Unbiased Analysis of Today's Healthcare Issues

Archive for November, 2011

Weekend Links

End pay for delay, save $5 billion. The end of naked hiking? Insider trading in Washington is pervasive…and legal! Do text message appointment reminders work? When are nurse practitioners not cost-effective?

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Physicians: Coming to a Home Near You

In the 18th and early 19th centuries, physician home visits in the U.S. were very common.  In fact, the home was the primary place where medicine was practiced.  Because physician wages at this time were comparable to those of the average laborer, a market which forced physicians to internalize the time and transportation costs to […]

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Accountable Care Organizations: Update on Medicare Implementation

Health Reform’s Accountable Care Act (ACA) mandates the creation of Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs).  Dartmouth researcher Elliott Fisher stimulating much of the interest in ACOs by introducing the concept of an “extended hospital medical staff” at a 2006 meeting of the Medicare Payment Advisory Commission (MedPAC). Today, I review an article by Berenson and Burton (2011) describing […]

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Are Health Care Prices Becoming More Transparent?

Health economists have always said that one of the main problems with health care is that no one knows the price of any services.  Thus, individuals have less of an incentive to shop for high value care. [Other experts claim that prices don't matter as much because demand for healthcare is inelastic.] One step towards […]

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Cavalcade of Risk is up

A Thanksgiving edition of the Cavalcade of Risk is up at Nancy Germond’s The Insurance Writer blog.

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Tuesday Links

Americans like big government? Income inequality and Social Security’s fiscal solvency. Will ACOs work? My favorite Christmas Carol? The Grinch Tax. The end of cigarette brands?

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Medicare’s Agenda for Hospital Accountability

CSC provies a nice overview of some of Medicare’s hospital quality initiatives. These initiatives include a value-based purchasing (VBP) program, reduced reimbursement for excessive hospital readmissions, and reduced reimbursement for hospital-acquired conditions (HAC).  Each of these three broad quality initiatives is described in more detail after the jump. It is important to note that these […]

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Revisions to the Sixth Update of the Geographic Practice Cost Index

How does Medicare adjust payments to physician practices to account for regional differences in input costs such as employee wages, office rent, malpractice insurance and other expenses?  I recently co-authored a report in support of the CMS final rule which explains how CMS will make these adjustments for 2012.  Among the key revisions are an […]

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Health Wonk Review: Olio Edition

The latest edition of the Health Wonk Review is up at InsureBlog.

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Medicare to Hospitals: The Patient is Always Right

Starting in fiscal year 2014, Medicare will start rewarding hospitals with high quality care and penalizing hospitals with low quality care.  The rewards and penalties will be financial in nature. High-quality hospitals will receive a bonus and low-quality hospitals will receive a financial penalty.  There is a lot of existing documentation on this hospital value-based […]

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