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Handling HHS Secretary Nomination Questions

Posted Apr 29 2014 5:29pm
The Population Health Blog notes that HHS nominee Burwell has been scheduled to appear before the U.S. Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee on May 8.  In all likelihood, the hearing will alternate between yawnfest softball and hyperparisan gotcha questions on the budget, ACA repeal, agencies and contraception.

The PHB plans on watching C-SPAN, hoping that some of the questions deal with its favorite blogging topics.

In the unlikely event that they do come up, the public-service minded PHB is pleased to prep Ms. Burwell with some "canned" and ready-to-go responses. The turnkey options below have been crafted to upend foes and friends alike.

When asked any question about "population health," respond by:

1. pointing out that you rely on the Population Health Blog's definition and, based on its author's many insights, believe that it is a promising feature of health reform, or....

2. affirming that "if you like your population health , you can keep it," or...

3. saying that HHS remains strongly committed to evaluating and further developing the future role of population health as an important option to derive high value care for Medicare beneficiaries!

When asked about the part of the Obamacare law that includes "shared decision making," respond by:

1. noting years of research on the topic have demonstrated that it is among the few interventions that can simultaneously reduce health care costs and increase beneficiary satisfaction, or...

2. reiterating that Congressional Republicans are not going to share in any decision making when it comes to any health care reform, or....

3. saying that HHS remains strongly committed to evaluating and further developing the future role of shared decision making as an important option to derive high value care for Medicare beneficiaries!

When asked about the Patient Centered Medical Home, respond by:

1. quoting extensively from the PCPCC web site , or...

2. announcing cautious support for the medical home, but confirm HHS' intention to name it something else, create alternate criteria, assess different outcomes and insist on budget neutrality , or...

3. saying that HHS remains strongly committed to evaluating and further developing the future role of the Patient Centered Medical Home as an important option to derive high value care for Medicare beneficiaries!

When asked about care management, respond by:

1. pointing out that, for the right patients, studies like this show teaming between physicians and non-physicians can result in outcomes that are the result of more than the sum of its primary care parts, or...

2. announcing your intent to regulate the carbon footprint of all Medicare-participating acute-care hospitals, or...

3. saying that HHS remains strongly committed to evaluating and further developing the future role of care management as an important option to derive high value care for Medicare beneficiaries!

When asked about primary care, respond by:

1. not saying that the 10% fee increase has resulted  negligible changes in primary care physician satisfaction , or...

2. promising you're going to fix low primary care fee schedule rates faster than a Florida ophthalmologist  submitting a $10,000 Medicare billing code, or...

3. saying that HHS remains strongly committed to evaluating and further developing the future role of primary care as an important option to derive high value care for Medicare beneficiaries!

When asked about the sustainable growth rate , respond by:

1. Denying any White House responsibility, or....

2. Denying any White House responsibility, or...

3. Denying any White House responsibility

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