It’s enough to make you do a spit take,

Modern Healthcare - - NEWS -

For­get your health­care congress, an­nual na­tional in­sti­tute or con­fer­ence and ex­hi­bi­tion, Spit Camp is a health­care gath­er­ing that Out­liers can re­ally get be­hind.

While vi­sions of such ses­sions as Saliva in So­ci­ety, an In­tro­duc­tion to Loo­gies and the Dy­nam­ics of Drool were quickly dashed, Spit Camp in­cludes lessons that may not leave a bad taste in your mouth, de­pend­ing on your level of in­ter­est in spit.

One can learn how to prop­erly col­lect saliva—it’s more than a mat­ter of spit­ting in a can—and un­der­stand when is the best time to col­lect spit de­pend­ing on which spit in­gre­di­ent, called an an­a­lyte, is be­ing an­a­lyzed. Some an­a­lytes show up in spit over the course of the day, so spit col­lec­tion will have to ac­count for that, says Chris Schwartz, mar­ket­ing co­or­di­na­tor for Sali­met­rics, the spit anal­y­sis com­pany mainly be­hind the spit camps. (Schwartz also re­as­sured Out­liers that the camps in­deed are real.)

The spit camps also would be an ideal way to net­work and swap spit col­lec­tion sto­ries with like-minded spit re­searchers, one can as­sume.

For con­tin­ued in­for­ma­tion on spit, check out Sali­met­rics’ free news­let­ter, The Spit Re­port.

Out­liers can’t wait to see our first is­sue.

ACOS carry some Gin­grich DNA

Af­ter be­ing close to dis­own­ing its cre­ation last year, the Amer­i­can Med­i­cal Group As­so­ci­a­tion was back to tout­ing its role in the cre­ation of ac­count­able care or­ga­ni­za­tions at its an­nual con­fer­ence last week­end in San Diego, and it even pro­vided a lit­tle more con­text and back story— which in­cluded giv­ing credit to a some­what un­likely cat­a­lyst.

What Ge­orge Ro­man, AMGA se­nior di­rec­tor of health pol­icy, said and for­mer AMGA Vice Pres­i­dent of Public Pol­icy Chet Speed later con­firmed, was that, es­sen­tially, the Aco-cre­at­ing pro­vi­sion might never have been in­cluded in the Pa­tient Pro­tec­tion and Af­ford­able Care Act if it wasn’t for for­mer U.S. House Speaker Newt Gin­grich.

So, even as his pres­i­den­tial hopes may be fading, his last­ing in­flu­ence might be found in the grow­ing in­ter­est in ac­count­able care.

At a March 9 ses­sion up­dat­ing mem­bers on cur­rent hap­pen­ings on Capi­tol Hill, Ro­man said the gen­e­sis of ACOS be­gan with an in­vi­ta­tion to make a pre­sen­ta­tion on the con­cept at a pro­gram spon­sored by Gin­grich’s Cen­ter for Health Trans­for­ma­tion. Af­ter the pre­sen­ta­tion, Ro­man said a Se­nate Fi­nance Com­mit­tee staffer ap­proached Speed and asked him “to give us some lan­guage on this,” at which point Speed’s knees al­most buck­led.

He re­cov­ered, how­ever, and some draft leg­is­la­tion was writ­ten and pre­sented. “What we pro­posed was largely in­cluded” in the final ver- sion of the law, Ro­man said. He also noted that this was the sin­gle largest law or reg­u­la­tion he ever per­son­ally had a hand in—adding, how­ever, that the ACO pro­vi­sion amounted to only about 2,000 of the law’s 500,000 or so words.

Speed, now the Cleve­land Clinic’s ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of fed­eral gov­ern­ment re­la­tions, con­firmed the story, say­ing that the AMGA had met ear­lier with the Cen­ter for Health Trans­for­ma­tion staff and was told “Newt re­ally wants to hear this sort of thing.”

So, Gin­grich called for a meet­ing that was held in De­cem­ber 2008. Speed said Capi­tol Hill staffers were in­vited and it was at­tended by the AMGA along with rep­re­sen­ta­tives of some of its mem­ber or­ga­ni­za­tions that par­tic­i­pated in the CMS’ Physi­cian Group Prac­tice Demon­stra­tion: the Billings (Mont.) Clinic; the Everett (Wash.) Clinic; the Geisinger Clinic, Danville, Pa.; the Marshfield (Wis.) Clinic; and Park Ni­col­let Health Ser­vices, St. Louis Park, Minn.

“They just had a great story to tell,” Speed said of the group prac­tices. “And, lo and be­hold, one of the fi­nance staffers said, ‘could you write it up and present it to us?’ ”

So, did his “knees buckle” as Ro­man said? Maybe not ex­actly, but Speed says that it’s a big mo­ment in any ad­vo­cacy as­so­ci­a­tion staffer’s ca­reer when he or she is specif­i­cally asked to con­trib­ute to de­vel­op­ing leg­is­la­tion in such a way.

“It was a very happy mo­ment, and I think we did a very de­cent job of pro­vid­ing draft leg­is­la­tion,” Speed said, adding that oth­ers—in­clud­ing the CMS and the Medi­care Pay­ment Ad­vi­sory Com­mis­sion—later “touched it” be­fore a final ver­sion was set­tled on.


“This is no joke. … (Jon Ste­wart has) evolved from be­ing just a quote/un­quote mere satirist to some­one who weighs in on the se­ri­ous top­ics of the day, whether it’s health­care, grid­lock in Congress ... a va­ri­ety of dif­fer­ent is­sues. But I was try­ing to make the con­nec­tion more specif­i­cally with bioethics and health­care.”

—Kay­han Parsi, an as­so­ci­ate pro­fes­sor in the Neiswanger In­sti­tute for Bioethics and Health Pol­icy of Loy­ola Univer­sity Chicago’s Stritch School of Medicine, in the Chicago Tri­bune on

“The Daily Show” host. Parsi wrote about Ste­wart in the Amer­i­can Jour­nal of Bioethics, where he was re­cently named as­so­ci­ate ed­i­tor.


Gin­grich, shown cam­paign­ing re­cently in Illi­nois, can claim some credit for ACOS.

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