Obama’s claim the Affordable Care Act was a ‘major reason’ in preventing 50,000 patient deaths – The Washington Post

April 2, 2015

as our colleagues at PolitiFact noted, in-patient deaths were already declining before the Affordable Care Act was implemented. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found a 60,000 decline in patient deaths in the decade before 2010. This is not quite the same statistic, but it indicates that before the ACA was passed into law, progress was already being made in reducing deaths from conditions acquired in hospitals.

But officials say there is also little question that the half-billion dollars in ACA funding sparked significantly greater cooperation among thousands of hospitals. On pressure ulcers and adverse drug reactions, “we already had practices that we knew had worked,” another official said, but the Partnership for Patients took it to the next level by involving thousands of hospitals in a concerted effort to promote those practices. The law also created the CMS Innovation Center, which tests new ideas at participating hospitals for delivering better service without increasing costs.

via Obama’s claim the Affordable Care Act was a ‘major reason’ in preventing 50,000 patient deaths – The Washington Post.


Surge in Newly Identified Diabetes Among Medicaid Patients in 2014 Within Medicaid Expansion States Under the Affordable Care Act

March 24, 2015

The number of Medicaid-enrolled patients with newly identified diabetes increased by 23% (14,625 vs. 18,020 patients) in the 26 states (and District of Columbia) that expanded Medicaid compared with an increase of 0.4% (11,612 vs. 11,653 patients) in the 24 states that did not expand Medicaid during this period. Similar differences were observed in younger and older adults and for both men and women.

CONCLUSIONS This study suggests that in the states that expanded Medicaid under the ACA, an increased number of Medicaid patients with diabetes are being diagnosed and treated earlier. This could be anticipated to lead to better long-term outcomes.

via Surge in Newly Identified Diabetes Among Medicaid Patients in 2014 Within Medicaid Expansion States Under the Affordable Care Act.


Health Care Systems Try to Cut Costs by Aiding the Poor and Troubled – NYTimes.com

March 23, 2015

A patchwork of experiments across the country are trying to better manage these cases. The Center for Health Care Strategies, a policy center in New Jersey, has documented such efforts in 26 states. Some are run by private insurers and health care providers, while others are part of broader state overhaul efforts. The federal government is supporting some, too, through its $10 billion Innovation Center, set up under the Affordable Care Act.

via Health Care Systems Try to Cut Costs by Aiding the Poor and Troubled – NYTimes.com.


Debate Heightens Over Measuring Health-Care Quality – WSJ

January 31, 2015

“Measurement fatigue is a real problem in hospitals,” said Scott Wallace, a visiting professor at Dartmouth’s Geisel School of Medicine. “But, to me, the only metric that matters is, did you get better?”

As of last year, 33 federal programs asked providers to submit data on 1,675 quality measures, according to a government count. State, local and private health plans use hundreds more.

This year, many of the federal pay-for-performance programs carry financial penalties. Hospitals and doctors stand to lose millions in Medicare payments for missing filing deadlines or improvement benchmarks in programs that track hospital-acquired infections, readmissions and electronic-record use.

In all, about 80% of traditional Medicare spending is already tied to such pay-for-performance programs. HHS Secretary Sylvia Burwell said Monday the agency wants that to increase to 90% by 2018. She also set a goal of having 50% of Medicare spending in alternative payment models, in which providers are accountable for quality and the cost of care for groups of patients.

via Debate Heightens Over Measuring Health-Care Quality – WSJ.


Medicare Advantage improves patient outcomes | TheHill

January 15, 2015

Surprisingly, despite the Medicare Advantage program’s widespread popularity and measurable success for both patients and taxpayers, Congress has repeatedly gone after this vital program with cuts that threaten its integrity and long term sustainability. Ultimately, bolstering Medicare Advantage in order to support innovative care coordination, quality patient outcomes and lower healthcare costs is a vital step for patients everywhere.

via Medicare Advantage improves patient outcomes | TheHill.


Health Insurers Map Patient Database | Industries News Press

August 5, 2014

Health-information exchanges — not to be confused with health-insurance exchanges for purchasing coverage — are networks that allow patients’ records to be shared digitally among the providers caring for them. Through an HIE, emergency physicians could quickly access the medical history of a comatose accident victim, for example, or a specialist could review past test results and avoid ordering duplicates.

In 2009, the federal government allocated nearly $550 million in fiscal-stimulus funds to spur the development of HIEs in every state. More than 300 are in operation, including some run by state governments, some formed by hospital systems that share data only among their own affiliates and some public-private hybrids.

But dozens of HIEs have closed or consolidated amid funding and logistical woes, and experts say many more could struggle when federal funding ends this year. Previous efforts to create a statewide health-data network for California have foundered, though the state has some regional and local exchanges.

via Health Insurers Map Patient Database | Industries News Press.


Public Health Insurance Expansions and Hospital Technology Adoption

July 2, 2014

This paper explores the effects of public health insurance expansions on hospitals’ decisions to adopt medical technology. Specifically, we test whether the expansion of Medicaid eligibility for pregnant women during the 1980s and 1990s affects hospitals’ decisions to adopt neonatal intensive care units NICUs. While the Medicaid expansion provided new insurance to a substantial number of pregnant women, prior literature also finds that some newly insured women would otherwise have been covered by more generously reimbursed private sources. This leads to a theoretically ambiguous net effect of Medicaid expansion on a hospital’s incentive to invest in technology. Using American Hospital Association data, we find that on average, Medicaid expansion has no statistically significant effect on NICU adoption. However, we find that in geographic areas where more of the newly Medicaid-insured may have come from the privately insured population, Medicaid expansion slows NICU adoption. This holds true particularly when Medicaid payment rates are very low relative to private payment rates. This finding is consistent with prior evidence on reduced NICU adoption from increased managed-care penetration. We conclude by providing suggestive evidence on the health impacts of this deceleration of NICU diffusion, and by discussing the policy implications of our work for insurance expansions associated with the Affordable Care Act.

via Public Health Insurance Expansions and Hospital Technology Adoption.


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