Unbiased Analysis of Today's Healthcare Issues

Archive for the 'Supply of Medical Services' Category

How does market structure affect technology adoption?

The answer: more competition leads to more technology adoption.  This is the finding from a study by Karaca-Mandic et al. (2016).  They use data from 100% Medicare claim in 2003 and 2004 as well as linked information on hospitals [American Hospital Association (AHA) Annual Survey] and physicians [American Medical Association (AMA) Masterfile]. Competition is measured two […]

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Is balance billing a good thing?

Are health care prices set on an open market? Almost certainly not. In many cases, physician fees are set by insurers. Currently, for instance, Medicare sets fees for physicians administratively. At Medicare’s inception, however, Medicare did allow physicians to charge whatever fees they wanted; Medicare would pay a base rate and patients would be responsible […]

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Is value-based purchasing working for hospitals?

The Incidental Economist is one of my favorite blogs to read.  This week’s post on a recent BMJ article on the failure of P4P did not disappoint.  The article (Figueroa et al. 2016) looks at 4267 acute care hospitals in the United States that participated in Medicare’s Hospital Value Based Purchasing (HVBP) system.  During my time […]

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Do ACOs reduce spending?

Medicare’s Shared Savings Program (MSSP) is a program that created accountable care organizations (ACOs).  Providers in get bonuses if they are able to reduce health care costs and also maintain quality.  In theory, the program makes sense, increase reimbursement for high-quality, low-cost providers.  The key question, however, is whether it works. A recent study in NEJM […]

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“Adjustments” drive variation in Medicare hospital reimbursement rates

In my previous work, I have examined regional variation in Medicare and Medicaid costs through reports to the Institute of Medicine and publications in peer-reviewed journals.  We found significant variation in health care costs across regions, that high-cost regions tended to remain high cost over time, but that a region that is high-cost for treating one medical condition […]

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The problem with bundled payments

Bundled payments sound like a great idea for improving efficiency and in the short-run they are. Bundled payments involve paying a fixed fee for the treatment of a specific patient over a specific time period.  For instance, CMS have considered using a singled bundled payment to reimburse providers for both acute and post-acute care providers.  This approach gives providers […]

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Impact of Medicare Advantage on Hospital Admissions

Do patients who enroll in Medicare Advantage go to the hospital less frequently? The answer is yes. However, this fact may not be causal. Patients who enroll in Medicare Advantage are generally younger and healthier than patients who enroll in Medicare’s fee-for-service (FFS) program. A paper by Duggan, Gruber and Vabson (2016) uses a novel […]

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Who are the high-cost patients?

Accountable care organizations are responsible for managing the quality and cost of patients.  However, a small share of patients make up a large share of health care cost.  How can ACOs improve the care and reduce the cost of these patients? First, ACOs need to understand the needs of high-cost patients.  A perspective by Powers and […]

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Managing post-acute care cost

Medicare’s move towards bundling payment for acute and post-acute care means that hospitals have an incentive to carefully monitor care received after discharge.  But what are the key drivers of post-acute care cost: hospital readmissions? use of any post-acute care? type of post-acute care used? A paper by Huckfeldt et al. (2016) examines Medicare claims data […]

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FFS vs. Capitation Reimbursement: Responses by Physicians and Medical Students

How do people respond to financial incentives?  In the medical world, physicians often are paid fee-for-service (FFS) or capitation.  Physicians receiving FFS reimbursement receive additional compensation for each additional service they do.  For instance, physicians under FFS receive twice as much compensation for 2 office visits as they would for 1 office visit.  On the other hand, […]

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