HHS sets first meeting of physician-focused payment model technical advisory committee; EHRs' impact on physician-patient relationship varies;

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> The Health and Human Services Department has announced the first meeting of the new physician-focused payment model technical advisory committee, which will be held Feb. 1. The 11-member committee, created by the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act, will review proposals for physician focused payment models that the law requires HHS to establish through rulemaking by Nov. 1. Website   

> Electronic health records and health IT have a "complex" impact on the patient/physician relationship, according to a new study in the Journal of the American Medical Informatics Association. The systems impact eye contact, gaze, information sharing, building relationships and pauses in conversation. Whether these impacts are positive or negative depend on large part on consultation room layout, patient and provider styles of interactions and the ways the clinician integrates health IT into the consult. Abstract

Health Finance News

> A new study by researchers at the University of Colorado School of Medicine has concluded that the prospective payment model encourages many hospitals to discharge patients to skilled nursing or other facilities too early, according to a study announcement. The early discharges not only increase the risk of their readmission to an acute care facility, but the patients are twice as likely to die within 30 days of a second hospital discharge, and four times as likely to die within 100 days of discharge. Article

Health Insurance News   

> Imposing high deductibles on health plans does not, in fact, encourage individuals to shop around more for better healthcare prices, according to a new research letter from the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA). Because of this finding, "there is a need for greater availability of price information and innovative approaches to enrollee engagement," the letter states.

> The study outlined in the letter, which was based on an Internet-based survey of insured adults who had purchased medical care in the past year, found that only about 4 percent of consumers actually compared costs. Additionally, consumers in high-deductible health plans (HDHPs) were no more likely to compare out-of-pocket cost differences for healthcare professionals than those enrolled in a non-HDHP. Article    

And Finally ... That's what you get when you go trolling for gifts. Article

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