Spending Someone Else’s Money Is Inefficient. So Why Does Healthcare Insist On Doing It Like That?

Jeffrey Singer, M.D., or Dr. Singer, is a general surgeon in Arizona. He’s also an adjunct scholar at the Cato Institute.

He claims that healthcare costs are too damn high—and they’re only getting worse. He’s got every reason to make that claim. Turns out that last week, researchers at Harvard and Dartmouth released a report estimating that healthcare costs will continue to grow faster than the economy for at least the next two decades.

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America’s Broken Health Care System: The Role of Drug, Device Manufacturers

Health care costs are dramatically higher in the U.S. than in the rest of the world. Yet our health care outcomes – from life expectancy to infant mortality – are average at best. Few dispute these facts.

The real debate starts when we ask why. While there isn’t one single answer, the rapidly rising cost of drugs and medical devices is a significant factor.

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Red Tape By Any Other Name — How Medicare Drives High Healthcare Costs

Yes, Medicare pays the medical bills for millions of people 65 and older. And its benefit is tremendous. But recent studies show it plays another huge role in American healthcare: It helps set prices for everyone in the economy.

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Direct Care Is Actually Affordable. Direct Care Is Actually Care. Something The ACA Wishes.

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When Blue Shield of California was designing the new health plans it would offer individuals under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), the insurer made a simple request to doctors and hospital in its network — lower your prices or get left behind. The insurer asked providers to accept reimbursement rates as much as 30 percent lower than what Blue Shield previously paid through plans sold on the individual market. Keep in mind that billing through a third-party-payer is about to multiply tenfold in complexity (from ~15,000 to +155,000 billing codes with ICD-10), meaning that getting paid will require more work for fee-for-service docs. In fact, providers are attending training seminars, paid for out of pocket, to learn how to deal with this billing beast.

Some providers got on board with Blue Shield, but not all of them.

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LISTEN: Atlas.md Podcast, Ep. 14

LISTEN: Atlas.md Podcast, Ep. 14

We’re back and a LOT has happened! Seriously, 2014 is going to be a year of paradigm shift — the status quo isn’t going to cut it if insurance premiums jump 50-60% and fee-for-service docs are being told to keep 6 months of cash on hand to protect themselves from ICD-10 payment delays. Great news, though, we’re working with large unions comprised of 10-15k employees — manufacturing unions, school district unions, others — and excited about how vital this could be in the spread of direct care. And there are more physicians cutting the red tape — A practice in Oklahoma opens April 1st; Dr. Michael in Missouri is almost ready to start operating cash-only; an office in New Mexico opens February 1st; and several more are slated for the next few months. Once this ball gets rolling, we’re convinced it’s not going to slow down.

LISTEN TO EPISODE 14 OF THE ATLAS MD PODCAST HERE

In this episode, the docs outline best practices for direct care pricing, share a surprising story of insurance intimidation, and offer insight into the effects that insurance-free medicine will have on healthcare.

Should You Run An In-House Pharmacy?

Should You Run An In-House Pharmacy?

We recently received a query about the practicality of prescribing and filling prescriptions for your own direct care patients. Here’s why we do it, and why we encourage other doctors to as well.

46 states allow this type of operation.

Scratch the “Oh, it’s only allowed in Kansas” off your list of reasons not to give patients affordable meds. Currently, 92% of state governments are fine with doctors who prescribe the meds being the ones who provide them. (question, which states don’t allow it? We should add it if possible.)

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How a Cabal Keeps Generics Scarce

How a Cabal Keeps Generics Scarce

So around a year ago, President Obama signed a law meant to end chronic shortages of lifesaving drugs. However, a critical lack of generic drugs continues. This is being called a “preventable crisis” and it’s harming patients, even leading to death in the case of botched anesthesias. The New York Times does not believe the law will be effective, in part because it addresses the symptoms but not at all the disease.

LISTEN: Atlas MD Podcast, Ep. 6

LISTEN: Atlas MD Podcast, Ep. 6

Tune in to the newest taping of the Atlas MD podcast. You can stream episode 6 for free on iTunes.

Drs. Josh and Doug are back to talk direct care and concierge medicine. This week the focus is on the nerve-wracking part of launching your own insurance-free practice — selling patients on your service. We don’t want doctors to feel like used car salesmen, but at the same time, the doctor who can outline why their model saves time, money and provides a superior service will attract more patients. We go over our model and how we break down our price points by age. Also, a myth doctors will need to dispel is that concierge medicine and direct care are only for the 1%. That’s not true. Our model is built under the idea that the best care offered at the best price can, and will, help the most people.

Shopping For HealthCare Services Not Easy Due To Lack Of Publicly Available Information On Quality And Value

Shopping For HealthCare Services Not Easy Due To Lack Of Publicly Available Information On Quality And Value

After reviewing the findings from a recent study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA), Dark Daily reports that “most state websites aimed at transparency in healthcare pricing [are] inaccurate and basically useless in helping consumers shop for services.” This coming from a respectable publication, we’re left to assume the data was abysmal.

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Workforce.com Highlights Proactive Benefits Of Direct Care, Challenges Critics

Workforce.com Highlights Proactive Benefits Of Direct Care, Challenges Critics

Workforce.com published an article responding to critics who say that a subscription model doesn’t make sense for direct care. Naysayers suppose that patients stand to waste money if they don’t use the service, much like an unused gym membership. But physician and health care consultant Dr. Zubin Damania, who is working with online retailer Zappos (they’re considering offering a direct primary care clinic to Las Vegas-based employees), had this to say: “Would you use car insurance to get your oil changed or tires changed? I see primary care the same way.” Hmmm, sounds like an analogy we’ve been promoting for a while now.

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