Unbiased Analysis of Today's Healthcare Issues

Archive for the 'Medicaid/Medicare' Category

Why don’t payers adopt my technology?

Why don’t payers adopt innovative approaches to treat mental illness? For instance, crisis intervention programs, recovery-focused consumer education programs, telehealth programs, and on-line treatment programs have sometimes have had problems receiving reimbursement from payers. Monica Oss of OpenMinds takes the payers’ perspective: Often, the organization proposing the new program comes to the table with an […]

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Medicare Advantage Plans: Thumbs Up or Down?

Austin Frakt says although Medicare Advantage plans used to be considered high cost, low-quality options, in recent years, these Medicare Advantage plans have vastly increased quality of care and have become less focused on cream-skimming healthier patients.   Medicare Advantage plans — private plans that serve as alternatives to the traditional, public program for those […]

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How did Medicare pay for chemotherapy pre-2006?

A working paper by Jacobson et al. (2014) not only provides the answer, but describes how reimbursement policy change over the past decade. Although Medicare did not offer a drug benefit for oral drugs (pills) until 2006, Medicare Part B, which covers physician services, has from inception covered physician-administered drugs such as IV chemotherapy, anti-nausea, […]

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Disparities in Schizophrenia Care

Do African Americans and Latinos receive the same quality care as Caucasians?  This is the question asked by Horvitz-Lennon et al. (2014). Quality of Care Before one can answer this question, one first has to define what “quality care” means.  The authors use the following definition for pharmacological indicators: Any use of antipsychotic drugs, Conditional on […]

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Did Hospital VBP work?

How can Medicare improve quality and reduce cost? One idea is to introduce value-based purchasing (VBP). For instance, Medicare’s hospital value-based purchasing (HVBP) system increases payment rates for hospitals that demonstrate high quality. A paper by Ryan et al. (2014) explains the program in more detail. Under HVBP, acute care hospitals—those paid under Medicare’s Inpatient […]

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Was Newt Gingrich Right about Medicare?

In 1995, Newt Gingrich claimed that Medicare would end. He stated that “going to wither on the vine because we think people are voluntarily going to leave it — voluntarily.”  Was he right? In the one hand, Medicare total enrollment and spending is rising and the program still has widespread political support. On the other […]

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Do EHRs increase “upcoding”?

Upcoding occurs when physician or hospitals artificially increase the patient’s severity of illness. For instance, a hospital may record additional comorbidities. In Medicare’s inpatient prospective payment systems (IPPS), Medicare reimburses hospitals more for caring for patients who are sicker. Some health policy experts worry that electronic health records (EHRs) will decrease the cost of documenting […]

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Medicare Pricing Distortions and Patient Satisfaction

The cost of operating a physician practices differs across states.  For instance, rent is much higher in New York City than Nebraska.  Labor costs are much higher in Los Angeles than in La Crosse, Wisconsin.  To account for differences in the cost of operating a practice, Medicare adjusts reimbursement rates in their standard physician fee […]

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Is current hospice care inadequate?

In recent years, demand for palliative rather than interventionist end-of-life in hospices has grown dramatically. More than a million patients each year use hospice facilities. In fact, in some cases terminally patients live longer in hospice than in more intensive care settings. However, hospice are generally most attractive when they provide treatment if patients face […]

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Wisconsin’s Unique Medicaid Non-Expansion

The Supreme Court ruled that the Affordable Care Act was legal with one exception: the federal government could not require states to increase Medicaid eligibility. Although States were not required to make Medicaid eligibility more generous, the did have an incentive to do so. The federal government will pay 90% of the cost of enrolling […]

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