Rss Feed
Tweeter button
Facebook button
Webonews button

Transforming health policy through machine learning

1] and social care for an entire population through preventive strategies, protection from disease, promotion of healthy lifestyles, and population screening through knowledge capture (typically in the form of big data). Overall governance will offer a patient-centred approach with the consideration of patient advocacy and workforce and resource management [2] (Fig 1). Herein, we will break down the role of ML in each of these areas.

3]. Here, the major limitation is access to large and high-quality population-level datasets with which to apply ML approaches. We feel that the unification of the United Kingdom National Health Service (NHS) dataset of over 66 million individuals in the form of EHRs or even patient health records (PHRs; in which patient data accompany the patients directly) can offer one of the largest datasets worldwide for analysis by ML. This could offer improved predictions for clinical outcomes from current records and could also provide novel hypothesis-generating concepts that may lead research to better understand disease behaviours and their treatments.

4] so that strategies to enhance uptake can be implemented. They can also be used to identify the illegal online sale of prescription opioids from global online vendors [5]. Environmental data from climate sensors can predict climate crises, ecosystem shifts, and pollution trends [6] with higher accuracy than current systems to allow preparation for emergency responses to climate situations or support ecological management strategies. Data from city transportation audits or integrated smart city sensors can also be applied to predict locations of injuries or trauma due to car crashes within towns and cities [7] and inform site-specific interventions to prevent urban vehicular accidents.

8]. The information for this can be obtained from EHRs with the consent and national regulatory adherence in order to target unhealthy behaviours such as buying tobacco-based products or the individual purchasing of alcohol- or sugar-based drinks.

9]. This test was utilised to help identify individuals at high risk of colorectal cancer who were noncompliant to a national screening programme; however, this technology may eventually have the capacity to offer full population screening (also allowing for personalised screening). Deep-learning image screening, for example, on mammography is currently being developed and has the potential to enhance health delivery by supporting scalable, cost-effective diagnostic decisions.

10] can result in the reinforcement of historical biases (and therefore discrimination), for example, in declining the opportunity of health insurance to individuals of a particular race/ethnic group or demographic because of an unrepresentative or biased data source. However, if applied judiciously, ML approaches have the potential to assess for disparities or unjustified data discrimination to ensure adherence to accepted guidelines and data health justice across society.

11]. This prospect has initiated a formidable societal controversy, as arguments over the benefits of AI in supporting resource deficits have also been countered with arguments that AI will lead to massive job losses—for example, in diagnostic radiology or pathology, for which an ML algorithm could appraise multitudes of images on a 24-hour work cycle. Many of these issues carry an impact beyond that of healthcare and have a bearing on national and international economic strategy as well as the wider public discourse on the exact role of AI in society. We suggest that AI’s first and least perilous role should be in resourcing healthcare. This will likely disrupt current work practices but will also generate new jobs and roles. More importantly, ML-based technologies may offer society ‘freed-up’ health practitioner time to focus on direct patient care.

12], will have a widespread and pervasive role within our society. Arguably the least explored area of AI in health policy is its role in governance, which ranges from legislation to strategy, financing, and accountability. Here, ML solutions could offer rapidly produced analytics and appraisal of policy statements. Using these, policy makers and politicians can drive the next generation of health policies. Although many of these ML systems remain experimental and theoretical, they could ultimately present the largest transformative role in health governance to date.

Article source:

Papua New Guinea Is Rich in Resources but Poor in Health

Corruption has played a big role in the nation’s health crisis but is not the whole story, said Prof. Stephen Howes, an economist at the Australian National University in Canberra who studies Papua New Guinea. The national government slashed its health budget 37 percent from 2014 to 2016 as commodity prices fell.

Conditions in Papua New Guinea have also been directly affected by the country’s changing relationship with Australia, its nearest neighbor and former colonizer. Like other international donors, Australia has shifted focus in recent years to infrastructure and capacity building rather than saving individual lives through direct services.

“That move out of service delivery was a mistake,” Professor Howes said.

Australia also owed Papua New Guinea a political debt after it agreed to process and resettle asylum seekers in detention camps on Manus Island, Professor Howes said, making Australian officials wary of criticizing the country over issues like corruption.

Though the Manus Island facility closed last year, there are hundreds of refugees still being held in Papua New Guinea. Australia also fears that pressuring Papua New Guinea too much could push it into the arms of China, which is courting Pacific nations.

“We are increasingly looking at P.N.G. through a strategic or in fact through a China lens, and that makes us reluctant to say anything that might annoy them,” Professor Howes said.

China and Australia have both invested millions in supporting the APEC meeting, which the Papua New Guinea public has come to view as a drain on government spending.

Charles Kerere, a parish priest in the Gulf Province village of Lese, said children in his community were dying from illnesses like diarrhea because the aid post had no medicines. He said he feared an outbreak of polio in the province, which recorded its first case in August.

“I’ve been to Port Moresby, I’ve seen lots of money has been pumped into the city,” Father Kerere said. “They are so concerned with trying to please the world leaders that Papua New Guinea is O.K. But under the carpet we have huge problems in our country, and people are suffering. They are crying for services, basic services.”

Article source:

Vermont Department of Health commissioner publishes public health article

News Release — Vermont Department of Health
Nov. 8, 2018

Ben Truman

“Elements of a Comprehensive Public Health Response to the Opioid Crisis” by Health Commissioner Mark Levine Published in Annals of Internal Medicine

BURLINGTON – In an article published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, Vermont Department of Health Commissioner Mark Levine, MD outlined six essential elements for addressing the nation’s opioid crisis.

“Elements of a Comprehensive Public Health Response to the Opioid Crisis,” is co-authored with Dr. Michael Fraser, executive director of the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials (ASTHO). In their article, Drs. Levine and Fraser recommend application of six essential elements for a more coordinated and comprehensive approach to stemming opioid use than is currently employed in the U.S.

The six elements, which are fully explained in their paper, include leadership, partnership and collaboration, epidemiology and surveillance, education and prevention, treatment and recovery, and harm-reduction. According to the authors, the complex nature of the opioid epidemic and its broad, pervasive and substantial impact on communities and society at large justify a multi-pronged set of strategies and solutions.

While the six elements are essential, the authors recognize that a seventh element may also play an important role in addressing the opioid crisis – enforcement. Enforcement lies outside of the public health approach, but Drs. Levine and Fraser acknowledge that law enforcement must be engaged to impact the drug supply, trafficking, and criminal activity that is contributing to the crisis. They also acknowledge there is a limited evidence-base for many of the prevention, treatment, and recovery efforts that currently comprise local, state, and federal responses to the opioid crisis and that more evaluation and assessment is needed.

As head of the agency charged with protecting and promoting the health of Vermonters, Dr. Levine draws from the state’s efforts targeting opioid and drug use disorders. Vermont has focused on building a multi-faceted public and private agency and community partnership approach, from which evidence-based programs, legislation and policies were developed. Many of these programs, such as Vermont’s Hub and Spoke system of care, are being adopted as models by other states.

Learn more about Vermont’s approach to the opioid and substance use disorder prevention, treatment and recovery:

Article source:

New Physical Activity Guidelines Urge Americans: Move More, Sit Less

Getting physical activity every day can help maintain health throughout your life.

Ronnie Kaufman/Larry Hirshowitz/Getty Images/Blend Images

hide caption

toggle caption

Ronnie Kaufman/Larry Hirshowitz/Getty Images/Blend Images

Getting physical activity every day can help maintain health throughout your life.

Ronnie Kaufman/Larry Hirshowitz/Getty Images/Blend Images

You’ve likely heard the idea that sitting is the new smoking.

Compared with 1960, workers in the U.S. burn about 140 fewer calories, on average, per day due to our sedentary office jobs. And, while it’s true that sitting for prolonged periods is bad for your health, the good news is that we can offset the damage by adding more physical activity to our days.

The federal government has just updated recommendations for physical activity for the first time in 10 years, essentially to get that message across. Based on a review of several years of new research, the key takeaway of the new guidelines, released Monday, is: Get moving, America!

“The new guidelines demonstrate that, based on the best science, everyone can dramatically improve their health just by moving — anytime, anywhere, and by any means that gets you active,” Adm. Brett Giroir, assistant secretary of health at the Department of Health and Human Services, said in a release.

With a few exceptions, the advice in the new guidelines is not so different from what we were told in the 2008 guidelines. But, here’s the trouble: Only about 20 percent of Americans meet them. This lack of physical activity is linked to $117 billion in annual health care costs, according to a report published Monday in the Journal of the American Medical Association that lays out the new guidelines.

The new guidelines marshal a growing body of evidence that documents immediate benefits of exercise such as reduced anxiety, improved sleep and improved blood sugar control, and long-term benefits (of regular physical activity), including cognitive benefits, and significantly lower risks of heart disease and certain cancers.

So, how much physical activity do we need? On this point, the new guidelines haven’t changed: Adults need a minimum of 150 minutes a week of moderate-intensity physical activity.

Hearts Get 'Younger,' Even At Middle Age, With Exercise

One way to think about this: Aim for at least 22 minutes of movement a day. You don’t necessarily need to go to the gym or take up jogging. Pick any activity that gets your heart rate up, including walking. In addition, the guidelines call for adults to do muscle-strengthening activity on two or more days a week.

What has changed this time around is an emphasis — for people who are sedentary — to increase movement in their lives even in very short increments.

The old message was you needed at least 10-minute bouts of aerobic activity for it to count toward the goal of 150 minutes a week. But, no longer. The new guidelines conclude that all movement that helps you stay physically active is important.

“Everything counts,” says Loretta DiPietro, an epidemiologist at George Washington University who helped write the review of the science on physical activity, upon which the new guidelines are based.

So, if you take the stairs instead of the elevator and it takes you 3 minutes to climb, you can count that toward your daily goal. Since lack of time is a major obstacle to fitting in exercise, the new message is to aim to engineer more movement into your day.

Could you bike or walk more as part of your daily commute? Can you take mini-breaks during the workday or school day to walk around the block? Things like this “can accumulate over the course of the day,” DiPietro says. This may help people make a mind shift toward becoming more active.

“Everything adds up and contributes to reduced risk for diseases and day-to-day feeling better,” says Kathleen Janz, of the University of Iowa, who also served on the committee reviewing the science of physical activity.

A New Prescription For Depression: Join A Team And Get Sweaty

Other changes in the guidelines include messages to older Americans and to the very youngest. The guidelines nudge older Americans to get on board — or stay on board — with a physically active lifestyle, including balance training to help prevent falls.

“What we were amazed with is the amount of new research — really strong evidence — that supports the role of physical activity in preventing and reducing the progression of disease,” Janz says.

Physically active lifestyles help reduce the risk of high blood pressure, Type 2 diabetes and cancers (including bladder, breast, colon, endometrium, esophagus, kidney, lung and stomach). In addition, physical activity can reduce the risk of dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease.

For the first time, the guidelines make recommendations for young children aged 3 to 5 years old, noting that “preschool-aged children should be physically active throughout the day to enhance growth and development.”

And there are specific recommendations for older kids and adolescents: Children aged 6 to 17 years old should do 60 minutes or more of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity daily.

This recommendation hasn’t changed since 2008, but what is new is what’s known about the range of benefits for this age group. Over the past 10 years, scientists have documented much more about the cognitive benefits. “A physically active lifestyle leads to a healthier brain during youth,” says Charles Hillman, who directs the Center for Cognitive and Brain Health at Northeastern University.

Hillman points to a few specific studies that show improved performance of academic tests following exercise. “What we find is that a single bout of exercise has a beneficial effect on brain function,” Hillman says.

There are studies pointing to a link between exercise and brain benefits in adults, too. It’s one factor that could motivate more people to become more active.

Janz says you don’t have to wait around for the benefits of exercise. While it’s true that exercising today may help reduce the risk of heart disease decades from now, there also are immediate benefits.

“Every time you’re active, you feel better, think better and sleep better,” Janz says.

Article source:

Strategies for Designing Consumer-Centric Health Plans

By Chuck Green

November 12, 2018 - The Health Care Transformation Task Force recently released a new set of guiding principles to help healthcare industry leaders and policymakers better integrate consumer needs into benefit design.

The goal of the task force, a consortium of leading healthcare payers, providers, purchasers and patient organizations, is to accelerate the industry’s move to value.

“Incorporating the holistic consumer perspective into health insurance benefit structures is a critical step toward a true value-driven health care system,” said Fran Soistman, executive vice president, Government Services at Aetna and chair, HCTTF. “Our hope is that these principles will help inform the health care community and help drive toward the goal of people-centered, value-driven health care.” 

“This work is truly a product of HCTTF’s unique collaborative, multi-stakeholder perspective,” added Jeff Micklos, executive director, HCTTF. “It reflects an ongoing commitment by our payer, provider, purchaser, and patient advocate members to find the best ways to engage consumers from the beginning of their interactions with the health care system.”

Each principle consists of specific elements that provide clear direction on how best to engage individuals in the benefit design and care delivery process. “This guidance offers a welcome new perspective on how to put consumers at the center of benefit design,” remarked Katie Martin, vice president for Health Policy and Programs, National Partnership for Women and Families. “It strikes a thoughtful balance between consumer needs and industry value priorities.”

READ MORE: CMS Proposes to Deregulate, Fast Track Medicaid Managed Care Programs

1. Payers, providers, and purchasers should utilize modernized ways of obtaining consumer input.

They should also offer effective decision-making support tools that help facilitate greater partnership with consumers in navigating the healthcare ecosystem, including but not limited to obtaining information, coverage, engaging in care, reporting outcomes, and paying for services.

Payers, providers, and purchasers should hone in on modern methods to obtain input from consumers and offer effective decision-making support tools to foster a stronger partnership with consumers. That relationship would help them navigate the healthcare ecosystem that includes, among other things, obtaining information, coverage, engaging in care, reporting outcomes and paying for services.

2. Payers, providers, and purchasers should collaborate to create high-performance networks that enable people-centered care. Value-driven networks should directly incorporate input from consumers in their design, including focusing on desirable outcomes and consumer experience.

A high-performance network incorporates cost, utilization, and multi-stakeholder accountability while emphasizing higher quality. Examples of effective quality metrics include patient-reported outcomes, 360-degree peer feedback for physicians and established measure sets such as HEDIS.

READ MORE: Employer-Sponsored Medicare Advantage Enrollment Up 12% for 2019

Furthermore, cost and quality data, patterns of provider use, adequacy standards and preferred care delivery settings can help further pinpoint consumer preferences and network redesign. Meantime, to promote informed decision making and help consumers easily identify relevant care programs that address those needs, network design should reinforce upfront transparency around cost structure and pricing, while health plans, providers and purchasers need to design high-performing networks that shore back health disparities by making sure members can access culturally competent and high-quality providers.

And it doesn’t stop there. By doing things like establishing maximum wait times, networks can enable consumers to immediately access the complete range of required services – including specialists and subspecialists. On top of that, directories should be updated regularly and financial guardrails, such as reduced cost sharing and benefit level exceptions (e.g., the waiving of tiering requirements) should be created to protect medically complex patients in need of external experts.

Additionally, medical coverage services should be coordinated with behavioral health services to adequately address the complex interplay of medical and behavioral health conditions, and organizations should strongly press for additional flexible privacy standards aimed at ratcheting up the level of coordination. 

3 Organizations should develop multimodal communication strategies that will simultaneously educate and engage beneficiaries around payment and care delivery options

Payers, providers, and purchasers should work in tandem to guarantee consumers obtain the information and education paramount to their ability to weave their way through challenges payment responsibility can pose and thoroughly understand their benefits. What’s more, individuals and providers should be able to easily review and compare service costs so that they can reach decisions about care, such as at the point of service.

READ MORE: Commercial, Managed Care Insurance Sectors Profits Boom in Q3

4. Value-based arrangements should include explicit accountability for member experience and outcomes

Collectively, payers, providers, and purchasers should ascertain members’ balance of responsibility, which could vary based on value arrangement and consumer type. And payers should — at the very least — be held responsible for the experience of members at the enrollment and payment stages, while provider accountability should fall within the stage of care delivery. Meantime, consumer shared decision making should be folded into care delivery.

5. An ideal network and benefit structure centers primarily on the needs of the individual, balanced with the needs of the purchaser, payer, and provider. Elements of benefit design should be conceived through the consumer perspective.

The best benefit designs should shift from plans fueled by high high-costing and coinsurance to extract the incentive from service use over to designs that motivate beneficiaries to search — when the place and time are right — for appropriate preventive, diagnostic, acute and maintenance care delivered by high-quality providers.

Rather than penalties, value based insurance design should be leveraged to motivate healthcare consumers. What’s more, consumers should be compelled to cultivate a relationship with a primary care provider and be provided with the ability to opt in to high performance networks, while a benefit design that evolves around the consumer should accentuate the importance of improved care coordination and a cut in services replication.

Another recommendation: Cross-country partnerships with retail and tech organizations should become an option among payers in order to harness top line data on aggregate consumer preferences and purchase patterns for person centered design.

6. Organizations should operate systems that promote the use of people-centered Health IT. Consumer interfaces should prioritize simplicity, clarity, and transparency. Consumers should have on-demand access to meaningful information that helps them understand their health and care, as well as directly supports informed decision-making.

Interfaces should help steer consumers toward high value products and evidence based decisions, while designs periodically should be updated to reflect today’s consumer needs. The consideration of elements like color and screen placement and language/literacy and consumer archetypes and how appropriate they are among some. • And encouraging messages should be used to prompt consumers to become better informed about various factors, such as their choice of physicians.

Consumers also should be provided two-way access to their own health data, along with the ability to access and share their health record and supplement that record with personal data like health history, preferences, outcomes and care goals. Additionally, sharing of clinical data should incorporate intelligent design features that abet the effort to educate and engage consumers, like minimizing the unneeded visits and calls.

Article source:

College of Health Dean Search Under Way


As Lehigh moves forward with plans for its new College of Health, a search team, supported by Diversified Search, has helped to identify a pool of potential candidates for founding dean, with finalists likely to come to campus for interviews before the end of the fall semester, Provost Pat Farrell told the Lehigh community at a Town Hall Tuesday.

Meanwhile, plans for the new Health, Science and Technology building, a hub for interdisciplinary research and the future home of the College of Health, are advancing, with its design now under development and a planned open in 2021.

To assess the university’s available resources and initiate the process of managing change, Lehigh has established six working groups of staff and faculty who are focusing on outreach across campus to inform some critical components of the new College: start-up organizational framework; recruitment, hiring and retention of faculty and staff; existing infrastructure and central services; messaging to prospective students, partners, and stakeholders; collaboration with existing academic programs; and allocation models for tuition revenue and research income.

More information on the groups and their work can be found on the Provost’s website.

Farrell said group members will put together draft recommendations for the incoming dean that will say, in essence, “We’ve thought a lot about, for example, the organization of this new College, and we have some ideas for you that we think will be very useful, based on our own experiences.” Farrell said those ideas might include approaches already in place and that work well at Lehigh, or approaches that the university has not yet tried but wants to make happen.

“We would like to get a head start on thinking about what this College might look like, all fitting under the broad heading of ‘here’s what we’re trying to do with the new College,’” said Farrell. “How do we think about these particular areas in ways that best complement or support what we’re trying to do? They might look different from how we do these things in current colleges. In fact, it’s possible they might look quite different.”

Farrell encouraged those attending the Town Hall to reach out to group members if they want to share any ideas or get involved in the planning.

Article source:

Lady Gaga details ‘mental health crisis’ and pushes for better care in industry

“I would see flashes of things I was tormented by, experiences that were filed away in my brain with ‘I’ll deal with you later’ for many years because my brain was protecting me, as science teaches us. These were also symptoms of disassociation and PTSD and I did not have a team that included mental health support.”

Lady Gaga in September.

Lady Gaga in September. Credit:AAP

She explained that her struggles “later morphed into physical chronic pain, fibromyalgia, panic attacks, acute trauma responses, and debilitating mental spirals that have included suicidal ideation and masochistic behaviour.”

Gaga, who has been open about being a survivor of sexual assault, suggested that SAG-AFTRA partner with her Born This Way Foundation to implement mental health programs for union members. She even said she would make an unspecified donation to launch the initiative.

“I wish there had been a system in place to protect and guide me, a system in place to empower me to say no to things I felt I had to do, a system in place to empower me to stay away from toxic work environments or working with people who were of seriously questionable character,” Gaga said.

Article source:

ADHA privacy boss reportedly quits as My Health Record faces first big test


(Image: Getty Images/iStockphoto)

The director of privacy at the Australian Digital Health Agency (ADHA), which runs the My Health Record system, resigned last month over privacy concerns, according to a report by Fairfax Media.

While the director, Nicole Hunt, declined to comment, two sources close to her “confirmed that she had left the business out of frustration that privacy and security concerns her team had raised with senior management were often ignored”, Fairfax wrote.

The report added that privacy staff and experts had not had their advice listened to, which is part of a pattern of not listening at senior levels at ADHA and within Health Minister Greg Hunt’s office.

The ADHA said that it did not comment on staffing matters, and refused to confirm whether Ms Hunt had left the agency.

Meanwhile, the health minister and the ADHA have refused to give an update on how many Australians have opted out of the system. The last figure was given on October 24, when a Senate committee was told that 1,147,000 people had opted out by October 19.

Government circles the wagons

So not only is the government not listening, it’s not talking, either, despite the obvious importance of this multibillion-dollar program. The strategy seems to be to circle the wagons and tough it out.

How effective will this strategy be? We’ll find out on Tuesday, when the first batch of legislative amendments, intended to increase privacy, is scheduled to be debated in the Senate.

The My Health Records Amendment (Strengthening Privacy) Bill 2018 [PDF] tightens what was seen as overly broad access for law enforcement, and would ensure that health records are deleted when an individual requests it.

Labor has described these amendments as woefully inadequate.

Greens Senator Richard Di Natale has introduced an amendment [PDF] that would return My Health Record to a voluntary opt-in model, something the government has steadfastly refused to do.

The government is also refusing to extend the opt-out period beyond this Thursday. So if the Senate passes the Strengthening Privacy Bill with amendments, the House of Representatives doesn’t sit until 26 November, and the laws won’t be in place in time.

Di Natale has separately moved a motion to “extend or suspend the opt-out period until the legislation and any amendments are passed, outstanding privacy and security concerns are addressed, and public confidence in this important reform is restored”.

Apart from all that, a more comprehensive set of amendments will soon follow.

Government ignoring Senate recommendations

Last month, a separate Senate inquiry made 14 recommendations, including that access controls be applied by default, and for stronger restrictions on using My Health Record data for secondary uses, commercial purposes, employment or insurance purposes, or to enable the government to recoup revenue.

It also recommended extending the current opt-out period for a further 12 months.

In response, the government last week announced a second round of changes, including increased penalties for improper use of My Health Record data, a ban on data being used for employment purposes, and better privacy protection in cases of domestic violence.

The government response skipped over key structural issues, however. It’s blocking every attempt to return to an opt-in model, or even to fix the access controls.

As this writer has said previously, the government’s argument against reverting to an opt-in model is little more than a political-party sulk.

Labor, the Greens, and some minority party Senators are all critical of the My Health Record system for a variety of reasons. Tuesday’s debate over the Strengthening Privacy Bill is likely to be contentious.

As for the second Bill, a more complex batch of amendments we have yet to see in any draft legislation. Even if this Bill is introduced to the Senate this week — as of this writing, it wasn’t on the program — it cannot be passed through the House of Representatives before late November.

The Senate also has the option of referring the legislation to committee. Given the opposition and cross-bench concerns, this is likely. That process would take at least two or three weeks, if it happens, and with Parliament’s last sitting day scheduled for December 6, it would be impossible to enact the laws before the end of the year.

In summary, then, the government is asking us to decide on something as important as a digital health record, after which it will change the rules. That highlights its complete contempt for us as citizens.

“Trust us, we’re the government” simply isn’t good enough.

Australians have until this Thursday to opt out. I recommend you do so. You can always choose to opt in later, once you’ve had a chance to discuss the pros and cons with your GP.

Related Coverage

  • My Health Record access controls used only 214 times in million record trial
  • Rushed My Health Record changes still missing the point
  • My Health Record data misuse penalties raised
  • My Health Record opt-outs now sit at over 1.1 million
  • My Health Record privacy amendments ‘woefully inadequate’: Labor
  • Labor seeks updated My Health Record legislation to prevent privatisation
  • My Health Record justifications ‘kind of lame’: Godwin

Article source:

By Protecting Veterans’ Health, You May Protect Your Own

This Veterans Day, in addition to honoring those who serve in uniform, we should spend some time remembering the 300,000 employees of the Veterans Health Administration. The V.H.A. — the nation’s largest public health system — doesn’t just keep veterans healthy; it has developed treatments that help all Americans. And if we don’t defend it, it could be dismantled and auctioned off in whatever remains of the Trump era.

In V.H.A. facilities I have met some of the best doctors, nurses, therapists and medical researchers I’ve encountered in 40 years of reporting on the hospital industry. They deliver high-quality care to more than nine million patients who are, on average, older, sicker and poorer than those served by other systems. Yet, unlike veterans themselves, who are praised by politicians and the press, V.H.A. staff members, and the agency they work for, are routinely denigrated.

President Trump has insisted that “our veterans have been treated horribly” and that the V.H.A. is staffed with “bad apples” who “rob us or cheat us.” Last month, in a speech at a prestigious medical conference in Cleveland, John Boehner, the former House speaker, said the Department of Veterans Affairs, of which the V.H.A. is part, is simply “hopeless.” Its hospitals “provide substandard care to our veterans who deserve the best care,” Mr. Boehner said. “If you’re a real doctor, you’re probably not working at the V.A.”

Studies have shown that private-sector doctors and hospitals are not prepared to deal with veterans’ complex needs. But foes of the V.H.A., backed by wealthy donors like the Koch brothers, want to dismantle its hospital and clinic network and contract out billions of dollars’ worth of veterans’ services to the private sector.

Article source:

Google Picks Geisinger CEO to Oversee Health-Care Initiatives

Google is expected to name a prominent hospital-system chief executive to a newly created role overseeing the technology company’s health-care efforts.

David Feinberg is moving to the new Google health-care post after leading the Geisinger health system, which includes a health plan and hospital system operating in Pennsylvania and New Jersey.


Article source: