Unbiased Analysis of Today's Healthcare Issues

Does a Hospital’s Ranking Increase Patient Volume?

The US News and World Report has popular rankings for colleges, graduate schools and now hospitals.  Do patients actually decide to seek care at different hospitals based on these ratings?  Devin Pope attempts to answer this question in a recent Journal of Health Economics article (free draft). To determine whether or not this is the […]

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Surgical Complications and Mortality Rates

Mortality during surgery is dependent on two factors.  The first is the probability of having complications during surgery.  The second is the probability of dying conditional on having a complication.  One would expect that hospitals with low mortality rates would have both fewer complications and lower probability of death conditional on a complication.   A […]

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To Curb Repeat Hospital Stays, Pay Doctors

Much of my own research has focused on how physician financial incentives affect the quantity and quality of medical care. It should come as no surprise that I found a recent New York Times article on the topic stimulating.  Dr. Sandjeep Jauhar examines how hospital and physician financial incentives affect the length of a patient’s […]

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Lessons from high school: How to steal drugs from a hospital

The Denver Post has an interesting article about employee theft of drugs from hospitals. Stealing from a hospital is not easy: “Hospitals guard drugs carefully, requiring staffers to use individual codes or even fingerprints to unlock cabinets where drugs are stored. At Rose [Medical Center], an electronic system tracks narcotics from the time they arrive […]

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Dutch Hospital Industry

What are hospitals like in the Netherlands?  A paper by Blank and Van Hulst (2009) give some insight.  The paper studies Dutch general hospitals.  These hospitals make up 80% of beds on 70% of hospital costs.  Non-general hospitals include academic hospitals and specialty hospitals (e.g., eye clinics and rehabilitation clinics). Hospitals in the Netherlands “Hospitals, […]

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Economic Woes Hit Hospitals

Four months ago, I wrote that the health care sector added jobs despite the overwhelming job losses in the rest of the economy.  Looks like the health care sector has not been fully insulated against the economic woes: ” Six out of ten hospitals nationally are seeing a greater proportion of patients without insurance coming through […]

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Costing Methods

How do hospitals estimate the cost of different inpatient stays?  A paper by Clement et al. (2009) reviews 3 techniques: Microcosting. “With microcosting, a detailed list of each component of a patient’s care is created and costed separately for each facet of a patient’s hospitalization. Given the level of detail, microcosting is generally considered the […]

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Turkish Hospitals

In Turkey, the number of private hospitals has expanded from 250 in 2006 to 375 in 2008. Healthcare Europa reports that Turkish private hospitals previously charged whatever prices they pleased.  The government health insurance plan would pay the basic rate to the private hospitals, and the patient would be responsible for any difference between the […]

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Medical Errors and Ninety-Day Cost and Outcomes

A hospital is a place of healing.  It can also be a place of injury.  In the U.S., 2.9% of people who enter the hospital are actually harmed by the care they receive.  Yet what are the costs of these injuries? A paper by Encinosa and Hellinger (HSR 2008) attempts to estimate the cost of hospitals failing […]

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Uwe Reinhardt on Hospital Prices

Health Economist Uwe Reinhardt supports expanding the DRG system to all payers.   “Under Medicare’s approach, hospitals are paid one price for an entire inpatient episode, rather than piece-rate (fee-for-service) for every single supply and service delivered in that episode…To eliminate the rampant price-discrimination inherent in current hospital pricing, all hospitals under this system would […]

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