I have a backup of pediatric benchmarks (a really cool location-adjusted revenue one is coming), but some items I have to get out of my queue:
From Susanne Madden, queen of The Verden Group:
I had an interesting conversation with a reporter at the WSJ this afternoon. She would be very interested in speaking any physicians who have experienced service and claim issues with UnitedHealthcare.
If anyone is interested, can you email me at this address?
If you read this blog, then I know you have had problems with UHC. Help us all out. Her address:
m a d d e n @ t h e v e r d e n g r o u p . c o m
[without the spaces]
It's been a rough week, especially over at PedTalk. The autism/vaccines "debate" has poisoned the waters of discussion pretty badly and I have a feeling that some of the anti-vaccine crowd is trying to cause some technical difficulty for us. They've done it before, so we'll see what Yahoo and others tell me (sorry for being cryptic).
To add to that, most of the news I had to share was negative. I had Dr. Stoller in the WSJ talking about how much UHC stinks (not really news to those of us in the business, but hey). Then there were the articles about primary care doctor shortages (which were linked to MA's new insurance requirement law, but I've asked my clients there about it and they don't report much). And so on.
I decided to share something helpful, positive to get my out of my doldrums and negative focus, so I have two things.
First, to prove that not all movie stars are anti-vaccine, here's a nice link from Salma Hayek (just putting her name here will attract all kinds of the wrong attention). Yes, I am cynical when I see that one has to buy Pampers to get the tetanus shot donated, but at least someone is aiming at the right target. I thank Salma for lending her name to this campaign (presuming she didn't get a bucket of cash). Perhaps she'll read this blog in get in touch. No? You don't think so?
The other thing I was working on was an all-in-one Immunization/Vaccine/CPT/ICD9/Manufacturer table. I have had this information in different places at different times and always make it hard to find. I suppose I could combine it with the CDC price list, perhaps I will. Please let me know if any additions, changes, corrections I can add to it! It provides a list of vaccines, with associated ICD9, CPT codes, descriptions, manufacturer, and product name. Handy dandy. Click below. My extreme thanks to Q, who helped me put this together (ok, she did most of the work).
It appears that the chorus of people suggesting that we cut out the middleman in our physician-insurance-patient tripod (to mix metaphors) has grown even larger. I will continue to write about the concept here, of course, but see what the latest WSJ health blog has to say:
Most discussions about the rising cost of health care emphasize the need to get more people insured. The assumption seems to be that insurance - rather than the service delivered by doctor to patient - is the important commodity.
But perhaps the solution to much of what currently plagues us in health care - rising costs and bureaucracy, diminishing levels of service - rests on a radically different approach: fewer people insured.
...read the rest by Jonathan Kellerman - yes, that Jonathan Kellerman, the one who writes the medical thrillers. Apparently, he is a clinical professor of pediatrics and psychology at USC. Who knew? I'll have to read one of his books next time I'm on a plane...like Wednesday!
For the record, I don't know about fewer people being insured. Perhaps it's more people, but different (you know...indemnity) insurance. To cover the things we can't pay for.
A couple weeks ago, the Verden Alert gave me this little notice about Oxford:
Please note that in an effort to become more transparent and communicate more clearly, Oxford has modified its policy change listings. Oxford now posts exactly what revisions have been made to its changed policies.
Interesting, because happened shortly after the release of the Verden Report, showing Oxford at the bottom of the pile when it comes to transparency and clarity. Is it possible they were listening? Is it possible that they noticed? [BTW, you would have learned this and a lot more if you were a Verden Subscriber...]
Well, check out the ad that Aetna ran in the WSJ earlier this week. There it is, clear as day:
Ranked #1 for providing clear information to doctors
The Verden Group, April 2008
It's likely that the folks at the bottom are paying attention as much as those at the top. Kudus to Oxford. And to the Verden Group. That's some validation, imo, of the work being done over there. Good work, Susanne.
This time, next year, we'll all be talking about the Verden Effect.