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Healthcare Economics

 - hospital_cost

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.

 - health_costs

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.

 - Savings

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.

 - healthcare cost

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.

 - health_costs

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.


More Stories

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.

10-year stroke costs higher than estimates project

It may be time to readjust lifetime financial costs for stroke patients. According to a 10-year follow-up in an Australian study, the annual price tag for treatment following stroke was higher than they’d previously estimated at year five.

The consequences of policy changes

You can call any change in public policy a natural experiment. This week we had a glimpse of some results.

Starting pay for cardiology subspecialists: $189K-$360K

Not bad for starters. Depending on the subspecialty, newly minted cardiologists made between $189,000 and $360,000 in 2013.

Transparent savings: Imaging claims payments drop with use of price transparency platform

Research suggests patients might be thriftier shoppers if given the right tools. When a group of patients used a price transparency platform, it resulted in lowering claims payments for advanced imaging services by more than 13 percent, according to a study published in the Oct. 22/29 issue of JAMA.

Competition among docs may keep prices in check

Market concentration may offer some efficiencies but that doesn’t guarantee savings. An analysis published in the Oct. 22/29 issue of JAMA found that insurers paid higher prices when physicians faced less competition.

Costs per patient $704 higher at multihospital vs. physician-owned practices

Patient costs can be as much as 20 percent higher in multihospital systems as opposed to physician-owned, physician-run organizations, a study published in the Oct. 22/29 issue of JAMA found. These findings contradict assumptions that larger organizations would be able to leverage size and integrated services for better pricing. 

Informal caregiving for elderly stroke patients costs $26.8B

Stroke ranks high for costs to healthcare systems. A study published online Oct. 10 in Neurology added the price of informal caregiving for elderly stroke survivors in the U.S. to the equation: almost $27 billion annually.

Reassessing readmissions

October is here. Let the pain begin. That is, the 30-day readmission penalties.