ACA Deathwatch UPDATE: Three problems for the GOP

Republicans have three problems with their promise to “repeal and replace” ACA.

The net – Republicans’ risk – and it is a very real one – is their efforts may blow up the entire healthcare system as it tries to address one narrow slice of the insurance market.

The first problem is internal division.  

Republican Representatives and Senators have committed to “repeal” ACA, but haven’t reached any consensus, agreement, or framework about what the “replacement” is going to be. And there is no indication they are making any progress.

As the Democrats found when constructing ACA six years ago, reaching consensus about healthcare is incredibly difficult as each “wing” in the party wants its own version to prevail. The GOP is learning once again it is MUCH easier to tear down than to build.

UPDATE – Politico reported this today...

disagreements spilled over Wednesday at a closed-door meeting with Vice President-elect Mike Pence that had been intended to unify the Senate GOP. Instead, multiple senators stood up to express concern that the party’s plans to repeal and replace the law could blow massive holes in the budget ... Newly ascendant Republicans are reckoning with the reality that dismantling a nearly seven-year-old law that reshaped a $3 trillion health sector and covers millions of Americans is more daunting than simply campaigning against it.” [emphasis added]

Especially when the “problem” the GOP publicly committed to fix – the individual insurance market – is a relatively small part of the healthcare market – and ACA itself.

Second, without a credible replacement, those individual insurance markets will implode as carriers leave the market. Cost shifting to privately insured patients from hospitals that a) agreed to lower Medicare payments and b) have more uncompensated care will increase dramatically.

Any major problems in the insurance or healthcare provider markets that come after a repeal are going to cost the GOP dearly.  There is no question those people who lose coverage – and there will be millions under ANY of the scenarios now under consideration – will be really, really angry. (Pre-ex is just one issue the GOP has no real solution for)

Third, a repeal and replacement is going to cost hundreds of billions of dollars.

Under the best case scenario, repealing ACA increases the deficit by $350 billion over ten years.  That’s causing major heartburn among GOP deficit hawks, and is a big reason there’s no consensus on what to do. (thanks Brandon Miller for correcting my mistake!)

What’s the net?

Republicans’ pledge to immediately repeal ACA was a winning campaign promise. It may well be a loser in the next election.

 

Why is work comp wage replacement capped?

That’s a question that’s been bouncing around between my neurons for some years.

These neurons finally fired intelligently when I got an email from good friend Todd Brown. Todd is Medata’s Compliance and Regulatory Affairs Practice Leader and he tracks pretty much everything and anything going on in work comp regulatory and legislative affairs around the country.

Todd’s latest summary included news that several states just re-set the maximum wage replacement payout for workers comp patients who are not working.

I don’t understand, or more accurately, don’t “get” why workers who make more than a certain arbitrarily set amount don’t get adequate wage replacement when injured and out of work. If you make more than the “AWW” (average weekly wage) you likely have expenses higher than folks who make less than the AWW, expenses that won’t be covered by even the maximum payout in most states.

So, Todd being way smarter than me on this, I asked him for his take.  Here’s what he said:

In fact in my 30 years in this business I have never seen serious discussion regarding the capping issue except for the number of weeks for certain benefit types.  As far back as I can research I have not come across the reasoning behind it.  My supposition is that it makes the pricing of policies easier for actuaries.  But that is just a guess.  Years ago it wasn’t much of an issue as the gap between the high wage earners (excluding corporate officers) and low wage earners was not what it is today. 

In 1970 a senior level professional made 3.6 times what the entry level person made.  Today the senior level professional makes 6.6 times

In 1970 mid level professional made 1.9 time what entry level person made.  Today the mid level makes 4.3 times

As the wage gap continues to widen between professionals and unskilled the situation will continue.  For those at the bottom rung the statewide cap based on AWW will not affect them but for those midway and up the statewide cap based on AWW will be adversely affected.  

Unless I’m missing something this seems eminently unfair.

ACA Deathwatch – The Problem with Pre-Ex

Back in the bad-old pre-ACA days the 27% of us who have pre-existing medical conditions often found it hard if not impossible to get insurance coverage in the individual and small group insurance markets.

As a result;

  • people didn’t leave their job to try something new – aka job lock
  • small employers’ costs went up dramatically if workers got sick or had specific conditions

For those not deep into the health insurance world, think of pre-existing medical conditions as:

  • houses that just had a fire,
  • people with dogs that just bit neighbors,
  • businesses that just had someone slip and fall on their premises, or
  • cars that just hit pedestrians.

No way you’d insure that house/person/business/car.

That’s the problem with requiring health insurers to cover people with heart disease, high blood pressure, bad knees, obesity, or any other condition. You’re insuring the car just after it crashed.

When considering ACA replacements, there are three general approaches.

1. Require everyone have health insurance – the so-called “mandate”.  That way the healthy people help pay for those with pre-ex conditions. Yes, this is a “subsidy”, using money from some to pay for services for others.  It’s spreading the cost across a larger population, while ensuring the currently-healthy are protected from bankruptcy if they get hurt or sick.

The GOP seems averse to this requirement.

Issue – people may not like paying insurance costs when they are at lower risk – which is why there are “age bands” that keep younger folks’ premiums substantially lower than we old folks.

2.  Require insurers to cover anyone who has had “continuous coverage.” That is, the person switches from one insurer to another with NO gaps in coverage. The idea is people will keep their insurance up out fo fear they will need it one day.

Issues:

  • if you lose your job, you have to pay the entire cost of insurance for you and your family yourself.  This is typically more than $1000 a month for a family.  Many people just can’t afford to pay this while they are between jobs.
  • if your job doesn’t offer insurance, you have to buy it – and pay for it – on your own. With wage stagnation affecting many, it’s just not affordable. 

3.  High risk pools – a few states used to have high risk pools; these ended with ACA. These pools were intended to cover people with major diseases or conditions who could not get insurance elsewhere and weren’t eligible for Medicaid or Medicare.

While a good idea, in reality these pools were a financial disaster.  They were very expensive and had a really small political constituency. Legislators continuously cut funding or restricted coverage to ever-smaller groups of patients.

The issue is simple – 1% of the population accounts for almost a quarter of health care costs.  Put another way, about 3.3 million people spend $800 Billion annually.

What does this mean for you?

Pay attention to ACA replacement plans if you or a loved one has a pre-existing condition. Or, for that matter, if you may have one some day…

If you aren’t sure, here’s a list.

ACA Deathwatch – UPDATE on budgetary block

UPDATE – There’s some confusion about what the pending vote to defund ACA will mean

  • defunding essentially repeals a big chunk of ACA by ending funding for key components
  • “repeal” will NOT go into effect for at least 2, and perhaps 4 years.
  • there is NO replacement legislation ready to go – don’t expect to see legislation for months

As reported last week, public and private sources indicate the new Congress will start the push to defund ACA as early as this week as part of the Fiscal Year (FY) 2017 budget.  The Federal government has been funded under continuing resolutions, with the latest set to expire in late April.  The FY runs from October 1 to September 30.

Here’s how this would work. (caveat – as noted last week, this is way more complicated than one might think, and there is NO consensus within the GOP on how to handle critical “details”)

House passes new rules next week that will allow it to defund ACA.  There’s some complex stuff involved here which may well make this a difficult and protracted process.

Late in January the House and Senate will work on a bill to repeal much of ACA – including:

  • eliminating premium support and cost-sharing subsidies (helping lower-income people buy insurance and pay deductibles and copays)
  • ending Medicaid expansion
  • eliminating ACA taxes (medical device, surcharge on very high incomes, etc)
  • increasing Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement

This is where things may well fall apart.  A key problem is a repeal will increase the Federal deficit, a major issue for many Republicans.  Also, there’s a real fear among some Republicans that changing ACA will cause major market disruption – and Republicans will own that.  That’s why the GOP will delay implementing the “repeal” for several years.

I spoke with friend and colleague Bob Laszewski on this – here’s his take:

they will vote budget instructions early Jan. Some may claim that is the vote to repeal but it’s just a procedural vote with budget instructions for the committees with jurisdiction—Senate HELP and Finance. Then HELP and Finance pass a 2016 budget with ACA defunded. The House is the easy part but they will have to reconcile any differences in the 2016 budget with Senate. Then both houses pass the final. Then Trump signs that. The timeline is about 6 weeks from reconvening to actually defunding.

Here’s where it gets really messy.  Laszewski:

they [the GOP] only have 50%+1 for defund (repeal). They have no consensus for anything thereafter. Some have talked about don’t defund unless they have the replace deal in place.

Replace will take 60 in the Senate. They have 52 seats. They don’t have 52 Senate votes or even a simple majority in the House for any replacement plan right now—or likely anytime soon.

I think we are headed to one hell of a “cliff” as time ticks down on the two or three year extension of the current system.

The summer and fall of 2017 will be frantic to get a deal of some sort. Odds are not great with a few on the right in the Republican Party, and the Dems closing ranks [and] not motivated to cooperate.

Key issues:

  1. don’t buy into press reports sure to come next week that will describe these preliminary rule-change steps as a “repeal”.  ACA repeal will take 60 votes in the Senate, and that is NOT going to happen anytime soon.
  2. IF a defunding bill is rammed thru via reconciliation and signed it will happen quickly. But there are major issues with that – market disruption and voter backlash the two most critical.

What does this mean?

Opposing an administration is easy and has no risk; actually passing legislation that will directly affect people and business is hard and very risky.

Oh, and there’s this…

ACA Deathwatch; What to watch for when Congress convenes next week

News reports indicate Speaker Ryan will be moving quickly to pass ACA repeal legislation when Congress reconvenes next week.

While most elected Republicans are in agreement that ACA should be “repealed”, that’s about where the agreement ends.

And therein lies the problem.  Here’s a brief summary of where legislators stand.

First, the kill-it-dead camp.

Some budget hawks want a total repeal and defunding, much of which can be accomplished via reconciliation.  This prevents a possible Democratic filibuster in the Senate.

There are about 40 Representatives in the so-called Freedom Caucus that hew to this line with possibly a couple dozen more votes to repeal-and-be-done-with-it. Make no mistake, emboldened by the election results these people are in no mood to compromise. As these are the same people who refused to fund the government we should fully expect them to push very hard for total repeal and defunding.

Implications: do NOT assume these folks will compromise.  They will fight tooth-and-nail to kill ACA and damn the consequences.

Second, the fiscally prudent

Related to this group are the fiscally-focused.  These Senators and Congresspeople are quite concerned that a repeal will also do away with about a trillion dollars in revenue and taxes over the next decade which will result in:

  • budget shortfalls
  • bankruptcy of the Medicare Hospital Trust Fund
  • elimination of premium support for about 75% of those buying insurance via the Exchanges

Add to that the reductions in Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement embedded in ACA, and you have another $879 million in additional spending if ACA is repealed.

Implication these folks are going to be cautious, and they will likely end up in the “repeal and replace” camp.

Repeal and replace camp

There are two different groups here – one calling for a repeal then construction of a replacement over time, and one that wants both bills passed simultaneously.

In either case the far-righters are going to come up against more pragmatic Representatives and Senators, notably Lamar Alexander, Chair of the Health Education Labor and Pensions Committee, the Senate Committee that will have significant influence on any legislation going thru that chamber. Alexander’s been quoted saying a GOP bill must “do no harm.”

Alexander and his allies are pushing hard for a much more measured approach that couples repeal with a replacement bill, thereby giving insurers and other stakeholders some confidence and predictability.  Essentially their approach leaves much of today’s ACA in place while sunsetting the bill in 3 or perhaps as many as 4 years.

Alexander, Olympia Snowe et al are of the mind that this gives them enough time to work thru the calculations, political and financial, necessary to replace ACA without blowing up the insurance and healthcare industries in the process.  Among the provisions that have been mentioned favorably by this group are:

  • guaranteeing coverage for pre-ex conditions if individuals maintain insurance coverage
  • maintaining some form of government tax subsidies to help different groups of Americans cover their premium costs and
  • funding for expanded Medicaid coverage for low-income adults and children.

Notably, Alexander et al’s position has been challenged by House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, who wants to repeal THEN replace.  McCarthy’s colleague, Speaker Ryan has also outlined a replacement plan that keeps many of the popular provisions of ACA. Notice the word “outlined”; there is NO replacement legislation that is ready to be introduced anytime soon.

Implication – the House and Senate leadership have different views, and the House is going to be pretty internally-conflicted. This is a LONG way from being resolved.

Back to the good old days camp

Finally, HHS Secretary designate Tom Price has his own ideas, which include repealing cuts to Medicare and ending much of the financial and practice controls and oversight put in place by ACA.  Price’s bill, while it has not been scored by CBO, will almost certainly result in higher costs.

Implication – I don’t see Price’s proposal going very far.

The wild card – Senate Democrats.

There are 48 Democrats in the Senate, and some will have to be co-opted to get a non-reconciliation repeal-and-replace bill thru.  Leader Chuck Schumer is pragmatic, a bunch of Dems are up for re-election in two years and will likely work hard to keep key provisions in any new bill.  However, there are many of his fellow Democrats who are in no mood to compromise.  Hell, the take-no-prisoners approach worked for McConnell…

And this means…what?

Notably, NONE of the GOP bills presently under consideration will address the fundamental, underlying issue – cost.  US health care costs average almost $10,000 per person. In fact the Alexander-Snowe approach and Price’s bill would increase health spending. 

Notably, there is another option.  Republicans could come up with whatever changes they want, and not bother to fund them or do anything about the increased deficit.  While that may seem heretical, one must remember that a Republican House, Senate, and President gave us Medicare Part D, a totally unfunded benefit that the Medicare Actuary calculates has added $16 trillion to the federal deficit.

Note – Paul Ryan was one of the “Yes” votes on that bill.

 

ACA Deathwatch: The real reason the GOP can’t – and won’t – “Repeal” ACA

For the GOP, the problem with repealing ACA is not practical, legislative, or financial.

It’s psychological.

Humans are hard-wired to hate losing stuff, a principle known as loss aversion. We humans strongly prefer avoiding losses to acquiring gains: We get much more upset if we lose a five dollar bill than happy if we find $5.  

With over 20 million more Americans insured now due to ACA and record enrollment going on now, there are millions of voters who will be enormously upset if they lose their health insurance.

The five states with the most people enrolling for coverage on Healthcare.gov through Monday were ones Trump won: Florida – 1.3 million plan selections, Texas (776,000), North Carolina (369,000), Georgia (352,000) and Pennsylvania (291,000). (thanks to NYT).

The GOP has boxed itself in, and has an impossible task ahead – how to

Not surprisingly, many Trump backers who gained health insurance under ACA are now scared he’s going to deliver on his promise to kill ACA. And not nervous scared – really, really scared.

This adds a whole new dimension to loss aversion – this isn’t a five dollar bill, this is a new liver, diabetes medications, knee replacement surgery.

There’s no way any ACA “replacement” that doesn’t require coverage of pre-existing conditions, have significant subsidies for the poor and near-poor, and mandate insurance is going to prevent these people from losing coverage. Oh, and do that while reducing medical costs and not increasing the national debt.

That’s why the GOP isn’t going to repeal ACA.

For a very thorough discussion of just how many – and who – stand to lose coverage if the GOP does repeal ACA, there’s no better source than Charles Gaba.

ACA Deathwatch: Hospitals, bankruptcy, and chicken-killing dogs

For those wondering why the GOP appears to be walking back its promise to “rip out Obamacare root and branch”, here’s why this is a whole lot harder than one might think.

And why the political realities make this picture far too real for the incoming Congress.

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The GOP has long prided itself as the party of fiscal responsibility; Speaker Ryan and Majority Leader McConnell have assailed ACA as unaffordable and a budget-breaker. However, among the myriad issues inherent in healthcare reform is this – repealing ACA would bankrupt Medicare’s hospital insurance fund next year.

(It would also alienate many who voted for Trump...but that’s another story.)

When ACA was passed, there were financial trade-offs put in place to address winners and loses in an attempt to make the law as budget neutral as possible.

Insurance companies, drug companies, device manufacturers, and hospitals paid higher taxes or got lower reimbursement because they were going to get a whole lot more business as millions more people got insurance. Specifically, hospitals’ Medicare reimbursement has been changed – in part to eliminate payment for medical mistakes and re-admissions, and in part by altering reimbursement mechanisms and formulas.

ACA also included a 0.9 percent payroll tax on the wealthy individuals earning more than $200k or couples making more than $250k.  This raised $63 billion, which went to fund Medicare’s Hospital Trust Fund.

The combination of lower total reimbursement and more revenue extended Medicare’s solvency by 11 years. Without ACA, the Trust Fund is bankrupt next year.

If the GOP repeals the ACA or eliminates the 0.9 percent tax on the very wealthy, Medicare Part A is technically bankrupt.

The incoming President, Congress, and HHS Secretary are facing the very same tradeoffs and complexities their predecessors faced in 2010 – health care is horrendously complex and inter-related.  There are no simple, easy answers.

What does the GOP do?

From here, it looks like they have a couple options.

  1. Repeal it, pass their own health care reform legislation that makes major changes, and claim success.  
    As noted above, and as we’ve seen over the last five years, changing the US healthcare system is brutally hard, there are way more unintended consequences than anyone could predict, and there are no simple answers. There is just no way they can cobble together legislation anytime soon that will address ACA’s issues and not result in a gigantic clustermess.
  2. Repeal ACA in two or three years, with the promise they’ll come up with a replacement in a year or two.
    Without a credible replacement, insurers and healthcare providers are going to panic. Expect insurers to exit the individual and small group health insurance markets in droves. Democrats will use Medicare’s pending insolvency to bludgeon Republicans in the mid-term elections.
  3. Rebrand ACA as TrumpCare, make a couple tweaks around the edges, declare victory, and go home.
    This gets my vote as most likely, primarily for the reasons noted above. Now that the GOP owns health reform and Medicare solvency, Democrats are going to tie the issue around their necks like a dead chicken.

For a more detailed discussion of the issue, here’s a good synopsis from Politico.

Later – Hospitals and Medicaid – it’s pretty scary. 

What does this mean for you?

Don’t be lazy. Healthcare reform is hugely complicated, and for those of us – that means you – invested in the industry, what’s about to happen is far too important for you to ignore it or pay it little heed.

Whither work comp in 2017 – Part Two

Yesterday’s post prognosticated about macro-drivers of workers comp; employment, investment returns, medical costs.

Today’s focus is on what those macro-drivers mean for discrete parts of the work comp world – so here are the next five predictions.

6.  Winners will focus on execution.
Execution – customer service and end-user experience, defining and delivering the service customers want in the way/when/how they want it; accuracy in reporting/billing/communicating; integration between vendors and customers – will continue to determine which work comp service providers win and who they beat. Notice I lead with customer service – for without focusing on the customer and their experience with your company, the rest doesn’t matter.

7. Telemedicine is coming fast
What it will look like; who will win (see above); how it will impact patient care and outcomes; what types of medical services are most likely/suitable for telemedicine are all going to be clearer in twelve months. What we do know now is there is a lot of experimentation going on today, much of it driven by smaller companies. Among the models, there’s work comp specific company CHC Telehealth, a partnership between clinic giant Concentra and American Well, and giant TPA Sedgwick is deep into developing a telemedicine initiative.

Several other entities are quietly working on different approaches.

8.  Mitchell will continue to add work comp services businesses via acquisition.
The tech company is working hard to expand beyond its traditional auto insurance business, with acquisitions in pharmacy benefit management and specialty bill review in 2016. Expect Mitchell to keep looking for “tuck-in” businesses in PBM and cost management in work comp and other P&C lines.

9. Drug cost decreases will flatten out somewhat, while reductions in opioid spend will continue to increase.
Regulators, payers and PBMs are slowly getting their arms around the issue; kudos to work comp for being in the forefront of this issue.  The group and public sector health insurers will learn a lot from you.

10. More value-based payment pilots will hit work comp.
That’s a really easy prediction, so I’ll quantify it – there will be more than five new pilots or program seeking to deliver care via bundled payments or similar mechanisms that will start in 2017.

11. Bonus pick – more consolidation in case management
As frequency and severity continue to slide, field case management businesses are going to have to find new revenues from new services they can offer to current clients/cases and get more revenue from current cases.

That’s a really heavy lift. A much easier way to grow revenue is to buy other CM companies, cut expenses…you know the drill.

There you have it – Paduda once again standing out on a limb.

Whither Workers’ comp in 2017?

It’s time to polish up the HSA crystal ball and prognosticate on what the next year will bring for workers’ comp.

Today we’ll keep it at a high level, examining 5 key drivers that will affect insurers, employers, regulators.

Tomorrow we’ll predict how those high level drivers will affect different stakeholders.

Here goes…

  1. Premiums will rise as employment and wages continue to grow.
    GDP is growing strongly, (predictions are for growth above 3.2% for the last half of this year) employment and wages are up, consumer spending and housing prices are increasing. As long as as the new administration doesn’t start a trade war, things are looking good for employment and payroll, which are key drivers of work comp premiums.
    Note – this is NOT to say work comp insurance rates will rise, but rather there will be more payroll and more people working, so the impact of flat or lower rates will be overcome by higher employment.
  2. Medical costs will remain flat or close to it.
    The first “official” indicator will come when NCCI Chief Actuary and all-around really smart person Kathy Antonello reports preliminary data on WC medical inflation at the Annual Issues Symposium in May. My bet is we’ll see inflation in the very low single digits – or even less.
  3. Frequency will continue to decline.
    Because it always does.
  4. Insurers will double down on efforts to reduce administrative expenses.
    With frequency down, investment returns decreasing, and medical costs flat, premium rates are headed down as well. Many work comp insurers seem to think the only thing they can really control is admin expense.
    So, we will see increased efforts to cut Unallocated Loss Adjustment Expense – cost categories such as general office expense, staffing, IT. And, payers will look to assign admin expense to individual claims whenever and wherever they can (more on this in a later post).
    That’s not to say they won’t be working on reducing Allocated Loss Adjustment expense (costs that are allocated, or assigned, to specific claims).  They will.
  5. More payers will move their claims adjusters to home offices.
    Okay, one not-macro-level prediction.
    A good friend and colleague reminded me of this trend; I’ve been seeing it for some time, but didn’t realize how widespread the trend is until he made that observation. There are many reasons for this trend; lower administrative expense, easier to hire and retain good staff, dramatic improvements in technology and communications,

What does this mean for you?

Methinks this is the calm before the storm. The new administration may well be highly disruptive, however we won’t see any real impact until 2018 at the earliest.

Fortune favors the prepared. (quoting Dr Louis Pasteur)

2016 predictions – how’d I do?

Way back in February I finally got around to making my annual “here’s how I make a fool of myself publicly predicting what I think will happen this year” post.

It’s that time of year – when I have to own up to reality.  So, here’s how I did.

  1. The comp market will soften pretty much everywhere*.
    Rate this a Yes, altho it was a gimme.
  2. *Except in California, where rates are up – and will stay there.
    Nope.  Effective rates are down this year – welcome news indeed.
  3. Liberty Mutual will continue to de-emphasize workers’ comp.
    Looks that way.  Mother Liberty dropped to number 7 on the list of largest workers’ comp insurers in 2015. The move away from WC and towards personal lines has helped Liberty’s financial status, with rating agencies improving the company’s status.
  4. Private equity’s role in the vendor market will decrease – a lot
    Yup. A couple PE firms have been looking hard but these are relatively new entrants to the space.  While there are a bunch of small (<$2 million in earnings) companies doing well, they aren’t big enough to hit the radar of private equity investors.  Yet.
    And, there’s been so much consolidation that the big companies are too big for any but the largest investment firms.
    And OneCall’s struggles have made PE firms leery of the space.
  5. A half-dozen – or more – states will adopt drug formularies
    Wrong.  This is taking far longer than I anticipated.  While a few have moved forward, many others are moving pretty slowly. Tennessee adopted a formulary, California is working on theirs, while things have stalled in Louisiana, North Carolina, Nebraska, and other states. Arizona implemented their chronic pain guidelines in October, which cover all the meds dealing with that condition.
  6. Opt-Out will not gain much traction
    True.  Yeah, I know a bill was introduced in Florida, but that’s the only new news in opt-out this year besides the demise of the Oklahoma experiment.
  7. We will see a couple/several bundled payment pilots
    Rising Medical has initiated one program in a handful of states, UCLA is working on a bundled treatment plan for opioid addiction, Wisconsin state employees are accessing programs (this started last year). So, this is a Yes – albeit not a loud one.
  8. PBMs and payers will make even more progress reducing the use of opioids
    Yes.  Kudos to all for making significant gains in the fight against overuse of opioids.  This has been especially notable in the reduction of opioid scripts for new claims.  We’ve still a loooooong way to go in addressing legacy claims.
  9. A couple of large, vertically integrated delivery systems will make significant moves into occupational medicine
    While there have been a couple reports of joint ventures and expansions, I haven’t seen evidence of much movement here. So, count this as a No.
  10. There will be big changes at OneCall
    Yes.  New senior management; a reduction in sales staff; automation, offshoring and outsourcing of key functions have kept folks in Jacksonville hopping all year.

The net – 7 out of 10 predictions were correct.

Later, I’ll do my prognostications for 2017 – a year that is shaping up to be increasingly hard to predict.