Thursday, May 13, 2010

HWR: Founding Purpose Edition

"Health policy, funding, insurance, managed care, infrastructure, IT, the uninsured, economics and trends re same are all fair game. We avoid things clinical in nature."

That's the simple, 25 word "mission statement" of the Health Wonk Review. Yet each time I host (and I'm sure others have noticed this, as well), there are more submissions that fall outside these guidelines than within. So for this outing, I chose to ruthlessly apply two rules:

Only posts which actually meet the criteria and included a summary would make the cut.

On a more positive note, I'd like to thank
Jetsetter Julie and Judicious Joe for founding this great carnival. I bestow upon them the august and coveted "Award of Wonkery."

And now, this week's (greatly abbreviated) selection of outstandingly wonky posts:

■ Health Policy

Eadwine Walter thinks we're headed toward a nationalized health care delivery system, and offers some insights on how best to understand it.

Channeling Conan O'Brien, Anthony Wright presents a cynic's view of the new reforms and how they'll impact us.

Color John Goodman unimpressed with the latest in cancer scare-mongering.

■ Funding

Adam Fein looks under the hood at CVS/Caremark's growing revenues, and legal problems.

■ Insurance

Ever wondered what, exactly, is a "medical loss ratio?" Jaan Sidorov has, and laments that the folks who crafted the new health care legislation (known around these parts as ObamaCare©) apparently didn't.

Jay Norris has a question of his own: why can't health insurance underwriting be more like that used for life insurance?

Now that we've redefined "adult" as "someone older than 26," Chris Fleming looks at how that will impact early retirees (who might still have young'uns at home).

HWR co-founder Joe Paduda looks at Coventry Healthcare as a model for implementing the new rules, and posits that "risk selection must be replaced by health management."

Our own Bob Vineyard reports that one unintended (?) consequence of ObamaCare© is that major employers will see the "fines" imposed for non-compliance as far more attractive than actual compliance.

■ Infrastructure

Uberwonk David Harlow reports on a Bay State initiative that will require providers to use certified EHR's, and what that portends on a national level.

■ IT

You think that hospital-issue gown lacks privacy? Peggy Salvatore thinks that some record-keeping schemes may be even more embarrassing.

Rich Elmore interviews Greg Parstons, the lead researcher and director for Accenture’s Institute for Health and Public Service Value, about health IT.

■ Economics

Of course Jason Shafrin headlines this category. He starts by recapitulating the conventional wisdom that economists abhor most forms of regulation. Then he asks whether economists would support the requirement that the FDA pre-approve all drugs for use in the U.S.

A Johnson and Johnson subsidiary's factory is shut down, and its products recalled, after an inspection found "dust, grime, and contaminated ingredients." Roy Poses takes to task the less-than-contrite CEO.

■ Trends

Victoria Kennedy puts down her own iPhone long enough to help us out with her Top 5 Health & Medical iPhone apps. Here's hoping that the crisis hotline number isn't busy.

Like John Goodman above, Maggie Mahar isn't too keen on how some cancer stat's are being misused. Her take is a bit different, though, and may well represent an interesting trend itself.

Is there a shortage of doc's, and if so, why? The Notwithstanding Blog has a unique take on why simply increasing the supply of med school students won't solve the problem.

■ And the Wonkiest of All

Austin Frakt submitted this masterpiece: "Making causal inferences in observational studies is more challenging than in randomized experiments. But econometric and statistical techniques have now improved to the point that a knowledgeable practitioner can draw causal conclusions from sound observational research. Though these techniques have already been employed in economics they have not been widely applied or appreciated in health services research. Given their utility and ease of application, that should end."

In true wonk-fashion, I ran this post through Google's translator (Wonkese -> English); click here for the result.

That wraps up this week's 'Review, please join us again on the 27th when we reconvene at David Williams' place.
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