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Healthcare Economics

 - U.S. Congress

With the “doc fix” behind them, cardiology's advocates are ready to move onto other important issues. “Now we can really start talking about how we implement rewarding quality of care and switching from volume to quality,” said Peter Duffy, MD.

 - Insurance Premium Hikes

During the first quarter of 2015, the uninsured rate for adults in the U.S. was the lowest since Gallup and Healthways began tracking the data in 2008.

 - Thumbs up

The Senate passed legislation to permanently repeal the sustainable growth rate (SGR) formula just hours before a 21.1 percent cut in the Medicare physician fees was scheduled to occur. The move was cheered by leading cardiology societies, which for many years had advocated for change.

 - health_costs

Having atrial fibrillation increases the cost of stroke hospitalization in younger adults by $4,905, with patients between 18 and 54 years old incurring the highest cost, according to a study published online April 7 in Stroke.

 - Medicare_Provider

Medicare Advantage payments to health plans will increase an estimated 1.25 percent next year, according to a Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) rate announcement and call letter published on April 6.


More Stories

TAVR market may top $3B by 2020

The market for transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) devices is expected to burgeon through 2020, far outpacing surgical valves, one market report projected.

ACC.15: Turning TAVR’s growth into hospital profits

Transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) programs are picking up steam in the U.S. And they can be fiscal as well as clinical successes, but it requires physicians and administrators working together to maximize efficiencies.

Bipartisan coalition introduces SGR repeal bill

Senate and House leaders officially introduced legislation aimed at permanently repealing and replacing the Medicare Sustainable Growth Rate (SGR) formula.

Heart, imaging groups join 700 societies in SGR plea

The letter is short and the list is long. Almost all of the major cardiovascular and imaging societies banded together with approximately 700 medical associations to implore Congress to repeal the sustainable growth rate (SGR) formula.

During device surgery, warfarin wins over heparin for cost-effectiveness

Continuing with warfarin may be significantly more cost-effective than switching to heparin during pacemaker or defibrillator surgery.

Pay change favors outpatient atherectomies, but not Medicare

A change in federal reimbursement for peripheral vascular interventions shifted the proportion of treatments away from inpatient to generally less expensive outpatient settings. But it may not have saved Medicare money, according to a study.

Hospitals take selective approach with CMS bundled payments

Hospitals participating in phase two of a Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) bundled payment model apparently focus only on those conditions that they treat most frequently. According to research published in the March issue of Health Affairs, this means that institutions are enrolled, at most, in two or three conditions out of the possible 48.

Merge buys DR Systems for $70M

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

Laggards no more: Productivity analysis puts hospitals on plus side

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.

New year, new chance to improve ‘pay for value’ approach

The Engelberg Center for Health Care Reform at Brookings has some suggestions if Congress again proposes a “pay for value” approach to Medicare payment.

ISC.15: Insertable monitor cost-effective in cryptogenic stroke patients

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.

Ticagrelor found cost-effective despite U.S. risk profile

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.  

Medicare raises bar for covering medical technologies

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.

Penny-pinching and pills: 10 key statistics

About one-fifth of the cost for retail prescriptions comes from patients’ pockets. To offset the expense, some patients cut corners.

Treating uncontrolled hypertension makes dollars and sense

Implementing 2014 hypertension guidelines could save lives and money. A cost analysis study found that full implementation of hypertension guidelines could save 13,000 people from cardiovascular-related deaths and prevent 56,000 cardiovascular events annually.

Offering early treatment via weekend cath lab hours lowers costs

It may sound counterintuitive, but healthcare costs could be reduced by including weekend hours in the cardiac catheterization lab, according to a study published in the March issue of the Canadian Journal of Cardiology.

Tool reveals wide gap in costs for PCI, imaging

BlueCross BlueShield of North Carolina unveiled a database that allows consumers to compare treatment costs at hospitals. The tool shows wide variation in payments for cardiac procedures and imaging.

Infections after heart surgery can raise costs by $38,000

Major healthcare-associated infections up to two months after cardiac surgery may tag an additional $38,000 to the cost of the index hospitalization, a finding that researchers propose may spur hospitals to invest in preventive measures.

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.