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June 27, 2017 - Press Releases

Salt Lake City, June 27, 2017 – Today, Leavitt Partners released a new white paper, entitled “Optimizing the Value of Skilled Nursing Facilities (SNFs) In Value-Based Care: Insights for Hospitals & Health Systems.” The white paper addresses how hospitals and health systems are increasingly relying on post-acute providers to provide high value, low cost care, […]

August 17, 2017 - Blog

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse and the CDC, in 2015 over 33,000 people died from opioid overdose in the United States, and in 2013 prescription opioid abuse cost the U.S. economy approximately $78.5 billion in costs related to health care, crime, and loss of productivity. Opioid abuse and the related overdose deaths […]

August 11, 2017 - News

David Muhlestein weighed-in on ACO performance for a Bloomberg article entitled “Accountable Care Organizations Could Be Missing Out on Millions.” David said, “The biggest challenge ACOs are facing is being able to create these new service and payment systems. It’s difficult to change an industry’s culture. These are huge organizational changes that take time and the reality is it takes longer than we would like it to be. It’s a generational transformation.”

August 8, 2017 - Blog

In the U.S., a person’s health status is impacted by a variety of factors such as race/ethnicity, disability status, socioeconomic status, age, gender, sexual orientation, geography, and more. These differences in society are linked to inequalities in health status that are referred to as health care disparities. The CDC defines health disparities as “preventable differences […]

July 17, 2017 - Accountable Care Blog

Dual eligibles, individuals enrolled in both Medicare and Medicaid, are among the highest-need, highest cost patients in the United States. Although it is difficult to determine the exact number of dual eligibles, a 2012 Kaiser Family Foundation report estimates that dual eligibles comprise 21 percent of the Medicare population and 15 percent of the Medicaid […]

June 28, 2017 - Accountable Care Blog Medicaid

Dual-eligible enrollees account for a disproportionately sizeable proportion of spending in both Medicare and Medicaid programs. However, until recently, these nearly 11.5 million[i] enrollees have not been in the spotlight in discussions regarding the move toward value-based payments.

June 27, 2017 - Accountable Care White Papers

In an effort to increase care coordination and decrease health care costs across the care continuum, many health systems and hospitals are reconfiguring their relationship with post-acute care (PAC) providers. The momentum for change is driven in part from government-initiated efforts that hold hospitals and health systems responsible for the cost and quality of care delivered beyond the four walls of […]

June 26, 2017 - Events

Curious about how the impact of recent political chaos will make on commercial health insurance markets? Join HIP for our next webinar on July 20th from 2:00-3:00pm ET as we explore the following questions: How has the evolving regulatory landscape impacted the commercial health insurance markets since 2013? What has been the impact on enrollment and margins […]

June 14, 2017 - Blog

  Micro-Hospitals Defined While the health care industry continues to shift from volume to value, costs of inpatient care continue to rise, averaging $2,346 per inpatient per day. Consequently, payers and providers are seeking new ways to reduce hospital length of stay (LOS) and deliver care at less costly locations. One such mechanism is the […]

June 6, 2017 - Blog

On April 1, 2016, the Comprehensive Care for Joint Replacement (CJR) model program took effect, affecting roughly 800 hospitals across 67 markets.  Prior to the program becoming active, Leavitt Partners published a blog post stating, “Time will tell whether hospitals and providers will succeed with quality improvements and savings generation under this new program.” One […]

May 24, 2017 - Events

Join Health Intelligence Partners in Nashville, TN for a deep dive roundtable discussion that focuses on the underpinnings of Medicaid reform and evolution that are critical to shore up no matter what policy change comes from Washington, from the perspective of states, vendors and providers: Technology: Where are the opportunities for technology to enable efficiencies […]

May 15, 2017 - Accountable Care Blog

Bundled payments are a great option for organizations that are interested in taking on risk, but don’t have the appetite to form an ACO. Bundle payments group costs associated with a particular treatment or episode of care, offering health systems a longitudinal look at the care cycle that can help them efficiently allocate resources. The CMS Bundled […]

May 2, 2017 - White Papers

Post-acute care (PAC) covers a range of health care services after hospitalization, including Long-Term Acute-Care (LTAC) hospitals, Inpatient Rehabilitation Facilities (IRFs), Skilled Nursing Facilities (SNFs), and Home Health (HH) agencies. Historically, health systems had little reason to closely integrate with PAC providers or even examine PAC providers on measures of cost and quality, largely because […]

May 1, 2017 - Blog Medicaid

The Affordable Care Act turned Medicaid into America’s largest public health care coverage program. While the volume associated with this growing program created increasing opportunities for providers, health systems, health plans, and vendors, these same stakeholders shouldn’t write off opportunities in Medicaid now simply because of the change in direction at the federal level. Instead, […]

May 1, 2017 - Press Releases

Salt Lake City, May 1, 2017 – Today, Leavitt Partners released a new white paper, entitled “Post-Acute Care Optimization in a Value-Based Economy: Bridging the Gap Between Hospitals and Home.” The white paper addresses how the move to a value-based payment environment has necessitated that health systems tackle post-acute care spending and care management with […]

April 25, 2017 - Blog

Today, businesses striving to understand health care markets purchase siloed data. While data exists on individual industries (provider, payer, pharmaceutical, etc.), the data lacks the key connections needed to provide visibility into the relationships between those industries and how markets actually operate. Imagine buying individual strands of dried spaghetti from many sellers, binding them together, […]

April 18, 2017 - Accountable Care Blog

Six Characteristics of Successful Post-Acute Care (PAC) Value Networks Between 2001 and 2015 Medicare payments to post-acute care (PAC) providers more than doubled.[1] As such, PAC represents a growing opportunity for value-based entities such as accountable care organizations (ACOs), bundled-payment model participants, and medical groups to create savings in overall spend. Consider that five percent […]

April 12, 2017 - Press Releases

Washington, D.C., April 12, 2017 – Leavitt Partners, a health care intelligence firm founded by former Governor and Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Mike Leavitt, announced today that Robert Horne will join Leavitt Partners as a senior director beginning on April 17, 2017. Based in Washington, D.C. Robert will advise […]

April 7, 2017 - News

A Becker’s Hospital Review article entitled “3 ways MACRA will change health systems” references the Leavitt Partners “MACRA in 2017: Overview, Impact, and Strategic Considerations of the Quality Payment Program” white paper. The article specifically references the three ways Leavitt Partners predicts MACRA will change health systems: 1) Acceleration of the transition to value-based care, […]

March 24, 2017 - Blog

Interoperability within health care has long been a goal within the health care IT ecosystem. Historically, interoperability has been focused on providers exchanging data with other providers under HIPAA. Although advances have been made, true data liquidity between providers, consumers, and caregivers has yet to be achieved. It is essential to find better ways to […]

January 26, 2017 - News

A Becker’s Hospital Review article entitled “50 things to know about the hospital industry 2017” references Leavitt Partners data in two items. Item 37 states, “As of January 2016, the number of ACOs rose to 838, according to Leavitt Partners.” Item 38 states, “Leavitt Partners and Health Affairs identified 1,217 accountable care or value-based contracts […]

January 18, 2017 - Accountable Care Market Research

Emergency medical services (EMS) evoke images of EMTs and paramedics responding to medical crises and transporting patients to the hospital rather than thoughts about value-based care and changes in health care delivery and payment models. EMS leaders are trying to change that paradigm through a movement dubbed “EMS 3.0.” EMS 3.0 aims to make emergency […]

December 14, 2016 - Blog Market Research

The Government Accountability Office (GAO) recently issued a report outlining five key areas in which smaller, rural physician practices tend to struggle as they shift from fee-for-service reimbursement to value-based care. Given the unique nature of rural medicine, and the fact that value-based payment will continue to grow, it is important to understand these challenges […]

September 26, 2016 - Press Releases

Today, Mark McClellan, co-chair of the Accountable Care Learning Collaborative (ACLC), presented at a symposium for the National Academy of Medicine’s Vital Directions for Health and Health Care Initiative.

September 20, 2016 - Press Releases

Salt Lake City, September 20, 2016 — Today, the Accountable Care Learning Collaborative (ACLC) released “A Call for Collaborative Action,” challenging all health care industry stakeholders to unite in advancing accountable care across the country by sharing their own population health management solutions. The release was signed by eleven industry leaders, including: Don Crane, CAPG; […]

September 14, 2016 - Press Releases

Leavitt Partners releases “Regulatory Frameworks for Community Health Worker Programs,” a white paper that identifies state approaches and key components of effective community health worker (CHW) programs Salt Lake City, September 14, 2016 — The “Regulatory Frameworks for Community Health Worker Programs” white paper, released today, outlines state approaches to community health worker (CHW) programs […]

September 14, 2016 - Market Research White Papers

Health reforms in recent years have opened up the door to greater use of Community Health Workers (CHWs) due to their role in working with higher-risk populations. CHWs have the ability to decrease costs and improve patient outcomes in the communities they serve. As a result, providers, payers, and state policymakers are taking steps to incorporate […]

September 1, 2016 - Accountable Care Blog Market Research

Medicare Advantage (MA) offers Medicare benefits through private health plans, providing an alternative to the traditional, federally-administered program. Also known as Medicare Part C, this private option traces its roots to the 1970s and received its current name and form in the Medicare Modernization Act of 2003. Since then, the number of enrollees has grown […]

September 1, 2016 - News

Governor Leavitt provided his insight on the fight against the Zika virus and Donald Trump’s transition team during a Fox Business News interview with Maria Bartiromo. Governor Leavitt noted that no one should expect that the federal government will provide the solution to everything where there is a pandemic risk. While the government has responsibilities […]

August 10, 2016 - Press Releases

Salt Lake City, UT – August 10, 2016 – Leavitt Partners and Forward Health Group have announced a collaboration to support physician groups and payers succeed in Comprehensive Primary Care Plus (CPC+), a payment initiative set forth by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). Primary care medical practices must apply for CPC+ by […]

August 4, 2016 - News

David Smith noted that he thinks employers are right to want proof about the benefits of hospital deals for a Crain’s Chicago Business article entitled “Big business doubts savings from hospital mergers: survey.” David said, “It puts the onus on the hospital systems to make the argument for lower costs and fees, and better service. […]

July 29, 2016 - Accountable Care Blog

By Melissa Porter & Shawn Matheson. On July 25, 2016, CMS announced a proposed rule to provide additional incentives for hospitals to provide higher quality care at a lower cost. The proposed rule seeks to increase coordination of care and decrease costs for heart attack and bypass surgery patients, creates a new Surgical Hip/Femur Fracture Treatment […]

July 8, 2016 - Blog Exchange

By Dan Schuyler & Sean Mullin. In a recent announcement, CMS acknowledged the need to insure younger and healthier adults in order to contribute to a more balanced Marketplace risk pool and lower costs. CMS detailed a series of actions to step-up Marketplace outreach, especially to young adults who are still more likely than average to […]

June 28, 2016 - Accountable Care Blog

With CJR beginning last April and BPCI being extended for two more years until 2018, bundled payments have established themselves as CMS options for value-based care programs. Adoption looks to continue upward for future years, though, a potential mass adoption could take place if a favorable, future MACRA decision determines that bundled payments qualify for […]

June 24, 2016 - Accountable Care Blog

Recently I had the opportunity to research CMS’ Oncology Care Model (OCM) bundle and to interview a number of c-suite individuals across oncology hospitals and clinics. Below please find eight summary thoughts. Difficulty of bundling oncology. Joint replacements (the focus of CMS’ new mandatory bundled payment program) have a clear beginning and end for the episode […]

June 9, 2016 - Accountable Care Blog

As a former primary care clinic manager and COO of a medical group engaged in value-based contracts, I was excited to see CMS’ announcement on Comprehensive Primary Care Plus (CPC+). I welcome this shift in Medicare primary care payments away from the quagmire of Fee-For Service (FFS) and into the higher ground of partial capitation, […]

May 16, 2016 - Blog

On April 26, 2016, CMS released final rules for Medicaid managed care and CHIP, marking the first revamp of these rules in over 10 years. Currently, 39 states and D.C. rely on managed care to provide services to all or a portion of their Medicaid beneficiaries, and that number is growing. The use of managed […]

May 13, 2016 - Blog

Each year CMS releases its Limited Data Set (LDS) claims data for all Medicare beneficiaries. Medicare claims data provides a wealth of information that can be used to inform researchers, policy makers, and commercial entities about health care trends throughout the country and in particular locales. I used the 2013 Medicare denominator data file to […]

April 20, 2016 - News

Governor Leavitt provided some historical and policy perspective on pandemic funding for a USA Today article entitled “Obama’s $1.9 billion Zika request: ‘Slush fund,’ or needed flexibility?” Governor Leavitt said, “There is a dilemma in dealing with pandemics. Before a pandemic strikes, everything proposed seems alarmist. And after a pandemic strikes, everything seems insufficient.” He also noted that he understands Congress has a job to do, but “That doesn’t mean you can’t scrutinize proposals. You just have to do it fast,” he said. “Time is so important. As time ticks away, your capacity to get out ahead of it diminishes.”

March 27, 2016 - Blog

(Guest commentary by David Simmons) As a presidential historical junkie I’m following this year’s GOP nominating process with many emotions including fascination and discouragement.  We appear to be watching history in the making. One possible outcome of this year’s GOP primaries and caucuses is a contested nominating convention where no candidate has enough delegate votes […]

March 23, 2016 - Blog

Amid a firestorm of protest, the Obama administration announced a new test model for how it will pay for Medicare Part B drugs. According to the administration, this move is in line with recent changes to payment methodologies from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) in an effort to curb escalating medical spend […]

March 16, 2016 - News

On Tuesday, Governor Leavitt provided remarks at the American College of Healthcare Executives 2016 Congress. During his address, he cautioned leaders of hospitals and health care systems that they must pay attention to the signals about the accelerated move toward value-based payments. He, said, “They are happening at different rates depending on the local market, but signals by the federal government are no longer weak: They’re profoundly real.”

March 15, 2016 - Blog

Last October I wrote a blog examining the average number of days that opioids were prescribed per medicare beneficiary at the state level. There is continual interest in understanding and reducing the abuse of prescription pain medicines.1 Use of opioids to manage pain has been increasing steadily since the early 90s,2 and increased use is […]

March 9, 2016 - Blog

About five years ago our Chairman, Governor Mike Leavitt, approached a small group of us and expressed a desire for Leavitt Partners to architect a model that would predict the pace of America’s change away from a predominantly fee-for-service (FFS) payment system to some other form of loosely defined value reimbursement. Led by Dr. David […]

February 25, 2016 - Blog

On Friday, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announced their proposed Medicare rate adjustments. Estimates forecast a 3.5% increase for Medicare Advantage plans after adjusting for coding practices. CMS also intends to “improve payment precision and encourage quality” with the possibility of some changes to the star rating system. The proposed changes represent […]

February 16, 2016 - Blog

CMS announced that approximately 12.7 million individuals selected a health plan through the federal and state-based marketplaces during the third year of the ACA’s open enrollment period, which ended on January 31, 2016.[1] However, CMS’ estimate falls short of the Congressional Budget Offices (CBO) original estimates for marketplace enrollment. In fact, just prior to the […]

February 11, 2016 - Blog

Earlier this year, CMS announced a new clinical-community collaboration program to overcome the unmet social needs of beneficiaries. The Accountable Health Communities Model (AHC) will examine whether systematically identifying and attempting to address health-related social needs of beneficiaries through referral and community navigation services can impact health care costs, reduce inpatient and outpatient health care […]

February 4, 2016 - News

According to David Muhlestein, MACRA will spur many providers to move to two-sided risk and cause the bulk of ACOs to make the move to downside risk arrangements in 2019, when the law forces them to choose between the two payment systems. David’s commentary was included in an AIS Valued-Based Care News article entitled “MACRA Could Push More ACOs to Downside Risk.”

December 10, 2015 - News

Today, Western Governors University (WGU) officially launched a M.S. in Integrated Healthcare management degree program. The online program, aimed at preparing professionals for senior leadership roles in health care, is competency-based, which allows students to study and learn at their own pace, completing courses as soon as they demonstrate mastery of the subject matter through tests, papers, simulations, and projects. Governor Leavitt is a member of the council of experts that helped develop the program He remarked “This degree is organized to prepare students for the 21st century, to prepare them for massive changes in healthcare policy and administration, and to put themselves in a position to not just make a living, but to lead.”

December 3, 2015 - News

David Muhlestein was interviewed for a RevCycleIntelligence article entitled “Top 6 Trending Payment Models Demanding New Long-TermFocus.” David noted that the value-based payment goal HHS announced last February prompted people to pay closer attention to value-based payments. Although they could lead to a lower growth in health care expenditures, he cautioned that ““Value-based models are not going to be the silver bullet that solves all of the healthcare cost problems in America. If you really are providing better care at a lower acuity setting then you’re going to end up with better health outcomes. Value-based payments have a modest opportunity to lower the costs and a stronger opportunity to improve the quality of care.”

November 24, 2015 - Blog Market Research

Last week CMS finalized rules for the Comprehensive Care for Joint Replacement (CJR) bundle, which goes into effect April 1, 2016 and makes certain hospitals financially at risk for the entire episode of care of a Lower Extremity Joint Replacement (LEJR) patient. Leavitt Partners previously issued a policy brief on the initiative. I believe this […]

October 22, 2015 - Blog

Opioids are a class of drug primarily used in the treatment of pain. According to the NIH, The number of people both using and abusing opioids has increased significantly since 1999. Scientific research has revealed several deleterious effects associated with opioid prescription drug abuse. The primary concern with increased opioid prescribing is the high probability […]

October 7, 2015 - Blog

State leaders have been arguing powerfully for greater flexibility in designing and administering their Medicaid programs, particularly when consider using 1115 Demonstrations to implement Medicaid expansions under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). However, while states are pushing for ever more flexibility and control over Medicaid, HHS may believe that it has already gone far in […]

October 1, 2015 - Blog

Over the last several years, we’ve heard countless times about how health care spending in the U.S. has become unsustainable. Despite slowed health care spending growth over the past few years, growth is expected to pick up for future years. To put the magnitude of the expected growth into context, it’s anticipated that if current […]

September 16, 2015 - Blog

The meaning behind “population health” has garnered diverse and varied definitions among health care stakeholders across the country. Some experts have thought that population health refers to a concept of public health’s responsibility for the overall health of a community. While other stakeholders have believed that population health refers more specifically to an organization’s accountability […]

September 9, 2015 - C-Brief

Introduction.  I’m a firm believer that data has a story to tell, particularly if you are able to see what it says. While looking through pages of numbers may lead to some interesting insights, there’s a limit on what can be gleaned without translating the data into a more consumable format. Countless analysts have dabbled […]

September 9, 2015 - Blog

The CMS ACO programs have been the subject of much debate and analysis among those who monitor and evaluate health care payment and delivery reform efforts. Much of the focus of this debate has been on evaluating the cost and quality metrics that have resulted from the Pioneer and MSSP models deployed by CMS. Some […]

September 1, 2015 - Blog

Congress is enthusiastic about mental health reform. House and Senate members introduced three bipartisan bills this year, each with the goal to help ease access to health care for those with mental illness. The bills signal progress towards more mental health awareness. But, will these proposals actually fix fragmentation within mental health services? As we’ve […]

August 25, 2015 - Blog

Recently, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) announced that more providers have decided to assume financial risk under Phase 2 of the Bundled Payments for Care Improvement (BPCI) program. Launched in January 2013, the BPCI Initiative has offered providers an opportunity to pursue 48 episodes of care within four different types of bundled […]

August 12, 2015 - Events

Exclusive to members of Health Intelligence Partners: The health insurance marketplace is continually evolving and transforming. This round table discussion aims to  determine what attributes contribute to a successful marketplace and what policies will foster organic competition among participants. We’ll contrast the product development for insurance marketplaces with that of other business lines and traditional […]

August 11, 2015 - News

Gov. Leavitt talked about the possibility of rolling back Obamacare on CNBC’s Squawk Box. According to Gov. Leavitt, the reality of actually repealing the law seems quite low. However, if Republicans are successful at winning the white house and retaining Congress they will move towards a market-based system rather than a regulatory-controlled system.

June 24, 2015 - Press Releases

The Private Exchange Coalition will promote shared industry standards and best practices, and increase awareness of the powerful ways private exchanges improve the selection, administration and use of employee benefits WASHINGTON, D.C. – June 24, 2015 – The Private Exchange Coalition (PEC) has announced its formation to help guide the rapidly growing private exchange industry. The PEC […]

June 15, 2015 - Blog

Academic Medical Centers (AMCs) are a vital part of the U.S. health care system.  They train doctors, find new treatments and cures, and in many cases, care for the sickest and most complex patients at their facilities. AMCs also provide important community services, and are critical to America’s safety net. AMCs in today’s world of […]

June 15, 2015 - Press Releases

We write to the governors and legislative leadership of 34 states with the aspiration of using our collective experience as former officials from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to share an analysis that may be helpful in anticipating options ahead of the King v. Burwell court ruling. Within the next two weeks, […]

June 10, 2015 - Blog

After much anticipation, CMS has issued its final rule for the Medicare Shared Savings Program (MSSP). The 592-page document describes changes to various aspects of the program including the option to extend time under the no-risk Track 1 for a second agreement period, and the addition of a new two-sided model, Track 3. CMS released […]

June 4, 2015 - Blog

Variability in Prostate-Specific Antigen (PSA) Testing Across the United States During the past few years the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has increasingly been willing to release data that allows analysts to study treatment patterns for individual physicians. This has been extensively covered by the media, particularly as it relates to high-paid physicians. […]

May 20, 2015 - Blog

Leavitt Partners helps diverse health care and life science organizations develop multidisciplinary collaborations to resolve complex challenges and accomplish their objectives through policy reform, regulatory reform, legislative action and development of industry best practices.  We bring value to clients through the enhanced influence of a broad, unified voice. That’s what we do.  How we do […]

May 11, 2015 - Blog

One of the last projects I worked on before leaving the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) was to inventory all the quality measures used by the reporting agencies, including NIH, CMS, CDC, and others. It was the first attempt and what our team found was startling: HHS was using nearly 900 different measures, […]

May 5, 2015 - Blog

  Will Private Exchanges Replace Health Insurance Brokers? Lessons from the Travel Industry. By Ben Gong A few years ago, some friends and I used a travel website to find a ticket from China to the U.S. and we were curious to see if a travel agent could beat the price. After spending several minutes […]

April 16, 2015 - Blog

Consumer-driven insurance marketplaces need greater price transparency and better decision-support tools. Health insurance is one of a few consumer goods where understanding the price of the good will require a complex calculation based on individual attributes. Additionally, identifying the “best” product for an individual requires one to blindly forecast their expected utilization over the coming […]

March 23, 2015 - Blog

A week ago, one of our colleagues found himself ill. To him it felt to be a familiar case of the common cold or flu, for which he had been treated several times over the course of his life. With a desire to demonstrate the use of the telemedicine platform Leavitt Partners recently adopted, he […]

March 11, 2015 - Blog

On the first day of December, 2014 CMS released a proposed rule to update the Medicare Shared Savings Program, the most prominent of the ACO programs being promulgated by the federal and various state governments. As a team, we devoured the 429-page rule, splitting it up along certain topics like attribution and financial model options; […]

March 5, 2015 - Blog

Medicine has always been a personal matter. Why then talk of personalized medicine? What is different about personalized care now than in the past, and how will personalized medicine likely evolve in the future? At its core, personalized medicine involves the tailoring of medical treatment to the individual characteristics of each patient. Hippocrates aspired to […]

February 3, 2015 - Blog

This past week saw several announcements from some very significant groups regarding the shift toward value-based payment. First, Secretary Burwell announced that HHS would move 30% of its total spending in Medicare to value-based payments by 2016 and 50% by 2018 through models like ACOs and bundled payments. Soon after, a coalition of health care […]

January 30, 2015 - News

Leavitt Partners is acting as an implementation partner to the Health Care Transformation Task Force (HCTTF), an alliance of major health systems, insurers, and other industry players committed to putting 75% of its business into “value-based payment arrangements” by 2020.  The HCTTF was launched on Wednesday, just two days after HHS announced its goal of […]

January 30, 2015 - News

Leavitt Partners is acting as an implementation partner to the Health Care Transformation Task Force (HCTTF), an alliance of major health systems, insurers, and other industry players committed to putting 75% of its business into “value-based payment arrangements” by 2020.  The HCTTF was launched on Wednesday, just two days after HHS announced its goal of […]

January 23, 2015 - Blog

This post is a four-part series on state health care innovation efforts. This post will give a broad overview of some of the opportunities available to states that support their efforts in transforming health care payment and delivery systems.  Upcoming posts will discuss each of these opportunities in more detail. The Affordable Care Act (ACA) […]

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January 12, 2015 - News Press Releases

Contact: Jordana Choucair, Senior Director of Communications, 801.538.5082 or jordana.choucair@leavittpartners.com   The Stage is Set: State and Federal Planning Ahead of King v. Burwell   Salt Lake City, UT, January 12, 2015 – Today, Leavitt Partners releases “The Stage is Set: State and Federal Planning Ahead of King v. Burwell,” a perceptive white paper that […]

December 1, 2014 -

While the U.S. health care system has typically been good at treating acute problems, such as broken bones and infections, it has not been able to prevent or heal chronic diseases. Medical advances help people live longer, but they tend to do so with multiple, co-morbid conditions that decrease their quality of life and constitute […]

November 19, 2014 - Blog

In 2013, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) issued final rules for the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA) essential health benefit package (EHB) package. The rules require states to designate “benchmark plans” that cover 10 expansive categories of essential benefits, including preventive care, emergency services, maternity care, hospital and doctors’ services, and prescription drugs.The […]

November 19, 2014 - News

Dan Schuyler provided insight into the HealthCare.gov website for a Modern Healthcare entitled “Window shopping HealthCare.gov reveals improvements, some problems”. Dan said that the ability to browse plans before enrolling was a “vast improvement”, but noted there were still problems.

November 11, 2014 - Blog

For states looking to ease in step-by-step with State-Based Marketplaces, the Supported State-Based Marketplace appears to be that practical option.

November 3, 2014 - News

Gov. Leavitt provided a guest commentary regarding the impact of Ebola on hospitals in Modern Healthcare. In the piece, Gov. Leavitt uses the recent experience of Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas as a case study for what hospitals can do to “inoculate themselves from a similar misfortune” and urges them to contemplate four critical categories of risk: reputational, staffing, clinical volume, and financial.

October 22, 2014 - News

Gov. Leavitt talked with Richard Lui about the problems he sees using a travel ban to contain Ebola. Leavitt was in charge of preparing for the bird flu pandemic under the Bush Administration.

October 17, 2014 - News

Gov. Leavitt commented on a travel ban to contain the Ebola crisis in two recent articles: “CDC Dismisses Travel Ban on Ebola Nations After New Case” (Bloomberg News) and “GOP Adviser Sees Problems With Ebola Travel Ban” (AP). Gov. Leavitt said that he and his team studied a travel ban intensely during bird flu preparedness under President Bush, but concluded such an approach might not work.

October 13, 2014 - Blog

Known as private, nonprofit organizations, CHCs have grown up over the years, and aren’t just considered the safety-net option for care anymore.

September 26, 2014 - News

Leavitt Partners was cited in a NewsOK article examining good reasons to expand Medicaid in Oklahoma. The article notes that Leavitt Partners is credited with having determined that the uninsured Oklahomans who could be covered suffer higher rates of serious health problems than current Medicaid enrollees.

September 26, 2014 - News

Melinda Beck, a Health & Science Reporter for The Wall Street Journal, featured a comment from David Muhlestein in a “Market Talk” item regarding the latest Pioneer ACO defections. According to David, the departure of 4 more hospital systems from the program isn’t surprising given the longstanding gripes about its structure. David said the departures could spur Medicare to re-evaluate the Pioneer model, although they could make it look better, and notes with the less-successful hospitals gone, a higher percentage of those which remain may be able to achieve savings.

August 28, 2014 - Blog

Hospitals and physicians have become more focused on the implementation of care coordination tactics among their organizational entities.

August 11, 2014 - Blog

State health care innovation is accelerating, with many states developing initiatives to further their efforts to improve health care.

July 9, 2014 - Blog

In an effort to tackle care coordination and cost challenges associated with many of the most vulnerable and needy patients, states around the country are experimenting with managed care and dual eligible initiatives.

June 24, 2014 - Blog

Payers are increasingly focused on readmission rates and holding hospitals accountable through the use of financial penalties.

June 24, 2014 - Blog

Integrating pharmacists into patient care teams could provide value to accountable care organizations as their network of providers seek to improve the quality of health care services and reduce costs.

June 19, 2014 - Blog

Two seismic shifts will transform the American health system: Health insurance exchanges, either public or private, and reimbursement models slowly migrating from fee-for-service.

May 30, 2014 - News

In recent California Healthline article, David Muhlestein provided insight into why ACOs have emerged as dominate care model despite challenges. According to David, “With continued government support … and considerable growth in the number of organizations becoming ACOs, the prospect of ACOs becoming the dominant model in care delivery seems very real.” The article was also picked-up by FieceHealthPlayer

April 23, 2014 - Blog

At a crossroads, employers require innovative decision support tools and guidance that allow them to explore the best path forward for their organization.

April 10, 2014 - Blog

Retailers potentially have the know-how and resources necessary to take traditional marketing efforts and apply them to population health management.

April 2, 2014 - Blog

Cost and quality metrics are integral parts of the accountable care movement; this makes attribution essential to successful reporting.

March 11, 2014 - Blog

Economic growth is an important assumption when predicting the likely increase of value-based payment arrangements.

March 11, 2014 - Press Releases

The Leavitt Partners Center for Accountable Care Intelligence releases “Optimized Medication Use: A Growing Priority for ACOs”, a white paper on the increasing priority being given to medication use strategies within ACOs

February 23, 2014 - Blog

No one disputes the revolutionary power HIT can have on the practice of medicine. The question is whether HIT will have a more powerful effect on the needle or the haystack.

February 23, 2014 - Blog

Following a four-month struggle, Massachusetts was granted a three-month extension by CMS to extend existing coverage plans past the end of open enrollment.

February 18, 2014 - Blog

Achieving access to services for those who need care is on the mind of all health systems around the country.

February 13, 2014 - Blog

By becoming active participants in the emergence of Accountable Care Organizations, employers can shape ACO priorities and business decisions and thereby secure potential value for their own organizations.

February 6, 2014 - Blog

Whether or not the compliance date for ICD-10 implementation will remain October 1, 2014 is still unknown. At this point, all signs point to this being the year.

January 30, 2014 - Blog

Paul Gardner, Senior Analyst at Leavitt Partners, underscores the importance for ACOs to not only produce shared savings but to also meet quality measures.

January 15, 2014 - Blog

Scott Hammer, Senior Associate at Leavitt Partners, shares how Medicare’s Value-based Purchasing Program incentives hospitals to make improvements in the delivery of quality-based care.

January 14, 2014 - Blog

For providers to truly succeed in an age that necessitates interoperability and standardization, the following solutions can avoid unnecessary headaches.

January 13, 2014 - News

Dan Schuyler weighed-in on the issues Minnesota is facing to eliminate the problems with the state’s health care exchange. Dan noted that Leavitt Partners thought Minnesota would have been one of the top 10 states that would have launched successfully on October 1 and was quite surprised they were having issues.

December 19, 2013 - Press Releases

The Leavitt Partners Center for Accountable Care Intelligence releases new white paper entitled “Geographic Distribution of ACO Covered Lives’”

December 10, 2013 - Blog

Transitioning to a system that rewards quality, rather than quantity, enables improvement efforts to move forward.

December 6, 2013 - Blog

Physician practices have the potential to encourage hospitals to compete on price and quality for the allegiance of physician sponsored ACOs

December 6, 2013 - News

Gov. Leavitt was interviewed for an article in The Huffington Post that discussed how unresolved technical problems on HealthCare.gov could result in patients finding out at the doctor’s office that they actually did not successfully use the website to sign up for health insurance. Gov. Leavitt compared this scenario to enrollees finding out their benefits weren’t in place under Medicare Part D and asserted that “There’s an obligation to make certain that people have not been seriously disadvantaged in their health by this.”

November 25, 2013 - Blog

Across the country, hospitals and health systems are transitioning to accountable care organizations (ACOs). Douglas Hervey, Coordinator of ACO Research, details the challenges involved.

November 25, 2013 - Blog

Going forward hospitals will able to train certified application counselors to assist patients with exchange enrollment.

November 15, 2013 - Blog

Matthew Petersen, Analyst at Leavitt Partners, sheds light on an often overlooked provision in the Affordable Care Act, Pediatric Accountable Care Organization Demonstration Projects.

November 15, 2013 - News

Dan Schuyler was interviewed by the New York Times on an article examining why some state insurance exchanges continue to battle technical problems. According to Dan, “the states that had good leadership, good design philosophy and were pragmatic about planning and development of their exchange ultimately are faring the best”.

November 15, 2013 - News

On Thursday, Gov. Leavitt commented on Healthcare.gov’s technical problems in a LIVE TV interview with Bloomberg TV. Gov. Leavitt noted that while the implementation of exchanges is not completely off track, the Administration has a serious problem on its hands. Gov. Leavitt attributed the Administration’s early decisions not to issue regulations last year to ensure functionality as a contributing factor to implementation problems.

November 6, 2013 - Blog

Leavitt Partners research indicates that successful HIT adoption begins with culture, simplicity, and standardization.

November 5, 2013 - Blog

What is the cost of providing care and why does that matter as providers assume greater risk?

November 1, 2013 - News

On Oct. 31, Gov. Leavitt discussed launch problems with the healthcare.gov website and the accountability of Secretary Sebelius on Bloomberg Television’s “In the Loop”.

November 1, 2013 - Press Releases

The Accountable Care Cooperative convenes senior industry leaders to discuss challenges and best practices regarding the accountable care movement.

October 29, 2013 - Blog

Many have said, “If you have seen one ACO, you have seen one ACO”. David Muhlestein, Director of Research at Leavitt Partners, characterizes four central functions of an accountable care organization.

October 25, 2013 - News

On Thursday, Dan Schuyler participated in a radio interview with Washington Times. Dan noted that if the exchange enrollment isn’t working smoothly in three weeks, there could be problems. He also projected that the Administration would make a final decision on delaying the individual mandate by mid-January.

October 24, 2013 - Blog

What works and 8 lessons other health care organizations learn

October 21, 2013 - Blog

Christian Pena, Senior Analyst at Leavitt Partners, explains why ACO technological innovations may ultimately have a larger impact on health care than the ACOs themselves.

October 8, 2013 - News

David Muhlestein was quoted in a Medpage Today article on attributes of health systems where ACOs form. Muhlestein cautions that while regional and market variation may be good indicators of where ACOs may form, many organizations will be reluctant to form ACOs without clearly successful precedents.

September 26, 2013 - Blog

When fluidity exists in your market — as it does in American healthcare — careful planning and calculated execution will help your organization thrive earlier than later.

September 19, 2013 - Blog

How care coordination tools can improve patient satisfaction and outcomes.

September 4, 2013 - Blog

When patients and physicians apply shared-decision making, quality and satisfaction go up while costs go down.

August 26, 2013 - Press Releases

In Finding Allies, Building Alliances, Mike Leavitt and Rich McKeown explain how a well chosen network can become a powerful alliance. They
provide a framework of 8 elements that will help any leader foster and maintain an effective, productive venture. Whether you’re launching a new partnership, or rehabilitating one already in progress, Finding Allies, Building Alliances will help you find workable solutions to the most
complex problems and boost competitiveness and resilience. Learn more about the book by visiting FindingAllies.com

August 21, 2013 - Press Releases

As a gold-level sponsor, Leavitt Partners will present our accountable care findings, including trends and market forecasts.

July 23, 2013 - Blog

Douglas Hervey, Coordinator of ACO research at Leavitt Partners, outlines six key takeaways from Medicare’s first year report on thier Shared Savings Program.

July 17, 2013 - Blog

Dan Schuyler, Director of Exchange Technology at Leavitt Partners, discusses the technical challenges health insurance exchanges face as the October 1st open enrollment deadline approaches.

July 15, 2013 - News

Gov. Mike Leavitt provided insight on President Bush’s re-emergence into politics. Gov. Leavitt said, “I would compare President Bush to a retired master chef. Food is abundant, there are many who would interested in the cuisine, but he’s not going to cook until he feels like it. There are very few things that stimulate a desire to cook like a great kitchen.” Leavitt was referring to the just-opened George W. Bush Presidential Library and Institute, which he predicted will make the former president “feel more like engaging. It has given him a dignified platform, and it seems quite logical he will, on his own terms, become more visible on issues important to him.” Gov. Leavitt served as EPA administrator and HHS Secretary under President Bush.

July 10, 2013 - News

On July 10, HighRoads Announced Findings from a Leavitt Partners Report on Health Insurance Plans Operational Effectiveness. According to the report, all payers in all categories are struggling to meet ACA-driven requirements due to the necessity of gathering plan data from a myriad of different systems. David Smith said, “New ACA requirements are driving a range of health plan operational challenges that must be efficiently addressed with technology innovation for assured compliance. In our findings, it’s apparent that most of the plan data reside on older legacy systems industry-wide.”

July 9, 2013 - News

Gov. Leavitt is quoted in an article reviewing the implementation of Obama’s health law saying, “It’s important for all of us to remember that it’s not political parties who are affected in the long run, it’s people. It will be millions of people …many of whom are the less fortunate, and those who have dramatic health problems.”

June 4, 2013 - Blog

Douglas Hervey, Coordinator of ACO Research at Leavitt Partners, discusses the four critical components of successful ACOs.

March 26, 2013 - Blog

Mike Leavitt, Chairman at Leavitt Partners, discusses how employees have begun to embrace the concept of shared responsibility by adopting healthy lifestyles.

February 20, 2013 - News Press Releases

SALT LAKE CITY, (Feb. 20, 2013) — Leavitt Partners estimates 428 Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs) now exist in 49 states. ACOs have expanded dramatically, more than doubling in number since the start of 2011. Physician groups are now the largest backers of ACOs, with hospital systems a close second. Delaware is the only state in the […]

February 6, 2013 - Blog

David Smith, Analyst at Leavitt Partners, discusses the affordability standard and why it creates “The Family Penalty” for employers.

February 6, 2013 - News Press Releases

Leavitt Partners has launched LP Health Speakers, an experienced and knowledgeable selection of health care visionaries and thought leaders who are available to deliver keynote addresses, moderate and participate in panels, speak at retreats, facilitate strategic discussions and conferences, and brief senior executive teams. The firm is pleased to feature more than a dozen health care […]

December 11, 2012 - Blog

A new and innovative model for insurance coverage has the charm and the audacity to change the healthcare landscape. But when new markets go live in 2014, will they be able to compete?

November 30, 2012 - News Press Releases

SALT LAKE CITY, (November 29, 2012) — A comprehensive and cutting-edge report co-authored by Leavitt Partners and KLAS Research shares detailed information about the structure, maturity, partnerships, practice and payment arrangements of Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs) throughout the country. The report, which represents the culmination of months of survey research and analysis, is based on a […]

June 21, 2012 - Blog

The creation of accountable care organizations happens to be one of the most talked about provisions in PPACA, but are they a big deal? Yes!

June 7, 2012 - News Press Releases

Accountable Care Organizations, commonly referred to as ACOs, now stretch across 45 U.S. states and the District of Columbia. In total, 221 ACOs have been identified — a 38 percent increase compared to those identified just six months ago. ACO activity in the private sector outnumbers the government sector by a factor of four to […]

May 17, 2012 - Blog

David Muhlestein — Analyst at Leavitt Partners — describes and compares the reasons why health insurance exchanges will be disruptive to our current way of delivering health insurance. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), considered the most important piece of federal health care legislation since the creation of Medicare and Medicaid[i], has been […]

April 20, 2012 - Blog

To date, HHS has awarded nearly $670 million to a total of 33 states and the District of Columbia to build ACA-compliant health insurance exchanges.  As a result of these very large awards, I feel compelled to share the story of the genesis of the Utah Health Exchange (UHE). Prior to joining Leavitt Partners, I […]

April 9, 2012 - Blog

When I was growing up my dad, who was a contractor, often recruited me to assist him on residential and commercial constructions projects. One of my jobs was to sand the dry wall joint compound to make it smooth and remove all of the imperfections. At that time adding texture to walls was not in […]

March 23, 2012 - Blog

Most of the time these days, I lament my age and the conditions that come with it.  But as I have come to this point, I have had the opportunity for many experiences.  It is my sincere hope that these experiences can help inform the future. In 1983, I served as a Charter member of […]

March 5, 2012 - Blog

Mending fragmentation and coordinating interventions will inevitably play a significant role in improving America’s health. This blog features two guest writers, Neal Mason and Brittney Park from the Michael O. Leavitt Center for Politics & Public Service at Southern Utah University.  The Center for Disease Control (CDC) reports that Over 75% of the U.S. healthcare spending is […]

February 28, 2012 - News Press Releases

Salt Lake City (Feb. 28, 2012) — Leavitt Partners today announced the formation of Health Intelligence Partners™, a member-based, health care executive collaboration. The collaboration brings together industry leaders and policy experts to participate in tailor-made health care intelligence activities that give members an informed perspective on the likely future of health care. Skillfully executed national surveys, […]

February 17, 2012 - Blog

Is it possible for health care in the U.S. to operate in a free-market system? Leavitt Partners’ David Smith discusses current challenges to creating this type of system in the health economy and suggests three reform issues that could begin to make it a reality. A couple walks into their local electronics store to shop […]

February 14, 2012 - News Press Releases

Leavitt Partners, an internationally-known health care and food safety consulting firm, and Park City Group (NYSE Amex: PCYG), a leader in consumer goods supply chain technology, have joined to create a solution targeted toward improving supply chain visibility for food and drug safety. The solution creates visibility from the farm to the fork in the […]

February 7, 2012 - Blog

Leavitt Partners’ David Muhlestein shares his view of why Medicare patients lack the necessary resources to find care to meet their needs. He argues that Medicare’s Hospital Compare is not sufficient and shares what he believes needs to change to create adequate health care quality reporting. It’s a common problem. While trying to complete a […]

January 30, 2012 - News Press Releases

Leavitt Partners has created FuturePanel™, an authoritative group of health care thought leaders who inform, refine and guide the health care intelligence shared by the firm. FuturePanel members include former senior executives from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, national leaders in health information technology, veterans of state-level health care policy, clinical experts and […]

January 13, 2012 - Blog

A number of measures are being taken to improve the nation’s health information technology, but are there enough technology vendors to push innovation forward? When the health care industry has access to accurate, real-time health data there is a corresponding improvement in quality and outcomes for patients.  It’s no surprise then that there are currently […]

December 20, 2011 - Blog

States will experience a significant increase in Medicaid populations in 2014 due to the recently passed Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. Leavitt Partners’ Andrew Clark outlines the risks these new populations may bring and explains why an investment in behavioral health management could be a solution. As a result of the Patient Protection and […]

December 19, 2011 - Blog

A recent announcement from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services indicates states will have more say regarding implementation of state health reform. Leavitt Partners’ Dan Schuyler and Laura Summers review what this change might mean for states moving forward.

December 15, 2011 - News Press Releases

Two former senior health care leaders with the Center for Health Transformation have joined Leavitt Partners. David Merritt, a nationally recognized expert in health policy and former CEO of the Center for Health Transformation and the Gingrich Group, and Kelly Crowe, a former Vice President with the same firm, have joined Leavitt Partners. Mr. Merritt […]

November 29, 2011 - News Press Releases

Leavitt Partners’ Center for ACO Intelligence, which tracks national and regional trends related to ACOs and other emerging care delivery systems, released a white paper today entitled Growth and Dispersion of Accountable Care Organizations. This is the first report of its kind regarding the types and locations of ACOs. The report provides data-driven insights into the evolution […]

November 24, 2011 - Accountable Care White Papers

Following the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act’s emphasis on Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs) and the announcement of the Medicare Shared Savings Program, an increased interest has emerged among providers and payers to create ACOs. To date, little has been published regarding the types and locations of organizations adopting principles of accountable care. As part […]

October 6, 2011 - Blog

It has become evident that the delivery of care is changing. Tad Morley, Vice President of Health Care Services for Leavitt Partners, explains how he views the uncharted waters. The rising cost of medical care and health insurance has hit a trigger point that is shifting the behavior of health care consumers and causing the […]

August 11, 2011 - Blog

The Standard & Poor’s rating agency announced Friday that it has downgraded the U.S. credit rating to AA+ from its top rank of AAA.  Andrew Croshaw shares his thoughts. Much has been written about the appropriateness of Friday’s U.S. credit downgrade by Standard and Poor’s from AAA to AA+. Some argue it was politically motivated, […]

August 4, 2011 - Blog

Millions of people will gain insurance under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.  The common wisdom claims that these newly insured with health reform will overcrowd the system, but do the numbers agree? The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates that under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) 21 million people will become […]

July 19, 2011 - Blog

Michael O. Leavitt is a member of the Deseret News Editorial Advisory Board. The following op-ed was published in the Deseret News July 17th, 2011. The nation’s governors met for their annual meeting in Salt Lake City this week. Governors enjoy this opportunity to learn from and occasionally commiserate with peers dealing with similar challenges. […]

July 11, 2011 - Blog

When a production line manufactures a defective widget, the foreman has a significant decision to make: whether to repair the damaged widget or throw it away and start over.  In health care, that luxury does not exist.  When a medical error occurs (i.e., one that results in harm to a patient), the damage caused must […]

June 14, 2011 - Blog

Health insurance exchanges are less like one-size-fits-all suspenders and more like carefully selected Italian leather shoes. By their very nature health insurance exchanges are individualized health care plans. They require care and nurturing, careful thought and consideration. And they almost always require that you hire a specialized team to construct and implement the exchange. At […]

June 2, 2011 - Blog

Over the coming weeks, Leavitt Partners is publishing a series of blogs with information and suggestions on the four basic components of implementing an exchange. The first component, the exchange team, is crucial to the successful implementation of an exchange. This team should be composed of state officials and policy leaders who understand the history […]

May 13, 2011 - Blog

It’s getting worse.  The spending problem, that is.  Health spending has been growing faster than GDP for decades, but recent events including a sour economy and a planned colossal expansion of health coverage entitlements through PPACA – are bringing into stark contrast the reality of our national predicament. So, rather than end the debate on […]

April 27, 2011 - Blog

When the concept of a Health Insurance Exchange was first introduced more than five years ago, no one could have predicted the rollercoaster ride it was about to experience. The concept was first introduced by conservatives and quickly embraced by free-market supporters. Realizing the value an insurance exchange can provide to consumers, it was then […]

April 20, 2011 - Blog

Republished from July 15, 2010 Information technology is a funny thing. It can make sharing information in a variety of formats faster, more convenient, and more accurate. However, the success of any technological advancement is entirely dependent on the rate at which its use is adopted by the intended users. And adoption depends on a […]

April 6, 2011 - Blog

The highly anticipated federal government guidelines for ACOs have now been published, but even as some details become more clear a significant degree of uncertainty remains. Health care providers are left to speculate about how the final regulations will look, what courts will decide about the individual mandate, and which provisions of PPACA will survive […]

March 23, 2011 - Blog

Republication from 09/13/10 Technology alone is rarely the solution for fixing an industry’s woes – it must be coupled with significant operational changes to realize its benefits. In my previous blog post, I wrote about the acceleration of EMR adoption as a consequence of the HITECH act (from the 2009 ARRA stimulus bill), including the […]

March 17, 2011 - Blog

My wife and I have been looking for a new automobile to replace our existing one, which has seen better days. We decided this time to make our decision on what our transportation needs are at present instead of just purchasing what we thought was “neat.” We made a list of what we needed the […]

March 9, 2011 - Blog

The PPACA bill is estimated to provide health care coverage for another 30 million U.S. citizens, substantially reducing the population of uncovered persons. This will likely increase demand for health care services, and the laws of economics indicate that when demand increases and supply remains constant, one of two things can happen. Either prices will […]

February 28, 2011 - Blog

Michael O. Leavitt was the secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) from 2005 to 2009. Thomas Barker is a partner with Foley Hoag, former acting general counsel for HHS and general counsel to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Washington Times Years ago, Washington was rocked by revelations that […]

December 13, 2010 - Blog

Cancer is one of the most significant health care problems that our society faces, impacting millions of citizens in the United States. It is the second leading cause of death in the country. According to the American Cancer Society, there will be over 1.5 million new cancer diagnoses and over 550,000 deaths attributable to cancer […]

December 6, 2010 - Blog

The Moment of Truth, the Report of the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform (popularly referred to as “the Debt Commission”),* gets high marks for sounding the alarm about the “crushing debt burden” that threatens the chances of our children and grandchildren to have a better life than we currently enjoy (and perhaps, take […]

November 10, 2010 - Blog

Medicaid is a paradox. It is routinely considered to be too generous and too stingy; both unreliable and indispensable; and is a program for the poor, although not all people who are eligible are poor and not all poor people are eligible (though this latter point will change significantly in 2014). The Obama Administration is […]

October 13, 2010 - Blog

The U.S. District Court in the Eastern District of Michigan has handed down the first decision in one of the several legal challenges to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA). While the decision itself may have little or no immediate impact because it will certainly be appealed, the logic used by the Court […]

October 11, 2010 - Blog

By Dennis G. Smith The six month anniversary of enactment of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) coincided with the last full week of the major league baseball regular season. The intersection of these occasions presents an opportune time to review the appropriate role of an umpire. An umpire is needed to fairly […]

October 5, 2010 - Blog

Q. How do you eat an elephant? A. One bite at a time. This riddle is axiomatic, though sometimes difficult to practically apply. The elephant is, of course, a reference to a lofty goal or perhaps a daunting task. In the case of state implementation of the Patient Protection and Affordable care Act (PPACA), it’s […]

September 14, 2010 - Blog

Get ready, America, for what you will need to know in order to how to spend your share of nearly $100 billion in 2014 under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA). Let’s translate the “want ad” above by following the money: PAC means premium assistance credit. These credits are new entitlement subsidies that […]

September 13, 2010 - Blog

Technology alone is rarely the solution for fixing an industry’s woes – it must be coupled with significant operational changes to realize its benefits. In my previous blog post, I wrote about the acceleration of EMR adoption as a consequence of the HITECH act (from the 2009 ARRA stimulus bill), including the forthcoming subsidies (carrot) […]

September 9, 2010 - Blog

Whether a coincidence or not, the Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF) and the Health Research and Educational Trust (HRET) released their annual survey of employer-sponsored health benefits just in time for the Labor Day weekend. If it were a hotdog, it would come with “the works.” Great gobs of data ooze from more than 200 pages. […]

August 26, 2010 - Blog

By Dennis G. Smith. During the late 1970s, Saturday Night Live (SNL) featured a skit with Chevy Chase and Gilda Radner in which Ms. Radner, in the character of Emily Litella, would provide her views on topics of the day. After informed by the news anchor (Chase) that she misunderstood the topic, Litella would sheepishly […]

August 5, 2010 - Blog

How many times has this famous beginning of Gertrude Stein’s stanza of her poem, “Sacred Emily,” been repeated in the nearly 100 years since it was published in 1913? While numerous interpretations have been offered regarding its meaning, it seems that Stein was not merely explaining the obvious, she was trying to restore the identity […]

July 15, 2010 - Blog

By Andrew Clark. Information technology is a funny thing. It can make sharing information in a variety of formats faster, more convenient, and more accurate. However, the success of any technological advancement is entirely dependent on the rate at which its use is adopted by the intended users. And adoption depends on a variety of […]

July 8, 2010 - Blog

The temperature hit 100 degrees in the nation’s capital and the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) turned 100 days old during this July 4th holiday week. Even though Congress is on recess this week, there is a still lot of health care in the news. July 1 marks the beginning of fiscal year […]

July 1, 2010 - Blog

With the passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, the US economy and its health care system will be looking forward to a serious expansion of its charitable health care program, Medicaid. In 2014, eligibility for Medicaid will expand to include income levels of up to 133% of the federal poverty level. This […]

June 4, 2010 - Blog

Fresh evidence from the Congressional Budget Office (CBO), the Rockefeller Institute, and the National Association of State Budget Officers (NASBO) reveals that the red ink of state and federal budgets continues to spread and structural flaws in government programs will need to be corrected before the national economy returns to good health. CBO Director Douglas […]

May 5, 2010 - Blog

The classic fables of Aesop continue to entertain and enlighten some 2,500 years later. It takes little imagination to relate many of his fables to today’s ongoing debate over the new health care law, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA). Although he could have never imagined today’s medical technology, his understanding of human […]

March 26, 2010 - Blog

With the “Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act” signed into law, President Obama has embarked on a tour to sell the package to a skeptical American public. One of the first stops was Iowa. Recalling the immortal lyrics of Meredith Wilson’s “Iowa Stubborn” from the Music Man, it will probably take more than a whistle […]

March 10, 2010 - Blog

The air waves have been abuzz again with stories that doctors will drop out of Medicare because they face a 21 percent reduction in their fees. Congress again is on the brink of whether it would prevent the decrease from going into effect. Congressional leadership has repackaged the “doc fix” as it is known in […]

February 25, 2010 - Blog

On February 12, 2010, the White House invited the congressional leadership to a bipartisan meeting on February 25 at the Blair House to discuss health legislation. Since then, there has been much speculation about a new proposal from President Obama that would meet his four- part test to: • Bring down costs for all Americans […]

October 31, 2008 - Blog

An Iraqi Agenda for Health-System Improvement Yesterday, I related how terrorist and sectarian forces in Iraq have used tactics right out of the insurrectionist’s handbook to target and disrupt health care. They have done this knowing that few things discredit the legitimacy of a struggling democracy better than the discontent surrounding a lack of health […]

October 30, 2008 - Blog

A Health Life-line from the American PeopleWritten October 17, 2008 Upon arrival inside the Baghdad Green Zone, I was given a situational overview by a group of U.S. Embassy personnel, and then proceeded to a series of meetings with the Health Minister and different groups of doctors. Those meetings were held at the al-Rasheed Hotel, […]

October 3, 2008 - Blog

Terrorists sometimes hide in the most remote regions of the world or hide in plain sight within communities. In either case, having support, or at least acceptance among locals, is necessary to cover their existence. From what I’ve read, this is well illustrated in Iraq, where locals appear to be turning against terror organizations and […]

September 18, 2008 - Blog

The past weekends were full of disaster preparation. In previous blogs, I have talked about the competence of the people who manage disaster response in our country and the substantial increase in our readiness in the three years since Katrina. That point of view has only been enhanced watching them manage emergencies in two successive […]

September 11, 2008 - Blog

A sub-theme of my service as Governor of Utah between 1993 and 2003 was the Olympics. Prior to my service as Governor, Utah unsuccessfully bid for the games of 1998, and so the bid process for the 2002 Winter Olympic Games occurred during my service. We were awarded the games, and then suffered through a […]

September 5, 2008 - Blog

Written September 3, 2008 After spending Tuesday in Texas looking at shelters, the weather and air space cleared sufficiently so that I was able to join the President in Louisiana to review the progress in dealing with Hurricane Gustav. Rather than attempt to detail the entire trip or various meetings I want to write a […]

August 27, 2008 - Blog

Written August 12, 2008 I am sitting in the Addis Sheraton feeling a bit disoriented by the contrast of my comfortable room with what I experienced today. I just returned to Addis Ababa, the capital city of Ethiopia, after having traveled to some of the country’s remote areas. How can the comfort of this hotel […]

August 22, 2008 - Blog

Written August 12, 2008 Today I will write about a remarkable young woman I met in a remote area of Africa. However, I will first describe the context of our meeting. I asked my friend Tewodrose Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Minister of Health for Ethiopia, to show me the system of Health Extension Workers (HEWs). Our government, […]

August 7, 2008 - Blog

I had flown about an hour by jet from Anchorage to Bethel, Alaska. From there, I rode in a boat for about 30 minutes to the village of Kwethluk, population 900. In the summer, boat is the only way to get there, other than using the dirt landing strip that exists at many remote villages. […]

August 6, 2008 - Blog

About an hour flight west from Anchorage is the community of Bethel. It has a population of around 5,000 people and serves as a transportation and communication hub of the Yukon-Kuskowim river delta area. It is also the headquarters of Yukon Kuskokwim-Health Corporation (YKHC), another Alaska Native tribal health organization. It is similar in character […]

August 1, 2008 - Blog

Imagine you are a woman with two small children living in a remote Alaskan village of 300 people. Winters are harsh, long and dark. You love your husband, but he is often abusive physically and psychologically. The combination of hardships and some personal tendencies have caused you to turn to alcohol. You are beginning to […]

July 30, 2008 - Blog

Along streambeds in Alaska, the Gumboot, a small black snail like creature, attaches itself to rocks and clings with the might of superglue. To Alaska Natives, Gumboot is a delicacy worth the considerable effort it takes to pry it off the rocks. The Gumboot hangs on with determination. When Ethel Lund, a woman of small […]

July 28, 2008 - Blog

I mentioned at the end of my previous post in this series on import safety that FDA’s role in global trade will be changing. FDA’s work is often underappreciated in this country. Nations around the world recognize FDA as the “gold standard” when it comes to food and drug safety. Under Commissioner Andrew C. von […]

July 25, 2008 - Blog

In my previous post in the series I began last week on the safety of imported products, I brought up the importance of collaborative skills in solving complex problems and working on global issues. In my 16 years of public service, every significant step of meaningful progress has come as a result of collaboration. Collaboration […]

July 24, 2008 - Blog

As a continuation of my blog series on the safety of our product imports, I want to illustrate the change in our basic strategy by talking about the shrimp business. I was in Vietnam and Central America recently– both are big producers and exporters of shrimp. I met with representatives of the shrimp industry in […]

July 22, 2008 - Blog

Yesterday, I began a blog series on the need to ensure the safety of imported products as global commerce expands the volume of imported products Americans enjoy. This opening of world markets has brought enormous benefits to consumers: lower prices, greater variety, and more choice. Nowhere is this more evident than in the produce industry. […]

July 21, 2008 - Blog

Next month, the world will gather for the 29th Olympiad in Beijing, China. Those who participate and watch these games will be a part of the largest, most extraordinary collaboration of nationhood and humanity that exists in our world today. Three out of every five people on the planet will watch as athletes from 200 […]

July 17, 2008 - Blog

I was disappointed by Congress’s vote to override the President’s veto of the Medicare bill. Congress has shown an unwillingness to change the program’s path and take on the important task of entitlement reform. I wrote more about this in the following op-ed, which ran in The Washington Times: Yesterday, the president vetoed a Medicare […]

July 1, 2008 - Blog

Written June 25, 2008 Yesterday, we held an all day session on product safety with representatives of the Central American countries and the Dominican Republic. We had Health Ministers from several of the countries and representatives of Agriculture and Commerce Ministries as well. I met with President Antonio Saca of El Salvador for about 30 […]

June 20, 2008 - Blog

Last night, I posted a brief entry about my conversation with Ted Kennedy, and today I am returning to my series on Medicare. In this series of blog posts, I am using the metaphor of navigating whitewater rapids to describe the dilemma of the Medicare problem facing our nation. I concluded my post yesterday by […]

June 19, 2008 - Blog

This week, my blogs are focused on Medicare and the serious crisis we face in coming years. The thoughts in this series will be submitted as part of the minutes of the Medicare Trustee’s Meeting. In my last post, I outlined the current course for Medicare as it is drifting toward disaster. Would it be […]

June 17, 2008 - Blog

I have started a series of blogs on the Medicare problem facing our country, using the metaphor of navigating whitewater rapids. Last week, I began “scouting the river” by discussing the current course and the generational divide, between workers and their parents and grandparents, that awaits us in the future. I have a son who […]

May 19, 2008 - Blog

Traditional Chinese Medicine I had planned to be with Minister Chen at a medical college where they teach Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM). I have written before about my interest in this subject. I brought Dr. Josephine Briggs, who heads the Center for Complimentary and Alternative Medicine at the National Institutes of Health. Our purpose is […]

May 16, 2008 - Blog

No matter the culture, people get themselves messed up on drugs. Yesterday in Shanghai, I visited a methadone clinic in Xi portion of the city. That apparently means "west side." It’s the older part of the city. I’ve visited similar clinics around the world, so the physical layout and process wasn’t a surprise. However, I […]

May 14, 2008 - Blog

I thought you might be interested in a brief report on our progress related to electronic health records (EHR). They are a critical element in making the health care system become value-based. Just having electronic health records isn’t enough. The systems have to be interoperable. Interoperability means that different computer systems and devices can exchange […]

April 29, 2008 - Blog

Following on yesterday’s blog, here are some additional observations about my recent trip to Viet Nam. Observation two: While they maintain a communist structure of government, Viet Nam is obviously devoted to being part of the global market economy. As people vote with their dollars, markets are highly democratic. It seems clear they have found […]

April 25, 2008 - Blog

An Overview The final three days of my trip to Southeast Asia were spent in Viet Nam. This was a follow up trip to my October 2005 visit. I focused on three issue areas: HIV/AIDS, Avian Influenza and the safety of imports. Meeting the new health minister was a priority as well. As a general […]

April 24, 2008 - Blog

I mentioned yesterday my short visit to Singapore. I thought I’d add some additional observations. Singapore spends only 4% of its gross domestic product on health care(Singaporean Health Minister’s estimate). Just a reminder, in the United States we spend 16% of ours — nearly four times as much. What are we getting for that? The […]

April 22, 2008 - Blog

I stopped in Singapore while transitioning between Indonesia and Viet Nam. There were a couple of HHS investments I needed to see. First of all, Singapore took me by surprise. It is beautiful. You would think you were in southern California–climate, quality of infrastructure, construction, etc. It is well run and on a roll of […]

April 18, 2008 - Blog

Written April 15, 2008 Following the meetings I wrote about yesterday, I met with President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono (or "SBY," as everyone calls him) at his office in Jakarta. We met previously in October of 2005, on my last trip to Jakarta. President Yudhoyono is a former soldier. He did a significant part of his […]

April 17, 2008 - Blog

Written April 14, 2008 I’m in the Jakarta Airport, having just finished a day of meetings with Indonesian Government officials. I met with President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono, Coordinating Minister for Family Welfare Aburizal Bakrie, Foreign Minister Noer Hassan Wirajuda, Agriculture Minister Anton Apriyantono, and Health Minister Siti Fadilah Supari. The meetings involved discussions on a […]

April 9, 2008 - Blog

The last nearly sixteen years, my life has revolved in four year terms. I have learned that four years is not long when one is working on big complex problems that have existed for decades. I was elected three times as Governor of Utah. Some of the things I consider accomplishments were initiated in my […]

March 20, 2008 - Blog

We routinely hold readiness exercises at HHS on various emergency scenarios. Typically, people from various parts of the emergency management community sit around a square table, and a moderator paints a picture of a disaster unfolding. It is like a reader’s theater. As events are described, each actor assumes their part, describing what they are […]

February 22, 2008 - Blog

Not long ago, a reader commented, “don’t you have more important things to do than write a blog.“ I have much to do, but I enjoy writing and appreciate the comments you make. However, the person raising questions about my blog time may feel better because I haven’t posted for a while. My absence was […]

February 6, 2008 - Blog

I suppose the compulsion I feel to get people’s attention on the plight of the Medicare Trust Fund can be attributed to my current close association with it. Medicare is part of HHS and I’m also a Trustee. This week, I released our budget proposal for the next five years. Medicare makes up 56 percent […]

January 28, 2008 - Blog

I’m sitting at my desk with a bowl of soup for lunch. I have 30 minutes and I’m thinking this might be a good time to respond to a few comments you have sent. First, let me say, I do read the comments. I just have a hard time finding the time to respond and […]

January 24, 2008 - Blog

Most readers of this blog won’t get all goose-pimply when I report Tuesday as an important day in the world of health information technology. However, what happened in the 19th meeting of the American Health Information Community (AHIC) will ultimately affect the way all of us interact with medical providers. At the AHIC meeting a […]

January 16, 2008 - Blog

It seems as if each day of my India trip has taken on a theme. The first day, Monday, was spent understanding our efforts on HIV/AIDS in India. Tuesday was a tutorial on the generic drug and vaccine industry in India and the role they play in providing products for the United States. I also […]

January 14, 2008 - Blog

The Cochin region of India has been the center of the world’s spice trade for millennia. Apparently the soils and climate are perfect and the culture has been defined by the customs and moment and organization it brings. The port of Cochin is where most of the spices are shipped. Early Wednesday morning our delegation […]

January 11, 2008 - Blog

Tuesday in India, I concentrated on drug safety by traveling to Hyderabad, about an hour flight from Chennai. My first event was a visit to Dr. Reddy’s, a significant manufacturer of generic drugs for the American market. I’m told there are nearly 100 facilities in India producing generics. It is a major industry here and […]

January 9, 2008 - Blog

I am in India for the week. My primary mission is to discuss import safety with the leaders of the Indian Government. While I’m here, I will also review our investments in HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and pandemic preparedness. Today I’m in Chennai, a city of seven million in India’s south region. This is my first visit […]

January 3, 2008 - Blog

Under assignment from President Bush, I have devoted considerable time and a lot of HHS resources over the past six months to an Import Safety Working Group. I was chairman of the 12-person group which represented all the relevant parts of the U.S. government. The working groups concluded that our country has a good system […]

December 18, 2007 - Blog

The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine is part of the National Institutes of Health. Its role is to explore complementary and alternative healing practices in the context of rigorous science. While in Beijing last week, I had experiences that added to my instinct that there is value to be gained in understanding traditional […]

December 14, 2007 - Blog

In a compact Beijing studio on Monday, Li Xing, the International News Editor of China Daily had questions for me. She asked me about meeting a little girl in western China who had contracted the H5N1 avian influenza virus. We then talked about import-safety agreements with the Chinese governments and the availability of health insurance […]

November 16, 2007 - Blog

I’m returning from Chicago where we had a meeting of the American Health Information Community. This is the Federal Advisory Committee HHS initiated to advise the Secretary on health information technology standards. I won’t report on the meeting. We Web cast it and it’s available on the HHS Web site if you’re interested (http://www.hhs.gov/healthit/community/meetings/m20071113.html). I […]

November 8, 2007 - Blog

A good share of my week has been spent in activities related to a report for the President on the safety of imports. Every few days it seems another significant recall is announced. It has become a matter of real focus for consumers and policy makers. It is my observation that issues like this slowly […]

October 22, 2007 - Blog

Strategic National Stockpiles have had my focus the last few weeks. Each year Congress appropriates money (just under $600 million last year) so we can maintain stockpiles of medical supplies that would be needed in a national emergency. We have organized the system with the objective of being able to deliver basic supplies to the […]

October 1, 2007 - Blog

This past week, the process of reauthorizing the State Children’s Health Insurance (SCHIP) bill began. People wonder how there can be disagreement over a program to help poor children. There is no disagreement about helping poor children. The ruckus is more about children who are better off, and a question of governments’ proper role. SCHIP […]

September 18, 2007 - Blog

The term personalized health care is often used these days. It is an exciting outgrowth of our better understanding of the human genome. We now know that our genetic makeup impacts the way we respond to certain treatments. For example, in this month’s issue of Biological Psychiatry, there’s an article (Lee et al. 2007) about […]

September 13, 2007 - Blog

Last Friday I went to Haiti to observe the remarkable health diplomacy being done by the USNS Comfort, a Navy Hospital Ship President Bush deployed into Latin America. As we flew into Port-au-Prince, the capital city, the Comfort’s white glistening paint stood out beautifully against the coral blue water. The city looked about as it […]

September 11, 2007 - Blog

The safety of imported products has been in the news frequently. I’m in the final stages of preparing a report for President Bush on the subject. In July he appointed me Chair of a Cabinet Task Force on Import Safety. He asked us to report back within 60 days. I’ll provide him with a strategic […]

August 30, 2007 - Blog

To get a real look at developing nation’s challenges one has to leave the population center. On Tuesday morning we drove for nearly three hours west of Kigali to visit the Rubengara Health Center. Rwanda is about the size of Maryland. It has around nine million residents. Rwanda is called the land of a thousand […]

August 21, 2007 - Blog

This morning I’m driving to a clinic outside Johannesburg which is run by Sisters of Mercy, one of our NGO partners. They are affiliated with Catholic Charities. I’ll tap out a few notes on my Blackberry as we drive and then see if I can pull them together into something coherent tonight. I spent last […]

August 13, 2007 - Blog

A couple of months ago, we had a successful experiment with our pandemic flu blog. It was done in advance of a conference on preparedness we had in Washington D.C. I found myself engaged in reading the comments and learning from them. So, I’ve decided to wade in a little deeper into blogdom by writing […]

December 31, 1969 - Blog

  How deficit driven reimbursement could dictate future health care investment. I have three kids. All girls ages three, two and one. As their father and “authority” figure, I regularly allow them to do their own thing until something seems to get out of hand, then I intervene and regulate. But frankly, underneath all the […]

December 31, 1969 - Blog News

By Dennis G. Smith  As Congress prepared to leave town for the Memorial Day recess, there was still a lot going on in health care. Looking back at last week’s events brings to mind a Will Rogers quip, “I don’t make jokes.  I just watch the government and report the facts.”  With that in mind, here is […]

December 31, 1969 - News Press Releases

The release today of the Institute of Medicine (IOM) and National Research Council (NRC) report “Enhancing Food Safety: The Role of the Food and Drug Administration,” drives home the need for modernizing the food safety system in the United States. The report calls for a prevention-oriented, risk-based approach to allocate food safety resources and efforts. […]

December 31, 1969 - Blog

Leavitt Partners today announced a seasoned team to advise vendors, insurance carriers, brokers and states on the process, policies, politics and people necessary to design and implement health insurance exchanges. The new national health reform law (Affordable Care Act) requires states that do not want a federally-run exchange to have functioning state or regional exchanges […]

December 31, 1969 - Blog

Two leading experts in the development and implementation of health insurance exchanges have joined Leavitt Partners. Cheryl Smith and Dan Schuyler, who directed one of only two health insurance exchanges in the country, will serve as directors in the Leavitt Partners health insurance exchange practice. They join a seasoned team of health policy experts who advise technology vendors, […]

December 31, 1969 - Blog

Former Health and Human Services Secretary and Medicare Trustee Michael O. Leavitt characterized the annual trustees report on the future well being of Medicare as an illusion created by unrealistic assumptions and double counting. The 2010 Medicare Trustees Report (available on CMS.gov and in associated multimedia for this release) was issued yesterday. “The report has created the illusion that […]

December 31, 1969 - Blog

Utah lost a beloved public servant this past weekend with the passing of Rod Marrelli, executive director of the Utah State Tax Commission. I was fortunate to serve with Rod for nearly a decade as he worked tirelessly to manage Utah’s tax system. It was a job that he loved and a job that he gave […]

December 31, 1969 - Blog

In its reporting of a new financial review panel being assembled by the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria, The Wall Street Journal in March said that: “The Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria has named a former senior U.S. government official and Botswana’s former president to co-chair an external review of its financial systems, […]

December 31, 1969 - Blog

Wayne Sensor, former CEO of Alegent Health, has Joined Leavitt Partners, LLC. Sensor will be a Partner in the firm. Leavitt Partners was founded by Michael O. Leavitt, former Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services. The firm’s signature product, FutureFrame™, is a qualitative predictive model about the future of health care. Sensor will help […]

December 31, 1969 - Blog

Leavitt Partners collaborated with Affiliated Computer Systems to prepare a briefing paper on the status of health insurance exchanges and the technological considerations of creating one. This briefing paper is one of many health insurance exchange materials prepared by Leavitt Partners. Readers may view the briefer here. Readers may also be interested in the following blogs […]

December 31, 1969 - Blog

Leavitt Partners, Faegre & Benson LLP and B&D Consulting are joining forces to provide companies involved in the global food supply chain with a collaborative solution to food safety management. This joint effort will provide guidance for companies seeking to navigate the shifting food safety challenges of today’s systems and those required to comply with […]

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