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In this issue

Provider Supply Series  

Part I of IV

Government agencies, physicians, associations, and policy writers have long attempted to understand and make predictions regarding the supply of, and demand for, the U.S. healthcare workforce. HC Topics' four-part Provider Supply Series will address the history of provider regulation and its relation to the impending shortage of physician providers given looming demand. The first article in the series examines first reports addressing supply and demand issues within the healthcare workforce, focusing on the Graduate Medical Education National Advisory Committee.  

  Provider Supply Series: GMENAC: The Start of Supply Regualtion     

Although a physician shortage appeared from the 1920s to 1960s, between 1970 and 1980 the ratio of actively practicing doctors to patients increased by 50 percent, which in turn caused the creation of The Graduate Medical Education National Advisory Committee (GMENAC), who recommended that medical schools reduce the size of their entering classes by 17 percent to deal with the surplus.  (Read more...) 


  Legislative Action to Replace the Sustainable Growth Rate   

In May 2012, The Medicare Physician Payment Innovation Act of 2012 was introduced with the aim of eliminating Medicare's Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR), the payment system component long criticized for the uneven results it has produced in setting physician payment rates under Medicare. With widespread provider support and bipartisan sponsorship, the bill may pose the best chance at reforming the existing volume-driven payment system into one that rewards value instead.   (Read more...) 


  Better Patient Outcomes Through Pay-for-Performance: Wishful Thinking?     

A study recently released by the Harvard School of Public Health indicates that hospitals' participation in pay-for-performance (P4P) incentive programs is unlikely to produce meaningful improvement in patient outcomes. Similar findings were seen for care coordination's effect on spending and disease management, which could stifle many government programs utilizing financial incentives.  (Read more...)   


  A Tough Pill to Swallow: The Merger of Express Scripts and Medco 

In early April 2012, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) approved Express Scripts Inc.'s $29.1 billion acquisition of Medco Health Solutions, Inc., allowing for the creation of one of the largest pharmacy benefit management companies in the U.S., and increasing Express Scripts' customer base to more than 130 million. Due to the potential antitrust issues associated with the merger, Express Scripts' newly expanded customer base has caused a debate among stakeholders in the pharmaceutical industry. (Read more...)  


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