Author Interviews, Cost of Health Care, Primary Care / 28.02.2017 Interview with: Molly Candon, PhD Fellow Leonard Davis Institute of Health Economics, The Wharton School Center for Mental Health Policy and Services Research, Perelman School of Medicine University of Pennsylvania What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Primary care practices are less likely to schedule appointments with Medicaid patients compared to the privately insured, largely due to lower reimbursement rates for providers. Given the gap in access, concerns have been raised that Medicaid enrollees may struggle to translate their coverage into care. Despite the substantial increase in demand for care resulting from provisions in the Affordable Care Act (ACA), our 10-state audit study recently published in JAMA Internal Medicine finds that primary care appointment availability for new patients with Medicaid increased 5.4 percentage points between 2012 and 2016, while appointment availability for patients with private coverage did not change. Over the same time period, both Medicaid patients and the privately insured experienced slight increases in wait times. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cost of Health Care, Heart Disease, JAMA / 17.02.2017 Interview with: James E. Udelson, MD Chief, Division of Cardiology Director, Nuclear Cardiology Laboratory Professor, Tufts University School of Medicine What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: There are millions of stress tests done every year in the United States and many of them are normal,” said James Udelson, MD, Chief of the Division of Cardiology at Tufts Medical Center and the senior investigator on the study. “We thought that if we could predict the outcome of these tests by using information we already had from the patient before the test, we could potentially save the health care system money and save our patients time and worry.”   We were able to get a strong prediction of the possibility of having entirely normal testing and no clinical events such as a heart attack, by developing a risk prediction tool using ten clinical variables that are commonly available to a physician during an evaluation” (more…)
AHA Journals, Author Interviews, Cost of Health Care, Geriatrics, Heart Disease / 15.02.2017 Interview with: Olga Khavjou RTI International What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is the leading cause of death in the United States and is one of the costliest chronic diseases. As the population ages, CVD costs are expected to increase substantially. To improve cardiovascular health and control health care costs, we must understand future prevalence and costs of CVD. In 2015, 41.5% (more than 100 million people) of the U.S population was estimated to have some form of CVD. By 2035, the number of people with CVD is projected to increase to over 130 million people, representing a 30% increase in the number of people with CVD over the next 20 years. Between 2015 and 2035, real total direct medical costs of CVD are projected to more than double from $318 billion to $749 billion and real indirect costs (due to productivity losses) are projected to increase from $237 billion to $368 billion. Total costs (medical and indirect) are projected to more than double from $555 billion in 2015 to $1.1 trillion in 2035. (more…)
Author Interviews, Brain Injury, Cost of Health Care, CT Scanning, Electronic Records, Emergency Care, Kaiser Permanente / 25.01.2017 Interview with: Adam L. Sharp MD MS Research Scientist/Emergency Physician Kaiser Permanente Southern California Kaiser Permanente Research Department of Research & Evaluation Pasadena, CA 91101 What is the background for this study? Response: Millions of head computed tomography (CT) scans are ordered annually in U.S. emergency Departments (EDs), but the extent of avoidable imaging is poorly defined. Ensuring appropriate use is important to ensure patient outcomes and limited resources are optimized. A large number of stake holders have highlighted the need to reduce “unnecessary” CT scanning as part of their recommendations for the Choosing Wisely campaign. However, despite calls for improved stewardship, the extent of avoidable CT use among adults with minor trauma in community EDs is not known. The Canadian CT Head Rule (CCHR) is perhaps the most studied of many validated decision instruments designed to assist providers in evaluating patients with minor head trauma. This study aims to describe the scope of overuse of CT imaging by ED providers in cases where application of the CCHR could have avoided imaging. Secondarily, we sought to describe the extent to which avoidable CTs, if averted, would have resulted in “missed” intracranial hemorrhages requiring a neurosurgical intervention. (more…)
Author Interviews, BMJ, Cost of Health Care, Kidney Disease / 23.01.2017 Interview with: Talar W. Markossian PhD MPH Assistant Professor of Health Policy Loyola University Chicago 2160 S. First Ave, CTRE 554 Maywood, IL 60153 What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Approximately 10% of U.S. adults currently have non-dialysis dependent chronic kidney disease (CKD), while dialysis dependent CKD accounts for only 0.5% of the U.S. population. The escalation in healthcare expenditures associated with CKD starts prior to requirement for dialysis, and treatment costs escalate as non-dialysis dependent CKD progresses. We examined the total healthcare expenditures including out-of-pocket costs for non-dialysis dependent chronic kidney disease and compared these expenditures with those incurred for cancer and stroke in the U.S. adult population. After adjusting for demographics and comorbidities, the adjusted difference in total direct healthcare expenditures was $4746 (95% CI $1775-$7718) for CKD, $8608 (95% CI $6167-$11,049) for cancer and $5992 (95% CI $4208-$7775) for stroke vs. group without CKD, cancer or stroke. Adjusted difference in out-of-pocket healthcare expenditures was highest for adults with CKD ($760; 95% CI 0-$1745) and was larger than difference noted for cancer ($419; 95% CI 158–679) or stroke ($246; 95% CI 87–406) relative to group without CKD, cancer or stroke. (more…)
Author Interviews, Colon Cancer, Cost of Health Care, Medicare / 23.01.2017 Interview with: Nengliang “Aaron” Yao PhD Assistant professor Department of Public Health Sciences University of Virginia What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: The ACA made several changes in Medicare that could increase the use of cancer screening and thus lead to more early cancer diagnoses. This includes waiving patient cost-sharing for screening, waiving patient cost-sharing for one wellness visit per year, and paying bonuses to physicians for doing more work in a primary care setting. We studied how effective those changes were in facilitating more early diagnoses of breast and colorectal cancers. We found that the changes had no effect on early breast cancer diagnoses (likely because costs and other access barriers for mammograms were already low), but increased the number of early colorectal cancer diagnoses by 8 percent. (more…)
Author Interviews, CDC, Cost of Health Care, Opiods / 19.01.2017 Interview with: Dora Lin, MHS Sr. Research Assistant Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health Center for Drug Safety and Effectiveness Baltimore, MD 21205 What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: In response to the opioid epidemic and growing number of overdose deaths each year, the CDC released draft guidelines to improve the safe use of opioids in primary care. The draft guidelines were open to public comment, and many organizations, ranging from professional societies to consumer advocates to local governmental organizations, submitted comments regarding the guidelines. We examined the levels of support or non-support for the draft guidelines among the 158 organizations who submitted comments.   We also examined each organization’s relationship to opioid manufacturers. Most organizations supported the guidelines, regardless of whether or not they had a financial relationship to a drug company. However, organizations receiving funding from opioid manufacturers were significantly more likely to be opposed to the guidelines than those who did not receive such funding. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cost of Health Care, JAMA, Johns Hopkins, Medicare / 17.01.2017 Interview with: Ge Bai, PhD, CPA Assistant Professor The Johns Hopkins Carey Business School Washington, DC 20036 What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: The average anesthesiologist, emergency physician, pathologist and radiologist charge more than four times what Medicare pays for similar services, often leaving privately-insured out-of-network patients stuck with surprise medical bills that are much higher than they anticipated. The average physician charged roughly 2.5 times what Medicare pays for the same service. There are also regional differences in excess charges. Doctors in Wisconsin, for example, have almost twice the markups of doctors in Michigan (3.8 vs. two). (more…)
Author Interviews, Cost of Health Care, JAMA / 11.01.2017 Interview with: Joel Segel, Ph.D. Assistant Professor Department of Health Policy and Administration The Pennsylvania State University University Park, PA 16802 What is the background for this study? Response: Americans’ health insurance plans increasingly include deductibles, which require patients to pay a certain amount out-of-pocket before the health plan will cover most services. In addition, the levels of these deductibles have been increasing with more and more Americans enrolling in high-deductible health plans (HDHP’s), which in 2013 were plans with a deductible of $1,250 or more for an individual or $2,500 or more for a family. Furthermore, nearly 40% of those with private insurance have a HDHP including most of the bronze and silver plans on the federal Marketplace. This trend has many worried that patients are facing greater financial risk and may delay or forego necessary care because of costs. A population that may be most vulnerable to these problems are Americans with common chronic conditions. (more…)
Annals Internal Medicine, Author Interviews, Cost of Health Care / 11.01.2017 Interview with: Devan Kansagara MD, MCR Associate Professor of Medicine Oregon Health and Science University Director, Evidence-based Synthesis Program, Portland VA Medical Center Staff Physician, Portland VA Medical Center What is the background for this study? Response: Historically, the US health care system has been dominated by a fee-for-service payment structure in which health care providers are paid for discrete procedures and visits regardless of care quality. Pay for performance programs are part of the move towards value-based care. They tie a portion of payments to individual health care providers, institutions, or health care systems to performance on a discrete set of measures of health care quality. In theory, these programs are meant to encourage the right care at the right time and thereby improve the health of the patient population. Over the last decade, many studies in and outside the US have examined whether or not, in fact, these programs do result in improved care, reduced cost, and improved patient health. Our study is a systematic review of this literature. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cost of Health Care, Prostate Cancer / 10.01.2017 Interview with: Tudor Borza, MD, MS Urologic Oncology and Health Service Research Fellow Department of Urology, University of Michigan What is the background for this study? Response: Starting in the late 2000’s studies began to identify overdiagnosis and overtreatment in men with prostate cancer. Because of the indolent nature of some prostate cancers many men who ended up diagnosed and treated would have never had any consequences from their prostate cancer. This led national organizations (like the American Urological Association and the National Comprehensive Cancer Network) to call for decreased prostate cancer screening (using the serum PSA test) and eventually led to the US Preventive Services Task Force to recommend against routine PSA screening, citing that the harms from diagnosis and treatment outweighed the harms from the disease. Over the same specialists treating the disease began to report on the safety of surveillance strategies in select men with prostate cancer. Watchful waiting (delaying any treatment until men become symptomatic from their cancer and then offering palliative treatment) was found to be comparable to initial treatment in men with a limited life expectance, either from advanced age or multiple comorbidities. Similarly, active surveillance (a technique employing intense monitoring with PSA testing, digital rectal exams, repeat biopsies and possible use of MRI or other biomarkers) was introduced with the goal of delaying treatment in some men with low risk cancer until the cancer becomes more aggressive and was shown to have similar outcomes to initial treatment in carefully selected men. We wanted to study the trends in initial prostate cancer treatment in this context of recommendations for decreased screening and recognition of the feasibility of surveillance in certain patients with prostate cancer. (more…)
Author Interviews, Breast Cancer, Cancer Research, Colon Cancer, Cost of Health Care, Mammograms, Medical Imaging, Race/Ethnic Diversity, Radiology / 09.01.2017 Interview with: Dr. Gregory Cooper, MD Program Director, Gastroenterology UH Cleveland Medical Center Co-Program Leader for Cancer Prevention and Control, UH Cleveland Medical Center Professor, Medicine, CWRU School of Medicine Co-Program Leader for Cancer Prevention and Control UH Seidman Cancer Center What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: The Affordable Care Act, among other features, removed out of pocket expenses for approved preventive services, and this may have served as a barrier to cancer screening in socioeconomically disadvantaged individuals. If so, then the gap in screening between socioeconomic groups should narrow following the ACA. The main findings of the study were that although in the pre-ACA era, there were disparities in screening, they narrowed only for mammography and not colonoscopy. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cost of Health Care, NEJM / 08.01.2017 Interview with: John Z. Ayanian, MD, MPP Director of the Institute for Healthcare Policy and Innovation and Alice Hamilton Professor of Medicine University of Michigan What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Our study assessed the broad economic impact of Medicaid expansion in Michigan – one of several Republican-led states that have chosen to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act. About 600,000 low-income adults in Michigan are covered through the program, known as the Healthy Michigan Plan, which began in April 2014. Using an economic modeling tool that is also used to advise the state government for fiscal planning, we found that federal funding for the Healthy Michigan Plan is associated with over 30,000 additional jobs, about $2.3 billion in increased personal income in Michigan, and about $150 million in additional state tax revenue annually. One third of the new jobs are in health care, and 85 percent are in the private sector. The state is also saving $235 million annually that it would have spent on other safety net programs if Medicaid had not been expanded. Thus, the total economic impact of the Healthy Michigan Plan is generating more than enough funds for the state budget to cover the state’s cost of the program from 2017 through 2021. Beginning in 2017, states are required to cover 5 percent of the costs of care for Medicaid expansion enrollees, and the state share of these costs will rise to 10 percent in 2020. The remaining costs are covered by federal funding. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cost of Health Care, JAMA, Medicare, Orthopedics, University of Pennsylvania / 06.01.2017 Interview with: Amol Navathe, MD PhD University of Pennsylvania Staff Physician, CHERP, Philadelphia VA Medical Center Assistant Professor of Medicine and Health Policy, Perelman School of Medicine Senior Fellow, Leonard Davis Institute of Health Economics, The Wharton School Co-Editor-in-Chief, HealthCare: the Journal of Delivery Science and Innovation What is the background for this study? Response: Bundled payments pay a fixed price for an episode of services that starts at hospital admission (in this case for joint replacement surgery) and extends 30-90 days post discharge (30 days in this study). This includes physician fees, other provider services (e.g. physical therapy), and additional acute hospital care (hospital admissions) in that 30 day window. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cost of Health Care, Diabetes, JAMA / 05.01.2017 Interview with: Joseph Dieleman, PhD Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation University of Washington Seattle, WA 98121 What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: The objective of this study was to provide a estimate of total health care spending in the United States for an exhaustive list of health conditions, over an extended period of time – from 1996 to 2013. The study primarily focuses on personal health spending, which includes both individual out-of-pocket costs as well as spending by private and government insurance programs on care provided in inpatient and outpatient facilities, emergency departments, nursing care facilities, dentist offices, and also on pharmaceuticals. There were 155 conditions included in the analysis, and spending was also disaggregated by type of care, and age and sex of the patient. In 2013, we accounted for $2.1 trillion in personal health spending in the U.S. It was discovered that just 20 health conditions made up more than half of all dollars spent on health care in the U.S. in 2013, and spending for each condition varied by age, sex and type of care. Diabetes was the most expensive condition, totaling $101 billion in diagnoses and treatments, growing at an alarmingly rate – a 6.5% increase per year on average. Ischemic heart disease, the number one killer in the U.S., ranked the second most expensive at $88.1 billion, followed by low back and neck pain at $87.6, treatment of hypertension at $83.9 billion, and injury from falls at $76.3. Women aged 85 and older spent the most per person in 2013, at more than $31,000 per person. More than half of this spending (58%) occurred in nursing facilities, while 20% was expended on cardiovascular diseases, 10% on Alzheimer’s disease, and 7% on falls. Men ages 85 and older spent $24,000 per person in 2013, with only 37% on nursing facilities, largely because women live longer and men more often have a partner at home to provide care. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cost of Health Care, Dermatology, Melanoma / 28.12.2016 Interview with: Isabelle Hoorens, MD, PhD Department of Dermatology Ghent University Hospital Ghent, Belgium What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: In this study we questioned whether a population-based screening for skin cancer is cost-effective. In addition we compared the cost-effectiveness of two specific screening techniques. The first technique, a lesion-directed screening being a free-of-charge skin cancer check of a specific lesion meeting 1 or more of the following criteria: ABCD rule (asymmetry, border irregularity, color variation, and diameter >6 mm), “ugly duckling” sign, new lesion lasting longer than 4 weeks, or red nonhealing lesions. The second screening technique consisted of a systematic total body examination in asymptomatic patients. A clinical screening study was performed in Belgium in 2014. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cost of Health Care, JACC, UCLA / 28.12.2016 Interview with: Joseph A. Ladapo, MD, PhD David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA Department of Medicine, Division of General Internal Medicine and Health Services Research Los Angeles, California What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Four million stable patients in the US undergo testing for suspected ischemic heart disease (IHD) annually. There is substantial variation in how these patients are managed by physicians, and both clinical and economic factors have been used to explain this variation. However, it is unknown whether patients’ beliefs and preferences influence management decisions, and we aimed to answer this question. Based on interviews of 351 stable patients at Geisinger Health System newly referred for cardiac stress testing/coronary computed tomographic angiography (CTA) for suspected IHD, we found that patients with an accurate understanding of their initial test result were less likely to undergo follow-up tests/procedures if the initial test was negative and more likely to undergo follow-up tests/procedures if the initial test was positive. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cost of Health Care, Critical Care - Intensive Care - ICUs, JAMA / 27.12.2016 Interview with: Dr. Dong W. Chang, MD MS Division of Respiratory and Critical Care Physiology and Medicine Los Angeles Biomed Research Institute at Harbor-University of California Los Angeles, Medical Center Torrance California What is the background for this study? Response: The study was based on our overall impression that ICU care is often delivered to patients who are unlikely to derive long-term benefit (based on their co-morbidities/severity of illness, etc.). However, what surprised us was the magnitude of this problem. Our study found more than half the patients in ICU at a major metropolitan acute-care hospital could have been cared for in less expensive and invasive settings. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cost of Health Care, Immunotherapy, Melanoma, Pharmacology / 22.12.2016 Interview with: Herbert H F Loong MBBS(HK), PDipMDPath(HK), MRCP(UK), FHKCP, FHKAM(Medicine) Specialist in Medical Oncology Clinical Assistant Professor, Department of Clinical Oncology Deputy Medical Director, Phase 1 Clinical Trials Centre The Chinese University of Hong Kong Prince of Wales Hospital Hong Kong SAR What is the background for this study?  Response: Advanced melanoma have previously been known to be a disease with a dismal prognosis. Over the last few years, clinical trials data and real-world clinical experience of checkpoint inhibitors have significantly changed the treatment landscape for advanced melanoma patients. This was first demonstrated with the Anti-CTLA4 Ab Ipilimumab, and more recently with the Anti-PD1 Ab pembrolizumab. Whilst we have seen dramatic improvements in disease control with the use of these agents, the high costs of these drugs may be prohibitive to the average patient who has to pay out-of-pocket and potentially may place significant burdens on healthcare systems. There is a need to rationally assess the cost-effectiveness of these new agents, specifically addressing the potential benefits to the individual patient and to society, whilst balancing the costs that such a treatment may entail. The assessment of cost-effectiveness of a particular treatment is extremely important in Hong Kong, as this has direct implications on drug reimbursement and accessibility of the particular drug in question at public hospitals in Hong Kong. The aim of the study is to assess the cost-effectiveness of pembrolizumab in patients with advanced melanoma used in the first-line setting in Hong Kong, and comparing it to (1) ipilimumab and (2) cytotoxic chemotherapy. Cytotoxic chemotherapy chosen for comparison were drugs commonly used in the first line setting in Hong Kong, which included dacarbazine, temozolomide and carboplatin+paclitaxel combination. It is important to note that whilst ipilimumab is registered for this indication in Hong Kong, there is no reimbursement of this drug by the Hospital Authority in Hong Kong and patients have to pay out-of-pocket. The cost of ipilimumab and the associated side effects has been prohibitive to most advanced melanoma patients in the public setting. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cost of Health Care, Johns Hopkins, Weight Research / 16.12.2016 Interview with: Ruchi Doshi, MPH MD Candidate 2017 | Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Current guidelines recommend that physicians collaborate with non-physician health professionals to deliver weight management care. While several studies have looked at barriers physicians face in providing these services, few studies have looked at the barriers that the non-physician health professionals face. Ultimately, we found that one quarter of these health professionals found insurance coverage to be a current challenge to providing weight management care, and that over half of them felt improved coverage would help facilitate weight loss. These findings were consistent regardless of the income level of the patient populations. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cost of Health Care, Geriatrics / 16.12.2016 Interview with: Leigh Purvis, MPA AARP PPI Director of Health Services Research What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: This report is part of an ongoing series that AARP has been publishing since 2004. The report focuses on brand name prescription drugs that are widely used by older Americans and found that, on average, their retail prices increased almost 130 times faster than general inflation in 2015. The report also found that the average annual cost for one brand name medication used on a chronic basis was more than $5,800 in 2015, almost $1,000 higher than the average annual cost of therapy in 2014. (more…)
Author Interviews, Brigham & Women's - Harvard, Cost of Health Care, Primary Care / 09.12.2016 Interview with: Dr. Ateev Mehrotra MD Associate professor, Department of Health Care Policy Harvard Medical School and a hospitalist at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center Boston, Massachusetts What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: More people in the US are using price transparency websites to shop for care. Some have wondered whether using the information on these websites to choose a doctor will help them actually save money. A relatively small difference in price for visits on the website translated into hundreds of dollars. (more…)
AHRQ, Author Interviews, Cost of Health Care / 02.12.2016 Interview with: Emily Mitchell, Ph.D., Statistician Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality What is the background for this study? Response: The data for this study come from the Household Component of the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey (MEPS-HC), a nationally representative survey that is conducted annually by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ). The survey collects detailed information on health care utilization and expenditures, health insurance, and health status, as well as a wide variety of social, demographic, and economic characteristics for the U.S. civilian non-institutionalized population. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cancer Research, Cost of Health Care, JAMA, Johns Hopkins / 02.12.2016 Interview with: Dr. Amol K. Narang, MD Instructor of Radiation Oncology and Molecular Radiation Sciences Johns Hopkins Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center What is the background for this study? Response: We know that cancer care is becoming increasingly expensive in the U.S., but the financial impact on patients in the form of out-of-pocket expenses is not well understood, in part because of the lack of data sources that track this information. As such, we used the Health and Retirement study, a national panel study that closely tracks the out-of-pocket medical expenditures of older Americans, to understand the level of financial strain that Medicare patients experience after a new diagnosis of cancer. We further investigated what factors were associated with high financial strain and what type of health services were driving high costs in this population. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cost of Health Care, Kidney Disease / 21.11.2016 Interview with: Dr. Csaba P. Kovesdy Fred Hatch Professor of Medicine Director, Clinical Outcomes and Clinical Trials Program Division of Nephrology, University of Tennessee Health Science Center Nephrology Section Chief, Memphis VA Medical Center Memphis TN, 38163 What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Many ESRD patients initiate dialysis in an inpatient setting. This practice is expensive, and carries potential risks (e.g. hospital associated infections, medication errors, etc.). There is very little information about the characteristics of patients who transition to ESRD (i.e. start dialysis) in an inpatient setting, and about their outcomes. We examined a cohort of >50,000 US veterans who started dialysis during 2007-2011, and found that about half of them performed their first treatment in an inpatient setting. Compared to patients starting dialysis as outpatients, those who transitioned in an inpatient setting had a significantly higher prevalence of comorbid conditions, and were much less likely to have received pre-dialysis nephrology care, or to have a mature AV fistula or AV graft at the first hemodialysis treatment. Mortality was significantly higher in the inpatient start group, but the differences were attenuated by adjustment for comorbid conditions and vascular access. (more…)
AHRQ, Author Interviews, Cost of Health Care, OBGYNE, Surgical Research / 20.11.2016 Interview with: Kamila Mistry, PhD MPH AHRQ What is the background for this study? Response: Although the overall cesarean section (C-section) rate in the United States has declined slightly in recent years, nearly a third of all births continue to be delivered by C-section—higher than in many other industrialized countries. A number of medical as well as nonmedical factors may contribute to high C-section rates. C-section is the most common surgical procedure performed in the United States. This operation carries additional risks compared with vaginal delivery, such as infection and postoperative pain. A C-section also may make it more difficult for the mother to establish breastfeeding and may complicate subsequent pregnancies. Consensus guidelines from the American Congress of Obstetricians and Gynecologists and other national efforts to improve perinatal care have shown promise in reducing nonmedically indicated C-sections. However, recent research has found wide variation in hospital C-section rates even for low-risk deliveries. (more…)
Author Interviews, BMJ, Cost of Health Care, Nursing, Outcomes & Safety, University of Pennsylvania / 16.11.2016 Interview with: Dr Linda H Aiken PhD, FAAN, FRCN, RN Claire M. Fagin Leadership Professor in Nursing Professor of Sociology, School of Arts & Sciences Director, Center for Health Outcomes and Policy Research University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing Center for Health Outcomes and Policy Research Philadelphia, PA 19104 What is the background for this study? Response: The idea that adding lower skilled and lower wage caregivers to hospitals instead of increasing the number of professional nurses could save money without adversely affecting care outcomes is intuitively appealing to mangers and policymakers but evidence is lacking on whether this strategy is safe or saves money. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cost of Health Care, Heart Disease, JAMA, Pharmacology / 16.11.2016 Interview with: Paul J. Hauptman, MD Professor Internal Medicine, Division of Cardiology Health Management & Policy, School of Public Health What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: We decided to evaluate the cost of generic heart failure medications after an uninsured patient of ours reported that he could not fill a prescription for digoxin because of the cost for a one month's supply: $100. We called the pharmacy in question and confirmed the pricing. At that point we decided to explore this issue more closely. We called 200 retail pharmacies in the bi-state, St. Louis metropolitan area, 175 of which provided us with drug prices for three generic heart failure medications: digoxin, carvedilol and lisinopril. We found significant variability in the cash price for these medications. Combined prices for the three drugs ranged from $12-$400 for 30 day supply and $30-$1,100 for 90 day supply. The variability was completely random, not a function of pharmacy type, zip code, median annual income, region or state. In fact, pricing even varied among different retail stores of the same pharmacy chain. (more…)