Cost Eats Revenue for Breakfast In the New Value-Based Care (VBC) Payment Landscape

magnifying-glass-1001506_640The payment landscape is shifting dramatically in the US health care industry and this has serious implications for the survival of providers. With the volume-to-value transformation, traditional fee-for-service payments are being replaced with a financial incentive framework that rewards for improved quality and outcomes. Although this impacts only Medicare payments today, it lays the groundwork and provides strong incentives for other payers to move in the same direction, thus potentially disrupting the health care system at all levels.

Ultimately, value-based payments transform traditional business models by putting significant revenue– and risk– at stake. Building the outcomes-based financial models to maximize value-based care (VBC) reimbursement pathways will be fundamental to sustainable growth in the future.
Read More ...

Mobile Devices for Better Health

In a recent article, Healthcare Selfies: Consumers Go Mobile for Better Health, Dr. John Patrick features mobile devices for consumers to monitor their health. One such device is AliveCor. It has a heart monitor that attaches to the back of an iPhone and creates a 30-second EKG. A team of engineers at Cornell University has developed a smartphone camera attachment that takes a photo of a single drop of blood that a consumer has placed on a strip, and in a matter of seconds a colorimetric analysis displays cholesterol level. Read the article for additional devices. The pace of mHealth adoption will accelerate; self-monitoring and self-diagnosis are here to stay.
Read More ...

Dr. Green’s Favorite Brain Workouts

In a recent interview by Bottom Line/Health, our own Dr. Cynthia Green was asked to suggest her best brain workouts. It’s not what most of us think. Crossword puzzles, online classes and other such activities are not necessarily the best for improving memory and preserving overall cognitive function. The latest research reveals that it takes more than quiet puzzle-solving and streaming lectures.

In fact, some activities that we once thought were time wasters may actually help build intellectual capacity and other cognitive functions.  And, the most important steps to keep your brain performing at optimal levels are lifestyle choices.  Brain workouts that include getting aerobic exercise (at least 150 minutes per week), maintaining a healthy body weight, not smoking and eating a diet that emphasizes fruits and vegetables (low in refined sugar and white flour)

However, research now tells us that there is more to a healthy brain workout. 
Read More ...

Food As Medicine

Buckwheat honey for a cough, peppermint for IBS, turmeric for arthritis, Chia seeds for high cholesterol, salmon for inflamation…“I think most people think food can’t possibly be as potent as drugs, but I see the powerful direct benefits all the time,” said Dr. Melina Jampolis, in a recent discussion with CNN and posted in an article on Fox8.com. A small, growing number of physicians are “prescribing” foods not only for weight management, but also to prevent and treat chronic diseases and CNN spoke with medical nutrition experts to unearth the specific foods they recommend. And you don’t have to be a chef or nutritionist to take advantage of these healthy choices.
Read More ...

Putting Maggie Down – Dr Hammerschlag Speaks Out On Death & Dying

I just spent a glorious week disconnecting from my ordinary workaday world and escaped to paradise…northern Lake Kootenay in the Canadian Rockies. I was there with my wife and dear family friends staying in a gorgeous mountain home where our major decisions were whether we had wine and hors d’oeuvres before or after the bocce-ball game, or what garden greens to pick for that evening’s meal.

Along with the house came with three big dogs, including Maggie, a 20 year old Black Lab mix nearing the end of her life. She was virtually immobile, spent the day sleeping only getting up to eat, drink or relieve herself.
Read More ...

February Is Heart Month: Share the Love for the Heart-Brain Connection

February is American Heart Month, and it’s a great time to once again focus our thoughts on what is without doubt the brain’s favorite valentine, the heart.

Why does heart health matter so much to our intellectual wellness? The relationship between cardiovascular function and our brain health is well established. Numerous studies have shown over and again that the same factors known to impact cardiac health, such as physical activity, weight and stress, also play a significant role in determining dementia risk. The robustness of this relationship is strong and clear, and many of us know that what is good for our heart is good for our brain as well.
Read More ...

Skills of Senior Citizens – An Untapped Resource

by Stanley Hupfeld

George Bush, Sr. parachuted from an airplane to celebrate his 90th birthday. John Adams and Thomas Jefferson continued to write thoughtful political discourse 50 years after they signed the Declaration of Independence.

A recent Governor’s conference explored opportunities how best to serve senior citizens, both medically and physically.  I suspect most people would like to live a long life well into their 90’s, disease free, with fully functioning mental capacity, simply failing to wake up one morning.

Unfortunately, far too many seniors have exactly the opposite reality.  They die in nursing homes, lonely, forgotten, surrounded by strangers, with diminished physical and mental capabilities. 
Read More ...

Brain Diet Fads: Fact, Fiction or Fashion?

What You Should Know to “Eat Smart” Now

Dr. Green expert on brain health and diet

When it comes to brain health, it seems nothing is more confusing than advice about what we eat and drink. The media’s obsessional reporting of every new finding on brain diet and memory (no matter how small or obscure the study) merely reflects our own anxieties about how the food on our table may literally turn the tables on our long-term vitality. Strident statements and specific instructions are increasingly made. Yet as a recent editorial in the Neurobiology of Aging journal states, “(s)o far, no nutritional intervention has been proved to be effective in reducing the risk or severity of Alzheimer’s or any dementia.”

 

While some may feel that there is little risk in making such brain diet recommendations regardless, this is not truly the case.
Read More ...

Employees As Caregivers – Employers Take Note

November is National Family Caregiver Month. Where do you expect to find family caregivers? In hospitals, nursing homes and seniors communities, right? Looking after their aging loved ones with an illness or disability? Absolutely.

But guess where else you’ll find the nearly 70 million caregivers in America? In the workplace – in our large corporations and in our small businesses, in cubicles answering phones and in corner offices chairing meetings, on assembly lines handling merchandise and in cars en route to servicing clients.

There are 30 million households providing care for a family member, and that number is expected to double in the next 25 years as our population continues to age.
Read More ...

Meryl Comer – Guiding Her Husband Through Alzheimer’s

November is National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month. One of our speakers, Meryl Comer’s recent best-seller about dementia caregiving: “Slow Dancing with a Stranger: Lost and Found in the Age of Alzheimer’s,” was recently reviewed by Jane Gross, a retired reporter for The New York Times, and the originator of its blog “The New Old Age.”

Watch & Listen

Ms. Gross highlights three major points of the book:
1.  Ms. Comer takes you down the black hole [of Alzheimer’s] where she has lived for 20 years, with no end in sight.

2. Ms. Comer argues persuasively that we can’t “age-proof our lives” and that this disease, “the dark side of longevity,” is a “looming health catastrophe” for us all.
Read More ...