In a recent podcast about the future of telehealth, Lyle Berkowitz, MD, a technology consultant, entrepreneur, and professor at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine, confidently predicted that, because of telehealth and clinical automation, “In 10-20 years, we won’t need primary care physicians [for routine care]. The remaining PCPs will specialize in caring for complicated patients. Other … Continue reading Will AI-Automation Replace Basic Primary Care? Should It?
Last spring, the big healthcare debate between the Democratic candidates for the Presidential nomination was whether we should build on the Affordable Care Act (with a public option, natch) or go straight to Medicare for All. Now, with the confirmation of Amy Coney Barrett to the U.S. Supreme Court, the terms of the debate may … Continue reading How Justice Barrett’s Confirmation Might Bring On Medicare for All
The COVID-19 pandemic and the consequent drop in patient visits have led some observers to conclude that primary care physicians would be better off financially if they were capitated than if they were paid fee for service. If they received a fixed amount of money per health plan member per month, they’d have a guaranteed income … Continue reading Direct Primary Care: Great for Some Doctors, But Challenging for Patients
In the strangest healthcare business story of 2020, the major health insurance companies are thriving despite—or because of—the pandemic. As the second quarter reports of United, Anthem, Cigna and other insurers reveal, their COVID-19-related costs were outweighed by the sharp drop in claims for other healthcare services. As a result, the second quarter operating gain … Continue reading Health Insurers Ride High for Now, But Watch What’s Coming Next
A recent report by Merritt Hawkins, the physician recruiting firm, includes two key revelations about the impact of the COVID-19 crisis on physicians: Merritt Hawkins’ searches on behalf of prospective employers have dropped by 30% since March 31, and up to 35% of practices in some markets might soon close because of their unsustainable financial losses. As … Continue reading Physicians of America, Unite! You Don’t Have to Work for Hospitals
As COVID-19 cases soar across the country, the federal government has lost control of the situation. Amid the Trump Administration’s happy talk and outright dismissal of the crisis, the U.S. is experiencing a forest fire of contagion and hospitalizations, and an upsurge in COVID-related deaths has already begun. Many other advanced countries have controlled their … Continue reading Collective State Action Is Needed to Fight This Pandemic Right Now
Telehealth has been a lifeline for many doctors and patients during the pandemic, and the decisions of CMS and many private payers to cover telehealth visits—in some cases, at full parity with in-person visits--has helped physician practices stave off bankruptcy. Assuming that these policies remain in effect after the pandemic, I agree with the commentators who assert … Continue reading Telehealth Expansion Should Be Planned Intelligently, Long-Term
(This post was cowritten by Ken Terry and Paul Grundy, MD, the Chief Transformation Officer at Innovaccer and the convener of the virtual healthcare community Care As One. Dr. Grundy is also the founding President of the Primary Care Collaborative (PCC) and was formerly the Chief Medical Officer of IBM Healthcare Life Sciences and the Global Director … Continue reading Primary Care Practices Need Help to Survive the COVID-19 Pandemic
In any economic disaster, the largest, best-financed organizations have a natural advantage over smaller, cash-strapped organizations. The bigger entities have a greater ability to withstand economic downturns, while the small ones can quickly go out of business because they lack the financial reserves needed to tide them over. In the roughly 2 ½ months since … Continue reading How Will COVID-19 Change the Healthcare Balance of Power?
In an op-ed in The Guardian, Sen. Bernie Sanders (D-VT) and Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA) make a powerful argument that the COVID-19 pandemic has shown the need for the U.S. to adopt Medicare for All as soon as possible. If the Democrats take back the White House and the Senate in November, a public option that might lead … Continue reading Medicare for All Requires Healthcare Delivery Reform