Unbiased Analysis of Today's Healthcare Issues

Archive for the 'Supply of Medical Services' Category

Docs benefiting from Medicaid Expansions

PwC’s Health Research Institute reports that times are good if you are a safety net provider in a state that expanded Medicaid coverage: Physicians, hospitals and health systems operating in the 26 states and the District of Columbia that pursued the option to broaden Medicaid coverage with federal dollars have seen a significant rise in […]

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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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Will P4P work?

In pay-for-performance (P4P) or value-based purchasing (VBP) schemes, health care provider reimbursement rates depend on performance. Physicians can receive bonuses for following best practices, and hospitals can increase reimbursement rates from Medicare if they improve clinical processes and patient satisfaction. As an economist, rewarding good performance with financial payments makes perfect sense. Or does it? […]

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Dr. Wal-Mart

CVS’s Minute Clinic isn’t the only game in town for quick primary care visits anymore.  Wal-Mart is getting into the primary care game with $40 office visits with nurse practitioners.  MSN Money reports: Wal-Mart is making its long-awaited move into delivering primary care: The retailer has quietly opened half a dozen primary care clinics across South Carolina and Texas […]

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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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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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Are nursing home expenses driving savings?

From a working paper by Karen A. Kopecky and Tatyana Koreshkova. …even though they are only a third of OOP [out-of-pocket] health expenses, the presence of nursing home expenses accounts for more than half of savings for all health expenses…We find that 27 percent of savings for old-age OOP health expenses, 3.7 percent of private wealth, is […]

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Regional Variation in Medical Spending: A Texas Case Study

A large body of research (including my own) indicates that there exists significant regional variation in medical spending. What is the source of these differences: differences in the prices paid per service or differenes in the amount of healthcare services used? The conventional wisdom is that Medicare does a better job of controlling prices, and […]

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Long-Term Care Hospitals

What are Long-Term Care Hospitals (LTCH)?  These facilities are different from nursing homes.  The New York Times explains the type of care they provide: These are no ordinary hospitals: Critically ill patients, sometimes unresponsive or in comas, may live here for months, even years, sustained by respirators and feeding tubes. Some, especially those recovering from accidents, […]

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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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