What will the National Healthcare Workforce Commission do? A lot.

October 6, 2010

less providers + more patients = system breakdown

The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPCA) of 2010 – aka healthcare reform – included a provision to create a National Healthcare Workforce Commission (NHWC). The purpose is to create a body of expert representatives who are “who are nationally recognized in health care labor market analysis including workforce, health financing and economics, health facility management, heath plans and integrated delivery systems, workforce education and training, health care philanthropy, and providers of health care services” [http://phinational.org/]. Their job is to “serve as a national resource for the purpose of assessing if the demand for health care workers is being met, identify barriers to coordination between federal, state and local levels, and encourage innovations” [Summary of the Health Workforce Provisions in the Patient Protection and Affordable Act: H.R. 3590, March 2010, Rachel Morgan, Senior Health Policy Specialist.] (more…)


Time for Change in For-Profit Education

July 24, 2010

The most overused political phrase – “it’s time for a change” – may be finally growing some teeth when it comes to private for-profit education. The Federal Department of Education has taken a hard line position with regards to reigning in private for-profit schools, such as ITT and the University of Phoenix, that have profited from lax Title IV Federal loan provisions.

Witness the proposed federal recommendations from the Office of Postsecondary Education, Department of Education issued June 18 2010 concerning Program Integrity Issues. Here are some of the salient points from the Federal Register Vol. 75, No. 117. (more…)


The BLUEPRINT for health care reform is in the May 2010 issue of Health Affairs

June 19, 2010


Health Affairs journal is the premiere journal for healthcare policy. If it appears in Health Affairs then it is generally a done deal. The May 2010 issue of Health Affairs is devoted to the reinvention of primary care. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 has triggered all sorts of projects that have been in the queue for some time or will soon be put to the test. Make no mistake…what is reported and proposed in this journal edition is here to stay for the next decade. It cannot be unwound. Things are going to change in healthcare over the next three years and for decades thereafter. (more…)


Has CAN figured out how to place acupuncture in the mainstream?

May 18, 2010

The Community Acupuncture Network: Grass Roots Needling Therapy
The marriage of working class politics and acupuncture might on the face of it seem an unlikely match. After all, working class politics and grass roots organization conjures images of class struggle, marching in the streetsCANlogoWEB.jpg and fighting for one or another form of liberation. Images of acupuncture could not be further afield: meditative contemplation, pursuit of harmony and balance with a strong dose of zen references and the ubiquitous Taijitu (yin-yang) symbol. Of course, pursuing balance in Chinese philosophy involves resolving conflicts…and this is where CAN defines its own qi. (more…)


Healthcare reform will launch a Tsunami in demand for treatment

March 29, 2010

obamaMDWEB.jpgThe healthcare reform vote is a victory for progressives but it is not the start of a radically changed healthcare system free of profit-driven stakeholders. One of the problems with the current system will become clear within a few years. I believe the sudden increase in the number of insured persons will demonstrate the severe shortage of primary care providers that currently is the case in our national healthcare workforce. There simply are not enough primary care physicians, nurse practitioners, or physician assistants available to provide primary care in safety-net/community clinics. Furthermore, it is not possible to train enough to meet the shortage – estimated to be ~40,000 – by the time the newly enrolled patients begin to seek care. (more…)


The wireless world of healthcare and more

October 11, 2009

patent wall.jpgI work with a team of talented experts that includes programmers, writers and web designers. Three of us attended a Smart Services Leadership Summit at Qualcomm HQ in San Diego (the “patent wall” pictured here) this past summer where the company that makes most of the chip sets for cell phones showed off their partners along with forthcoming projects, including healthcare.
We each wrote independent reports. Twitter King Al Stone had the best title and Data Maven Marianne Ruane wrote the best summary; both are presented below with their permission. I have added my own comments in blue italics. (more…)


Health 2.0 is hot

February 23, 2009

Health 2.0 is here. Thanks to a December 2008 grant award I get to explore this new enterprise with my team of consultants on behalf of an important medical center that could use some help reaching out to a high risk population.
Can the world of MySpace, Facebook, LinkedIn and Second Life find a role in healthcare? A hospital in Los Angeles is going to find out. The St Vincent Medical Center Foundation contracted with yours truly to bid alongside 150 other proposals (we knew the pool would be big but not exactly how many) seeking funding under a unique RFP from United Healthgroup/Pacificare. Our proposal, submitted in the third of four cycles, was one of thirteen awards announced in Jan 2009. (more…)


Venice Family Clinic receives award for innovative Chronic Pain Clinic

October 9, 2008

vfc pico building.jpgVenice Family Clinic (VFC) is a long-standing community clinic with two locations in the Santa Monica and Venice neighborhoods of Los Angeles, California. Many people are surprised to learn that VFC serves a diverse and poor population of Westside adults, women and children. After all, the Westside is far better known for movie people and fine restaurants than it is for underserved and under-insured communities. There are many poor families and individuals living on the Westside for whom VFC is the only provider of quality healthcare, in part because it is a training site for UCLA Geffen School of Medicine healthcare students. (more…)


PAs and LAcs: is there a model here?

August 20, 2008
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At the risk of reinforcing the “us” versus “them” stereotype (i.e., Eastern versus Western medicine) I describe my recent interaction with two primary care physicians who support acupuncture in principle and action. Despite this, they were flummoxed with a proposal I made to them that LAcs (Licensed Acupuncturists) should work as primary care providers (PCPs) in safety-net clinics where there is a tremendous need for providers available to triage the avalanche of patients seeking care every day. Here is a report on the issues confronting safety-net clinics. (more…)


California Acupuncture Board turns blind eye to regulatory role

June 21, 2008

I attended the most recent meeting of the California Acupuncture Board (June 20 2008) where a new Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (AOM) college received temporary approval despite the college President’s statement that his occupational goal for his students was “training missionaries”. The school is owned by a religious organization that only provides classes in the Korean language. Presumably, all the students are international, although the President stated they all “lived here”. (more…)