A state prescription drug policy first adopted in 1939, and last ended in 2004, appears to have influenced where Purdue Pharma chose to market its opioid drug OxyContin upon launch in 1996. The consequences of that decision reverberate to this day, according to a new NBER paper by LDI Senior Fellow Abby Alpert and colleagues, who estimate that states with the prescription policy had 11.4 fewer overdose deaths per 100,000 people in 2017.
As the use of artificial intelligence (AI) in the form of machine learning and algorithms in health care increases, an unanswered question looms large: How should policymakers regulate AI? A new article from LDI Associate Fellow Ravi Parikh, Ziad Obermeyer, and LDI Senior Fellow Amol Navathe is a useful place to start. Writing in Science, they demystify and de-mythologize machine learning and AI and suggest some practical guidelines for regulating the rise of machine learning.
The Camden Coalition of Healthcare Providers (of hotspotting fame) has published some intriguing findings from a city-wide program to reduce rehospitalizations by linking hospitalized Medicaid patients to primary care follow-up within seven days of discharge. Patients who had a primary care appointment within seven days had reduced readmissions at both 30 and 90 days.
The durability and vulnerability of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) was on full display last year amidst the Administration’s efforts to undermine it, according to LDI Senior Fellow and law professor Allison Hoffman. In the Journal of Law, Medicine, and Ethics, she makes the case that recent experience demonstrates the shortcomings of market-based health policy and draws insights for future health reforms
With the ongoing measles outbreak in Washington, there has been increasing national attention to real-life consequences of vaccine-preventable diseases and vaccine hesitancy. Most of cases in this recent outbreak have been among unvaccinated individuals and children between the ages of 1 and 10 years. In the first month of 2019, the US has already seen 101 measles cases, on pace to exceed the 372 cases in 2018 and 120 cases in 2017. Studies have shown that states that have more lenient immunization laws generally have higher nonmedical exemption and disease rates compared to states with stricter exemption laws.
A new study from LDI Senior Fellow Abby Alpert (Wharton), David Powell (RAND), and Rosalie Pacula (RAND) links OxyContin reformulation to a national epidemic of hepatitis C, which kills more than 20,000 Americans a year and infects tens of thousands more.
Should providers participating in accountable care organizations (ACOs) be exempt from existing regulations that prevent financial conflicts of interest in physician referrals? On the one hand, these regulations, collectively known as the Stark Law, can impede efforts to coordinate care across providers and facilities. On the other hand, ACOs and other alternative payment and delivery models do not necessarily obviate the need for regulations that prohibit physician kickbacks or self-referrals. In a New England Journal of Medicine Perspective, Genevieve Kanter and Mark Pauly argue that exemptions are not the answer to the tension between ACOs and conflict-of-interest laws. Instead, they call for a reevaluation of both care coordination efforts and the Stark law.
Payment for research participation can raise ethical concerns and legal issues. But it can also raise scientific problems if it causes participants to lie about their eligibility or other things, like adverse events. In our new study in JAMA Network Open, my colleagues and I wanted to see whether payment causes deception about study eligibility, and if so, whether more payment results in more deception. We found the answer to the first question was yes – but contrary to what one might expect, payment amount didn’t matter.
E-cigarettes have exploded in popularity among teens over the last decade, making them the most common tobacco product used by youth. According to 2018 data, 1 in 5 high school students and 1 in 20 middle school students currently use e-cigarettes, a 75 percent increase from 2017. In order to look more closely at what the U.S. Surgeon General has deemed an “epidemic,” I worked alongside my colleagues as part of the American Academy of Pediatrics’ (AAP) Section on Tobacco Control to draft a new policy statement, “E-Cigarettes and Similar Devices,” summarizing the latest evidence on the health harms of e-cigarettes and supporting both clinical interventions for pediatricians and policy strategies to protect youth from the dangers of e-cigarette use.
Health system reforms, such as value-based payment, can worsen or improve existing health care disparities, even if policy changes do not target the disparities themselves. A new study by Rachel Werner, Genevieve Kanter, and Daniel Polsky adds to our understanding of how Medicare’s accountable care organizations (ACOs) interact with existing disparities, and its findings are reassuring.
Late last year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced that more than 70,000 people died from drug overdoses in 2017, a 9.6% increase from 2016. Deaths continue to soar, even as states and health systems implement policies to curb the overprescribing of opioids that led to the epidemic in the first place. It’s hard not to be discouraged by these numbers and our failure to reduce overdose deaths. To fully appreciate the shifting dynamics of the opioid crisis, we need to understand both the nature of the policies we are implementing as well as their likely short- and long-term effects.