Health Policy

‘Precision medicine’: Where collaboration and competition meet

precision

As a professional observer of healthcare for the last 20 years, the relationship between Adam Smith economics and healthcare research and developments has always fascinated me.

In brief, does the dynamic of competition that drives profit-making innovation propel, or hinder, medical breakthroughs?

The National Institutes of Health (NIH) initiative around “precision medicine” – treatment that focuses on the unique genetic code of the individual and not a one-size-fits-all treatment – begs that question.

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The Kennedy Forum Illinois: Collaboration to drive solutions

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So often when we speak about mental illness and substance use disorders, we talk about numbers: the number of people who have died from overdoses; the number of people who take antidepressants; the cost of mental health to society at large.

However, at the Kennedy Forum Illinois in December, keynote speakers put a face and soul to addiction.

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The Yin and Yang of 2016: A Crisis Year Holds Promise

opioidlegislation

Almost a century has passed, but these words continue to ring true and speak to our current tragic opiate crisis.

This crisis has touched almost everyone I have met and has spared no demographic group. The silver lining in this cloudy sky is the mobilization and alignment of legislators, medical professionals, the public and the insurance industry on wiping out this epidemic. Fortunately, changes have occurred rapidly that foretell a positive direction.

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ACOs: Risk for the greater good

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MassHealth is just weeks away from accepting applications from provider and insurance organizations to form Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs).

But what does that mean in terms of tangible impact to Beacon Health Options and companies like it, the Commonwealth, and most importantly, the member? Should we feel excited? Skeptical? Indifferent?

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What does the 2016 election mean for behavioral health?

political-shift2

The results of the 2016 election portend significant changes to the health care sector.

Its implications open a Pandora’s Box of questions, and it’s fair to ask, “What does this election mean for behavioral health?” With the last decade’s reforms of mental health parity and Medicaid expansion, it’s this question that bubbles to the surface as the most pressing – and arguably the most interesting.

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Mental Health Parity: Progress and Implementation

parity

As attention is gaining around parity and the implementation of the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equality Act (MHPAEA), Beacon Health Options stands front and center in its efforts to help propel the law’s goals. It’s been an ongoing process.

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Coming Out vs. Coming of Age

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As a young person, whenever I saw a “coming of age” movie like “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off” or “The Breakfast Club” or even “Footloose,” I would become angry rather than entertained.

I never knew why. I now believe it was because, as a young, closeted gay person living with a newly divorced mother, nothing could have been more inconceivable than the idea I would one day “come of age” and live my own life.

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Barbecue, Martial Arts, and Measurement-Based Mental Health Systems

barbecue_blog

Serendipity made me a barbecue judge in Memphis, a martial arts student in Little Rock, and a psychiatrist/epidemiologist in a conference call about the implementation of measurement-based mental health care – this in the last several weeks. This serendipity also made it clear to me what all of these activities have in common: the need to quantify quality.

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Escaping the Iron Triangle of Health Care in Mental Health

Panera

It’s been called the “Iron Triangle of Health Care,” but sometimes I call it “The Panera Pick 2 Rule ” – whereby you have to choose between sandwich, soup, and salad, but you can only have two.

I assume you are familiar with Panera Bread, so let me tell you about the Iron Triangle and how a recent article in The Lancet may provide clues on how to disentangle that nearly legendary triangle in mental health.

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The £350 million per week question: What will Brexit really mean for mental health and the NHS?

Brexit

On June 23, Britain, by way of public referendum and by a 52-48% margin, became the first member state to vote to leave the European Union (EU). Nobody had planned for this.

As a tiny amount of Brexit dust begins to settle, it remains to be seen exactly what this unprecedented decision will mean for the National Health Service (NHS) and mental health services in the United Kingdom.

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