CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) has a great summary titled “Our Nation’s Health by the Numbers: 2013.” It’s an excellent, simple high level format for 26 topics with the details one click away. Topics include: 5 gains in 2013 & 5 goals for 2014; 8 germs that cause 80% of life threatening bloodstream infections; heart attacks and strokes; tobacco use; sodium; polio; opioids; and more.
On this Christmas Eve and I wanted to find something to be thankful for about the ACA. Community health centers (CHC), and critical access hospitals (CAH), are the backbone of our country’s incredible healthcare system. In 2011 the Bush administration expanded this safety net to 1,250 CHCs serving 20 million people. Obamacare’s ACA is further expanding the CHC program to serve 40 million in 2016. I am thankful for this very good thing.
Are you thankful for anything specific in the ACA?
In 2013 the Department of Veterans Affairs’ (DVA) progress over the backlog of Veterans’ disability compensation and pension claims is truly remarkable. The DVA:
- Completed processing of 99.9% of all claims pending over 2 years;
- Completed processing of 97% of all claims pending over 1 year;
- Decreased the number of claims pending over 125 days by 36%;
- Increased claim accuracy to 90% & medical issue accuracy to ~97%;
But that’s not all. Their web-based electronic claims processing system has been deployed to all 56 DVA regional benefits offices six months ahead of schedule, as well as to the Appeals Management Center, the Records Management Center, the Board of Veterans’ Appeals, VA’s National Call Center, and all VA Medical Centers!
Suddenly the goal of eliminating the backlog in 2015 looks realistic.
As a technology entrepreneur that started working with computers in 1971 I never believed that much progress could be made so quickly. Especially with a U.S. Government healthcare application. Too bad our country won’t hail the team that fixed such an embarrassingly horrendous mess, with the same zeal that we vilified those who created it?
The Leapfrog Group’s Top Hospitals designation recognizes hospitals that deliver the highest quality care by preventing medical errors, reducing mortality for high-risk procedures, and reducing readmissions. 90 hospitals were recognized in 2013 including 55 urban, 22 rural, and 13 children’s hospitals. Congratulations to the winners, but especially to Kaiser Permanente with 19 winning Medical Centers in California!