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Healthy Skeptic

Health care news and research

 

OIG and Drug Pricing

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Pricing for drugs is an arcane world. The Office of Inspector General has attempted to shed light on pricing benchmarks and methodologies and in a new report tries to provide guidance to state Medicaid programs on how to minimize what they pay for drugs used by the programs’ beneficiaries.

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Technology and Health Costs

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A new paper at the National Bureau of Economic Research examines the relationship between technology and spending growth in health care. While no firm conclusions are reached, a country’s willingness to spend on health may drive technology development and use rather than vice versa.

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The Efficacy of Rehospitalization Interventions

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The Annals of Internal Medicine carries a study on the effectiveness of interventions to reduce the 30-day readmissions rate. This meta-review found little consistent evidence to support the value of any particular intervention, which should give further pause to the notion that most readmissions could be avoided or that hospitals should be penalized when they can’t be told how to reliably reduce readmissions.

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2011 Potpourri XXXXV

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No Potpourri next week due to the holiday, so enjoy this festive collection of health care nuggets, including pay-for-performance in large physician groups, employer views on the effect of the reform law, the effect of physician financial interest in cardiac testing, experience with high deductible plans, medical homes and quality improvement and for-profit and non-for-profit hospital treatment of the uninsured.

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Medicare Disease Management Pilots

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A final summary of Medicare’s disease management pilots gives a bleak picture of the value of the efforts. While there are design and methodological critiques of the Medicare program that may make the results not generalizable, the outcomes do suggest that if disease management is to show value, design and execution need to be improved.

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Massachusetts’ Cost Dilemma

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Massachusetts Special Commission on Provider Price Reform has released its momentous report on how to address the surging health care costs in the state, which appear to be largely caused by “excessive” provider prices and price increases. Someday regulators might learn that the more you regulate, the more you regulate.

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