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Nearly All Payers Staying in ACA Marketplace in 2018


Uncertainty of the ACA aside, a new survey indicates most payers will stay in health plan exchange next year.

Welcome to Practice Rounds, our weekly column exploring what's being covered in the larger world of healthcare.

Payers Staying in ACA Exchanges

Despite the uncertainty surrounding the Affordable Care Act (ACA), 96 percent of payers are staying in the ACA exchanges in 2018, according to a new survey from Oliver Wyman. The survey reveals that payers are approaching the 2018 marketplace cautiously, however. Only one payer said it was leaving the market. Oliver Wyman, a research firm, surveyed 25 payers and found that 70 percent are carrying on as is, uncertain if the ACA will be repealed, changed or kept in place. The other 30 percent are changing the number of plans offered or shifting to plans with tighter controls. Twenty-five percent of payers are shifting their geographic footprint - half of these payers are expanding and the other half are contracting.

AMA, Regenstrief Launch EHR Training Platform

The AMA and Regenstrief Institute, a healthcare informatics research organization in Indianapolis, are collaborating to bring EHR training to medical schools across the country. The two organizations announced they will launch a platform that medical schools can use to teach future physicians on optimal use of the EHR. It will use real, de-identified patient data to allow students to care for complex patients with multiple conditions. The goal, AMA says, is to teach students how to use these systems to address important population health issues. "Too often, students enter residency training without the ability to effectively and efficiently work with EHRs, even though they are one of the primary tools physicians use in everyday practice," AMA Vice President for Medical Education Susan Skochelak, MD, said in a statement.

Top Medication Errors

Luminer, a company specializing in product labeling, recently surveyed patients on the mistakes they are making with their medications, Drug Topics reports. The four most common mistakes include:

•Being confused over medication instructions - the majority of respondents never bothered to ask their physician or pharmacist to clarify;

• Not being aware of counterfeit drugs - 54 percent say they won't' check to see if the drug is legitimate or counterfeit;

• Having trouble opening the package - 61 percent surveyed say this is a problem for them;

• 31 percent of respondents say they have accidentally taken prescription drugs that were not intended for them.

HHS Grant to Combat Opioid Crisis

The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is making a concerted effort to combat the opioid crisis, offering grants totaling $485 million to all 50 states, Washington D.C., four U.S. territories, and free associated states of Palau and Micronesia to combat the public health problem. According to an HHS press release, the grants were divvied up based on rates of overdose deaths and unmet need for opioid addiction treatment. HHS Secretary Tom Price  wrote a letter to the states’ governors asking them to help outline best practices on how to effectively use the funding.

Quote of the week:

Training Practice Staff to Not be HIPAA Liabilities

"If we're not passionate and we're relying on a policy and a poster on the wall….we're going to fail because people aren't hearing [what you're trying to train them on] or it just doesn't resonate and they're not recalling it when they need it."

Servio Medina, HIPAA expert, on getting staff to comply with patient privacy guidelines

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