"As the state prepares to unveil an enhanced prescription drug database next week, some health providers say it will be incompatible with their computer systems, hobbling their access to a tool meant to combat drug abuse.
The database, called the Controlled Substances Utilization Review and Evaluation System, or CURES, tracks prescriptions for certain narcotics. After a Times investigation found that it was underused and underfunded, legislators increased funding for the system in 2013.
The $3-million upgrade is set to roll out July 1, but a compatibility problem with certain web browsers may make it impossible for some doctors to use it. The California Medical Assn. sent a memo to its members last week warning that thousands of physicians could lose access to the system.
The new version of CURES will not work with older versions of Internet Explorer. Some health systems say newer browsers will not work with their electronic records."
Continue reading on L.A. Times
"I believe the future remains bright for private practice. While market indicators a few years ago were interpreted by many in the industry as signaling the demise of private practice, more recent data suggests the move away from private practice has not only leveled off, but may move back toward more independence."
Continue reading at Physicians Practice.
"WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court ruled on Thursday that President Obama’s health care law allows the government to provide nationwide tax subsidies to help poor and middle-class people buy health insurance, a sweeping vindication that endorsed the larger purpose of Mr. Obama’s signature legislative achievement.
The 6-to-3 ruling means that it is all but certain that the Affordable Care Act will survive after Mr. Obama leaves office in 2017, and will give it a greater chance of becoming an enduring part of America’s social safety net."
Continue reading on The New York Times.
"This year marks the fiftieth anniversary of the enactment of Medicare. Before President Johnson signed the program into law on July 30, 1965, fewer than half of Americans over the age of 65 had health insurance. In part, that was because so many had pre-existing conditions that precluded them from purchasing it. But even if they could, seniors regularly had to pay three to four times the premium of younger adults."
Continue reading on Health Affairs.
"Fifty-three years ago next month, doctors in Saskatchewan and the provincial government struck a historic compromise after a bitter 23-day strike. That compromise became part of national medicare. It remains at the heart of Canadian health care today.
What might be called the “Saskatchewan Compromise” gave each side something deemed essential. The CCF government of premier Woodrow Lloyd enshrined public financing and organization of health care. Government, through the tax system – not patients from their pockets – would pay for essential medical services. These services were, and still are, those delivered in hospitals and by doctors in or out of hospitals.
In exchange, doctors would retain their professional autonomy and be paid on a fee-for-service basis, charged to the state rather than to the patient. Doctors would thus avoid the dreaded status of becoming employees of the state, told how to practise by “bureaucrats.”
The result was and still is: autonomy and fee for service for the doctors; public organization and financing for the government. Something important was left out, although it did not seem important at the time. If doctors worked in a public system then why, over time, were they not given, or did they not demand, pensions, as was done by nurses, teachers and university professors? That’s because, in part, acknowledging the need for a pension would have been a tip of the hat to more government control – to doctor as a public employee, a status the profession hated. More than a half-century later, perhaps it’s time to rethink the issue."
Continue reading on The Globe and Mail.
"CVS Health Corp. said it was spending about $1.9 billion to buy Target Corp.’s health and clinic businesses, expanding the drugstore chain’s reach as the baby boomer generation continues to age.
The Woonsocket, R.I., company is acquiring more than 1,660 pharmacies at Target stores in 47 states. CVS Health plans to continue operating the pharmacies inside Target stores and will open branded pharmacies at new Target stores offering those services."
Read more at The Los Angeles Times.
"It's sometimes seemed like you can't spell ACA without ACO.
The Affordable Care Act jumpstarted the creation of "accountable care organizations," a new model for care delivery where doctors, hospitals and other providers voluntarily collaborate to lower costs while improving quality."
Read more on California Healthline.