Unbiased Analysis of Today's Healthcare Issues

Archive for the 'Physician Compensation' Category

Are young physicians better than old ones?

I can’t answer that. But I can tell you that young physicians are more likely to favor more costly medical intervetions. At least this is the conclusion of a recent study by Ateev Mehrotra and colleagues. They find: We found that physicians with fewer than ten years of experience had 13.2 percent higher overall costs […]

Read the rest of this entry »

Can closing a hospital improve the quality of care?

The closing of St. Vincent’s Hospital in the Village in New York City at first glance would reduce access to care for New York residents living in the area.  To fill the void, however, a number of non-traditional providers have entered to fill the space.  For instance, the number of stand-alone urgent care centers are […]

Read the rest of this entry »

If you have Medicare, will your physician refuse to treat you?

In the not to distant future, the answer may be yes. A report by Frazier and Foster (2009) examine how difficult it is for Medicare beneficiaries in Alaska to find a primary care doctor. “About 85% [of primary-car doctors in Alaska] choose the standard Medicare process (“participating”). Another 4% still work with the Medicare system […]

Read the rest of this entry »

The problem with a single payer system is…

setting accurate prices.  A single payer does not have a market against which to measure prices; instead, single payers often pay based on provider’s reported cost or a multiplier related to the prices charged years ago when there was a market. Fortunately, the U.S. does not have this problem…or do we? The Relative Value Update […]

Read the rest of this entry »

Primary Care Docs are no longer the primary point of contact for patients

According to a LifeBot study: “Historically, general practitioners provided first-contact care in the United States. Today, however, only 42 percent of the 354 million annual visits for acute care—treatment for newly arising health problems—are made to patients’ personal physicians. The rest are made to emergency departments (28 percent), specialists (20 percent), or outpatient departments (7 […]

Read the rest of this entry »

Do I need an Annual Wellness Visit?

The Affordable Care Act (a.k.a. Health Reform, Obamacare) mandates that Medicare provide an annual wellness visit (AWV) to all beneficiaries free of charge.  Today, I answer some questions related to CMS’s implementation of the mandated annual wellness visit requirement. What is included in an annual wellness visit?  The AWV includes “the establishment of, or update […]

Read the rest of this entry »

Physician Influence on Federal Health Spending, 1950s

The 1950s was a time of unprecedented technological advances in the science of medical care.  In 1955, epidemiologists at the University of Michigan developed a polio vaccine.  These advances lead the federal government to increase funding for research.  Between 1955 and 1960, Congress increased the budget of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) from $81 million […]

Read the rest of this entry »

The Impacts of Managed Competition in Netherlands

Financial incentives matter.  If one had to give economists (and health economists as well) a slogan, this would be it. In 2006, the Netherlands instituted a form of managed competition. According to Van Dijk et al (2012) “Before 2006, inhabitants had either compulsory social (sickness fund, 62%) or voluntarily private (36%) health insurance depending, among others, on income (below a gross […]

Read the rest of this entry »

Less Money for Preventive Care, More Money for Docs

Merrill Goozner reports that paying for the “doc fix” comes at the cost of preventive services. Friday’s payroll tax cut extension bill included $18 billion to maintain Medicare physician salaries at current levels for the rest of this year. Unlike the payroll tax extension, Congress insisted on paying for the doc-fix with offsetting budget cuts.  […]

Read the rest of this entry »

How much is rent in your area?

The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is responsible for answering just that question.  To determine what level Section 8 vouchers should be set, HUD measures the rents for every county across the nation.  Specifically, they measure the 40th percentile and 50th percentile (i.e., median) rents in each area.  They choose to use the […]

Read the rest of this entry »