News Ticker
In the spotlight

No Difference Between Public & Private Coverage

by Cedric Dark, MD, MPH, FACEP, FAAEM in Access to Care

A new study confirms what many think, that some insurance coverage is better than none. What may challenge some people’s preconceptions is that whether that insurance [...]


Quality of Care

Continuity of Care

Health care costs

  • Source: Eric Schmuttenmaer (Flickr/CC)

    Disparities due to Pre-existing Conditions

    Despite attempts to improve access to care via the implementation of the Affordable Care Act, disparities in health outcomes continue to persist. This study examines some of the causes of racial disparities between blacks and whites; it further attempts to understand and isolate the individual effects of pre-operative risk factors. Selected subjects were black Medicare patients who underwent general surgery procedures and were matched with white controls within 6 states and within 838 [...]
  • Source: Flickr/CC

    Without Obamacare 18.1 million would be Uninsured

    Health care reform under President Obama aimed to decrease the number of uninsured in the United States via passage of the Affordable Care Act (ACA).  Though the political implications of the ACA will largely be determined by the outcomes of the upcoming elections, analysis of insurance rates in the U.S. can be used to assess the effectiveness of the ACA in providing access to health care to the American uninsured. Source: Flickr/CC Both political parties have used the ACA for personal [...]
  • Source: Got Credit (Flickr/CC)

    Delivery System Reforms: Delivering Value?

    Restructuring health care delivery to reduce costs and improve quality is a fundamental part of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and a response to the long history of high domestic healthcare spending with suboptimal outcomes. In fact, the ACA mandated programs such as patient-centered medical homes (PCMH) and pay-for-performance (P4P) before there was clear evidence demonstrating their effectiveness. Source: Got Credit (Flickr/CC) In this study, authors performed a systematic review of studies of [...]
  • Source: U.S. Navy | Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class Betsy Knapper

    Estimating Operating Room Time Improves Medicare Billing

    Currently, physician fees for surgical services furnished to Medicare beneficiaries are largely governed by the resource-based relative value scale. Under this framework, relative value units (RVUs) are used to measure the physician time and effort associated with a particular procedure. While the RVU system is useful because it permits comparisons across procedures and specialties, it is not without flaws. Most significantly, it is subject to both over and under-valuation of procedures which [...]
  • Source: Joaquim Alves Gaspar (CC)

    Minorities more likely to be Readmitted

    Prevention of hospital readmissions serves as one of the primary metrics for quality improvement under the Affordable Care Act. In 2012, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) began levying penalties for hospitals that had 30-day readmissions for acute myocardial infarction, heart failure, and pneumonia. In 2015, CMS expanded this metric to include total hip arthroplasties (replacements) or THAs. Source: Joaquim Alves Gaspar (CC) Elective THA is the sixth most common procedure and [...]
  • Source: A. K. Azad (Flickr/CC)

    Suicides Account for Bulk of Firearm Deaths

    Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States and the 2nd leading cause of death among youth ages 16 to 25. Politicians have renewed interest in the gun control debate in the wake of several mass shootings; however, suicides account for the bulk of firearm deaths (21,175 persons in 2013). In this study, investigators examined the relationship between state level firearm ownership and state-specific suicide rates to gauge the public health impact of firearm ownership. Source: [...]
  • Source: Flickr/CC

    Facts Don’t Support the Second Amendment

    After the Newtown, Connecticut shooting, National Rifle Association (NRA) executive vice president Wayne LaPierre said, “The only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun.” Gun rights advocates have endorsed loosening gun purchase restrictions and adopting open carry policies to deter crime. Source: Flickr/CC Previous research on gun ownership and its relationship to numerous crimes have led to mixed results. Across high-income countries, some researchers found [...]
  • Source: Christopher Cornelius (Flickr/CC)

    Retail Clinics: a Supplement not a Substitute for Traditional Health Care Choices

    In recent years,  patients have been increasingly demanding access to outpatient care. Retail clinics aim to supply this demand by providing a cost effective and convenient solution. First opening in 2000, retail clinics have expanded exponentially and accounted for 10.5 million visits in 2012.  Retail clinics provide a venue of care for those that do not have any other usual source of care, whether they have insurance or not. Source: Christopher Cornelius (Flickr/CC) A recent article in [...]
  • Source: USDA (Flickr/CC)

    Medical Homes Improve Outcomes for Underserved

    Healthcare finance and delivery policies are shifting from volume to value, placing the burden on physicians, hospitals,  and administrators to identify and implement models that improve quality while also reducing cost. New evidence supports expanding the patient-centered medical home (PCMH) to achieve better outcomes for patients in underserved communities. Source: USDA (Flickr/CC) A recent article published in Health Services Research found that community health centers (CHC) with PCMH [...]
  • Source: Kaiser Family Foundation (CC)

    “I’m from the Government & I’m here to help”

    Despite fears of failing Marketplaces, death spirals, and a recent threat by UnitedHealth to withdraw from the Marketplaces altogether, researchers find that insurer participation and Marketplace offerings increased between 2014 and 2015. The data also show that each additional insurer brings healthy competition to the Marketplaces which ultimately reduces premiums by 2% as insurers jockey to offer the lowest-priced plan. Insurers need to be encouraged to join the Marketplaces but the positive [...]

Health IT

Public Health

Lessons from Abroad

A Policy Prescription for 2016

Affordable Care Act

  • Source:
    Despite scary media headlines about rising health insurance costs due to the Affordable Care Act (ACA), this study found that 3 in 4 self-employed adults ages 18-64 paid less [...]
  • 8116279888_f94a675d4c

    A Policy Prescription for 2014

    January 20, 2014 // 2 Comments

    Regardless of what you think about the Affordable Care Act, and regardless of whether or not you are hoping for its ultimate failure or success, even under optimal [...]
  • Source: Lauren Nelson (Flickr/CC)

    Bundled payment experiment fails

    October 6, 2014 // 1 Comment

    As stakeholders implement the Affordable Care Act (ACA), innovative payment models are developing faster than practical applications. Bundled payments, defined as “a fixed [...]
  • Source: Kaiser Family Foundation (CC)
    Despite fears of failing Marketplaces, death spirals, and a recent threat by UnitedHealth to withdraw from the Marketplaces altogether, researchers find that insurer [...]
  • Source: (Flickr / Creative Commons)

    ACA Progress Report: What has changed so far?

    August 11, 2014 // 2 Comments

    The first open enrollment period for the Affordable Care Act closed on March 31, with 8 million Americans enrolled by the deadline. The marketplace re-opens in November, [...]
  • 137235899_2365bdc029
    New data from the Oregon Health Insurance Experiment  has thought leaders in the health policy world dueling over the statistics these past 24 hours. As background, we (Dr. [...]