iLoveBenefits: Industry News Blog

Should wellness programs be sponsored by your employer

According to a recent survey, only 48% of employees had participated in an employer-sponsored program to help them improve their physical health. Source: “Employees Report High Satisfaction with Health and Well-being Programs, but More Personalization is Needed,” National Business Group on Health Press Release, July 20, 2016,

ICD-10 implementation delayed

HHS Announces ICD-10 Delay
WASHINGTON — The Department of Health and Human Services has proposed a 1-year delay in its deadline for implementing the new ICD-10 diagnosis coding system.

Integrating information technology and influencing patient behavior

These early studies and surveys are often maddening. The integration of health information technology in the practice and provision of health care is in its infancy (no pun intended). To expect complete transformation at this formative stage is both unreasonable and ill advised at this early stage. There is still a great deal to learn, innovate and change along the way to improved outcomes.


According to a recent report on clinical informatics, only 15% of health insurers and 13% of hospitals, physicians groups and other providers believe they have been able to successfully influence patient behavior through their efforts to integrate information technology into healthcare.


  • 79% are looking to clinical informatics to help reduce medical errors
  • 61% hope to use it to improve population health
  • 52% hope it will help them reduce costs by involving patients in preventative care routines

Health Insurers:

  • 85% are counting on clinical informatics to improve management of complex cases
  • 80% are seeking a reduction in preventable emergency room visits and hospital readmission rates
  • 56% hope that findings from their clinical informatics programs will lead to earlier diagnosis and prevention

Source: “Health Organizations Count on Clinical Informatics to Improve Patient Health and Reduce Healthcare Costs, Finds PwC Report on Clinical Informatics in Healthcare,” PwC Press Release, March 2, 2012,

Health Reform Constitutionality

US Files First Defense of Health Care Law in Court
Critics who allege that Congress overstepped the U.S. Constitution by requiring Americans to carry health insurance are ”flatly wrong,” the Obama administration said Wednesday in its first court defense of the landmark health care law. [ Associated Press | May 12,

May 13, 2010 | Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , | Comments (0)

Patient Care and Safety Improvements

Experts say health reform could affect how patient care is delivered by using financial bonuses and penalties for physicians and hospitals to improve coordination and safety. The new law also will require a higher level of public reporting on quality measures that could speed up implementation of quality care measures. American Medical News

The reform law is “a very important step up in a whole variety of initiatives that have been done in this decade in the absence of health care reform,” said Bob Wachter, MD. He is chief of medical service at the University of California, San Francisco, Medical Center and editor of AHRQ WebM&M, an online safety journal. “It’s looking at how do we promote transparency, how do we use the payment system to motivate providers to focus on quality and safety, and how do we create research and promote collaboratives to understand what we should be doing to improve care.”

One element of transparency is public reporting of physician performance data, which is set to start in 2013. Medicare hopes to entice more doctors to take part in its Physician Quality Reporting Initiative with bonuses of 1% next year, dropping to 0.5% through 2014. Starting in 2015, physicians face a 1.5% Medicare pay cut for not participating in PQRI, with a 2% penalty starting in 2016.

April 19, 2010 | Categories: healthcare,Patient,quality,Safety,Uncategorized | Tags: , | Comments (0)

What is the Employer Role?

72% of doctors say employers should play a role in the health of employees with chronic conditions

The Midwest Business Group on Health recently conducted a national survey of physician views on employers’ health management programs. The non-profit coalition of more than 100 private and public employers, finds that 72% of doctors surveyed agree that employers should play a role in the health of their employees with chronic conditions such as diabetes or heart disease. Among survey findings:

  • Most physicians support the efforts of employers to help patients, with 59% agreeing that employers should let doctors know about efforts to help a patient manage chronic disease
  • For medications, 46% agree employers have a role in helping patients improve their compliance
  • Only 32% of surveyed physicians felt that employers and health plans should play no role in the health of their patients, citing concerns such as “the employer doesn’t know the patient” and “I don’t want to lose control of my patient’s care”
  • Regarding employer and health plan incentives, 82% of physicians support the use of incentives to motivate employees to manage their chronic disease and stay healthy
  • Just over 70% support the use of reduced or waived co-pays to increase medication compliance, with 62% supporting reduced or waived co-pays for medical care to increase medical visits

Source: PRNewswire, March 15, 2010.

Ilovebenefits will be on vacation until Feb 9th

January 27, 2010 | Categories: Uncategorized | Comments (0)

Pharma Trades Dollars for Health Care Support

The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA)

In one of the most amazing turnabouts ever in Washington, PhRMA went from full-throated opposition to ObamaCare to full-throated support – in just a matter of months.

On November 14, 2008, just a week after the election, the Washington Times reported that, “The nation’s largest pharmaceutical lobbying group is preparing a multimillion-dollar public relations campaign to tout the importance of free-market health care and undercut an expected push by the Obama administration for price controls of prescription drugs.” The article went on, “the stakes are especially high for drugmakers, which stand to lose as much as $30 billion in revenue if President-elect Barack Obama’s plan to let the federal government negotiate Medicare drug prices is implemented.”

Just nine months later, in August 2009, the publication Medical Marketing & Media was reporting just the opposite – “PhRMA will launch a big advertising push for healthcare reform later this week, with TV spots airing in key states and on cable channels nationally.”  The story continues, “News outlets including The New York Times and the Associated Press put spending on the ads in the range of $150 million – a figure that PhRMA SVP Ken Johnson called speculative.”

What happened? The story quotes PhRMA president Bill Tauzin, “We were assured (by the White House): ‘We need somebody to come in first. If you come in first, you will have a rock-solid deal.'”

Apparently, PhRMA agreed to $80 billion in cuts aimed at filling the Medicare drug program’s “donut hole” and to spend $150 million in advertising to support Obama in exchange for a pledge that the White House would oppose price controls and re-importing drugs. This was probably the best deal of the lot. There was a direct quid pro quo and each side got what it wanted – for now.

Problem is, of course, that these deals don’t last. Deals with the Devil never do. There is already pressure from the left to scuttle this deal, as witnessed in a report that ran on Air America that called this deal the “absolute fascist nightmare.” And meanwhile, the rest of us are left in the dust, subject to all the mandates, taxes, and penalties of the rest of the legislation.


November 14, 2008
August 10, 2009
Air America
December 31, 2009 | Categories: Uncategorized | Comments (0)

Lab Test Options At a Lower Cost?

Editor’s note: Interesting story about lab test costs. Question. Are these claims without or without insurance coverage?


The name of one fast-growing chain of walk-in labs encapsulates the field’s business model, Any Lab Test Now. The company says it can generally have testing results within 24 hours and at a cost that is as much as 80 percent less than going through a doctor.

As Lee Bowman of Scripps Howard News Service reports, a growing number of Americans are bypassing doctors and going directly to online and storefront labs for diagnostic testing. Most often they pay for these tests out of their own pocket. The results may persuade the consumer to pursue the matter further with a personal physician but, in any case, the consumer is in charge of who sees the results.

December 29, 2009 | Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , , | Comments (0)

Primary Care Utilization

A recent study of adult patient visits to primary care doctors between 1997 and 2005 found:
  • The number of adult visits to primary care doctors increased 10%, from 273 million to 338 million annually
  • The mean duration of an adult primary care visit increased by 16%, from 18.0 to 20.8 minutes
  • Regular check-up: mean increase of 3.4 minutes
  • Diagnosis of diabetes: mean increase of 4.2 minutes
  • High blood pressure: mean increase of 3.7 minutes
  • Diagnosis of joint disease: mean increase of 5.9 minutes
  • Quality of care also improved according to nine medical, counseling and screening indicators
  • Counseling or screening by doctors took 2.6 to 4.2 minutes longer than visits without these services. 

Source: “Primary Care Visit Duration and Quality: Does Good Care Take Longer?”, Archives of Internal Medicine, abstract only, November 9, 2009, 

December 3, 2009 | Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , , , | Comments (0)
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