Unbiased Analysis of Today's Healthcare Issues

Archive for the 'Quality' Category

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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Synthetic Control Method

A common method for measuring the effect of policy interventions is the difference in difference (DiD) approach.  In essence, one examines the change in outcomes among observations subject to the policy intervention and compare them agains observations that were not eligible for the policy intervention. A key assumption for this approach to be valid is […]

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What is MACRA?

MACRA is the Medicare Access & CHIP Reauthorization Act, also know colloquially as the ‘permanent doc fix’.  Although MACRA is know for repealing the Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) provisions that would have significantly cut physicians salaries (but was reversed every December), there are other provisions. Although physicians may take comfort in avoiding the year end doc […]

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NCCN Evidence Blocks

NCCN recently released a new approach to measure the value of cancer medicines. The approach–known as Evidence Blocks–evaluates medications on 5 dimensions: Efficacy of regimens, Safety of regimens, Quality and quantity of evidence for regimens, Consistency of evidence for regimens, and Affordability of regimens. Each criteria is ranked on a 1 to 5 block scale. […]

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Patient Reported Quality

Should doctors financial incentives be tied to patient perceptions of quality?  Some physicians are reluctant for this to happen.  Paula Chatterjee and co-authors, however, argue that patient satisfaction should play a role in how incentives tied to value-based care are measured. Although I do not disagree with Chatterjee, it is not clear how patient perceptions of […]

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The end of dose-based drug pricing?

A Health Affairs post by Dana Goldman and Darius Lakdawalla argues that dose-based pricing for pharmaceuticals is suboptimal.  They make a clear distinction between typical goods, where cost and benefits are roughly proportional to quantity consumed, and pharmaceuticals. Buying two bunches of bananas naturally costs twice as much as one bunch. Twice as many bananas can […]

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Quality Adjusted Cost of Care Analysis

The health care industry should take into account outcomes when weighing the cost of new treatments and technologies and make quality-adjusted life years (QALYs) part of the equation, say the authors of a study in the April issue of Health Affairs. This is the begining of an article in Managed Care Magazine that reviews a […]

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What is MIPS?

Yesterday I posted about MIPS, the new Medicare physician reimbursement program set to begin in 2019.  The Health Affairs blog provides a nice summary of some of the changes. First and probably most importantly, the formulaic approach to setting base payment rates is gone, replaced with automatic increases for all doctors from 2015 through 2019. For […]

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Narrow Networks

One of the ways health plans in the health insurance exchanges have been able to keep premiums down is through offering beneficiaries very narrow networks. By steering patients towards “efficient” doctors, premiums stay low. However, patients may worry that these “low cost” doctors are lower quality than those outside of the network. The tradeoff between […]

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