Unbiased Analysis of Today's Healthcare Issues

Archive for October, 2006

Ordered Probit (or Logit) Estimation

What is one to do when the dependent variable under investigation is categorical?  Well if these categories are ordered, then an ordered probit (or logit) estimation technique is a sensible means for estimation.  An example where ordered probit estimation should be used is for an integer index ranking of physician quality between one and five.    On […]

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UCSD Medical Center in the news

The University of California San Diego (UCSD) is where I currently attend graduate school.  The UCSD Medical Center has been in some hot water lately. The Office of the Inspector General (OIG) of the Department of Health and Human Services has alleged that UCSD has overcharged Medicare $48 million for pension costs.  According to a UCSD Guardian […]

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Defining Managed Care

As insurance markets began to develop in the U.S., we observed two types of insurance emerging: indemnity plans and health maintenance organizations (HMOs).  Indemnity plans compensated providers on a fee-for-service basis and HMOs used a capitation scheme.  Typically, HMOs used gatekeepers to restrict services while indemnity plan restrictions were few and far between.  Typical analysis […]

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UnitedHealth Group CEO stepping down; agrees to reprice $1.6 billion of stock options

The dealings of William McGuire, CEO of UnitedHealth Group, have been topic occasionally touched on by the Healthcare Economist (see May 19th and February 14th posts).  Today, Yahoo! News reported that Mr. McGuire will step down as chairman and CEO after questions arose regarding Mr. McGuire’s possibly illicit stock option compensation.  More from the Yahoo! […]

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Economist wins Nobel Peace Prize

Muhammad Yunus, founder of the Grameen Bank, won the Nobel Peace prize today (New York Times – “Microloan Pioneer“). I report on Mr. Yunus in an earlier blog post (“Father of Microcredit“).  If you are interested in contributing to a microcredit organization, the following organizations are two good choices. Grameen Bank: Microcredit pioneer focusing mostly […]

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Who to vaccinate

An October 6th Wall Street Journal article asks “If we must ration vaccines for a flu, who gets the shots?”  Currently, the U.S. gives children, the elderly, and the sick priority in obtaining flu shots.  Journalist Sharon Begley of the WSJ wonders if this is the best policy: “In May, scientists at the National Institutes of […]

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P4P

Can Pay for Performance (P4P) improve care and slow spending growth in the U.S.?  Joe Paduda is doubtful.  So is John Wennberg of the Dartmouth Medical School.  In his report (“Variation…“) for The Commonwealth Fund, Wennberg says that P4P initiatives can be very effective in creating incentives for physicians to operate under best practices.  For instance, practice guidelines […]

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Roemer’s law

Supplier induced demand has become a common phrase for health policy wonks. Yet this phenomenon was first discovered by Milton Roemer when he investigated how the number of hospital beds per capita affected hospitalization rates. According to the Dartmouth Atlas Project, Roemer’s law can be stated as follows: “Supply may induce its own demand where […]

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Helping the world see

On Wednesday, Marketplace on NPR ran a story on how providing eye care to individuals in the developing world can not only improve their well-being, but increase economic productivity.  Fortunately, low cost solutions are available.  To view the story, click here.  Some excerpts are below: “153 million people around the world live with poor vision […]

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Information on Referrals II

If my October 10th post did not satiate your desire for knowledge regarding referrals, today I give you even more information.  Franks, Zwanziger, Mooney and Sorbero examine a large Rochester, NY Independent Practitioner Association (IPA).  The authors find a mean patient referred/patients seen/year of 0.37.  The data show that referral rates remain very stable by physician over time, likely […]

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