Unbiased Analysis of Today's Healthcare Issues

Archive for the 'Supply of Medical Services' Category

Immigrant Physicians

Interesting facts from Alex Tabarrok of Marginal Revolution: One percent of all the physicians in the United States come from the six countries targeted in Donald Trump’s new Executive Order. I found that a surprisingly high number. According to the Immigrant Doctors Project, those 7000 physicians provide 14 million doctors’ appointments each year and many of them […]

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Did the ACA cause industry consolidation?

The Affordable Care Act (ACA)–among other things–mandated a number of reforms to the Medicare reimbursement system.  For instance, the ACA created Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs) and bundled payment initiatives were initiatives.  If Medicare started paying providers more based on quality and total cost of care across all provider settings, one would hypothesize that industry consolidation would accelerate. […]

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Quality of care and prices

There have been a number of studies that have examined how publicly reporting quality ratings (for health plans, physicians, hospitals or other health care providers) affects market share.  Less attention has been paid to the effect of measured quality on health care prices.  A paper by Huang and Hirth (2016) aim to answer just this […]

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Machine learning and physician employement

An article by Ajay Agrawal and Avi Goldfarb (“The Simple Economics of Machine Intelligence“) provide an interesting perspective on how machine learning will affect employment with a nice example from the health care sector. All human activities can be described by five high-level components: data, prediction, judgment, action, and outcomes. For example, a visit to the […]

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Are quality bonus payments based on hospital readmissions reliable?

Maybe not.  That is the answer from a study by Thompson et al. (2016).  Using data from the Healthcare Cost and Utilization Project (HCUP) State Inpatient Databases (SID) for six states (AR, FL, IA, MA, NY,WA)  from 2011 to 2013, the authors measure hospital performance reliability for the Hospital Readmission Reduction Program (HRRP).  The define reliability as follows: […]

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Will technology replace nurses?

Many people have feared that robots, computers, and other forms of technology will take people’s jobs. Conventional wisdom holds that healthcare workers have been largely immune from these technological changes to date. However, a new paper from Lu, Rui and Seidmann examines whether technological advances–specifically computerized provider order entry (CPOE)–affects employment at nursing homes. Using […]

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Does private ownership improve quality of care?

In the case of elderly care services in Sweden, the answer is ‘yes’.  In Bergman et al. (2016), the authors… assemble a large data set on elderly care services in Sweden between 1990 and 2009 and estimate how opening to private provision affected mortality rates – an important and not easily contractible quality dimension – […]

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Physicians moving to larger groups

This is the finding of Muhlestein and Smith (2016): The proportion of physicians in groups of nine or fewer dropped from 40.1 percent in 2013 to 35.3 percent in 2015, while the proportion of those in groups of one hundred or more increased from 29.6 percent to 35.1 percent during the same time period. Initiatives requiring […]

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Another VBP fail?

Value-based purchasing is supposed to tie reimbursement to quality of care and costs.  Providers that are high quality and low cost are supposed to get higher reimbursement, those that are low quality and high cost the reverse.  The key question is: does this reimbursement approach work in practice? According to a recent study by Grabowski […]

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ACOs and VBP

Accountable Care Organizations aim to link providers through the supply chain (i.e., hospitals, physicians, post-acute care facilities) to incentivize providers to improve quality and reduce costs.  In addition to its ACO program (the Medicare Shared Savings Program), the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) have implemented a number of value-based payment programs, including the […]

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