Janet Weiner, PhD, MPH

Making Shoppable Care More Probable

Dec. 7, 2017

The late, great economist Uwe Reinhardt once likened the ability of U.S. consumers to shop for health care to sending blindfolded shoppers into a department store. In a new report to the Pennsylvania Insurance Commissioner, the “Shoppable Care Work Group” provides advice on how to take the blindfold off.

New Study Details Savings from Bundled Payments

Jan. 13, 2017

This is the way it is supposed to work. You develop policy and processes to drive innovation. You design and test innovative ideas in a small, efficient way. You learn and adapt. Successful innovation drives new policy. Rinse and repeat.

And this is the way it appears to have worked, in the case of Medicare bundled payment. Start small with a pilot. Expand in reach and scope if promising. Scale up if successful.

Impact of Medicare Part D Cost Sharing for Specialty Drugs

Nov. 3, 2016

Medicare Part D beneficiaries can face as much as 33% coinsurance for some drugs listed in a “specialty tier,” which can result in thousands of dollars in out-of-pocket costs. The concern, of course, is that this level of cost-sharing creates a barrier that may put patients at risk for poor outcomes because they cannot afford the drugs they need.

It Takes a Consortium: New Group Tackles Precision Cancer Medicine

Oct. 27, 2016

A new multidisciplinary consortium of more than 20 experts and stakeholders has come together at Penn to address the promise and challenges of precision cancer medicine. Through multiple conference calls culminating in a conference in May 2017, the group will tackle the hard questions that precision medicine raises for patients, providers, and payers. This is the first in a series of posts on the consortium’s work.

Chart of the Day: Medical Debtor Nation

Jul. 22, 2016

This chart on the educational debt level of medical school graduates was tucked away in supplementary material for an excellent article by Ari Friedman and colleagues in the Journal of General Internal Medicine on loan forgiveness programs:

Accounting for Social Risk Factors in Medicare Payment: Third National Report

Jul. 19, 2016

How should social risk factors enter into Medicare’s value-based payments to hospitals? The answer goes beyond an arcane discussion of payment policy; it has a direct impact on hospital bottom lines and the quality of care provided to underserved communities.  A new report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine—the third in a series of five—lays out criteria and methods to account for social risk factors in Medicare payment.