foundation.

Article from: Tucson Citizen

Chickenpox shots save nearly $100 million

Tuesday, September 7, 2004 Posted: 11:48 AM EDT (1548 GMT)

CHICAGO, Illinois (AP) -- Vaccinating children against chickenpox saves the U.S. health care system nearly $100 million a year in reduced hospitalizations for severe cases of the itchy disease, a study found.

Though most people who get the usually mild disease can be treated at home, chickenpox can be serious, and complications requiring hospitalization can include severe skin infections, encephalitis and pneumonia.

Article from CNN:Health

US Medicare patients to pay higher premiums

www.chinaview.cn 2004-09-06 08:39:01

BEIJING, Sept. 6 (Xinhuanet) -- US Medicare patients' monthly premiums for outpatient care will jump a record US$11.60 next year, while deductibles for hospitalized patients will rise US$36, the biggest increase in 14 years, reported Monday's China Daily.

The hospital deductible will gain 17.4 per cent to US$912 on January 1, and the monthly premium for a doctor's care will increase 4.1 per cent to US$78.20, the Centres for Medicare and Medicaid Services said. Social Security income increases are likely to be less than 3 per cent in 2005, said Robert M. Hayes, president of the Medicare Rights Centre in New York.

Article from ChinaView.com

About this Archive

This page is an archive of entries in the Health Services and Research Policy category from September 2004.

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