Weekly Dose of Health News

Starting today, New York Health Works will begin serving up our weekly summary of health care news called “Weekly Dose of Health News” on our blog. It includes important state and federal policy decisions and health-related regulations, along with general health care news.

Please let us know what you think and if you would like to see a particular topic covered in the summary.

The New York Times wrote this week about the looming shortage of doctors in the United States and how this shortage will become more pronounced as millions of Americans gain insurance coverage under the Affordable Care Act (Lowrey and Pear, 7/28).  The Los Angeles Times writes that health clinics based in stores like CVS and Walmart may pose a partial solution to the influx of patients and shortage of physicians (Terhune, 7/30).

Following the conclusion of the 2012 International AIDS Conference in Washington, D.C. this week, Politico examines the persistent problems that face policy experts trying to slow the HIV/AIDS epidemic. The article explores how implementation of the Affordable Care Act could combat the problems of finding the HIV-positive people who are outside the health care system and keeping HIV patients in treatment once they start (Norman, 7/29).

On Wednesday two significant provisions of the Affordable Care Act took effect (Radnofsky, 7/31). These provisions require employers to distribute refunds to workers whose insurance plans spent a high percentage of their premium dollars on administrative expenses instead of medical care. Employers also will have to begin including contraception and other women’s preventive health services without charging employees co-payments or other fees (Kliff, 8/1).

The Massachusetts legislature passed a bill on Tuesday that seeks to limit the growth of health care costs in the state. The bill would not allow spending on health care to grow any faster than the state’s economy through 2017. (Goodnough, 7/31).

CMS released a final payment rule this week that will increase Medicare payment rates to acute-care hospitals by about 2.8% in 2013, while the program’s total spending on inpatient hospital services will rise by about $2 billion compared with 2012.

New York health insurers will now be required to cover reconstructive surgery after partial mastectomies. Current law requires that insurers cover reconstructive surgery after a full mastectomy.

The Los Angeles Times profiles a new physician practice model known as concierge medicine. Doctors in California and around the country are trying a new practice model known as concierge medicine to combat their frustration with long work days and little time to spend with individual patients (Gorman, 7/29).

-Jaime Venditti, 8/2/12