Commonwealth Health Alliance (www.TheDocsAlliance.com) and Healthcare Practice Solutions (www.HPSlink.com) contributors provide regional and national updates to medical practitioners in the Greater Richmond Virginia Region.
December 7, 2012 Robert Zullo writes in his Richmond Times-Dispatch front page article that Dr. Carolyn Graham "is expected to resign amid concerns over
management of Richmond’s social services agency and fears about the
safety of the children the department is tasked with protecting." To read the entire artilce, please click here.
Dr. Graham is well known to the Richmond healthcare community for her leadership role with the Mayor's Blue Ribbon Commission on Healthcare Policy.
The lead article in today's Business Section of the Richmond Times-Dispatch written by Tammie Smith describes how Anthem, the largest insurer in the Commonwealth, has signed six patient-centered primary care program contracts with six large medical practices in Virginia including Patient First and Bon Secours Medical Group. The article reports that under this "fundamental change" by Anthem's parent company WellPoint, the doctors will be paid more and receive payment for "care coordination" services.
Physician leaders and organizations across the United States, including the Richmond Academy of Medicine are discussing the issues raised in the Julie Creswell/Reed Abelson November 30, 2012 article in the New York Times regarding hospital employment of large numbers of physicians in the Boise, Idaho market. In this two health system market "many of the independent doctors complain that both hospitals, but especially St. Luke’s, have too much power over every aspect of the medical pipeline, dictating which tests and procedures to perform, how much to charge and which patients to admit."
"Dr. David C. Pate, chief executive of St. Luke’s, denied the assertions by St. Alphonsus (the smaller health system) that the hospital’s acquisitions had limited patient choice or always resulted in higher prices. In some cases, Dr. Pate said, services that had been underpriced were raised to reflect market value. St. Luke’s, he argued, is simply embracing the new model of health care, which he predicted would lead over the long term to lower overall costs as fewer unnecessary tests and procedures were performed."
To read the entire article which also describes legal and regulatory reviews of health systems that have paid bonuses for ordering lab tests, dramatically increasing fees (a 2009 Virginia case) and systems that have created monopoly scenarios please click here.