Pricing of Aducanumab Brings Out Flaws in Drug Payment Models

The recent approval of Medicare to extend insurance reimbursement for the new Alzheimer’s drug, only when taken as part of randomized clinical trials, highlights the various issues surrounding the FDA approval of Aducanumab for treatment. This approval process for trial usage only accentuates the necessity for further investigation into this new drug that received an expedited review and… Read More »

Looking into Diagnostic Excellence and Aligning Incentives

There is considerable discussion regarding aligning incentives to lower the total cost of care, and even more specifically, on the importance of diagnostic testing, the value it might bring, its accuracy, and the shared decision-making when ordering tests. Therefore, aligning incentives around appropriate diagnostic testing is critical to both diagnostic excellence and affordability of healthcare. Additionally, an important… Read More »

Determining the Effectiveness of Diagnostic testing

As clinicians, we spend a significant amount of our time attempting to diagnose what is ailing those we treat. And we have an armament of tests to select from and an extensive list of differential diagnoses, ranging from the probable, to the extremely rare yet, potentially fatal. Understanding the effectiveness of our diagnostic tests is important from multiple… Read More »

Physician Practices with Robust Capabilities Spend Less on Medicare Beneficiaries

As consolidation and integration of physician practices occur, especially within organizations that can wrap capabilities around ambulatory clinical care, we must examine the potential benefit to those we serve. This ideal is also the premise for a clinically integrated network where payment models are designed to allow for enhanced capabilities available to smaller groups of clinicians. These enhanced… Read More »

Understanding Why We Need Stratification of Hospitals for Readmission Penalties

There has been considerable debate concerning the value of the Medicare Hospital Readmissions Reduction Program. The program was designed to deduct up to 3% of Medicare payments for hospitals with higher-than-expected thirty-day all-cause readmission rates, after index admissions, for six conditions and procedures. One of the primary concerns regarding the program was the disproportionate impact on teaching and… Read More »

The Value of Nonprofit Hospitals

There has been a great deal of focus on whether nonprofit hospitals bring value to the communities they serve in proportion to their tax-exempt status. The argument is that the tax dollars are necessary and properly utilized for community benefit; therefore, a tax-exempt status requires community benefit in replacement of payments. The measure used as a metric for… Read More »

Do Value Based Payment Models Really Work?

For those in the value-based payment (VBP) world, we are constantly asking the question; “Is what we are doing impactful and adding value to quality, service, and costs, to those we serve?” A recent study in Health Affairs analyzed 20 years of commercial VBP studies and found mixed results. And from this information, it’s possible to formulate a… Read More »

A Deeper Look at Structural Racism in US Health Care Policy

Structural racism refers to, “The totality of ways societies foster racial discrimination through mutually reinforcing systems of housing, credit, media, health care, and criminal justice.” One of the leading structural components that has led to the inequitable distribution of health services is healthcare financing, i.e., insurance coverage. Inadequate health insurance coverage is one of the most prevalent barriers… Read More »

Changing the Language We Use for A Transient Ischemic Attack

In the past, those who had a transient episode of cerebral ischemia, marked by symptoms that resolved quickly, were informed they had a Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA). Over time, this was translated by the lay population as a “mini-stroke” or “almost a stroke.” And, consequently, these events became minimized as they were deemed “not that bad.” Unfortunately, recent… Read More »