Unbiased Analysis of Today's Healthcare Issues

Archive for the 'Uncategorized' Category

What is the IHS?

What is the Indian Health Service (IHS)?  The video below gives a nice primer on the history of IHS. The IHS provides health care to American Indians and Alaska Natives at 33 hospitals, 59 health centers and 50 health centers.   You can find the current locations of IHS facilities HERE.  Whereas the IHS annual budget […]

Read the rest of this entry »

Quotation of the Day

A man who procrastinates in his choosing will inevitably have his choice made for him by circumstance. Hunter S. Thompson  

Read the rest of this entry »

How to measure quality

Medicare’s Shared Savings Program (MSSP) contracts with accountable care organizations (ACOs) and provides financial rewards to ACOs that provide high-quality, low-cost care.  One question is whether or not the MSSP program does a good job of defining quality. A paper by Valuck and co-authors examines what constitutes high-quality of care for 20 high-cost and highly prevalent […]

Read the rest of this entry »

ICD-10 Oddities

On October 1, Medicare switched from ICD-9 to ICD-10 diagnosis coding.  As a researcher, I appreciate that ICD-10 will give a much more granular representation of a disease.  However, the risk is that the level of granularity is so fine that the administrative costs on providers becomes high.  Some of the diagnose codes, in fact, seem […]

Read the rest of this entry »

Racial Disparities in Pain Management

A JAMA Pediatrics study of children being treated for appendicitis found that “Black children are less likely to receive any pain medication for moderate pain and less likely to receive opioids for severe pain, suggesting a different threshold for treatment.” Aaron Carroll from the Incidental Economist weighs in with his thoughts:    

Read the rest of this entry »

Quality measurement: Where are we?

Leaders from two of the nations top quality organization–Christine Kassel from NQF and Rick Kronick from AHRQ–weigh in on the topic.  In a recent JAMA article, they first note some concerns: These concerns were underscored by the recent Institute of Medicine report on core metrics for health and healthcare progress,which noted the need to align […]

Read the rest of this entry »

Selection on Moral Hazard

The terms adverse selection and moral hazard are well known within the field of health economics.  But what is “selection on moral hazard”?  Amy Finkelstein explains using the following analogy: In the context of an all-you-can eat restaurant, traditional selection is that people with big appetites are more likely to go to all-you-can-eat restaurants.  Selection […]

Read the rest of this entry »

Medicare spending surges again

The August update to the Congressional Budget Office’s 10-year economic outlook is fairly rosy.  The deficit will ‘only’ be $426 billion, which is $59 billion less than the deficit last year and would represent 2.4% of GDP, the smallest deficit as a share of GDP since 2007.  Nevertheless, CBO still products overall US debt to rise […]

Read the rest of this entry »

How useful are health rankings?

According to an HSR editorial by Stephan Arndt, the answer is not very.  Generally, county level health rankings are too variable to be of much use.  Further, while some metropolitan regions may have large sample sizes, the sample sizes in less densely populated rural counties will be far lower leading to less precise estimates of any […]

Read the rest of this entry »

Prison Readmission Penalties

Medicare has adopted a system where hospitals that have large number of unplanned readmissions are penalized through lower compensation.  Previously, hospitals made more money when patients were re-admitted; now, these incentives are reduced although not completely eliminated.  Stuart Butler at The Health Care Blog has an interesting idea: apply a similar approach to prisons.     […]

Read the rest of this entry »