LDI Briefs

Primary Care: On the Front Lines of the Opioid Crisis

Issue Brief
Aug. 9, 2016

This issue brief discusses the role of primary care teams in identifying illicit drug use disorders in their patients, the continuum of treatments that they can offer, and opportunities for successful collaboration and integration with specialists. The authors find opportunities exist for increased patient screening and delivering medication-assisted treatment as well as established models for collaboration and integration of opioid treatments. 

Physicians’ Participation In ACOs Is Lower In Places With Vulnerable Populations Than In More Affluent Communities

Research Brief
Aug. 8, 2016

Early evidence suggests that accountable care organizations (ACOs) - networks of doctors and hospitals whose members share responsibility for providing coordinated care to patients - improve health care quality and constrain costs. ACOs are increasingly common in the U.S., both for Medicare and commercially insured patients. However, there are concerns that ACOs may worsen existing disparities in health care quality if disadvantaged patients have less access to physicians who participate in them. Does physicians’ ACO participation relate to the sociodemographic characteristics of their patient population, and if so, why?

Racial Disparities in Geographic Access to Primary Care in Philadelphia

Research Brief
Aug. 8, 2016

Geographic access to primary care providers is usually considered a problem of rural areas, rather than of more densely populated urban ones. But the supply of primary care providers may be inadequate in certain neighborhoods even if the number of providers for the population is adequate for the city as a whole.The authors conducted a spatial analysis of census tracts in Philadelphia to assess the supply of primary care providers, quantify differences in supply that might contribute to disparities, and determine population characteristics associated with variations in geographic access. They calculated the ratio of adults-per-primary-care-provider in each tract using a five-minute travel time from the center of each census tract. They wanted to know if the overall number of providers in a city obscures significant differences across neighborhoods, and if so, whether low-access neighborhoods are more likely to be found in areas with large concentrations of racial and ethnic minorities.  

Effects of Autism Spectrum Disorder Insurance Mandates on the Treated Prevalence of Autism Spectrum Disorder

Research Brief
Jul. 25, 2016

State mandates requiring commercial health plans to cover services for children with autism spectrum disorder increased the number of children diagnosed with the disorder. However, diagnosis rates remain much lower than community estimates, suggesting that many commercially insured children with ASD remain undiagnosed or are insured through public plans.

Primary Care Appointment Availability for Medicaid Patients: Comparing Traditional and Premium Assistance Plans

Research Brief
Jul. 14, 2016

In 2014, Arkansas and Iowa expanded their Medicaid programs and enrolled many of their adult beneficiaries in commercial Marketplace plans. This study suggests that this “private option” may make it easier for new Medicaid patients to get primary care appointments.

Impact of Medicare Advantage Prescription Drug Plan Star Ratings on Enrollment Before and After Implementation of Quality-Related Bonus Payments in 2012

Research Brief
Jun. 10, 2016

In PLOS ONE, LDI Senior Fellows Pengxiang Li and Jalpa Doshi examine the impact of the Medicare Advantage Presciption Drug Plan star ratings before and after 2012, when they became tied to bonus payments. Does an increase in a plan’s star rating have a direct impact on concurrent year plan enrollment? What’s the indirect impact (via bonus payments) of star ratings on subsequent year plan enrollment?

Show Me the Money: Economic Evaluations of Opioid Use Disorder Interventions

Issue Brief
May. 25, 2016

This Issue Brief discusses treatments for opioid use disorders and summarizes a new systematic review of economic evaluations of these interventions. The review reveals strong evidence that methadone maintenance therapy is an economically advantageous form of treatment; the economic evidence for buprenorphine and naltrexone treatments is more limited.

Click Worthy: Stories Encourage Emergency Physicians to Learn More About Opioid Prescribing Guidelines

Research Brief
Zachary F. Meisel, MD
May. 5, 2016

New study finds that narrative vignettes outperform standard summaries in promoting engagement with opioid prescription guidelines among a national sample of emergency physicians. 

Improving the Lives of Fragile Newborns: What Does Nursing Have to Offer?

Issue Brief
Eileen Lake, PhD, RN
Apr. 25, 2016

This Issue Brief summarizes evidence of nursing’s effects on NICU outcomes and recommends policies to bolster and support nursing practice in NICUs. Adequate staffing and a supportive work environment are associated with better outcomes for very low birth weight infants.

Detecting Potential Overbilling in Medicare Reimbursement via Hours Worked

Research Brief
Apr. 18, 2016

Overbilling for physician services under Medicare Part B has long been a concern, as some estimates show that fraudulent “upcoding” or “overcharging” might have cost the program tens of billions of dollars per year. Existing methods to detect the prevalence and financial cost of overbilling have various limitations, so the authors developed a novel approach: create estimates of actual hours worked as implied by the medical service codes that providers submit to Medicare. In an NBER Working Paper, LDI Senior Fellow Hanming Fang and co-author Qing Gong examine whether this method can generate a quicker and more robust estimation of overbilling across medical specialties and geographic areas.

For Third Enrollment Period, Marketplaces Expand Decision Support Tools to Assist Consumers

Research Brief
Apr. 4, 2016

In Health Affairs, Charlene Wong and colleagues go shopping on the most recent iteration of ACA marketplaces. They find added features to help consumers browse and pick a health plan, including total cost estimators and provider look-up tools. Marketplaces differ in how they estimate out-of-pocket costs and how they display plan choices, although most continue to present plans in premium order.

High Cost Sharing and Specialty Drug Initiation Under Medicare Part D: A Case Study in Patients With Newly Diagnosed Chronic Myeloid Leukemia

Research Brief
Apr. 1, 2016

Does high cost sharing in Medicare Part D drug plans affect whether and how quickly patients initiate a recommended and life-extending drug treatment? In American Journal of Managed Care, LDI Senior Fellows Jalpa Doshi, Pengxiang Li and colleagues assess whether Medicare patients newly diagnosed with chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) and subject to significant coinsurance, take longer to initiate tyrosine kinase inhibitors (TKI) treatment than low-income (subsidized) Medicare patients subject to a nominal copayment. 

Transparency and Negotiated Prices: The Value of Information in Hospital-Supplier Bargaining

Research Brief
Mar. 21, 2016

How does price transparency affect negotiated prices in business-to-business markets? In the first empirical analysis of its kind, LDI Senior Fellows Ashley Swanson and Matthew Grennan estimate how benchmarking information could be useful to hospital buyers in their negotiations with medical technology companies. They explore two mechanisms for possible savings: first, by reducing “asymmetric information” about seller bargaining parameters (that is, not knowing the lowest price a seller would accept); and second, by helping hospitals solve the “agency problem” with their procurement negotiators (that is, allowing hospitals to monitor negotiator performance and restructure financial incentives). Taking coronary stents as their example, the authors look at whether hospitals that join a price benchmarking database, which contains average pricing based on data submitted by member hospitals, can achieve savings in future negotiations with suppliers.

Changes in Consumer Demand Following Public Reporting of Summary Quality Ratings: An Evaluation in Nursing Homes

Research Brief
Feb. 16, 2016

A new study by LDI Senior Fellows Rachel Werner and Daniel Polsky and their colleague, R. Tamara Konetzka, find that consumers responded when a nursing home report card converted 12 measures of quality into a simple 5-star system. One-star facilities typically lost 8 percent of their market share and 5-star facilities gained more than 6 percent of their market share. These results support the use of summary measures in report cards.

Adjuvant Chemotherapy Use and Health Care Costs After Introduction of Genomic Testing in Breast Cancer

Research Brief
Feb. 3, 2016

The promise of personalized genomic testing is that it can reduce unnecessary care and costs by predicting which patients are most likely to benefit from a treatment. In this study of actual treatment patterns, LDI Senior Fellows Andrew Epstein and Peter Groeneveld and colleagues investigate how genomic testing of women with early-stage breast cancer affects subsequent chemotherapy use and medical spending in the year after diagnosis. After surgery, women with early-stage breast cancer face the decision of whether to undergo expensive and potentially toxic chemotherapy to prevent recurrence, although most will not have a recurrence. The 21-gene recurrence score test (RS) was developed in 2004 to predict this risk, and its use in clinical medicine is increasing. Epstein and Groeneveld find that genomic testing is associated with decreased use of chemotherapy and lower costs in younger patients, and slightly increased use of chemotherapy and higher costs in older patients. Genomic testing in actual practice may “rule out” chemotherapy in younger women, and “rule in” chemotherapy in older women.

Pages