At DocSpot, our mission is to connect people with the right health care by helping them navigate publicly available information. We believe the first step of that mission is to help connect people with an appropriate medical provider, and we look forward to helping people navigate other aspects of their care as the opportunities arise. We are just at the start of that mission, so we hope you will come back often to see how things are developing.

An underlying philosophy of our work is that right care means different things to different people. We also recognize that doctors are multidimensional people. So, instead of trying to determine which doctors are "better" than others, we offer a variety of filter options that individuals can apply to more quickly discover providers that fit their needs.

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ACOs associated with less spending

A recently published study found that patients cared for by accountable care organizations (ACOs) on average cost less in post-acute care than patients who were treated by non ACO-providers. The study looked at providers who participated in the Medicare Shared Savings Program, which rewards participating providers whose patients' care cost less. The hope is that if providers can benefit from cost savings, overall treatment costs will become less expensive. Providers might be able to achieve this by paying closer attention to their patients' health or by spending more time educating their patients. Some provider clinics go as far as hiring additional staff to help their patients avoid costly hospital re-admissions; they expect that the cost of the additional staff will be more than covered by the financial rewards from the overall savings.

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California Regulator finds inaccurate provider lists

When consumers select an insurance plan, provider networks can be an extremely component of that choice. Among other questions, consumers may want to know "does my long-time doctor accept this particular insurance plan?" or "if I choose this plan, will I be able to find a specialist who is available to treat my condition?" To the extent that health insurance plans are differentiated from one another on factors other than price, provider networks are an important component of that differentiation. Therefore, misrepresentation of provider networks can be compared to false advertising. California Healthline reported that the director of the California Department of Managed Health Care found that 36 out of 40 insurers that were reviewed may be fined for submitting inaccurate provider network data.

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Differing visions of health insurance

Dr. Saurabh Jha posted a very educational interview (part two) with Mark Pauly in which Pauly described what he regarded the root problem with the Affordable Care Act. Another noted health economist, Uwe Reinhardt, offered his criticism of Pauly's interview, and in doing so, offered a different vision for how health insurance should work in the US.

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How expensive is the cost of accepting insurance?

Time published an article about someone needing a knee replacement and ending up going to Surgery Center of Oklahoma for treatment. The patient shopped around and found that the surgery center that he ended up going to offered an all-inclusive cash price that was about half of what a local hospital quoted him.

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Challenges of high-deductible plans

High-deductible plans have been growing more and more popular as a way of combating rising premiums. In exchange for reducing a known expense (premiums), people who have high-deductible plans run the risk (but not certainty) of paying more if medical issues arise. Marketplace published an interesting article about one doctor choosing a high-deductible plan for his family. The doctor recounts the dilemma he faced after experiencing a racing heart. Should he go to the emergency room, where he should expect to pay $2,000 or more, or should he rest and risk a heart attack? Despite being a doctor himself, it was a difficult call to make. How much more difficult would it be for patients without clinical training?

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