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Healthcare Economics

 - website

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) will shut down the Open Payments website twice again “for maintenance.” The latest setback prompted the American Medical Association (AMA) to call for a six-month delay in the program launch.

 - merger_analysis

U.S. not-for-profit hospitals’ revenue growth hit an all-time low of 3.9 percent in 2013, Moody’s Investor Services calculated, with little relief in sight for 2014.

 - Weighing Options

Novel oral anticoagulants have outstripped warfarin for usage in the U.S., but at a price. A study found that the three new options for treating patients with atrial fibrillation made up 62 percent of new prescriptions but cost $900 higher than warfarin after six months.

 - health_costs

Buyers beware. Hospitals in California charged as little as $10 and as much as $10,169 for a lipid panel test, according to an analysis published Aug. 15 in BMJ Open.

 - Reimbursement Cuts

Overall compensation for cardiologists dropped almost 8 percent between 2012 and 2013 but the pain was not spread evenly, according to MedAxiom’s annual survey. Pay and pay cuts varied greatly depending on subspecialty, employment model and region.

 

More Stories

CABG beats PCI for patients with complex disease over long haul

Beyond five years, CABG was more cost effective than PCI using drug-eluting stents (DES-PCI) for treating patients with complex coronary artery disease (CAD), according to a study published online Aug. 1 in Circulation

Stripped-down TAVR approach shaves costs for hospitals

Centers may be able to trim thousands of dollars off the cost of a transfemoral transcatheter aortic valve replacement (TAVR) procedure without compromising care using a minimalist approach, according to a recently published study. Only experienced facilities should adopt this strategy, though, the lead author told Cardiovascular Business.

As is, readmissions penalty may push some hospitals over brink

Failing to adjust measures such as Medicare’s readmissions reduction program for sociodemographic factors will put already financially stressed safety net hospitals at risk and worsen healthcare disparities, according to an editorial published online July 22 in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

AHA to insurers: Home BP monitoring saves you money

Medicare and private insurers take note: Home blood pressure (BP) monitoring for hypertension is cost effective. So cover it, the American Heart Association (AHA) advocates. 

Follow-up costs outweigh benefits for nodule findings on CCTA

Follow-up of incidental findings of pulmonary nodules (PN) during coronary CT angiography (CCTA) reduces deaths from lung cancer but at the price of increased downstream testing, making the practice of dubious value, researchers reported online July 11 in Circulation.

Hospital saves $1.25M by nixing excess cardiac biomarker testing

An intervention designed to eliminate unneeded cardiac biomarker testing for acute coronary syndrome saved $1.25 million in one year at one hospital, according to a study published online June 28 in the Journal of General Internal Medicine.

Trickle-up economics

One of the many harmful effects of the Great Recession was wage deflation in certain sectors. Is it possible that an economic drag has reached into highly skilled professions such as medicine?

Most physicians see income drop or stagnate in past year

In a survey on physician income and job satisfaction, 45 percent of respondents reported their compensation dropped between 2013 and 2014 and another 43 percent saw no change in income.

Cardiac demo’s cost savings may support wider rollout

Expanding a demonstration that bundled hospital and physician payments for several cardiac and orthopedic procedures would have a significant impact on Medicare, wrote authors of a viewpoint that appeared online July 7 in JAMA Internal Medicine. They offered several options going forward.

Costs averted with cardiac surgery CME could be substantial

It pays to invest in continuing medical education (CME), according to a predictive model applied to cardiac and thoracic surgeries. Costs averted from bleeding-related complications and reoperation for bleeding were substantial, even when a modest number of surgeons incorporated lessons into practice.

Bill adds socioeconomic factors to readmissions formula

Senators submitted bipartisan legislature on June 19 to change Medicare’s policy of withholding payments for high rates of readmission to provide better coverage to hospitals working with populations of underserved, disadvantaged and at-risk patients. If put into law, it would change policies outlined in the Hospital Readmissions Reduction Program.

Costs rise despite drop in ED length of stay for heart failure

While heart failure length of stay is dropping, the cost of an emergency room visit is growing, a study published in the June issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology: Heart Failure found. Heart failure is the top reason for Medicare hospital readmissions and 1 million hospital stays occur each year.

Medtronic ponies up $43B to buy Covidien

Medtronic has agreed to pay nearly $43 billion to acquire Covidien, a move that will allow the Minneapolis company to shift its headquarters to Ireland and lower its tax burden.

This is going to hurt: $343 lipid tests and $2,924 MRIs

The price of a lipid panel can vary by as much as $328 in Dallas and by as little as $16 in Birmingham, Ala. An analysis by the health services company Castlight Health also found Fresno, Calif., to be a relative bargain for a head CT scan, a lower back MRI and a visit with a primary care physician.

CABG with diabetes carries heavy cost burden in China

The long-term cost of patients with diabetes who undergo CABG will add $84 million to the health system in China, according to a study that found China has the highest prevalence rate for diabetes mellitus in the world. The U.S. is not far behind, though.

Drop in volume puts drag on interventional device market

Declining coronary angioplasty volume in the U.S. and Canada will keep growth in the device market tepid, according to an analysis by MarketsandMarkets. The company projected the markets for interventional and peripheral vascular devices will inch up to about $6 billion by 2018.

SMARTCare holds potential to save billions in heart care costs

An innovative program focused on outcomes in patients with stable ischemic heart disease could change the cost of healthcare. On May 22, the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation granted $15.8 million to the SMARTCare pilot program, which is expected to save $42.2 million over the three-year pilot program across 10 participating sites.

Doctor data release: A small step forward amid missteps

The architects of the release of physician-specific Medicare payments and the president of the American College of Cardiology (ACC) agree on at least one point: Making the healthcare system’s costs more transparent is a good thing. But they part ways on the quality and usefulness of the data made public in April in two perspectives published online May 28 in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Swift treatment, less use of anesthesia lowers stroke cost

Hospitals can lower the cost of an initial acute stroke admission by shortening treatment times or reducing use of routine anesthesia in patients who receive medical or endovascular treatment, an analysis of the IMS III Trial found.

Afib hospitalizations, costs leap higher over decade

Hospitalization and costs for atrial fibrillation spiked between 2000 and 2010 in the U.S., particularly among octogenarians. The authors of the analysis published online May 19 in Circulation called the trends alarming.