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.