Author Interviews, Cost of Health Care, JAMA, University of Michigan / 17.11.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Renuka Tipirneni, MD, MSc Assistant Professor Holder of the Grace H. Elta MD Department of Internal Medicine Early Career Endowment Award 2019-2024 University of Michigan Department of Internal Medicine, Divisions of General Medicine and Hospital Medicine, and Institute for Healthcare Policy & Innovation Ann Arbor, MI 48109Renuka Tipirneni, MD, MSc Assistant Professor Holder of the Grace H. Elta MD Department of Internal Medicine Early Career Endowment Award 2019-2024 University of Michigan Department of Internal Medicine Divisions of General Medicine and Hospital Medicine, and Institute for Healthcare Policy & Innovation Ann Arbor, MI 48109 MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response:  Navigating health insurance and health care choices is challenging and requires significant health insurance literacy (knowledge and application of health insurance concepts). We looked at the association between U.S. adults' health insurance literacy and avoidance of health care services due to perceived cost. We found that 30% of people we surveyed reported delayed or foregone care because of perceived cost, and that those with lower health insurance literacy reported significantly greater avoidance of both preventive and nonpreventive health care services.
Author Interviews, Global Health, Heart Disease, JAMA, Pediatrics, Surgical Research / 17.11.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_45975" align="alignleft" width="144"]Marcelo G. Cardarelli, MD A member of Inova Medical Group Dr. Cardarelli[/caption] Marcelo G. Cardarelli, MD Inova Children’s Hospita Fairfax, Falls Church, Virginia MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Global Humanitarian Medical efforts consume a large amount of resources (nearly $38B in 2016) and donors (Countries, International organizations, WHO, Individuals) make the decisions as to where their funds should be allocated based on cost-effectiveness studies. Most resources go to prevent/treat infectious diseases, sanitation efforts and maternal/child care issues. An insignificant amount of resources is directed to satisfy the surgical needs of the populations in low and middle income countries (LMICs). The idea behind our project was to find out if it was cost-effective to perform a tertiary surgical specialty (pediatric cardiac surgery) in this context and the answer (at $171 per DALY averted) was an overwhelming yes! But most importantly, we believe, as many others do, that judging the cost/effectiveness of an intervention in order to decide resources allocation is valid for diseases that can be prevented, but not relevant when it comes to surgical problems that are not preventable. Instead, we propose the use of another measure of effectiveness, what we call "The Humanitarian Footprint". The Humanitarian Footprint represents the long term benefits, as measured by changes in the life expectancy, extra years of schooling and potential lifetime earnings of patients treated surgically during humanitarian interventions. To our surprise and based on the results, the effects on society of at least this particular surgical intervention were greater than we expected. We suspect this measure can be used in many other surgical humanitarian interventions as well. 
Author Interviews, Cost of Health Care, Duke, Geriatrics, Hearing Loss, Hospital Readmissions, JAMA / 08.11.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_45750" align="alignleft" width="189"]Nicholas S. Reed, AuD Assistant Professor | Department of Otolaryngology-Head/Neck Surgery Core Faculty  | Cochlear Center for Hearing and Public Health Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health Nicholas Reed AuD[/caption] Nicholas S. Reed, AuD Assistant Professor | Department of Otolaryngology-Head/Neck Surgery Core Faculty | Cochlear Center for Hearing and Public Health Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine Johns Hopkins University Bloomberg School of Public Health MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: This study was a true team effort. It was funded by AARP and AARP Services, INC and the research was a collaboration of representatives from Johns Hopkins University, OptumLabs, University of California – San Francisco, and AARP Services, INC. Given all of the resent research on downstream effects of hearing loss on important health outcomes such as cognitive decline, falls, and dementia, the aim was to explore how persons with hearing loss interacted with the healthcare system in terms of cost and utilization. MedicalResearch.com: What are the main findings? Response: Over a 10 year period, untreated hearing loss (hearing aid users were excluded from this study as they are difficult to capture in the claims database) was associated with higher healthcare spending and utilization. Specifically, over 10 years, persons with untreated hearing loss spent 46.5% more, on average, on healthcare (to the tune of approximately $22000 more) than those without evidence of hearing loss. Furthermore, persons with untreated hearing loss had 44% and 17% higher risk for 30-day readmission and emergency department visit, respectively. Similar relationships were seen across other measures where persons with untreated hearing loss were more likely to be hospitalized and spent longer in the hospital compared to those without evidence of hearing loss.
Author Interviews, Health Care Systems, Ophthalmology / 07.11.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_45754" align="alignleft" width="130"]Nathan Radcliffe, MD Senior Faculty, Ophthalmology Glaucoma and Cataract surgeon Mount Sinai Health System Dr. Radcliffe[/caption] Nathan Radcliffe, MD Senior Faculty, Ophthalmology Glaucoma and Cataract surgeon Mount Sinai Health System MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Glaucoma is a leading cause of blindness and the mainstay of therapy is to lower the intraocular pressure (IOP) with topical eye drops. Up to 40% of patients may require more than one eye drop to control the disease, and yet taking more than one eye drop bottle can result in higher costs, more eye irritation, worse therapeutic compliance, and possibly worse outcomes, be sure to consult your eye surgeon before increasing any eye treatment to ensure it won't do any further damage to the eye. Compounded therapies (not FDA approved, but made at the physician’s request by a compounding pharmacy) can be created to contain multiple glaucoma therapies in one bottle. We sought to determine if a compounded solution containing three or four drops in one bottle could control glaucoma as well as three or four separate bottles (standard of care) in patients requiring three or four eye drop bottles to control glaucoma. We performed a multi-center, randomized, observer-masked, parallel-group study comparing a compounded therapy containing latanoprost 0.05%, dorzolamide hydrochloride 2%, timolol maleate 0.5%, brimonidine tartrate 0.2% with 0.01% BAK to standard three or four bottle regaimins. We measured IOP and corneal staining (a sign of preservative toxicity), as well as other safety measures at week one, month one, two and three.
Author Interviews, Cost of Health Care, Critical Care - Intensive Care - ICUs, Electronic Records, JAMA / 03.11.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_45715" align="alignleft" width="150"]Deborah D. Gordon, MBA Mossavar-Rahmani Center for Business and Government Harvard Kennedy School Cambridge, Massachusetts Deborah  Gordon[/caption] Deborah D. Gordon, MBA Mossavar-Rahmani Center for Business and Government Harvard Kennedy School Cambridge, Massachusetts MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Against the backdrop of rising health care costs, and the increasing share of those costs that consumers bear, studies show people are interested in finding health care cost information and engaging with their providers on issues of cost. We were interested in learning to what extent, if any, discussion or consideration of cost would be documented in electronic health records. Using machine learning techniques to extract data from unstructured notes, we examined 46,146 narrative clinical notes from ICU admissions. We found that approximately 4% of admissions had at least one note with financially relevant content. That financial content included documentation of cost as a barrier to adhering to treatment prior to admission, and as a consideration in treatment and discharge planning.   
Author Interviews, Cost of Health Care, Geriatrics, Osteoporosis / 08.10.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_45111" align="alignleft" width="129"]Kandice A. Kapinos, Ph.D. Economist Professor RAND Corporation Pardee RAND Graduate School  Dr. Kapinos[/caption] Kandice A. Kapinos, Ph.D. Economist Professor RAND Corporation Pardee RAND Graduate School  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?  Response: The economic burden of osteoporotic fractures is substantial with studies estimating the annual healthcare cost burden between $10 to 17 billion. Although estimates from individual studies vary, most studies assessing costs after a fracture only explore up to twelve months following a fracture. There is little investigation of how fracture patients’ costs evolve over a longer post-fracture period. As osteoporotic fractures are one of the most common causes of disability among older adults and can translate into greater medical costs, we focused on studying Medicare beneficiaries. In fact, previous research has suggested that most of the increase in Medicare spending over time can be explained from costs associated with treating higher risk Medicare beneficiaries. Our objective in this study was to compare health care costs over a 3-year period of those who experienced a fracture to those who did not among a sample of Medicare beneficiaries who were at an increased risk of having a fracture. Consistent with previous studies, we found a significant increase in expenditures in the year immediately following a fracture relative to controls: almost $14,000 higher for fractures relative to controls. However, at 2 and 3-years post-fracture, there were no significant differences in the change in expenditures between fracture cases and controls. We note that these findings may be different for beneficiaries living in skilled nursing facilities or other non-community-based settings.
Author Interviews, Cost of Health Care, JAMA, Pharmaceutical Companies / 26.09.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_44730" align="alignleft" width="200"]Thomas J Moore Senior Scientist Institute for Safe Medication Practices Lecturer, Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics The George Washington University Milken Institute of Public Health Alexandria, VA 22314 Thomas J Moore[/caption] Thomas J Moore AB Senior Scientist Institute for Safe Medication Practices Lecturer, Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics The George Washington University Milken Institute of Public Health Alexandria, VA 22314 MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?
  • The study provides realistic cost estimates of pivotal clinical trials that establish drug benefits to support FDA approval of 59 new drugs released for marketing in 2015-2016.
  • The median estimated cost was just $19 million, with half of the 138 trials studied clustered between $12 million and $33 million.
  • The highest cost trials–with estimates up to $345 million–were for new drugs that were similar to drugs already available and already proven in treating serious illnesses. 
Author Interviews, Cost of Health Care, JAMA, Surgical Research, Technology / 03.09.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: A robotically assisted surgical system: WikipediaChris Childers, M.D. Division of General Surgery David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA 10833 Le Conte Ave., CHS 72-247 Los Angeles, CA 90095 MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: The robotic surgical approach has gained significant traction in the U.S. market despite mixed opinions regarding its clinical benefit. A few recent randomized trials have suggested there may be no clinical benefit of the robotic approach for some surgical procedures over the more traditional open or laparoscopic (“minimally-invasive”) approaches. Previous studies have also suggested the robotic approach is very expensive, but until our study, there was no benchmark for the true costs (to the hospital) of using the robotic platform. Our study analyzed financial statements from the main supplier of robotic technology. We found that the use of robotic surgery has increased exponentially over the past decade from approximately 136 thousand procedures in 2008 to 877 thousand procedures in 2017. The majority of these procedures were performed in the United States. While most people think of the robotic approach in urologic and perhaps gynecologic surgery, the fastest growing segment has been general surgery, for procedures such as colorectal resections, hernia repairs and gallbladder removals. In total, over 3 billion dollars was spent by hospitals to acquire and use robotic platforms in 2017 with 2.3 billion dollars in the United States. This equates to nearly $3,600 per procedure performed.
Author Interviews, Cancer Research, Cost of Health Care, JAMA / 27.07.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_43498" align="alignleft" width="200"]Manali Patel MD MPH Assistant Professor of Medicine, Oncology Stanford Palo Alto Veterans Affairs Health Care System  Dr. Patel[/caption] Manali Patel MD MPH Assistant Professor of Medicine, Oncology Stanford Palo Alto Veterans Affairs Health Care System   MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?  Response: In prior work, many patients with advanced stages of cancer report a lack of understanding of their prognosis and receipt of care that differs from their preferences. These gaps in care delivery along with the unsustainable rise in healthcare spending at the end-of-life and professional healthcare provider shortages led our team to consider new ways to deliver cancer care for patients.  Based on input from focus groups with patients, caregivers, oncology care providers and healthcare payers, we designed a novel model of cancer care to address these gaps in care delivery.  The intervention consisted of a well-trained lay health worker to assist patients with understanding and communicating their goals of care with their oncology providers and caregivers. We found that patients who received the six-month intervention reported greater satisfaction with the care they received and their decision-making, had higher rates of hospice use, lower acute care use, and 95% lower total healthcare expenditures in the last month of life.  The intervention resulted in nearly $3 million dollars in healthcare savings.
Author Interviews, Cost of Health Care / 23.07.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Jonathan Gruber PhD Department of Economics, E52-434 MIT Cambridge, MA 02139 MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?  Response: There is a large literature trying to estimate the extent of 'defensive  medicine' by looking at what happens when it gets harder to sue and/or  you can win less money. But there have been no studies of what happens if you just get rid of the right to sue.  That's what we have with active duty patients treated on a military base. The main finding is that when patients can't sue they are treated about  5% less intensively.  Much of the effect appears to arise from fewer diagnostic tests.
Author Interviews, Cost of Health Care, Geriatrics / 07.07.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Jonathan H. Watanabe, PharmD, PhD, BCGP Associate Professor of Clinical Pharmacy National Academy of Medicine Anniversary Fellow in Pharmacy Division of Clinical Pharmacy | Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences | University of California San Diego La Jolla, CA  Jonathan H. Watanabe, PharmD, PhD, BCGP Associate Professor of Clinical Pharmacy National Academy of Medicine Anniversary Fellow in Pharmacy Division of Clinical Pharmacy | Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences | University of California San Diego La Jolla, CA MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?  Response: As a clinician in older adult care and as a health economist, I’ve been following the news and research studies on older patients unable to pay for their medications and consequently not getting the treatment they require. Our goal was to measure how spending on the medications Part D spends the most on, has been increasing over time and to figure out what prices patients are facing out-of-pocket to get these medications. In 2015 US dollars, Medicare Part D spent on the ten highest spend medications increased from $21.5 billion in 2011 to $28.4 billion in 2015.  The number of patients that received one of the ten highest spend medications dropped from 12,913,003 in 2011 to 8,818,471--- a 32% drop in that period. A trend of spending more tax dollars on fewer patients already presents societal challenges, but more troubling is that older adults are spending much more of their own money out-of-pocket on these medications.  For patients without a federal low income subsidy, the average out-of-pocket cost share for one of the ten highest spend medications increased from $375 in 2011 to $1,366 in 2015.  This represented a 264% increase and an average 66% increase per year.  For patients receiving the low income subsidy, the average out-of-pocket cost share grew from $29 in 2011 to $44 in 2015 an increase of 51% and an average increase of 12.7% per year.  This may not sound like much, but for those living close to the federal poverty level this can be the difference between foregoing necessities to afford your medications or choosing not to take your medications.  
Author Interviews, Brigham & Women's - Harvard, Cost of Health Care, Health Care Systems, JAMA / 26.06.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_42726" align="alignleft" width="140"]A Jay Holmgren Doctoral Student, Health Policy and Management Harvard Business School A Jay Holmgren[/caption] A Jay Holmgren Doctoral Student, Health Policy and Management Harvard Business School MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Post-acute care, care that is delivered following an acute care hospitalization, is one of the largest drivers of variation in US health care spending. To address this, Medicare has created several payment reform systems targeting post-acute care, including a voluntary bundled payment program known as the Model 3 of the Bundled Payment for Care Improvement (BPCI) Initiative for post-acute care providers such as skilled nursing facilities, long-term care hospitals, or inpatient rehabilitation facilities. Participants are given a target price for an episode of care which is then reconciled against actual spending; providers who spend under the target price retain some of the savings, while those who spend more must reimburse Medicare for some of the difference. Our study sought to evaluate the level of participation in this program and identify what providers were more likely to participate. We found that fewer than 4% of eligible post-acute care providers ever participated in the program, and over 40% of those who did participate dropped out. The providers more likely to remain in the program were skilled nursing facilities that were higher quality, for-profit, and were part of a multi-facility organization.
Author Interviews, Cost of Health Care, Medicare, Orthopedics / 12.06.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_42352" align="alignleft" width="200"]Amol Navathe, MD, PhD Assistant Professor, Health Policy and Medicine Perelman School of Medicine University of Pennsylvania Dr. Navathe[/caption] Amol Navathe, MD, PhD Assistant Professor, Health Policy and Medicine Perelman School of Medicine University of Pennsylvania MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Bundled payment is a key Medicare Alternative Payment Model (APM) developed by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to increase health care value by holding health care organizations accountable for spending across an episode of care. The model provides financial incentives to maintain quality and contain spending below a predefined benchmark. In 2013, CMS launched the Bundled Payments for Care Improvement (BPCI) initiative to expand bundled payment nationwide. BPCI’s bundled payment design formed the basis for CMS’s Comprehensive Care for Joint Replacement (CJR) Model beginning in 2016. While the programs are similar in design, BPCI is voluntary while CJR is mandatory for hospitals in selected markets. Moreover, CJR is narrower in scope, focusing only on lower extremity joint replacement (LEJR) and limiting participation to hospitals.
Author Interviews, Cost of Health Care, End of Life Care, Geriatrics, JAMA, Medicare / 23.05.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_41835" align="alignleft" width="125"]William B Weeks, MD, PhD, MBA The Dartmouth Institute Dr. Weeks[/caption] William B Weeks, MD, PhD, MBA The Dartmouth Institute MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: The background for the study is that a common narrative is that end-of-life healthcare costs are driving overall healthcare cost growth.  Growth in end-of-life care has been shown, in research studies through the mid 2000’s, to be attributable to increasing intensity of care at the end-of-life (i.e., more hospitalizations and more use of ICUs). The main findings of our study are that indeed there have been substantial increases in per-capita end-of-life care costs within the Medicare fee-for-service population between 2004-2009, but those per-capita costs dropped pretty substantially between 2009-2014.  Further, the drop in per-capita costs attributable to Medicare patients who died (and were, therefore, at the end-of-life) accounts for much of the mitigation in cost growth that has been found since 2009 in the overall Medicare fee-for-service population.
Author Interviews, Cost of Health Care, End of Life Care, JAMA / 01.05.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_41387" align="alignleft" width="130"]R. Sean Morrison, MD Ellen and Howard C. Katz Professor and Chair Brookdale Department of Geriatrics and Palliative Medicine Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai New York, NY 10029 Dr. Morrison[/caption] R. Sean Morrison, MD Ellen and Howard C. Katz Professor and Chair Brookdale Department of Geriatrics and Palliative Medicine Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai New York, NY 10029 MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Palliative care is team based care that is focused on improving quality of life and reducing suffering for persons with serious illness and their families.  It can be provided at any age and in concert with all other appropriate medical treatments.  Palliative care has been shown to improve patient quality of life, patient and family satisfaction, and in diseases like cancer and heart failure, improve survival.  A number of individual studies have shown that palliative care can reduce costs by providing the right care to the right people at the right time. This study pooled data from six existing studies to quantify the magnitude of savings that high quality palliative care provides.
Author Interviews, Brigham & Women's - Harvard, Cost of Health Care, Heart Disease, Medicare / 15.03.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Dr. Rishi K. Wadhera MD Clinical Fellow in Medicine Brigham and Women's Hospital  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?   Response: The Hospital Value Based Purchasing program, in which over 3,000 hospitals participate, is a Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) pay-for-performance program that links hospital fee per service reimbursement to performance, through measures like 30-day mortality rates after an acute myocardial infarction (a heart attack), and other measures such as average spending for an episode of care for Medicare beneficiaries. Hospitals that perform poorly on these measures are financially penalized by CMS.
Author Interviews, Cost of Health Care, JAMA, Surgical Research / 28.02.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_40286" align="alignleft" width="201"]Dr. Chris Childers, M.D.  Division of General Surgery David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA Los Angeles, CA 90095 Dr. Childers[/caption] Dr. Chris Childers, M.D. Division of General Surgery David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA Los Angeles, CA 90095 MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Over 20 million Americans undergo a surgical procedure each year with a price tag over $1 trillion.  The operating room (OR) is a particularly resource dense environment, yet little is known about the actual costs of running an OR.  Most previous efforts focusing on OR costs have come from single-site studies with little detail about the drivers of OR costs. Using financial statements from all California hospitals we estimated that the average cost to the hospital for one minute of OR time was between $36 and $37. Perhaps more notable was the composition of these costs.  Almost two-thirds ($20-21) was attributable to “direct costs” - those generated by the OR itself - including $14 for the wages and benefits of staff, $2.50-3.50 for surgical supplies, and $3 for “other” costs such as equipment repair and depreciation. Interestingly, the remainder ($14-16) was dedicated to “indirect costs” such as the costs associated with hospital security and parking.  While these indirect costs are necessary for a hospital to run, they are not under the purview of the operating room. Finally, we also learned that OR costs have increased quickly over the past 10 years – faster than other sectors of healthcare as well as the rest of the economy.
Author Interviews, Cost of Health Care, Critical Care - Intensive Care - ICUs, JAMA, Kidney Disease / 26.02.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_40274" align="alignleft" width="143"]Rodrigo F. Alban, MD FACS Associate Director Performance Improvement Associate Residency Program Director NSQIP Surgeon Champion Department of Surgery Cedars-Sinai Medical Center Dr. Alban[/caption] Rodrigo F. Alban, MD FACS Associate Director Performance Improvement Associate Residency Program Director NSQIP Surgeon Champion Department of Surgery Cedars-Sinai Medical Center  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Continuous Renal Replacement Therapy (CRRT) is a modality of hemodialysis commonly used to manage renal failure in critically ill patients who have significant hemodynamic compromise.  However, it is also resource-intensive and costly and its usage is highly variable and lacks standardization. Our institution organized a multidisciplinary task force to target high value care in critically ill patients requiring CRRT by standardizing its process flow, promoting cross-disciplinary discussions with patients and family members, and increasing visibility/awareness of CRRT use.  After our interventions, the mean duration of CRRT decreased by 11.3% from 7.43 to 6.59 days per patient.  We also saw a 9.8% decrease in the mean direct cost of CRRT from $11642 to $10506 per patient.  Finally, we also saw a decrease in the proportion of patients expiring on CRRT, and an increase in the proportion of patients transitioning to comfort care.
Aging, Author Interviews, BMJ, Cost of Health Care, Global Health / 11.02.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_39962" align="alignleft" width="147"]Dr Grace Sum Chi-En National University of Singapore Dr Grace Sum    Chi-En[/caption] Dr Grace Sum Chi-En National University of Singapore MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Chronic diseases are conditions that are not infectious and are usually long-term, such as diabetes, hypertension, cancer, chronic lung disease, asthma, arthritis, stroke, obesity, and depression. They are also known as non-communicable diseases (NCDs). Multimorbidity, is a term we use in our field, to mean the presence of two or more NCDs. Multimorbidity is a costly and complex challenge for health systems globally. With the ageing population, more people in the world will suffer from multiple chronic diseases. Patients with multimorbidity tend to need many medicines, and this incurs high levels of out-of-pocket expenditures, simply known as cost not covered by insurance. Even the United Nations and World Health organisation are recognising NCDs as being an important issue. Governments will meet in New York for the United Nations 3rd high-level meeting on chronic diseases in 2018. Global leaders need to work towards reducing the burden of having multiple chronic conditions and providing financial protection to those suffering multimorbidity. Our research aimed to conduct a high-quality systematic review on multimorbidity and out-of-pocket expenditure on medicines. 
Author Interviews, Brigham & Women's - Harvard, Cost of Health Care, Outcomes & Safety / 04.01.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_39170" align="alignleft" width="161"]Dr. Igna Bonfrer PhD Post-Doctoral Research Fellow Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health  Dr. Bonfrer[/caption] Dr. Igna Bonfrer PhD Post-Doctoral Research Fellow Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health   MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: One of the two main elements of the Affordable Care Act, generally known as Obama Care, is the implementation of value based payments through so called “pay-for-performance” initiatives. The aim of pay-for-performance (P4P) is to reward health care providers for high-quality care and to penalize them for low-quality care. We studied the effects of the P4P program in US hospitals and found that the impact of the program as currently implemented has been limited.
Author Interviews, Cost of Health Care, JAMA / 12.12.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_38788" align="alignleft" width="148"]Renuka Tipirneni, MD, MSc Clinical Lecturer in Internal Medicine University of Michigan Department of Internal Medicine, Division of General Medicine, and Institute for Healthcare Policy & Innovation Ann Arbor, MI Dr. Tipirneni[/caption] Renuka Tipirneni, MD, MSc Clinical Lecturer in Internal Medicine University of Michigan Department of Internal Medicine, Division of General Medicine, and Institute for Healthcare Policy & Innovation Ann Arbor, MI MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Several states have submitted proposals to require Medicaid expansion enrollees to work, actively seek work or volunteer, or risk losing Medicaid coverage. The current federal administration has signaled a willingness to approve the waivers states need to enact such requirements. In our survey of over 4000 Medicaid expansion enrollees in Michigan, we found that nearly half of enrollees have jobs, another 11 percent can’t work, likely due to serious physical or mental health conditions, and another 27% are out of work but also are much more likely to be in poor health.
Author Interviews, Cost of Health Care, Social Issues / 06.12.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: “Homeless” by Sonny Abesamis is licensed under CC BY 2.0Sarah Hunter, PhD Senior Behavioral Scientist, RAND Corporation Professor, Pardee RAND Graduate School Santa Monica, CA 90401-3028 MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: In 2014, RAND was contracted by Brilliant Corners in collaboration with the Conrad N. Hilton Foundation and Los Angeles County Department of Health Services to conduct an evaluation of the Los Angeles County Department of Health Services’ Housing for Health (HFH) program.  The HFH program began in 2012 with the goal of providing permanent supportive housing for frequent utilizers of county health services who were experiencing homelessness. 
Author Interviews, Cost of Health Care, Health Care Systems, JAMA / 05.12.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: “Health Insurance” by Pictures of Money is licensed under CC BY 2.0Allison Kratka MD Candidate 2018 Duke University School of Medicine MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: As there are increasing numbers of high-deductible plans and those with high rates of co-insurance, patients are increasingly expected to help contain the cost of their health care by being savvy health care consumers. We set out to determine how easy or hard it is to find healthcare prices online.
Author Interviews, Cost of Health Care, Emergency Care, Heart Disease, JAMA / 16.11.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_38324" align="alignleft" width="133"]David L. Brown, MD, FACC Professor of Medicine Cardiovascular Division Washington University School of Medicine St. Louis, MO 63110 Dr. Brown[/caption] David L. Brown, MD, FACC Professor of Medicine Cardiovascular Division Washington University School of Medicine St. Louis, MO 63110 MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Approximately 10 million patients present to emergency rooms in the US annually for evaluation of acute chest pain. The goal of that evaluation is to rule out the diagnosis of an acute heart attack. Imaging with coronary CT angiography and stress testing are not part of the diagnostic algorithm for acute heart attack.  Nevertheless many chest pain patients undergo some form of noninvasive cardiac testing in the ER. We found that CCTA or stress testing adding nothing to the care of chest pain patients beyond what is achieved by a history, physical examination, ECG and troponin test.
Author Interviews, Cost of Health Care, HIV, Lancet / 13.11.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_38292" align="alignleft" width="97"]Dr Valentina Cambiano PhD Institute for Global Health University College London London UK Dr. Cambiano[/caption] Dr Valentina Cambiano PhD Institute for Global Health University College London London UK MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Pre-Exposure Prophylaxis (PrEP) which involves the use of drugs, which are used to treat HIV, in people without HIV to prevent them from getting is a critical new advance in HIV prevention. It has been shown to reduce the risk of HIV infection by 86% and the benefits heavily out-weigh any concerns. However, introducing this intervention has a cost. When we started working on this study the National Health Services was discussing whether to introduce PrEP and if so for which populations. Unfortunately, at the moment NHS England is not providing Pre-exposure prophylaxis. However, a large study, the PrEP impact trial, funded by the NHS, has just started and this will provide PrEP to 10,000 people.
Author Interviews, Cost of Health Care, Medicare / 19.10.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Susan G. Haber, Sc.D. Director, Health Coverage for Low-Income and Uninsured Populations RTI International Waltham, MA MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: In 2014, the state of Maryland and the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) began testing an alternative payment structure for inpatient and outpatient hospital services. Known as the All-Payer Model, the new system limits hospitals’ revenues from Medicare, Medicaid, and private insurers to a global budget for the year. This builds on Maryland’s hospital rate-setting system that had operated since the 1970s, where all payers pay the same rates. CMS wanted to test whether global budgets could help Maryland limit cost growth and reduce avoidable hospital use. The goal of the model is to limit per capita total hospital cost growth for both Medicare and all payers and to generate $330 million in Medicare savings over 5 years. RTI researchers studied the impact of hospital global budgets on Medicare beneficiary expenditures and utilization, using Medicare claims data to compare changes in Maryland before and after adoption of global budgets with changes in matched comparison areas outside of the state. Our report found Maryland has reduced total Medicare expenditures by approximately $293 million and total hospital expenditures by about $200 million in its first two years of operation. The reduction in overall expenditures indicates that “squeezing the balloon” on hospital expenditures did not simply produce a cost-shift to other health care sectors. Hospital expenditure savings for Medicare were achieved by reducing expenditures for outpatient emergency department and other hospital outpatient department services. Although inpatient admissions declined, there were no savings in Medicare expenditures for inpatient hospital services because the payment per admission increased. Maryland hospitals reduced avoidable utilization, including admissions for ambulatory care sensitive conditions, and readmissions and emergency department visits following hospital discharge. Despite the success in reducing expenditures, interviews with senior leaders at Maryland hospitals and focus group discussions with physicians and nurses suggest that many hospitals had not yet made fundamental changes in how they operate or developed partnerships with community physicians to divert care from the hospital, although there was variation in how hospitals responded.
Author Interviews, Cost of Health Care / 09.10.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_37423" align="alignleft" width="125"]John N. Mafi MPH Assistant Professor of Medicine David Geffen School of Medicine University of California, Los Angeles Natural scientist in Health Policy RAND Corporation Santa Monica, California Dr. Mafi[/caption] John N. Mafi MD MPH Assistant Professor of Medicine David Geffen School of Medicine University of California, Los Angeles Natural scientist in Health Policy RAND Corporation Santa Monica, California MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: Of the 3 trillion dollars the U.S. spends annually on health care, an estimated 10-30% consists of “low-value care”, or patient care that provides no net benefit in specific clinical scenarios (think antibiotics given for the common cold virus). Determining where and why this waste occurs is critical to efforts to safely reducing healthcare spending. Little is known, however, about the distribution of costs among such “low-value” services. In this context, we used the Virginia All Payer Claims Database in order to assess the quantity and total costs of 44 low-value services in 2014 among 5.5 million beneficiaries.
Author Interviews, CMAJ, Cost of Health Care, Health Care Systems, Hospital Readmissions / 02.10.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_37278" align="alignleft" width="125"]Dr. Lauren Lapointe-Shaw, MD Physician at University Health Network Department of Medicine University of Toronto  Dr. Lapointe-Shaw[/caption] Dr. Lauren Lapointe-Shaw, MD Physician at University Health Network Department of Medicine University of Toronto  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: Readmissions after hospital discharge are common and costly. We would like to reduce these as much as possible. Early physician follow-up post hospital discharge is one possible strategy to reduce readmissions. To this end, incentives to outpatient physicians for early follow-up have been introduced in the U.S. and Canada. We studied the effect of such an incentive, introduced to Ontario, Canada, in 2006.
Author Interviews, Brigham & Women's - Harvard, Cost of Health Care, JAMA, Nutrition / 27.09.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: [caption id="attachment_37208" align="alignleft" width="125"]Seth A. Berkowitz, MD, MPH Division of General Internal Medicine Diabetes Population Health Unit Harvard Medical School Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston Dr. Berkowitz[/caption] Seth A. Berkowitz, MD, MPH Division of General Internal Medicine Diabetes Population Health Unit Harvard Medical School Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: There is ever growing pressure to contain healthcare costs in the US. Increasingly, attention is turning to programs that address social determinants of health--that is, those factors which affect health but lie outside the realm of clinical medicine. Prior research has highlighted food insecurity as having a clear association with poor health and higher healthcare costs. SNAP is the nation's largest program to combat food insecurity. However, we did not know whether SNAP participation would be associated with any difference in healthcare costs, compared with eligible non-participants. This study found that participating in SNAP was associated with approximately $1400 lower healthcare expenditures per year in low-income adults.
Author Interviews, Cost of Health Care, Medicare / 12.09.2017

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: RTISusan G. Haber, Sc.D.  Director, Health Coverage for Low-Income and Uninsured Populations RTI International Waltham, MA 02452-8413 MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: In 2014, the state of Maryland and the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) began testing an alternative payment structure for inpatient and outpatient hospital services. Known as the All-Payer Model, the new system limits hospitals’ revenues from Medicare, Medicaid, and private insurers to a global budget for the year. This builds on Maryland’s hospital rate-setting system that had operated since the 1970s, where all payers pay the same rates. CMS wanted to test whether global budgets could help Maryland limit cost growth and reduce avoidable hospital use. The goal of the model is to limit per capita total hospital cost growth for both Medicare and all payers and to generate $330 million in Medicare savings over 5 years.