Unbiased Analysis of Today's Healthcare Issues

Archive for the 'Supply of Medical Services' Category

Providers move into digital health

Marketplace reports: On a recent visit to the hospital, Riley, who is five years old, swallowed a tiny white pill with an embedded sensor – roughly the size of a grain of sand. When it reached her stomach, it sent a signal to a patch she’s wearing on her skin and alerted her parents and […]

Read the rest of this entry »

Can physicians affect medication adherence?

According to a recent study by Koulayev, Simeonova, and Skipper (2016) using data from Denmark, the answer is ‘yes’. Non-compliance with medication therapy remains an unsolved and expensive problem for healthcare systems around the world, yet we know little about the factors that affect a patient’s decision to follow treatment recommendations. In particular, there is […]

Read the rest of this entry »

The pros and cons of retail clinics

Aaron Caroll does a nice job summarizing these viewpoints in his article in the N.Y. Times’ Upshot: Researchers for a study published in the American Journal of Medical Quality talked to patients who sought out care at retail clinics. Patients who had a primary care physician, but still went to a retail clinic, did so […]

Read the rest of this entry »

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 […]

Read the rest of this entry »

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 […]

Read the rest of this entry »

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 […]

Read the rest of this entry »

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 […]

Read the rest of this entry »

“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 […]

Read the rest of this entry »

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 […]

Read the rest of this entry »

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 […]

Read the rest of this entry »