Unbiased Analysis of Today's Healthcare Issues

Archive for the 'Supply of Medical Services' Category

Regulatory Tsunami?

Medicare is working hard to make sure that doctors are efficiently providing high-quality care. Programs such as the Physician Quality Reporting System (PRQS) and the Value-Based Payment Modifier all are aimed to improve quality and lower cost. The downside of such programs, however, is that the impose reporting burdens on physicians. For instance, Medicare can […]

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The cost of Informal Elder Care

Many adults spend significant time caring for sick, elderly parents.  What is the cost of providing this informal care?  Would it be better to have family members outsource the care to formal caregivers? A paper by Chari, Engberg, Ray and Mehrotra (2014) attempt to answer this question.  They use data from the  American Time Use Survey […]

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Residency Hour Restrictions and Patient Outcomes

Residency has been a right of passage for physicians. Long 36-hour shifts mix with the excitement of new learning. However, recent regulations have now capped residency weekly hours at 80. Although patient medical care in the short-run may improve (because physicians are less tired), in the long run, are physicians exposed to as wide a […]

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How important is having a good nurse?

Perhaps unfairly, doctors get all the credit. When patients have better health outcomes, physicians are rewarded; when they have worse health outcomes, the physician is blamed. However, the quality of nurses also likely affects the quality of care that patients receive. A recent paper by Yakusheva, Lindrooth and Weiss (2014) finds that nurse quality does […]

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What does an ACO look like?

ACOs are all the rage, but what does a typical ACO look like ? A study by Shortell et al. (2014) attempts to answer this question using data from the National Survey of ACOs. This survey includes ACOs participating in Medicare, Medicaid, or commercial payer programs.  The authors consider eight attributes for creating an ACO taxonomy […]

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Reimbursement Rates and Quality

How do reimbursement rates affect quality?  One school of thought holds that decreased reimbursement decreases quality in the short-run and decreases innovation in the long-run.  Another school of thought believes that there is so  much inefficiency in the health care system, that reducing reimbursement rates will have no affect  on quality.  Which answer is correct? A study […]

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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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