Briefs

Modern Healthcare - - LATE NEWS -

In con­tin­u­ing fall­out from a re­cent con­flict-of-in­ter­est scan­dal, Na­tional Qual­ity Fo­rum Pres­i­dent and CEO Dr. Chris­tine Cas­sel is step­ping down from two out­side board of di­rec­tors jobs amid ques­tions about whether they cre­ated con­flicts of in­ter­est for her. Cas­sel, 68, has served on the board of di­rec­tors at Kaiser Per­ma­nente Health Plan and Hos­pi­tals since 2003, and has held board po­si­tions with health­care sup­plier and con­sul­tant Pre­mier and its pre­de­ces­sors since 2008. She told the Na­tional Qual­ity Fo­rum board of di­rec­tors last Wed­nes­day that she is re­sign­ing from both roles be­cause they had be­come a “dis­trac­tion” for the NQF. The changes come as the NQF works to con­tain a con­flict-of-in­ter­est scan­dal on one of its com­mit­tees.

Roughly 300,000 in­di­vid­u­als have signed up for plans of­fered by not-for-profit health in­sur­ance car­ri­ers that were seeded with $2 bil­lion in loan money through the Pa­tient Pro­tec­tion and Af­ford­able Care Act, said John Mor­ri­son, out­go­ing chair of the Na­tional Al­liance of State Health Co-Ops, at the group’s an­nual meet­ing in Wash­ing­ton last week. Those in­sured in­di­vid­u­als rep­re­sent about 8% of to­tal en­roll­ments since the state and federal ex­changes opened on Oct. 1.

The dif­fi­culty in pre­cisely mea­sur­ing the ben­e­fits of the pa­tient-cen­tered med­i­cal home model comes across in two new stud­ies of­fer­ing seem­ingly con­tra­dic­tory in­sights on the con­cept. A three-year study by Bos­ton-based re­searchers with the RAND Corp. com­par­ing 32 South­east Penn­syl­va­nia prac­tices found sig­nif­i­cant im­prove­ment in only one of 11 qual­ity mea­sures and “no ro­bust as­so­ci­a­tions with uti­liza­tion and or costs,” ac­cord­ing to find­ings pub­lished in JAMA. In con­trast, Univer­sity of Min­nesota School of Pub­lic Health re­searchers found that providers that adopted the state’s “health­care home” model im­proved scores on mea­sures re­lated to col­orec­tal cancer screen­ing, asthma care, di­a­betes care, vas­cu­lar care, and fol­low-up care for de­pres­sion.

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