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Healthcare Economics & Policy


Two presentations at the American Heart Association’s scientific sessions in Anaheim, California, highlighted ways in which the Affordable Care Act (ACA) has changed the healthcare experience for patients—one good, one not so good.

More than three-fourths of patients without health insurance who were hospitalized for heart attack, stroke or coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) surgery incurred catastrophic healthcare expenses before the passage of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), according to research presented Nov. 13 and 14 at the American Heart Association’s scientific sessions in Anaheim, California.

A program that financially penalizes hospitals for excess readmissions for heart failure may have an unintended consequence: higher rates of 30-day and one-year mortality in those patients.

With the exception of a handful of major organs, a recent poll of 63 Lancaster, England, residents yielded one clear result: The global public suffers from a lack of knowledge of basic human anatomy—a phenomenon that could compromise future healthcare efforts and the efficacy of clinical systems.

Increasing access to plain drinking water in school cafeterias throughout the U.S. could prevent 570,000 children from becoming overweight or obese and save $13.1 billion in medical costs and indirect societal costs, suggests a new study in Pediatric Obesity.


Recent Headlines

UK's 'stubbornly' low rates of bystander CPR prompt 'Restart a Heart Day'

Hundreds of thousands of children across the U.K. are learning CPR this week in an effort to combat the country’s “stubbornly low” rates of survival for public cardiac arrests.

NEJM review: Caution needed when interpreting noninferiority trials

Noninferiority trials have dramatically increased in number as researchers try to prove new medical devices and drugs are as safe and effective as established therapies. However, the way these studies are designed and interpreted could use a revamp, a pair of reviewers wrote in The New England Journal of Medicine.

Omitting DNR orders from risk-adjusted mortality measurements could skew rankings

A team of researchers who analyzed rates of do-not-resuscitate (DNR) orders in California are suggesting DNR mortality numbers should be taken into account when calculating hospital risk-adjusted heart failure mortality metrics.

AHA makes 1st-ever statement on meditation: It could be helpful, but no substitute for traditional care

In its first-ever scientific statement on the subject, the American Heart Association said meditation could be a useful treatment tool for cardiac patients, but the organization was careful not to recommend the practice over traditional medical recommendations.

Only 1 in 3 referred for PCSK9 inhibitors can afford them

Just over 30 percent of patients who receive a pricey prescription for the cholesterol-lowering medications known as PCSK9 inhibitors (PCSK9i) are able to pay for the drugs, new research states.

Study: Exact pill dispensing reduces waste, boosts adherence

A study of antibiotic delivery methods in France revealed an important finding that could be applied to other pharmaceuticals around the world: patients receiving a per-unit dispensing of pills demonstrated greater adherence to the medication than those receiving prepackaged boxes.

Lawsuit: St. Jude waited years before recalling faulty defibrillators

A collection of third-party insurance payers has filed a class-action lawsuit seeking $9.9 million from St. Jude Medical and parent company Abbott Laboratories, claiming St. Jude knew about a battery defect in its cardiac defibrillators nearly five years before issuing a recall.

Produce carts seeing increased health benefits for low-income customers

Researchers who surveilled of a handful of “Green Carts” in lower-income regions of New York are suggesting increased access to fresh produce—and the ability to pay for those fruits and vegetables with food stamps—could have a positive effect on overall health in disadvantaged areas.

Discussing the underlying causes of overtreatment

Recent research from PLOS One estimates half of all stents could be unnecessary. No matter how aware and vigilant cardiologists—and, of course all physicians—are in the face of overtreatment, that single statistic is alarming.

8 things to know about income, demographic trends for U.S. cardiologists

Income for American cardiologists continues to rise, with private physicians closing the gap on their integrated counterparts.