Author Interviews, Cost of Health Care, General Medicine, Hospital Readmissions, JAMA, Race/Ethnic Diversity / 02.04.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_48340" align="alignleft" width="142"]Teryl K. Nuckols, MDVice Chair, Clinical ResearchDirector, Division of General Internal MedicineCedars-Sinai Medical Center  Dr. Nuckols[/caption] Teryl K. Nuckols, MD Vice Chair, Clinical Research Director, Division of General Internal Medicine Cedars-Sinai Medical Center  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?   Response: Healthcare policymakers have long worried that value-based payment programs unfairly penalize hospitals treating many African-American patients, which could worsen health outcomes for this group. For example, policy experts have suspected that the Medicare Hospital Readmission Reduction Program unevenly punishes institutions caring for more vulnerable populations, including racial minorities. They've also feared that hospitals might be incentivized to not give patients the care they need to avoid readmissions. The study Investigators wanted to determine whether death rates following discharges increased among African-American and white patients 65 years and older after the Medicare Hospital Readmission Reduction Program started.
Author Interviews, Orthopedics, Pharmacology, Rheumatology / 28.02.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_47695" align="alignleft" width="143"]Dr. Andrew Spitzer MDCo-director Joint Replacement ProgramCedars-Sinai Orthopedic CenterLos Angeles, CA Dr. Spitzer[/caption] Dr. Andrew Spitzer MD Co-director Joint Replacement Program Cedars-Sinai Orthopedic Center Los Angeles, CA MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? How does this product differ from other steroid injections for inflammatory arthritis? Dr. Spitzer: Many patients receive repeat injections of intra-articular corticosteroids to manage recurrent osteoarthritis pain and other symptoms. However, in most clinical trials to date, patients only received a single corticosteroid injection, and patients were only followed for 12 to 24 weeks after treatment. For trials that have evaluated repeated injections of corticosteroids over a longer period of time—2 years, for example—injections were administered every 3 months, regardless of the timing of the return of OA symptoms. This is not reflective of what is done in clinical practice, where corticosteroids are administered again in response to the return of pain or a flare of inflammation in the knee. In this study, we used a flexible dosing schedule based on the patients’ symptoms, meaning that patients received the second injection of a recently approved extended-release corticosteroid only when their pain and/or symptoms returned, not before. Safety was monitored for 52 weeks—this length of time should be sufficient to identify any associated side effects, including any potential impact on the knee tissue. Triamcinolone acetonide extended-release (TA-ER; Zilretta®) was approved in late 2017 as an intra-articular injection for the management of osteoarthritis pain of the knee. The formulation utilizes microspheres which enable a slow release of the active agent (triamcinolone acetonide) into the synovial fluid for 12 weeks following injection. Previously, a Phase 3 study demonstrated safety and efficacy of a single injection of TA-ER (Conaghan PG, et al. J Bone Joint Surg Am. 2018;100:666-77). This is the first study evaluating the safety and patient response to repeat administration of TA-ER. This study also included patients that were more typical of who we see in the clinic—those who have higher body mass index, more severe disease, and received prior treatments for their osteoarthritis pain.
Author Interviews, Heart Disease, JACC, Outcomes & Safety / 17.11.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_46093" align="alignleft" width="142"]Teryl K. Nuckols, MD Vice Chair, Clinical Research Director, Division of General Internal Medicine Cedars Sinai Los Angeles, California Dr. Nuckols[/caption] Teryl K. Nuckols, MD Vice Chair, Clinical Research Director, Division of General Internal Medicine Cedars Sinai Los Angeles, California MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: The Medicare Hospital Readmissions Reduction Program (HRRP) penalizes hospitals with increased 30-day readmission rates among seniors admitted with heart failure (HF).  Heart failure readmission rates declined markedly following the implementation of this policy. Two facts have raised concerns about whether the HRRP might have also inadvertently increased 30-day heart failure mortality rates. First, before the policy was implemented, hospitals with higher heart failure readmission rates had lower 30-day HF mortality rates, suggesting that readmissions are often necessary and beneficial in this population. Second, 30-day HF mortality rose nationally after the HRRP was implemented, and the timing of the increase has suggested a possible link to the policy. Are hospitals turning patients away, putting them at risk of death, or is the increase in heart failure mortality just a coincidence? To answer this question, we compared trends in 30-day HF mortality rates between penalized hospitals and non-penalized hospitals because 30-day HF readmissions declined much more at hospitals subject to penalties under this policy.