Rhode Island is beginning a public effort to develop a statewide plan to improve the way we pay for health care. Lt. Governor Elizabeth Roberts is leading the effort.
With a $1.6 million dollar grant from the federal Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation, Roberts launched the six-month planning initiative. A series of public meetings will gather input from experts and community members. Roberts says she wants a plan to help health care providers and insurers move away from payments for a particular treatment or service toward paying for improved health.
News from the New England Journal of Medicine today finds that the cost of caring for people with dementia (including Alzheimer's) will more than double in the next couple of decades. That's because the nation's population is aging, and because the care can be expensive. Most of the estimated $215 billion dollars these diseases cost the economy can be chalked up to long term care.
In last night's State of the Union address, President Barack Obama mentioned health care five times (by my count). One, later in the address, referred to making sure military veterans get the mental health care they need. The other mentions had to do with Medicare: as the nation ages, it's the biggest contributor to our nation's deficit.
Rhode Island Department of Health director Dr. Michael Fine says Rhode Island must address prescription drug abuse. Fine’s comments come as part of a list of priorities he’s shared with lawmakers.
Topping the list: ending deaths from prescription drug overdoses and colorectal cancer, as well as curbing the transmission of new HIV cases in Rhode Island. Fine also wants to reduce the number of premature births and C-section deliveries.
Sure, it’s been a stressful few weeks – months, even. Debates, political ads, campaigning, flyers, you name it, we’re all tired of it, right? It might even be taking a toll on our mental health. And according to one study by some Israeli researchers, there’s a bit more stress in store just before you cast your vote:
I just spoke with RI health insurance commissioner Christopher Koller, who shared a repeat-worthy fact, and I quote:
Primary care is the only part of our delivery system where the more we have, the lower our overall costs are. We can’t say that about anything else. And yet, historically, we’ve only spent six percent of our dollars on primary care.
Westerly Hospital is closer to being acquired by the CT-based nonprofit Lawrence & Memorial. That might provide some relief to the financially troubled hospital, which has been in receivership since late last year (see lots of great posts about that by my illustrious predecessor).