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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

ACC promises to work on APM opportunities after proposed cancellation of cardiac bundles

CMS confirmed Tuesday it has proposed to cancel two mandatory bundled payment programs, Episode Payment Models (EPMs) and the Cardiac Rehabilitation Incentive (CRI) payment model, closing a path for cardiologists to qualify for the 5 percent bonus in the Advanced Alternative Payment Models (AAPMs) payment track.

AHA releases new CPR training requirements for 2019

On. Aug. 15, the American Heart Association (AHA) announced CPR training courses will require use of an instrumented directive feedback device, effective Jan. 39, 2019. Using the devices, students receive audiovisual evaluation and corrective instruction on chest compression rate, depth and proper hand placement.

JACC's Walsh: MACRA means working smarter, more efficiently

MACRA—the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015—will have profound impact on the healthcare industry as a whole. In the Aug. 14 “Leadership Page” of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, ACC President Mary Norine Walsh, MD, details her views on just how cardiologists and practice administrators can prepare themselves.

Cardiac bundles to be canceled by CMS

A rule title posted to the Federal Register on Aug. 10 indicates CMS will cancel two mandatory bundled payment programs, the Advancing Care Coordination through Episode Payment Models (EPMs) and Cardiac Rehabilitation Incentive (CRI) Payment Models, which were set to start in 2018.

Obese cardiac patients a drain on ICU resources

A study of 5,365 patients who underwent cardiac surgery at New Brunswick Heart Centre in Canada revealed patients with higher levels of obesity were four times more likely to require extra time in the intensive care unit, three times more likely to need additional time on mechanical ventilation and three times more likely to be readmitted to the intensive care unit (ICU).

Hospitals cut use of Valeant heart drugs after price hikes

Nitroprusside and isoproterenol, a pair of heart medicines, have been prescribed less since their prices skyrocketed between 2012 and 2015, according to a new research article.

Trial shows costs savings associated with use of Medtronic’s cryoballoon

A new study assessing Medtronic’s cryoballoon catheter ablation device found significant cost savings as opposed to radiofrequency ablation, commonly used by cardiologists.

MACRA is coming—are cardiologists ready?

MACRA—the Medicare Access and CHIP Reauthorization Act of 2015—will impact all of healthcare on the macro level. The program, which CMS believes will change payment from a volume-based system to one focused on value, will have major implications for cardiologists.

ACC: No healthcare bill better than Senate options

On the afternoon of July 25, Republicans in the U.S. Senate opened debate on repealing and replacing the Affordable Care Act (ACA), with 50 senators voting in favor of what’s called a motion to proceed, or MTP, opening the door to the chamber offering numerous amendments to craft some sort of repeal bill.

Pay day? Cardiologists report 0.5% raise in 2017

Cardiologists saw a slight bump in compensation in 2017 compared to last year, with an average increase of 0.5 percent increase, according to the American Medical Group Association’s (AMGA) annual medical group compensation and productivity survey. This is on the heels of a 6.9 percent increase from 2015 to 2016.