Unbiased Analysis of Today's Healthcare Issues

Archive for the 'Quality' Category

VBID in practice

In a typical insurance plan, patients have a fixed copayment, insurance and deductible regardless of whether the treatment they receive is considered high or low value.  However, an alternative insurance structure–known as value-based insurance design (VBID)–uses a different approach.  Under VBID, patient cost sharing is higher for low-value treatments and lower or eliminated for high-value […]

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How do consumers perceive low priced health care?

Is it a bargain?  Or do low prices represent low quality?  Or is cost independent of quality?  To try to answer this question Phillips, Schleifer, and Hagelskamp (2016) conducted a nationally representative survey to investigate whether consumers believe that price and quality are associated.  They found that: Most Americans (58–71 percent, depending on question framing) did not think that […]

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Is P4P doomed to fail?

There have been many pay-for-performance (P4P) programs that have been implemented to attempt to improve quality and reduce cost. The vast majority of these programs have not been able to demonstrate large or even any improvement in quality or cost. Some researchers claim that these programs have not worked due to the size of the […]

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Effect of publicly reported surgical quality measures and outcomes

There has been a shift towards making quality data publicly available for patients to examine when choosing physicians.  A commentary by Burns et al. (2016) finds that there is mixed evidence regarding whether making surgery-related mortality data publicly available improves patient outcomes (see table below). Article Time Period Country Participants Key Findings Hannan 1994 1989-1992 US NY State cardiac […]

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How do pregnant women measure quality?

What do women care about when giving birth? A study Maurer et al. (2016) conducted a focus group study of 41 pregnant women in North Carolina. They found that women valued the following aspects of quality. Providing individualized care that focuses on, and has respect for, each woman’ s health, needs, and personal preferences for labor, […]

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Cost of Quality Reporting: $15.4 billion

Medicare aims to move away from fee-for-service reimbursement and towards value-based payment mechanisms based on quality of care.  Although the goal is laudable, there are a number of practical challenges.  First, most care is still provided via fee for service.  In 2013, 95% of all physician office visits were reimbursed using fee-for-service.  Second, collecting quality of […]

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Core Quality Measures

One challenge providers have faced in the past is that quality measure reporting has been complex.  Medicare may ask for quality measures with one definition, commercial payers may define quality a second way, and Medicaid may ask for a third definition of quality.  Keeping track of these definitions and recording quality measures distracts providers from actually providing quality […]

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P4P in Medicaid

Does Medicaid use pay-for-performance (P4P) for providers?  If so, how does it work?  And does it affect quality and cost? These are the questions of interest to Rosenthal et al. (2015) in their study of P4P programs in Alabama, Minnesota, and Pennsylvania.  Although all three focus on physicians, the Alabama program is a “medical home ” […]

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Which value-based payment system is best?

Clearly, there is no single answer to this question and the answer depends on a number of factors including the market structure, provider responsiveness to intrinsic vs. extrinsic motivation, provider sample size, and the ability to accurately measure quality of care.  Douglas Conrad (2015) uses agency theory to provide an overview of existing value-based payment systems.  The […]

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Does tying payment to quality improve quality?

Although the typical economist answer would be yes, in the case of one Medicare Advantage program, the answer is ‘no’. A paper by Layton and Ryan (2015) [earlier draft] examine the Medicare Advantage Quality Bonus Payment Demonstration (MA QBP) which began in 2012.  In this program: …plans receive bonus payments based on an overall plan quality […]

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