News & Information
What Younger Patients Want
Written by Editor   
Wednesday, February 20, 2019 04:35 PM

A new survey has found that younger consumers in the U.S. and six other advanced countries are more dissatisfied than older people with characteristics of traditional healthcare.  These characteristics include treatment effectiveness and lack of convenience and responsiveness.

Millennial patients want “convenience, fast service, connectivity, and price transparency." Doctors and health experts, however, worry about “fragmented or unnecessary care, including the misuse of antibiotics” and loss of “care that is coordinated and longitudinal.” It’s as if the needs of the patients and the concerns of doctors are mutually exclusive.  They are not.  The challenge is the current healthcare system does not provide for both.  The authors of the survey concluded that younger consumers are not satisfied with the status quo and are more willing to use nontraditional services.

TBCE Adopts CE Rule Change
Written by Editor   
Wednesday, February 20, 2019 04:31 PM

The Texas Board of Chiropractic Examiners (Board) adopts the repeal of the current rules 73.1, concerning Continuing Education.  The Board is repealing this rule and adopting a new §73.1 in its place in a separate rulemaking action.

The new proposal now adds two definitions that are applied to “continuing education.”  The first defines “live-format” courses as ”any educational course that is not pre-recorded and is presented in real time through an interactive medium such as a live webinar or at an in-person training event.”  

The second defines an “online course” as “any pre-recorded or live format educational course that is delivered through an internet-based platform. All online courses shall have the means to verify attendance through testing on the material presented or other approved format.”

And now, while  “the 16 hours of continuing education may be completed through any course or seminar elected by the licensee that has been approved by the Board,” another change is that “a licensee must attend any course designated as a ‘TBCE Required Course’ in a live format, and the course may be counted as part of the 16 hour requirement.”

The new proposal would also limit licensees to “up to ten hours of online courses that are not live format.”

The newly adopted rule 73.1 reads:

Opioids: Under Fire
Written by Editor   
Wednesday, February 20, 2019 04:19 PM

Patients with chronic pain are suffering from ham-handed efforts to curb opioid overdoses, a series of witnesses told the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee.  In particular, the CDC's 2016 guidelines for opioid prescribing came under heavy fire, as even a self-described supporter of its recommendations admitted the evidence base was weak.

Cindy Steinberg, national director of policy and advocacy for the U.S. Pain Foundation, argued that well-intentioned efforts to address the epidemic -- particularly strategies to tamp down overprescribing -- have stoked a "climate of fear" among doctors.

AMA President: "Blame Insurers"
Written by Editor   
Wednesday, February 20, 2019 04:12 PM

Blame the insurer when a patient gets a massive bill because a treating clinician was outside the insurer’s network, said Barbara McAneny, MD, president of the American Medical Association (AMA). The problem with such so-called “surprise billing” is that insurers have not fought hard enough to protect their patients.

“I look at it as … inadequacy of the insurance companies to successfully negotiate a network. I recognize that [insurers] make more money when they have a very narrow network, but that’s not fair to patients who expect full coverage," McAneny said. She said insurers and insurance commissioners must insure that networks aren’t so narrow that essential slices of the healthcare workforce are excluded. 

The AMA and dozens of other medical societies expressed concerns regarding out-of-network “surprise" bills and have pressed Congress to hold insurers accountable for these surprise charges, calling for stronger network adequacy standards, suggesting patients pay only in-network cost-sharing rates, and urging that any legislation lawmakers pass include a process of mediation or "alternative dispute resolution."

Bill Introduced in Texas Legislature to Seek to Improve "Health Literacy"
Written by Editor   
Wednesday, February 20, 2019 04:08 PM

HB 2032 has been introduced into the Texas Legislature that would define the meaning of health literacy and call for an advisory committee to develop and promote plans to promote health literacy.

As introduced the bill would define health literacy to mean “the degree to which individuals have the capacity to obtain, process, and understand basic health information and health services needed to make appropriate health decisions.”

The bill would call for a Health Literacy Advisory Committee that “must include representatives of interested groups, including the academic community, consumer groups, health plans, pharmacies, and associations of physicians, hospitals, and nurses.”

The committee’s purpose is to “develop a long-range plan for increasing health literacy in this state,” identifying risk factors for low health literacy, examining methods for health care practitioners, facilities and others to address health literacy with patients and the public, and identify ways to expand the use of plain language instructions for patients.

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