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Organized medicine should take leadership role in quality, study says

Physician organizations such as the American Medical Association and state medical societies should take the lead in defining health care quality and helping physicians implement improvement initiatives, according to an AMA report issued in July. The report, "Advancing Ambulatory Quality Improvement: Results of Focus Groups With Medical Societies," was based on analysis of discussions of nearly 100 physicians and medical society executives in 13 states participating in the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation's Aligning Forces for Quality initiative. Among the top concerns of physicians was ensuring that quality is defined and measured in a way that addresses patient care and not the financial concerns of payers. "What will be very helpful for the state medical societies and the AMA to do would be to first define what we mean by ambulatory quality," said one of the focus group members, all of whom were promised anonymity as a condition of participation. "I don't think we have a real ...

Verizon unveils Internet-based health information network

Communication giant Verizon says it has created a new service that will help health care organizations combat the biggest hurdle when it comes to information exchange -- incompatible information technology platforms. Verizon is launching a health information exchange it says will allow health care organizations to send and receive information regardless of what platform the data were created on or where they are stored. And because the platform is cloud-based -- hosted on the Internet -- data can be accessed from anywhere with an Internet connection, without any special hardware needed. The system would allow physicians or health care organizations to request patient data through a secure online portal. Other services include a record locator service, cross-enterprise patient index and secure messaging. Verizon says the system will have strong identity access management controls to ensure only authorized users access patient data. But some experts are questioning how those con ...

Medicaid pay commission to begin work in September

The Medicaid and CHIP Payment and Access Commission has chosen an expert with significant federal experience as executive director and will hold its first public meeting on Sept. 23-24. MACPAC named Lu Zawistowich, ScD, as its executive director during organizational meetings held July 19-20 in Washington, D.C. Zawistowich has been acting deputy of the Office of Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight at the Dept. of Health and Human Services. Before that, she served as deputy director of the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission and in leadership positions at the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services -- including in the Office of State Health Reform Demonstrations, where she worked with states on Medicaid managed care programs. "Zawistowich has distinguished herself as an expert in the health policy arena throughout her professional career in state and federal government and in the private sector," said Diane Rowland, ScD, MACPAC chair and executive director of the Kaiser ...