Health law funds new search for health care improvements

News outlets report on aspects of the health law designed to foster and test innovation in the nation's health care delivery system.

Kaiser Health News: Washington's $10 Billion Search For Health Care's Next Big Ideas
The Affordable Care Act was supposed to mend what President Barack Obama called a broken health care system, but its best-known programs -; online insurance and expanded Medicaid for the poor -; affect a relatively small portion of Americans. A federal office you've probably never heard of is supposed to fix health care for everybody else (Hancock, 8/11). 

Chicago Tribune: Obamacare Law Funds Studies On Better Health Care
On a recent afternoon, Dr. Evan Lyon of the University of Chicago Hospitals ... set off to see a patient. Katie White, the patient, was not in a clinical setting but in the bedroom of her small South Side home, about 2 miles from the hospital. The 74-year-old greeted Lyon from a hospital bed that filled the small room -; the bed to which she has been confined for a little over a year. "Glad you could make it," she said with a touch of attitude. White is participating in a clinical trial designed to test an old-new system of delivering health care: having the same doctor treat patients both in the hospital and elsewhere, including making house calls when necessary. The $6 million study is one of dozens of research projects made possible by the Affordable Care Act (Peres, 8/10).

Chicago Tribune: As Others Get Money, Hospitals Fear Cutbacks In Research Funding
Although the Affordable Care Act is directly funding a new variety of medical research, some experts fear the health overhaul also could cut into the money available to fund studies traditionally carried out at academic medical centers. Such institutions typically make money by treating privately insured patients in a fee-for-service environment where sophisticated, high-tech procedures carry hefty price tags. That money then can be used to cover the costs of publicly insured or uninsured patients as well as research projects. But that environment is changing, with a move toward capitated reimbursement systems or bundled payments. The act encourages doctors and hospitals to form networks that share financial and medical responsibility for providing care to patients, and the networks are rewarded when they provide that care more efficiently (Peres, 8/11).

Meanwhile, on another health law implementation issue -

Bloomberg: Freshway Contraceptive Coverage Bar Allowed By Court
Fresh Unlimited Inc. won't have to provide contraceptive coverage for its employees under the Obama administration's health-care reform law, in what may be the first exemption granted since a June U.S. Supreme Court ruling. The parent of Freshway Foods today won an appeals court ruling that qualifies it for the same treatment the high court approved in its June 30 Hobby Lobby decision allowing family-run businesses to claim a religious exemption from the requirement to include contraceptives in their health insurance plans. The suit by Francis and Philip Gilardi, who own Sidney, Ohio-based Freshway, is one of about 50 filed by for-profit businesses over religious objections to the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010's birth-control coverage mandate. The Gilardis are Roman Catholic and said that complying with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services mandate would require them to violate deeply held religious beliefs (Zajac, 8/8).

http://www.kaiserhealthnews.orgThis article was reprinted from with permission from the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. Kaiser Health News, an editorially independent news service, is a program of the Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonpartisan health care policy research organization unaffiliated with Kaiser Permanente.



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