Ken Thorpe's blog

Implementation is Underway: Funding for the National Prevention Council

The Administration and HHS have moved quickly to start implementing some of the prevention and care coordination components of the Affordable Care Act.  Not two weeks ago, President Obama  signed an Executive Order creating the National Prevention Council. (Learn more here.) And just a few short days ago the president and Secretary Sebelius allocated funds for the Council totaling $500 million for FY 2010.

Three Types of Prevention

Kudos to HHS for producing a  PSA about preventive health. The ad highlights the importance of preventing disease, particularly chronic diseases that can be costly and life-quality reducing without prevention or treatment.

While the ad is a tremendously positive step to reinforcing preventive measures, it focuses heavily on tests.

National Prevention, Health Promotion, and Public Health Council

Late Friday afternoon, President Obama issued an Executive Order establishing the National Prevention, Health Promotion, and Public Health Council. The Council will provide national coordination of all prevention and wellness efforts across agencies, develop a national health promotion strategy and examine existing best practices in this area.

Care Coordination in Pennsylvania

Wall Street Journal health reporter Shirley Wang highlighted Pennsylvania’s efforts to better coordinate care across the state in her article, “Pilot Plan On Health An Option For States.” It is the largest state pilot program of its kind in the U.S. and has made great strides in care coordination and delivery system reform. Wang writes:

Known as a "patient centered medical home," the approach aims to better coordinate care to avoid gaps or overlapping efforts.

Quality, not quantity, of medical care is key

Associated Press reporter Lauran Neergaard writes in her recent article, “Overtreated: More medical care isn't always better,” that “more medical care won't necessarily make you healthier…overtreatment, is a big contributor to runaway health care costs.”  She is certainly correct that unnecessary treatment contributes to rising costs—but there are a few things to keep in mind when making this argument.

First of all, it is important to remember that determining the b

New Health Affairs Article Looks at Building on a Strong Foundation

In a new Health Affairs article published today, Lydia Ogden, Chief of Staff of the Center for Entitlement Reform at Emory University, and I provide an in-depth analysis of how key provisions of the recent health reform law address payment, integrated care delivery and prevention and provide a strong foundation for further reforms

White House Report on Childhood Obesity

Last fall, I wrote about the need to put our obesity epidemic at the top of the health care agenda. The release of a landmark report by the White House Childhood Obesity Task Force earlier this week moves this issue closer to the forefront of the discussion.

Prevention is not just disease detection

More discussion about what prevention really is:

"Prevention is not just disease detection," by Ken Thorpe, National Journal, 12 May 2010

New finds on costs related to cancer

CDC and others have come out with an interesting study on costs related to cancer. The study was published in Cancer, the American Cancer Society's medical journal and you can read about it here. In a nutshell, the study found that the cost of treating cancer has nearly doubled over the past two decades, and that these rising costs are mainly driven by prevalence. It also found that cancer accounts for only 5 percent of total U.S. medical costs, which has not changed in the last few decades.

Is an ounce of prevention worth a pound of cure?

Is an ounce of prevention worth a pound of cure? A resounding YES is the correct answer, but unfortunately some still look at the idea of prevention with blinders on.

Mathematica, a public policy think tank, is conducting a series of briefings that summarizes existing research on the cost-effectiveness of preventive health services.

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