Unbiased Analysis of Today's Healthcare Issues

Archive for July, 2011

Statistics from the Medicare Trustees Report

Basic Statistics In 2010, 47.5 million people were covered by Medicare: 39.6 million aged 65 and older, and 7.9 million disabled. About 25 percent of beneficiaries have chosen to enroll in Part C private health plans that contract with Medicare to provide Part A and Part B health services. Total benefits paid in 2010 were […]

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Does Physician income increase from treating more complex patients?

In Denmark at least, the answer is no. “From the theoretical model we find that higher levels of patient complexity lead GPs [General Practitioners] to choose a lower list size, whereas the effect on income is ambiguous. The effect on total utility (income and leisure) is, however, shown to be negative. Using empirical datafrom 1039 […]

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Friday Links

Cash no longer king? Clever dentist in downtown SD. 30 stents = pig roast. Health Reform saves states money? Undervalued sluggers. Cavalcade of Risk: Independence Day Edition. CMS fraud detection systems fall short.

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Dose Chek

How do you know if a patient is receiving the correct dose?  Better yet, how can you check if your entire patient panel is on the right dosage? Although identifying the ‘right’ dosage is difficult, it is much easier to see if your patients are on the wrong dosage.  Medi-Span’s Dose-Chek data provides information on […]

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U.S. Began Providing Socialized Health Care in 1798

While walking around in San Francisco’s Presidio, I noticed a refurbished building which happened to be a former Public Health Service Hospital.  After investigating its origins, I dug up the following information regarding one of the United States’ first efforts to provide an individual health insurance mandate: “In July of 1798, Congress passed – and […]

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Long-term care hospitals (LTCHs)

Today I review how Medicare pays for long-term care hospitals (LTCHs) based on information from MedPAC’s 2011 Report to Congress. LTCHs furnish care to patients with clinically complex problems—such as multiple acute and chronic conditions—who need hospital-level care for relatively extended periods. These facilities can be freestanding or colocated with other hospitals as hospitals within […]

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Skilled Nursing Facilities

Today I summarize recent trends in skilled nursing facilities (SNFs) as outlined in MedPAC’s 2011 Report to Congress. SNFs furnish short-term skilled nursing and rehabilitation services to beneficiaries after a stay in an acute care hospital. These services include physical and occupational therapy and speech–language pathology services. Examples of SNF patients include those recovering from […]

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Medicaid coverage increases utilization and improves quality

A RAND HIE for Medicaid? “In 2008, a group of uninsured low-income adults in Oregon was selected by lottery to be given the chance to apply for Medicaid…In the year after random assignment, the treatment group selected by the lottery was about 25 percentage points more likely to have insurance than the control group that […]

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Medicare payments for outpatient dialysis

Today I will review how Medicare treats patients with end-stage renal disease (ESRD), relying largely on data from MedPAC’s 2011 Report to Congress. In 2009, about 340,000 dialysis beneficiaries were covered by fee-for-service (FFS) Medicare. Compared with all Medicare beneficiaries, dialysis FFS beneficiaries are disproportionately younger and African American. Ninety two percent of there beneficiaries […]

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New Legislation affecting Medicare Hospital Payments

Recent Legislation CMS completed its implementation of Medicare severity–diagnosis related groups (MS–DRGs) and cost-based relative weights in FY 2009. TMA, Abstinence Education, and QI Programs Extension Act of 2007 (TMA), the Congress mandated payment reductions of 0.6 percent in 2008 and an additional 0.9 percent in 2009 to offset the effects of documentation and coding […]

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