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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

Philips to acquire German imaging software company TomTec

Royal Philips has reached an agreement to buy TomTec, a producer of image analysis software based in Germany, for an undisclosed sum. The deal was announced July 18.

NIH awards $1.6 million grant to cardiovascular training program in Milwaukee

The National Institutes of Health’s Heart, Lung and Blood Institute has awarded $1.6 million to the Medical College of Wisconsin’s Cardiovascular Center in Milwaukee.

NIH allocates little funding to cardiac arrest compared to other conditions

In a new analysis of the National Institutes of Health (NIH) funding, data shows that cardiac arrest receives just a fraction of the organization’s monetary support even though it’s the leading cause of death in the U.S.

Preventive behavioral counseling could trim costs, waste over time

A new report from the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) calls for primary care physicians to begin offering behavioral counseling on healthy lifestyles to patients with low cardiovascular disease risks. The method serves as a way to prevent the onset of the condition and reduce costs.

Help Wanted: Strategies for Cardiologists Working with, or in, the C-suite

There’s plenty of room for clinicians in hospital C-suites. Start by appreciating nonclinical expertise, zeroing in on shared concerns and leveraging “soft power.” 

Economic inequalities lead to disparities in cardiovascular disease rates

A patient’s socioeconomic status as a child may not be found in any chart—but a recent study showed how it can impact development of the heart. Researchers found that childhood socioeconomic inequalities lead to differences in left ventricular mass and diastolic function in adulthood.

ACC 'deeply concerned' by Senate healthcare bill; AHA calls for 'no' vote

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) released its report on the Senate’s version of an Affordable Care Act repeal-and-replace plan, projecting 22 million more people would uninsured by 2026 while deductibles and premiums would increase significantly. In response, the American Heart Association and American College of Cardiology have announced opposition to the legislation, dubbed the Better Care Reconciliation Act (BCRA).

AHA argues funding cardiac research now could save billions later

A new assessment from the American Heart Association (AHA) questions whether investments in heart disease research benefits the overall costs of healthcare and patient needs.

Improved quality interventions for heart failure patients linked to reduced readmissions, varying costs

Patients who are hospitalized once are likely to be hospitalized again, but patients with heart failure are at an even greater risk. Plus, it’s costly.

Physician-vendors partner for patient good

The partnering of physicians and vendors has created and improved modern medicine. Collaborations have dawned new devices, systems, drugs, innovations and ways of diagnosing, treating and managing patients. Every day these advancements help to save and improve patient lives. But as we well know, partnership over the years also has overly feathered the pockets of some and bred a fair amount of fraud.