Unbiased Analysis of Today's Healthcare Issues

Archive for the 'Medicare' Category

Regional Growth in Medicare Spending, 1992–2010

Below is an abstract from a paper I co-wrote with Camille Chicklis, Thomas MaCurdy, Jay Bhattacharya, and Dan Rodgers.  The title of the paper is Regional Growth in Medicare Spending, 1992–2010. Objective: To determine if regions with high Medicare expenditures in a given setting remain high cost over time. Data Sources/Study Setting: One hundred percent of national Medicare Parts […]

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What’s wrong with the SGR?

Why are doctor’s always complaining about the sustainable growth rate (SGR) issue? What is the SGR? The Brookings blog has a nice primer on the SGR. What is the SGR Put in place through the Balanced Budget Act of 1997, the SGR is a system designed to control the costs of Medicare payments for physicians. […]

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Medicare to Pay for Value

I have spilled much ink on this blog discussing the pros and cons of pay-for-performance approaches to medicine.  Incentivizing high quality care is good in theory, but in practice changes in quality have been modest and providers may be able to readily game the system.  Despite these challenges, Medicare announced this week that it would being  tying 30 […]

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Treating Dual Eligibles

The PBS Newshour has an interesting story on the treatment of the 9 million dual-eligible beneficiaries in the US.  They discuss integrated care model in California, Cal MediConnect.  

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Donuts and drugs

Medicare patients are likely to discontinue their medication in December. Why? Are they busy with the Christmas holidays? Do they have additional expenses for gifts and limited funds for prescription drugs? Perhaps. Another idea advanced by Kaplan and Zhang (2014) is that Medicare’s benefit structure encourages discontinuation. Why is that? Medicare’s Part D drug plan […]

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Regulatory Tsunami?

Medicare is working hard to make sure that doctors are efficiently providing high-quality care. Programs such as the Physician Quality Reporting System (PRQS) and the Value-Based Payment Modifier all are aimed to improve quality and lower cost. The downside of such programs, however, is that the impose reporting burdens on physicians. For instance, Medicare can […]

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Reimbursement Rates and Quality

How do reimbursement rates affect quality?  One school of thought holds that decreased reimbursement decreases quality in the short-run and decreases innovation in the long-run.  Another school of thought believes that there is so  much inefficiency in the health care system, that reducing reimbursement rates will have no affect  on quality.  Which answer is correct? A study […]

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What can Geographic Variation in Health Care Spending Tell Us About Efficiency?

In a project with the Institute of Medicine (IOM), I examined the sources of regional variation in Medicare and Medicaid spending and spending growth. The IOM wisely concluded that policymakers should target decision-makerss rather than geography when attempting to improve the efficiency of the healthcare system. I recent paper by the Louise Sheniner of the […]

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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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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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