Tag Archives: healthcare reform

Mission Not Impossible: Healthcare Reform After the Election

I hate it when baseball season ends

So here we are in mid-November with no more baseball to discuss, receiving no more candidate robo-calls and with an election in the bag (the bag being a nice silk purse if you are a Democrat, a sow’s ear if you are a Republican).  As a result, we are now all blessed with an immeasurable amount of free time to sit around and read the 20-20 hindsight-infused analysis about what November 6th has wrought.   That is, unless you are Fox News and you are using your newly-freed-up time deciding whether you need a whole new business model.

As an investor in the field, I was interested to review what the National Venture Capital Association had to add to the post-election discourse and they had several things to say specifically about healthcare innovation, Obamacare and the FDA which you can read here:  NVCA 2012 Election Analysis.

Wade Roush, Xconomy. Follow him on Twitter @wroush

In any event, I was going to add my very own two cents to the analysis paralysis by writing a VentureValkyrie post about the election’s impact on healthcare reform

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Posted in Healthcare, Healthcare Policy, Healthcare private equity, Healthcare Reform, Healthcare Venture Capital, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Avengers Assemble! Prepare to Defend Your Healthcare Coverage

I happened upon a pretty funny healthcare piece on FunnyorDie.com, the comedy website owned by Will Farrell and other comedians and venture capitalists.  It is unusual to think about a group that includes people from those two professions joining together;  I am guessing such a coalition works since the phrase most often heard by venture capitalists from their portfolio CEOs is, “You must be joking!

Anyway, the piece is entitled Avengers Assemble and it is a short film (4 minutes) during which the Avengers gather at their corporate conference table to discuss the new healthcare reform law. For those of you who are not 12-year-old boys or Marvel comics aficionados, the Avengers were an elite force of superheroes who banded together to fight evil. It is an almost perfect metaphor for those who think that is what the Patient Protection Act was meant to do and just a funny premise in any event.

In the film, Tony Stark, CEO of Stark Industries and also known as Iron Man, is overseeing the discussion, which includes Avengers’ members Captain America, the Hulk, the Wasp, Thor, Hawkeye, Wolverine, and a host of others,

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Posted in Health and Wellness, Healthcare Policy, Random Thoughts of the Day, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Choosing Elephantoplasty Wisely

On April 4, 2012, American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM) together with 9 other leading physician societies launched the Choosing Wisely® program, which they describe as, “an initiative of the ABIM Foundation to help physicians and patients engage in conversations about the overuse of tests and procedures and support physician efforts to help patients make smart and effective care choices.” By signing on as a member society, each of these physician groups has identified lists of “Five Things Physicians and Patients Should Question.”  These lists are intended to “provide specific, evidence-based recommendations physicians and patients should discuss to help make wise decisions about the most appropriate care based on their individual situation.”

Watch out for flying pigs

What Choosing Wisely has done, in effect, is provide physicians and patients a list of 45 procedures and tests that they should either avoid or at least question before prescribing (in the case of doctors) or accepting (in the case of patients).  In other words, this is a large (over 357,000) cadre of physicians coming out and saying, “hey, maybe we are doing too many tests and procedures that have no clinical

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Posted in Consumer Engagement, Diagnostics and Screening, Healthcare, Healthcare Reform, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Vision Without Execution is Hallucination

Steve Case

Recently Steve Case wrote an Op-Ed in the Washington Post called Give Entrepreneurs Room and They Will Grow the Economy. For those not familiar with him, Case was the original founding CEO of AOL and he has been an active healthcare investor, among other things, for the past 7 years. My firm, Psilos Group, has previously co-invested with Case’s Revolution Health Fund.

Anyway, it was a very good editorial and one of the statistics within it particularly stood out to me in light of my venture capital role: firms less than five years old have produced 40 million American jobs over the past three decades — accounting for basically all of the net new jobs created in that period. That is a pretty stunning fact and also one that really makes a person scratch their head about current U.S. policy towards start-ups. It is worth watching this Kauffman Foundation 3 minute video that is very instructive about start-ups and job creation.

Young Companies are the Golden Ticket to Job Creation

No where is this issue more relevant than in the healthcare industry, which conveniently happens to be

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Posted in General Business Issues, Healthcare Information Technology, Healthcare Policy, Healthcare private equity, Healthcare Reform, Healthcare Venture Capital, Innovation, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Healthcare Reform is Coming to Town!

Last year about this time of year I wrote a parody of Twas the Night Before Christmas about the coming of healthcare IT and meaningful use.  I decided to make these holiday parody songs an annual event.  I figure I have years of material, as there are so many ways of ruining an otherwise joyous holiday gem by mixing it with healthcare and public policy.

This year’s victim:  Santa Claus is Coming to Town, was written by J. Fred Coots and Haven Gillespie in 1934.  The original lyrics to the song can be found HERE.  The song is a little weird because it lets kids know that Santa Claus is watching them all the time like some sort of red velvet-clad big brother machine. If the children aren’t good they won’t get any presents for Christmas, so the song has the extra-added attraction of veiled threat. Kind of reminded me of what’s happening with health reform and the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA).  For those in the healthcare industry, there is definitely a feeling the eyes of government are upon them.  Insurers, employers, medical device and

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At Least I’ll Die On a Mattress

Ugh.  I am recovering from my fourth ear infection/cold/flu thing of 2011, which completely sucks.   Nothing worse than a healthcare person interacting with the medical system. We know too much.

I went to my doctor yesterday, finally, after realizing that neither pretending I wasn’t sick, nor begging the gods to make it stop, nor the power of positive thinking was going to ameliorate the feeling of having a railroad spike drilled into my right ear.  As I sat there at my physician’s office, I whined, “I can’t believe I have been here so many times this year,” and she said, “Well, thank goodness because it’s how I make money.”

I have to say that if my head didn’t already feel like it was going to explode, it would have after hearing that.  She captured, in a nutshell, all that is wrong with the incentives in our medical system.  My doctor, a lovely person, should make more money for keeping me healthy, not for setting a record for prescription-writing.  I’d certainly pay more for that.

Chris Rock playing doctor on Saturday Night Live

As I paid my bill and checked out

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Posted in Health and Wellness, Healthcare, Uncategorized | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

Eye on the Prize

Gamification can't really be a word

There has been a lot of talk in healthcare circles about the concept of “gamification,” a super-annoying made-up word that means turning health tasks into games so they are more engaging and people are more willing to do them.  People and companies are coming up with all sorts of games for kids with asthma and diabetes to learn good medical compliance and for adults who need the extra incentive to do their exercise and comply with their chronic care regimens, among others.  Michelle Obama even sponsored a big contest to foster the creation of games to sponsor healthy eating and virtually every large health insurance company is now offering various forms of incentive game and points programs for taking better care of oneself.  You can get frequent flyer points for taking United Airlines and “personal rewards” points, that you can turn into cash, for being insured by United Healthcare.

Vanna, can I buy a vowel?

We Americans just love our games and nothing sells like a healthy competition.  Just witness the insanity of prime time television and you will see people attempting feats

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Posted in Healthcare, Innovation, Random Thoughts of the Day, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Doing the Right Thing: Priceless

I saw an article when I woke up today and it compelled me to dash off this quick post.  Entitled “Wal-Mart Cuts Some Health Care Benefits,” the article details Wal-Mart’s decision to eliminate coverage for new part-time workers who work less than 24 hours/week and to increase costs, including deductibles and premiums, for virtually all other workers.  This is a pretty common story right now—you can read it any day of the week in any local paper where large and small business are the primary advertisers in that publication as the economy is driving employers to the brink.  With unemployment at a record high and consumer spending driving downward, employers don’t need to offer high benefits to attract workers and can’t afford to spend such a large proportion of their income on them anyway.  Yeah, yeah, we’ve heard it all before.  Cue violins and angry union workers.  People spend their time blaming the PPACA health reform law for wrecking the healthcare benefit system but that ire is misdirected:  it’s the economy, stupid, as they say in politics.

Anyway, it wasn’t the overall punch line of the story that

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Posted in Health and Wellness, Healthcare, Healthcare Policy, Healthcare Reform, Healthy Eating, Preventive Health, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 11 Comments

Smoke on the Water: Fireworks in Cleveland

I spent the early part of this week attending the Cleveland Clinic Medical Innovation Summit and, despite the fact that the Cleveland Clinic stubbornly insists on holding it’s conference in Cleveland (aka The Mistake on the Lake), it was well worth attending.

Cleveland is an interesting town. Once upon a time, when old white men roamed the earth in cars driven by chauffeurs, Cleveland was the nation’s fifth largest city and had the highest number of Fortune 500 headquarters of any US city. Today, the Cleveland Clinic is the largest employer in the city, which is known also for a river that used to spontaneously combust and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (the perfect song for this occasion is clearly Smoke on the Water). In a way Cleveland is the perfect place to honor aging rock stars, as they can pick up a statuette and an angioplasty on the same trip. By the way, the river doesn’t catch fire anymore I’m told. I was worried because the Clinic hosted a pretty impressive fireworks display over Lake Erie for their 1500 guests and no doubt most of us expected

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Posted in Healthcare, Healthcare Policy, Medical Devices, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

96 Ways To Say “Bite Me”

Once upon a time we marveled at the fact that Baskin Robbins had come up with 31 flavors—what a smorgasbord of opportunity.  Then they branched out into seasonal flavors, regional flavors, even frozen yogurt, which vaulted them upwards into having more than 50 flavors.  What a joy to behold:  more is definitely better when it comes to ice cream.

As The Boss would say, "57 Channels and Nothing On"

Same story for television.  Some of you, those that are resting comfortably next to me in a nursing home, will remember the old days when we had ABC, CBS, NBC and Channel 13 as the primary TV channel choices.  Then there were 13 channels, then around 20, and now my mercenary cable providers shows me more than 700.  This example is a little sketchier.  More than 4 channels is definitely better.  As many as 700?  Well, I guess it works if you figure that they are trying to capture everyone in the world’s tastes, even those that want to watch Jersey Shore and Deadliest Catch.

So what do we make, then, of the Center for Medicare and Medicaid’s (CMS)

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Posted in Diagnostics and Screening, Healthcare, Healthcare Information Technology, Healthcare Policy, Healthcare Reform, Random Thoughts of the Day | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments