Alcohol, Author Interviews, Gender Differences, JAMA / 30.09.2020

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Michael S. Pollard, Ph.D. Professor, Pardee RAND Graduate School Senior Sociologist RAND Corporation Santa Monica, CA 90407-2138 MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? What are the main findings? Response: There are ample anecdotal jokes and stories about increased alcohol use during COVID-19 and stay-at-home orders. Our study provides robust longitudinal evidence that people drank more frequently, and for women in particular, more heavily, and with more negative consequences, during the initial stages of COVID-19 compared to their own behaviors from a year earlier (May/June 2020 compared to May/June 2019). Women’s alcohol consumption was most significantly changed, with a 17% increase in number of days drinking, and a 41% increase in days of binge drinking (when they had four or more drinks in a couple of hours). This means that, nationally, one in five women drank heavily one more day a month than the same time in 2019, on average. Women also reported a 39% increase in alcohol-related problems, such as “I took foolish risks” or “I failed to do what was expected of me” because of drinking alcohol. (more…)
Addiction, Alcohol, Author Interviews, Cannabis, Cocaine, Methamphetamine, Opiods / 21.08.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Greg Midgette, PhD Assistant Professor Department of Criminology and Criminal Justice University of Maryland MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study? Response: This report estimates marijuana, cocaine, heroin, and methamphetamine use in the U.S. between 2006 and 2016 on three dimensions: the number of past-month chronic users per year, where "chronic" has previously been defined as consuming the drug at least four days in the past month, expenditure per drug among those users, and consumption of each drug. These measures are meant to aid the public and policy makers' understanding of changes in drug use, outcomes, and policies.   (more…)
Author Interviews, Cost of Health Care / 12.08.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Erin L. Duffy, PhD, MPH Adjunct Policy Researcher RAND  MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?   Response: A patient treated at a hospital in his or her insurer’s network may be involuntarily treated by out-of-network (OON) physicians. In these cases, the OON physician can seek to collect full billed charges from the patient’s insurer and, if the insurer does not pay the full amount, the physician can bill the patient for the remaining balance. These unexpected bills from out-of-network physicians are known as “surprise medical bills” and most result from anesthesiology, radiology, and pathology services. California implemented a comprehensive policy (AB-72) addressing surprise medical billing for out-of-network nonemergency physician services at in-network hospitals in 2017 for patients in fully-insured health plans. AB-72 limits patients’ cost sharing to in-network levels, unless patients provide written consent to billing 24 hours in advance of services. Insurers and health plans pay out-of-network physicians at in-network hospitals the greater of the payer’s local average contracted rate or 125% of Medicare’s fee-for-service reimbursement rate.  (more…)
Addiction, Author Interviews, Cannabis, Pediatrics, Smoking, Tobacco, Tobacco Research / 30.04.2019

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: Joan S. Tucker, Ph.D. Senior Behavioral Scientist RAND Corporation Santa Monica, CA MedicalResearch.com: What is the background for this study?   Response: In light of young adults’ expanding access to cannabis through legalization for recreational use, there has been growing interest in the co-use of cannabis with tobacco/nicotine products.  Although existing data show that young adults who use cannabis products also tend to use tobacco/nicotine products, little is known about how these products are typically used together. Existing research on co-use has mostly focused on combustible products, not accounting for the recent proliferation in cannabis and tobacco/nicotine product types and methods of use (e.g., vaping). Further, not much is known about whether there are important differences between types of co-use (e.g., using both products on the same occasion, one right after another, but not mixing them vs. using both products by mixing them in the same delivery device) in terms of heaviness of use, consequences from use, or associations with young adult functioning. This study was designed as an important first step toward understanding cannabis and tobacco/nicotine co-use behavior among young adults and addressing these gaps in the research literature. (more…)
Author Interviews, Cost of Health Care, Geriatrics, Osteoporosis / 08.10.2018

MedicalResearch.com Interview with: 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. (more…)