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Healthcare Economics & Policy


A telemedicine program using Atlanta-based endocrinologists provided suitable type 1 diabetes care to veterans living in rural Alabama and Georgia while saving patients 156 minutes of commute time per visit and cutting travel reimbursement costs paid by the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) by $72.94 per visit.

Patients’ out-of-pocket expenditures (OOPE) on medications rise dramatically with the addition of each coexisting chronic condition, according to a systematic review published online Feb. 6 in BMJ Global Health.

Diabetes treatment itself comes at a considerable price, but related complications like eye disease, kidney damage and amputations can elevate medical bills into the tens of thousands, German researchers reported this month in Diabetes Care.

Those lab tests a physician orders before surgery may seem like just a drop in the bucket of healthcare spending, but over time those routine—often unnecessary—services add up.

President Donald Trump declared February American Heart Month this Thursday in a tradition that stretches back 54 years.


Recent Headlines

Think tank: More FDA 510(k) oversight needed, driving innovation overseas Increasingly burdensome regulatory policy can be blamed for driving research and development of new medical devices outside the U.S., according to the author of an Oct. 12 Competitive Enterprise Institute essay. The piece called for maintaining the 510(k) process and increasing oversight of the FDA.
Survey: More residents getting job offers due to doc shortage There may not be enough physicians to go around, according to Merritt Hawkins' 2011 Survey of Final-Year Medical Residents." More than 75 percent of new doctors surveyed said that they had received at least 50 job solicitations during their training period, further outlining the nations physician shortage.
Payor/provider medical home piloted in Pittsburgh Pittsburgh-based payor HealthAmerica and Preferred Primary Care Physicians have launched a pilot program to provide coordinated and patient-centered primary care through improved communications with patients, physicians and care teams.
NEJM: Hospitals may benefit from same-day PCI discharge
Selected low-risk Medicare patients who were discharged the same day that they underwent elective PCI were at no higher risk of death or readmission than patients who remained in the hospital overnight, according to a study published in the Oct. 5 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine. In an interview with Cardiovascular Business, the study's lead author added that the same-day discharge strategy, while not commonly applied, may prove cost-effective for some facilities.
Who Should Own the Medical Home? Some architects of patient-centered medical home models suggest that a specialist team should lead patient management within the medical home. Others favor primary care physicians. But regardless of who owns the patientand by proxy, the medical homebetter coordination of care is needed.
Building a Medical Home, Piece by Piece It takes a village to treat the most complex patient, says Mary Norine Walsh, MD, medical director of heart failure and cardiac transplantation at Care Group/St. Vincents Health System in Indianapolis.
Cost-effectiveness results allow ambulatory monitoring to join NICE guidelines
The U.K.s National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (NICE) has recommended ambulatory blood pressure monitoring for patients with a raised blood pressure. The addition comes after a modeling study, published Aug. 24 in The Lancet, found that ambulatory blood pressure monitoring was a cost-effective strategy for men and women across all age groups, providing both savings and improvement in quality of life. An accompanying editorial agreed that improved diagnosis offsets the additional cost of ambulatory monitoring and added that changing assumptions in the model might show even more cost savings.
ACC Corner: Payment Reform Key to Triple Aim of Healthcare Paul N. Casale, MD, recommends that providers prepare for a new healthcare payment model in the U.S. that rewards value over volume.
Report: Pfizer may look to sell Lipitor over the counter
Pfizer is looking to introduce an over-the-counter version of its blockbuster cholesterol pill Lipitor (atorvastatin) that could be purchased without a doctors prescription, according to a report released today by the Wall Street Journal. The move could help the company retain revenues for the drug, after Lipitors patent is set to expire this November. Last year, the blockbuster's sales soared to $11 billion.
AHA: National CVD prevention programs could help save lives, money
Creating initiatives that enhance primordial and primary prevention strategies on a national level would help prevent cardiovascular disease (CVD) before it begins, according to an American Heart Association (AHA) policy statement published online July 25 in Circulation. While costs have often been a deterrent to implementing these types of programs, AHA said imparting community-based changes is a good long-term investment to improve the populations health.