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Healthcare Economics

 - merger, acquisition, money, handshake

Merge Healthcare has announced that it has acquired DR Systems, the San Diego-based PACS vendor, in a deal worth $70 million.

 - Financial_analysis

Hospitals may have a reputation for being less than efficient, but an analysis of Medicare patients treated for MI, heart failure and pneumonia challenges that notion. Productivity in hospitals actually has grown in recent years, researchers report in Health Affairs.

 - healthcare costs

Using an insertable cardiac monitor to identify atrial fibrillation in patients with cryptogenic stroke is cost-effective, at least from a UK healthcare system’s perspective. The results are likely to catch the eye of the FDA, too, the lead researcher told Cardiovascular Business.

 - health_costs

A second look at data from a study comparing ticagrelor to clopidogrel in patients with acute coronary syndrome explored the comparative cost-effectiveness of the two treatments. Ticagrelor scored on value but editorial writers raised concerns.  

 - healthcare cost

If it seems like it has become harder to get devices such as valves, stents, diagnostic imaging technologies and drugs covered under Medicare’s national coverage determination process—well, it has. So concludes an analysis published in the February issue of Health Affairs.


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Saving here & there: How health costs get tamed

Healthcare spending increased 3.6 percent in 2013, down from 2012’s 4.1 percent growth rate. Here’s a look at what contributed to the slowdown.

CABG continues to be more costly than PCI but with better outcomes

A U.S. study supports earlier findings that suggest that although CABG is more costly than PCI, patients can expect to live longer with the procedure. This was published in the Jan. 6 issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

Hospital Compare slows rise in CABG, PCI prices

Quality reporting in Hospital Compare put a brake on rising prices for CABG and PCI in states that previously had no reporting systems of their own, a study published in the January issue of Health Affairs found.

Interventional market estimated at $22B by ‘16

The global market for devices and technologies for the interventional cardiology community will top $22 billion by 2016, according to one industry analysis.

Private ACO contracts: More downside risk & upfront payments

Half of  accountable care organization (ACO) providers hold contracts with private insurers, according to a study published in the December edition of the American Journal of Managed Care. The analysis is one of the first to shed light on the nature of ACO contracts with commercial payers.

Fee-for-service reimbursement cuts may put damper on stroke gains

Taiwan's reimbursement cuts may have slowed progress in reducing 30-day mortality rates for ischemic stroke, according to a study published online Dec. 9 in Circulation: Cardiovascular Quality and Outcomes.

Extubating heart surgery patients in OR safe with lower costs

Extubating low- and moderate-risk patients in the operating room (OR) after cardiac surgeries can lower costs and shorten lengths of stay at no added risk, according to a study published in the December issue of the Journal of Thoracic and Cardiovascular Surgery.

For physicians, training area impacts early spending in practice

Physician spending habits can be learned, but they also can change, a study found. In the first years of practice, residency spending patterns had the greatest impact on expenditures per patient, according to a study published in the Dec. 10 issue of JAMA.

Cost analysis may support ICU transfers for intracranial bleeding

When it comes to long-term cost in transferring patients to specialized neurological intensive care units following an intracerebral hemorrhage, patient outcomes play a significant role.

Medicare maintains Kcentra’s add-on pay status

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) will continue to pay an additional amount for a reversal agent to warfarin for in-hospital treatments through Sept. 15, 2015.

Exercise beats stenting, medical care for PAD costs

Proponents of supervised exercise as a treatment for peripheral artery disease (PAD) can flex their muscles a bit more with policy makers and payers after a cost-effectiveness analysis showed the approach to be a good value.

Payment rate on S-ICD set for increase

The Medicare outpatient payment rate for implanting certain implantable defibrillator devices will increase by 23 percent on Jan. 1, 2015, thanks to a change in its designation.

PCI-capable hospitals accrue 'modestly' higher costs

Thirty-day costs for acute MI patients on Medicare were $627 higher for admissions to PCI vs. non-PCI-capable hospitals in a recent study. This higher price tag, while relatively modest, still needs to be justified, the researchers wrote.   

Putting the SGR behind you

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services released the physician fee schedule, and with it a reminder of unfinished business: the Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) formula.

An extra hospital day lowers readmissions, costs

It sounds counterintuitive, but hospitals may save money by waiting a day before discharging heart failure patients. One more day in the hospital also reduces death from MI and pneumonia, according to a report published by the National Bureau of Economic Research.

In-hospital cardiac arrest survival carries high readmission rates, price

Patients who survive in-hospital cardiac arrests are not completely out of the woods, and mortality, readmission rates and inpatient costs prove it. Researchers found that 30-day and one-year readmission rates were exceptionally high among in-hospital cardiac arrest survivors, as were inpatient costs.

CMS final fee schedule offers only crumbs for cardiology

Cardiovascular specialists will find little joy in final regulations released by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). Changes for 2015 leave payments generally flat—at least until April 1, when the Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) formula patch is scheduled to expire.

Dalteparin outweighs unfractionated heparin in cost savings

Heparin choice can impact costs, according to a study published online Nov. 1 in JAMA. The economic analysis found median hospital costs were $1,297 less per patient with low-molecular-weight heparin (LMWH) dalteparin as opposed to unfractionated heparin.

5 disruptive forces to buffet cardiovascular device makers

Cardiovascular device makers may need to brace and embrace to stay afloat, according one market projection. Analysts predicted a 6 percent decline in margins for medical device companies by 2020, which could be offset by $34 billion in profits and cost reductions.

CCTA races past treadmill ECG for cost, performance

Coronary CT angiography (CCTA) saves time and money compared with exercise treadmill tests for assessing low- to intermediate-risk patients who present with chest pain. In a randomized trial, CCTA also performed better diagnostically.