Health Care

Drug costs at pharmacies lack transparency

Drug costs at pharmacies lack transparency

Statute needed to require patients be informed of cheaper alternatives

AS A PRACTICING PHYSICIAN, nearly every time I write a prescription, I have to ask myself: “Will this patient be able to afford this at the beginning of the calendar year when they have not yet met their deductible? Will they be able to afford this medicine in the middle of the calendar year when(...)

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Here’s why more nurses don’t mean better care

Here’s why more nurses don’t mean better care

Question 1’s rigid ratios may undercut technology improvements

IS A VOTE FOR QUESTION 1, which sets mandatory nurse-to-patient ratios, a vote for safer care in hospitals? At first blush, it might appear so. How can it be otherwise that prescribing specific numbers of nurses per patient be anything other than good for patients? But such a conclusion is not only simplistic, but likely(...)

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On nurse ballot measure, Dems line up with labor

On nurse ballot measure, Dems line up with labor

Are policy points secondary to union loyalty?

THE NOVEMBER BALLOT QUESTION that would mandate minimum nurse staffing levels at Massachusetts hospitals is a complicated issue. Health care experts offered views that were sharply at odds with each other at a hearing this week of the state Health Policy Commission, with some saying the measure would unquestionably lead to better patient outcomes, while(...)

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Clashing views on nurse staffing question

Clashing views on nurse staffing question

Experts offer sharply differing takes to Health Policy Commission

WOULD MANDATED NURSE staffing ratios improve patient outcomes in Massachusetts? And are there even enough nurses to fill new slots that such a requirement would create? It’s little wonder that voters are having a hard time sorting out these issues: A group of nursing experts differed sharply on the questions during a panel discussion convened(...)

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Baker planning pharmacy pricing legislation

Baker planning pharmacy pricing legislation

Sudders calls manufacturer drug rebates ‘smoke and mirrors’

THE BAKER ADMINISTRATION is developing a legislative proposal to rein in pharmacy prices or at least shed more light on what’s fueling the rising cost. Marylou Sudders, the governor’s secretary of health and human services, said her agency is crafting legislation that would allow the state to negotiate prices directly with drug manufacturers, call them(...)

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ER visits continue to impact health costs

ER visits continue to impact health costs

Limited access creates problems for those seeking behavioral care

DESPITE A GROWING number of free-standing retail clinics and urgent care centers in the state, there is still a heavy reliance on costly hospital emergency department visits, with more than one-third of patients acknowledging their trip to the ER was for a non-emergency condition, including behavioral issues such as seeking treatment for depression, anxiety, and(...)

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Do no harm on health care spending

Do no harm on health care spending

Siphoning funds from teaching hospitals no way to shore up MassHealth

WHEN THE LEGISLATURE reconvenes and takes up the unresolved challenge of shoring up the bottom lines of financially stressed community hospitals, lawmakers would do well to keep in mind the bedrock ethical principle taught to every student at the four outstanding medical schools in Massachusetts. First, do no harm. In the endlessly complex business of(...)

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Council imposes new conditions on BI-Lahey merger

Council imposes new conditions on BI-Lahey merger

Tabb: Terms approach 'outer limits of what's doable'

STATE HOUSE NEWS SERVICE NEW CONDITIONS IMPOSED Wednesday on a pending 13-hospital merger are “unprecedented,” according to the executive set to helm the new system, who said the terms and the 10-year period for which they will be in place are “approaching the outer limits of what’s doable.” The state Public Health Council granted preliminary(...)

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Time for Baker to step up on health care

Time for Baker to step up on health care

With Beth Israel-Lahey merger, action long overdue on payment disparities

FOR THE BETTER part of this decade, Massachusetts had been on a roll regarding its health system’s performance. Since passage of the 2006 universal health insurance law, we’ve been tops in having the lowest number of uninsured the nation. Recent national surveys on cost, quality, access, and public health from the Commonwealth Fund, the United(...)

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Question 1 bad for care, nursing education

Question 1 bad for care, nursing education

Measure will lead to cutbacks, closures at hospitals

IMPROVING PATIENT CARE and supporting healthcare workers should always be the top priorities when making changes to today’s health care system. I am a nurse and educator with 40 years of experience, and I am convinced the Question 1 ballot initiative does neither–and will in fact cause lasting damage to our entire healthcare system. As(...)

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