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Healthcare Economics

 - Supreme Court

The U.S. Supreme Court ruled on Thursday that the subsidies offered as part of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) will be available nationwide, regardless of whether they are used to buy health insurance on an exchange established by the federal government or an individual state.

 - pay increase

If you work in a cath lab and you would like to make more money, take some pointers from SpringBoard Healthcare’s 2015 survey. The survey results shed light on wage information from directors and managers to nurses and techs.

 - business, chart, rise

Nearly three-quarters of people in the U.S. believe prescription drug prices are unreasonable, according to the monthly Kaiser Health Tracking poll released on June 16.

 - Fund Funders

A half billion here, almost another billion more there. Cardiologists can contribute to cost savings and revenues, but it may take compelling data and frequent reminders, judging by the example of Providence Spokane Heart Institute in Washington.

 - magnifying glass money

CHICAGO—In order to be cost-effective in intermediate-risk patients, transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) procedures will need to be stripped down to the necessities in uncomplicated cases, according to one of TAVR’s leading health economists. 


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HHS provides $112 million in funding for cardiovascular disease

Seven regional cooperatives representing nearly 5,000 primary care clinicians in 12 states received a total of $112 million from the federal government to help prevent cardiovascular disease in their patients.

How to avoid being approved by the FDA but shunned by Medicare

The FDA and Medicare have different priorities. Getting the twain to meet sometimes takes a third party to show what is safe and effective can also be a value, too.  

Most costs tied to index PCI, not 30-day hospitalizations

Efforts to reduce healthcare costs by targeting 30-day readmissions after PCI may be misguided. An analysis of Veterans Affairs (VA) hospitals attributed the majority of costs to the index procedure.

MI FREEE puts post-MI savings from full drug coverage at $2B

Giving full prescription drug coverage to patients in the U.S. who experienced a first MI could save almost $2 billion annually over their lifetime, an analysis of MI FREEE found. Although only one carrier served patients in the trial, the results could apply to other payers as well, the lead researcher said.

More than 76% of cardiac arrest survivors return to work

More than 76 percent of people who survived an out-of-hospital cardiac arrest returned to work in a median of four months, according to an analysis of a Danish registry. Among that population, the salaries remained similar one year before and one year after the cardiac arrest.

Pioneer ACO model saves $385M in first two years

An accountable care organization (ACO) model saved Medicare approximately $385 million in its first two years, according to an independent report released on May 4.

Statins are cost-effective for CVD prevention in older adults

Statins are cost-effective for primary prevention of cardiovascular disease in adults who are at least 75 years old, according to a simulation model.

Few consumers use healthcare price and quality data

Fewer than 10 percent of people used price and quality comparison data when choosing doctors, hospitals or health insurance plans in the past 12 months, according to the Kaiser Health Tracking poll released on April 21.

Health spending growth much lower than expected

Since the passage of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act in March 2010, projected federal healthcare spending has decreased each year as factors such as a weak economy, high deductible health plans and reduced provider payment rates have led to historically low rates of spending growth. Researchers from the Urban Institute released a report online on April 8 that examined the changing forecasts.

From paralysis to progress

The sustainable growth rate (SGR) is toast. Now the real work begins.

Physician advocates in D.C. eager to shift focus to quality

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.

Uninsured rate in U.S. is lowest in 7 years

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.

ACC, SCAI rejoice as Senate repeals SGR

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.

Taxing times

April 15 is a big day. If you haven’t finished your taxes, then you may have two deadlines to worry about.

Atrial fibrillation adds $4,905 to stroke costs in younger adults

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 Advantage payments to increase 1.25% in 2016

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.

CMS delays 'two-midnight' policy until April 30

With the Senate waiting to vote on the Medicare sustainable growth rate bill until it reconvenes on April 13, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has decided to delay enforcement of the “two-midnight” policy until April 30.

Another opportunity with the SGR

The term in economics is hyperbolic discounting, the inability to act today on what affects the seemingly distant future. You can apply it to some patients and lawmakers.

House votes to repeal SGR; Senate’s next

The House voted to eliminate the sustainable growth rate (SGR) formula that for years has threatened to cut physician payment from Medicare. Cardiovascular societies praised the move and encouraged the Senate to follow suit.

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.