A Patient Centered Approach to Achieving Value in Health Care

How to Reduce Costs While Delivering Ideal Outcomes and Experiences

Achieving value in today’s healthcare environment requires improving outcomes and experiences while lowering costs. This is a significant challenge for providers who have only worked in a healthcare environment where payment has been based on the volume of services.

At the same time, charges for these services have long been based on providers’ or organizations’ more global health care costs, often as a ratio of cost-to-charges.  A new tool, however, is making it possible for all healthcare constituencies (providers, hospitals, insurers, and policy makers) to identify true cost to deliver care  (e.g., total joint replacement surgery, hysterectomy, diabetes care, etc.). 

This is a significant shift that will allow us to understand cost drivers and move from volume to value throughout the healthcare continuum.

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PBGH Symposium: Punt or Pass: How to Score in Today’s Health Care Game

Join PBGH at its 15th Annual Health Care Symposium on Thursday, Sept. 4, at the Pittsburgh Marriott City Center, to hear, learn, network and exchange ideas with business and industry leaders and experts.


7:30 AM Pre-Game Tailgating: Registration – Exhibits Open
8:30 AM Opening Ceremonies
Jessica Brooks, Executive Director, Pittsburgh Business Group on Health
9:00 AM Keynote AddressHow Business Can Save America from Health Care
Brian Klepper, Chief Executive Officer, National Business Coalition on Health
- Sponsored by Cigna
10:00 AM Morning Break – Exhibits Open


For more information, click here.

Washington Health System: Physician Executive Wanted

WashingtonHealthGroup 7 2014

Electronic Health Records Save Patients During Devastation

Brian YeamanBy Brian Yeaman, MD 

On May 20, 2013, a level 5 tornado headed straight for Moore Medical Center in Moore, Oklahoma. As a physician on call at the medical center, I was part of a tremendous team that had two priorities: protect those in the building as the tornado was about to hit, and immediately following the impact, resume a high level of care to those affected in the community. 

To address the first priority, the team gathered everyone in the center of the cafeteria and stayed there until the tornado passed. Outside the medical center walls, devastation surrounded us. Tens of thousands of families in the area had lost power and many houses and mobile homes were completely leveled. Moore had taken a direct hit.

Determining the best way to treat our community was the next challenge. Within hours, hundreds of patients flooded the emergency room with injuries ranging in severity from bleeding to unconsciousness. Ten patients had to be admitted who required various medicines and treatment plans. To properly treat these patients and better understand their history, drug allergies, and medications, we needed access to their medical records and quickly.

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New Property for Sale: 203 Orchard Court, Jefferson Hills, PA

Contemporary Multi-Level in the Waterman Farm Estates plan in Jefferson Hills just 5 minutes from Jefferson Regional Medical Center.

Two wood burning floor to ceiling stone fireplaces, Cathedral ceilings, open, airy, light & bright.  Large lever private rear yard with a synthetic wood rear deck, shed, and fenced garden.  Open floor plan, and lots of extra rooms and storage.

Updated kitchen, new carpet, and beautiful wood flooring.  4 Bedrooms and 3 full baths.  One of the top rated school districts in Allegheny County.  Close to Routes 51, 43, and 70.

Dan J. Haeck, Realtor
Coldwell Banker Real Estate Services
10 Old Clairton Road
Pittsburgh, PA  15236

412-496-6602 (cell)

Click on any of the photos below to enlarge them.

Could Placenta-derived Cell Therapy Help Address the Increased Long Term Risk of Stroke in Women with a History of Preeclampsia?

Karine KleinhausBy Karine Kleinhaus, MD, MPH

Preeclampsia is a leading killer of pregnant women and a major contributor to maternal and fetal morbidity. Occurring in 6-8% of pregnant women, it is diagnosed after the 20th week of pregnancy by the new onset of high blood pressure and either elevated protein in the urine, or pulmonary edema, cerebral or visual symptoms, low platelets, or specific signs of kidney or liver dysfunction. Although most affected pregnancies deliver at or close to term with good outcomes, women with preeclampsia are at an increased risk for life-threatening events, including stroke and grand mal seizures (eclampsia). Because of these potential outcomes, a key aspect of routine prenatal care is monitoring pregnancies for signs and symptoms of preeclampsia.

Even if preeclampsia is detected in a timely manner, however, delivery remains the only cure. Consequently, women with preeclampsia may need to be delivered prematurely to stop disease progression. This makes preeclampsia an important cause of premature births and early neonatal deaths. In addition, the American Heart Association and the American Stroke association recently identified preeclampsia as an independent risk factor for cardiac disease and stroke in women even decades after an affected pregnancy; it was estimated that preeclampsia doubles the risk of stroke and quadruples the risk of developing hypertension in later life, even if blood pressure returns to normal after delivery. Previously, the negative effects of preeclampsia were thought to resolve after pregnancy.

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Physician Assistance for Western Pennsylvania

Sandra Caffo, Senior Director for LifeSolutionsBy Sandra Caffo

Quality care is what people expect to receive from physicians. However, we don’t likely think about what might impact a physician’s ability to provide this care. Doctors are part of a profession that is one of the most respected in this country – and, indeed, all around the world. As difficult as it is to get into and complete medical school, that difficulty often escalates once the physician begins to live with the day-to-day, 24/7 pressures of being a doctor. 

A recent article in Healthcare Finance News reported that more physicians feel the stresses of their profession than ever before and that the impact of that stress is often underestimated. Not only did 87 percent of respondents to a Physician Wellness survey say they were moderately-to-severely stressed/burned out on an average day, but also 63 percent said they felt more stressed out than they were three years ago.

The modern physician faces questions from all sides including: Are his or her care choices medically appropriate … efficient … cost-effective? How is the Affordable Care Act going to impact where and how physicians work? Physicians face increasing complexity in treatment decisions, along with decreases in autonomy and control. Frustration can seem an inevitable byproduct.    

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Testimonials from Treating Addiction at the St. Joseph Institute Rehab Center

Since opening in May of 2005, St. Joseph Institute has been treating addiction for people throughout the United States and from many other countries.  These are some of their comments:Screen Shot 2014-07-22 at 11.20.10 AM

Read the rest of their testimonials.

Continuing Education Classes at Providence Point

Tuesday, August 12, 2014- Providence Point (500 Providence Point Blvd, Pittsburgh PA 15243)

Registration starts at 4 PM

Ethical Considerations of Care and PTSD and Veterans presented by Mary Beth Kelley, MSW, LSW

During the first hour, we will discuss the ethical dilemmas surrounding discharge against medical advice and the steps that can be taken when unsafe discharge decisions are made.  During the second hour, the discussion will focus upon post-traumatic stress disorder and how it affects medical care choices for veterans.

Classes fill quickly, please call (412) 572-3808 to RSVP

Addressing the Whitespace: Digitizing the Missing Pieces of the Medical Record

Therasa Bell, president and Chief Technology Officer, Inofile, healthcare technology, Meaningful Use Stage 2By Therasa Bell

Many Pennsylvania patients will start their next visit to the doctor’s office the same way: by filling out registration paperwork. This simple act adds up to a big problem for the healthcare industry. Despite $19 billion of incentives to push digital patient records forward, many offices are buried in paperwork and other unstructured patient information that often fails to make it to the electronic medical record – whether it is paper, fax, a digital image, email attachment or smartphone app.

That doesn’t mean there’s a lack of effort to digitize these pieces of the patient record. In fact, there’s too much effort. Every source of unstructured content requires time-intensive processes to convert it into a standards-based format that any provider can access.

Typically, this process means a member of the staff scans every page, keying in patient information and other relevant details to ensure the file makes it to the right record and remains accessible. Beyond the time spent scanning and keying, the equipment also requires regular IT support to maintain functionality. And all of this must be in place before a single item is converted and connected to the correct medical record.

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This National Women’s Health Week, Prioritize Your Body, Brains and Bliss!

Dr. Vonda Wright Launches the Second Annual Women’s Health Conversations

Today’s women have emerged as a more powerful consumer force than ever before. They control $3.3 trillion in consumer spending and are responsible for 80% of household buying.

Most importantly, as CEO’s of both work and home, women make more than 80% of health decisions for themselves and those closest to them. The turbulent national healthcare transition we are in makes the best information important.

“Women’s Health Conversations: Prioritizing your Body, Brains and Bliss”

This year’s conference, for 1,000 smart, savvy women, set for November 6, 2014 at the David L. Lawrence Convention Center Ballroom, will feature highly credentialed nationally known speakers and forward thinking sponsors in vibrant conversations to equip women to fortify their bodies, build their brains, live the life they envision and make the best health choices.
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Keeping Healthcare Strong

downloadThe Board of Directors of Conemaugh Health System recently announced its decision to partner with Duke LifePoint Healthcare. Conemaugh and Duke LifePoint have signed a Letter of Intent (LOI) for Duke LifePoint to acquire its system, which includes Conemaugh’s three hospitals, outpatient centers and Conemaugh Physician Group practices. Duke LifePoint has committed to invest more than half a billion dollars over the next ten years to strengthen and grow Conemaugh Health System.

Conemaugh’s Board and leadership have invested significant time and hard work in a thoughtful, deliberate process to determine the ideal future for Conemaugh and the care it provides. Ultimately, the leaders at Conemaugh realized that they can be stronger – and achieve its vision faster – with a like-minded partner.

For them, the appropriate strategic partner is an organization that shares its vision to expand clinical services, grow educational efforts, invest in the region and ensure that patients they serve have access to excellent, affordable care.

They believe that Duke LifePoint, one of the nation’s leading healthcare systems, is the perfect fit. This partnership truly marks a new era of healthcare for the region.

Conemaugh Health System Chief Executive Officer, Scott Becker, discusses the strategic partnership with Duke LifePoint Healthcare below.

In this video, Dr. William Carney, Medical Director of Conemaugh Physician Group and Interim Chief Medical Officer of Conemaugh Health System discusses the strategic partnership with Duke LifePoint Healthcare.

Milestone Centers, Inc. Names Greg Jena Director of Communications

G_Jena_2014Greg Jena has become the new Director of Communications for Milestone Centers Inc., a nonprofit organization based in Wilkinsburg serving people with behavioral health and intellectual disabilities in Western Pennsylvania since 1969. Jena began his duties to execute media relations and public relations strategies on July 7.

Jena comes to Milestones from Family Hospice & Palliative Care in Mt. Lebanon, where he served as manager of marketing and public relations. His 25-year background in communications includes media relations specialist for Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh and promotion/marketing director for KDKA News Radio 1020.

“We are thrilled to have a person of Greg’s experience and caliber working for Milestone,” said the agency’s CEO, Barbara Conniff.

A Pittsburgh native, Jena is a graduate of Duquesne University.

About Milestone Centers, Inc.

This year marks Milestone’s 45th anniversary in Allegheny County. The organization employs 475 and serves 2,700 adults through 26 programs, including behavioral health therapies, residential locations and multiple rehabilitation services. Milestone has office locations and service sites in Wilkinsburg, Penn Hills, Monroeville, McKeesport, Lawrenceville, Butler and Warren. For more information, visit MilestoneCentersInc.org and Facebook.com/MilestoneCentersInc. 

Keeping Patient Data Healthy and Secure

Lysa MyersBy Lysa Myers

Healthcare practitioners are always concerned with how to protect patient data and comply with regulations about privacy and security. Coupled with trying to understand new technology that has become available in the last few years, it may be hard to know where to start. In this article, I will discuss why security is important and give you tips for how to protect patient data. 

The value of medical data

Is the hype is real? Is medical data is really that valuable to criminals? According to the HHS “Wall of Shame” 1 where HIPAA violations are reported, almost 30 million records have been exposed between September 2009 and early 2014. A recent article in healthcareinfosecurity.com stated “The federal tally of major health data breaches has hit a new milestone; it now lists more than 1,000 incidents affecting 500 or more individuals.” 

From the perspective of today’s cyber criminal, electronic health records are a rich source of information that can be sold on the black market. What motivates cyber criminals is data that they can easily sell. Credit and debit card information is useful for criminals, and most doctors’ offices and insurance companies accept payment by either method. Electronic health records may include other information that has a broader utility than that in a credit card, such as social security numbers, which the bad guys can use to steal a person’s identity.

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Milestone Centers, Inc. Taking Registrations for Inaugural Golf Classic

Milestone Centers, Inc. will host its inaugural Milestone Golf Classic, Monday, Sept. 22, at Edgewood Country Club in Churchill, and welcomes WTAE Channel 4 anchor Sally Wiggin as emcee. Foursomes and individuals are invited to take part in 18 holes of challenging golf (scramble format), along with opportunities to win skill prizes, bid on exciting auction items, and even win a new car with a hole in one! Registration opens at 9:30 a.m. with a shotgun start at 11.

Dinner, followed by an Awards Ceremony,starts at 5 p.m. Milestone is a nonprofit organization that has served people with behavioral health and intellectual challenges throughout Western Pennsylvania since 1969. Proceeds benefit client programs and services including group homes, day programs, employment programs, rehabilitative services and more. Registrations are being accepted at 412-371-7391, ext. 140 or 116, or at MilestoneCentersInc.org.