Harrisburg, PA – Yesterday, Department of Human Services Acting Secretary Teresa Miller was joined by families, advocates, and stakeholders at the Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) in the commonwealth and to push for the re-authorization needed to continue the program.
“Initially, we had hoped this would purely be a celebratory event – unfortunately, we still have some work to do,” said Miller. “CHIP works. It is credited with helping to cut the uninsured rate for kids by more than half, while also reducing hospitalization rates, improving kids’ educational outcomes, and bolstering their families’ economic well-being.”
Community HealthChoices will launch in western PA in January
Pittsburgh, PA – Today, Governor Tom Wolf visited the Stephen Foster Community Center in Lawrenceville to announce Community HealthChoices, a program to improve services for hundreds of thousands of Pennsylvanians that will launch in 14 southwest Pennsylvania counties in January 2018. The governor was joined by Teresa Miller, Acting Secretary for the Department of Human Services; Teresa Osborne, Secretary of the Department of Aging; and Rich Fitzgerald, Allegheny County Executive.
“Since I became Governor, my administration has been focused on improving health care across Pennsylvania, making it better and more convenient for patients and practitioners alike,” Governor Wolf said. “We spoke to those touched by our health care programs to hear how we could improve the care they get, and we found that one of the most important priorities was the ability to get high quality care close to home. Community HealthChoices delivers that ability to our patients, our seniors, and those with disabilities.”
The Official Blog of the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs has featured the staff and facilities of the Cardiac Catheterization Lab at the Wilkes-Barre VA Medical Center.
Cardiac catheterization is a procedure that examines how well the heart is working. A thin, hollow tube called a catheter is inserted into a large blood vessel leading to the heart. The results of the procedure tell doctors if patients have diseases of the heart muscle, valves or coronary arteries.
Wilkes-Barre’s team of cardiologists, nurses, and technologists is skilled in all aspects of catheterization care. They understand procedures involving the heart can be particularly stressful, and do all they can to address and alleviate Veterans’ concerns.
Read more here.
FORT WASHINGTON (PRNewswire-USNewswire) -- Access to high-quality, high-value cancer care is crucial for all patients with cancer. Ideally, following a cancer diagnosis, patients should have the option to choose care from an experienced, multi-disciplinary team of sub-specialists at a comprehensive cancer center that offers the latest cancer treatment and supportive care breakthroughs. Now, this freedom of choice is being threatened by narrow network insurance plans.
A new study from the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania shows that these lower-cost plans reduce access to certain providers at comprehensive cancer centers, including National Comprehensive Cancer Network® (NCCN®) Member Institutions and National Cancer Institute (NCI)-Designated Cancer Centers. The study was published yesterday in the Journal of Clinical Oncology.
"Because cancer care and monitoring is costly, there are strong incentives for insurers to be selective when it comes to oncologists, excluding those who are most likely to attract the most complex and expensive cases," the study's lead author, Laura Yasaitis, PhD, a postdoctoral researcher at Penn said in a press release. Yasaitis and colleagues call for greater access for patients and more transparency from insurers.
"At NCCN our mission is to improve the quality, effectiveness, and efficiency of cancer care so that patients can live better lives. To that end, we applaud Dr. Yasaitis and her colleagues for their call for improved patient access and improved transparency from U.S. payers," said Robert W. Carlson, MD, Chief Executive Officer, NCCN. "NCCN Member Institutions are home to expert physicians, superior treatment options, and quality and safety initiatives that continuously improve the cancer care in the United States and around the world."
Looking at 2014 individual health insurance exchanges, the Penn researchers observed that oncologists affiliated with NCCN Member Institutions and NCI-Designated Cancer Centers were less like to be included in the narrow plan. According to Yasaitis, no matter how the authors looked at the data, there was a clear trend towards exclusion.
"NCCN publishes clinical treatment guidelines that are accessible by any cancer stakeholder so that where a patient lives doesn't determine if a patient lives," said Carlson. "However, the experience, innovation, and expertise found at the NCCN Member Institutions and other comprehensive cancer centers throughout the country should not and cannot be discounted. Stripping patients of a right to choose a comprehensive care approach not only takes away their access to leading innovations and supportive care programs that promote better outcomes, but also stifles the innovation fostered at these leading centers that is changing the face of cancer care as we know it."
In a previously reported 2015 survey of NCI-Designated Cancer Centers conducted with Avalere, NCCN found that 25% of the respondents were excluded by exchange plans offered by the majority of the state's exchange carriers.
Moreover, as noted in a 2016 NCCN Policy Report, studies have shown that patients treated at comprehensive cancer centers indeed realize better outcomes. Wolfson, et al., found that patients diagnosed with common adult-onset cancers (breast, colorectal, lung, hepatic, pancreatic, and gastric) who were not treated at NCI-Designated Comprehensive Cancer Centers had a 20-50% higher risk of mortality compared with patients treated at those centers.
When choosing a health plan, consumers may not be aware of in-network providers, nor the cost of seeing providers out-of-network. However, when diagnosed with cancer, patients want the highest-quality care to give them the best chance of survival. To this end, NCCN believes consumers need greater education when choosing plans as well as increased network adequacy on the part of insurers and policymakers.
World-renowned experts from NCCN Member Institutions diagnose and treat patients with a broad spectrum of cancers and are recognized for dealing with complex, aggressive, or rare cancers. NCCN Member Institutions pioneered the concept of the multidisciplinary team approach to patient care and conduct innovative research that contributes significantly to understanding, diagnosing, and treating cancer. The NCCN Clinical Practice Guidelines in Oncology (NCCN Guidelines®), developed by volunteer experts from the NCCN Member Institutions are the recognized standard for clinical policy in cancer care and are often the most thorough and most frequently updated clinical practice guidelines available in any area of medicine.
For more information about NCCN, visit NCCN.org.
The Kaiser Family Foundation has developed a web based tool to compare the existing law of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) with the House-passed American Health Care Act (AHCA) and the draft of the Better Care Reconciliation Act (BCRA) which was released last week. The tool also allows users to compare past proposals to repeal and replace the ACA if they choose to.
The tool creates side-by-side comparisons of the three bills by issue areas, including individual mandate, cost sharing, high risk pools, and Medicaid.
Click here to access the website.