Unbiased Analysis of Today's Healthcare Issues

Archive for May, 2013

Health Care Spending Slowdown

For many years, projections from CMS and CBO have claimed that excess cost growth (i.e., growth in healthcare spending above and beyond the growth in GDP) will slow in the distant future.  One reason is mechanical, if current rates continued, healthcare spending at some point would make up the entire economy.  The mechanism through which […]

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Fixing the “Observation Status Loophole”

In order for Medicare to reimburse post-acute care in a skilled nursing facility (SNF), Medicare beneficiaries must have a 3-day hospital stay. Some hospital stays, however, are not counted as hospital stays; rather, they may be defined as “observation status” care that do not merit an inpatient admission. Patients may stay overnight at the hospital […]

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Mahalanobis Distance

What is Mahalanobis distance? Most people know what Euclidean distance is…it is the shortest distance between any two points.  In other words, its what we typically think of when we think of distance – the distance we would measure with a ruler, and the one given by the Pythagorean formula. Unlike Euclidean distance, Mahalanobis distance […]

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Pharmaceutical Prices Around the World in 2010

As the 18th Annual International Society for Pharmacoecomoics and Outcomes Research (ISPOR) begins this past weekend, today the Healthcare Economist examines drug prices around the world.  Drug prices in the U.S. are much higher than any other developed country.  This finding is robust whether the price index is created using the U.S. drug consumption basket […]

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Friday Links

Enjoy the weekend with some interesting reads… The highest paid public employee in your state is… Do markets for health care work? Workers comp not paying for on-the-job ER visits? Tackling Medicare Fraud. Some of my best friends are germs. Be nice to Sebelius.

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A drop in the bucket…

Every year, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) conducts a recovery audit. In a recent report, Medicare collected over $797 million in Medicare overpayments in 2011. Where do these overpayments come from? Inpatient: $677m Durable Medical Equipment & Other: $35m Physician: $33m Outpatient: $17m Skilled Nursing Facilities: $0.2m Recovery Audit Contractors returned $488 […]

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CoR #183

Russell Hutchinson hosts this week’s roundup of risk-related posts from New Zealand, and includes some interesting items from around the globe.

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Why become a doctor?

On The Health Care Blog (THCB), Dr. Vineet Arora argues that being a doctor is not as attractive as it once was. She writes: After all, why go into this much debt and spend so much time in training if your prospects are not much better? More recently, the New York Times article points out […]

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Kaplan-Meier Survival Curves

Survival analysis is used in many contexts.  Some examples include: Medical research: fraction of patients living for a certain amount of time after treatment. Economics: length of time people remain unemployed after a job loss. Engineering: time until failure of machine parts. Ecology: how long fleshy fruits remain on plants before they are removed by […]

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Is the “Online Health Clinic” the Wave of the Future?

HealthPartners argues that the answer is yes. In a 2013 Health Affairs article, they argue the following: HealthPartners in Minnesota launched an online clinic called virtuwell in late 2010. After more than 40,000 cases, we report an average $88 lower cost per episode compared with care received in traditional settings, strong indicators of clinical effectiveness, […]

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