Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Early Verdict on Bush Health Care Plans, Money Wasted

President Bush’s recent Executive Order included a mandate to measure and reward quality. A news report suggested an early step in this direction to be a waste of money.

Cancer doctors received about $275 million from the federal government and the elderly last year as part of a yearlong research project that many doctors believe won't produce any useful findings. In a report to be released Wednesday, the inspector general for the Health and Human Services Department cast doubt on whether the money was well-spent. He questioned the integrity of the data that doctors submitted.

"We identified numerous anomalies and gaps in the data and collection methods," said the report from Inspector General Daniel Levinson. Levinson concluded the report by calling the data "unreliable."

Congress appropriated the money, Health & Human Services designed and conducted the study via Medicare and guess who’s being blamed for this? Doctors, yes those greedy doctors are being blamed! The same Senator who wants to tax pimps, whores and non profit hospitals weighed in:

Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, said taxpayers and beneficiaries were "bilked" because they paid for services that physicians are already supposed to provide.

"It looks like the Medicare program has played games and used demonstration projects, whose legitimate purpose is to test new and innovative ideas for delivering health care, for questionable purposes," Grassley added.

From the article it appears the study designers to be at fault.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services regularly carries out research, but the chemotherapy project is by far the biggest. It was estimated to cost $300 million, including the beneficiaries' copays.

Who designed the study and implemented it? Who decided to pay $130 per assessment? Did someone in HHS do this or was it contracted out to the private sector?

Recall the Bush emphasis on quality measures? Medicare representatives used this as their defense.

"We're trying to go from a system that is completely blind to what goes on in the doctor's office to one that is highly informed and very helpful to the practicing doctor and to the beneficiary through transparency and quality measures," said Dr. Peter B. Bach, a senior adviser at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

Unfortunately, this crew doesn’t know how to get there. At least that’s the opinion of the Inspector General.

This is the new third new growth industry created by Bush strategies. The first centered fostered widespread education testing, the second innovative intelligence gathering, and now health care price and quality information.

The Bush team operates without profound knowledge. As Dr. Deming, the famed quality guru said:

“We are being ruined by best efforts.” & “We should by guided by theory, not by numbers.”

Bush continues to deliver his best efforts without theory.

No comments: