How often has this happened to you? Over the transom comes a report you believe will be the basis for a section-front story or maybe warrant page one. Many times, you’re right. You read the report, collect the highlights, conduct a few interviews, and fire off the story on deadline.
However, occasionally what you thought might be a solid report leaves important questions unanswered. Continue reading
High deductibles and out of pocket costs – which are increasing in both Affordable Care Act exchange plans and employer-sponsored coverage – have given new urgency to helping patients (or “consumers” as they’re called nowadays) learn about the cost and quality of care.
If you know both cost and quality, you know more about the value of care. (Assuming the treatment actually is the right and necessary course of care, but that’s a whole other conversation.)
Many programs and experiments are underway to figure out which tools are helpful to patients, how patients are using them, and what are their impact on health spending and utilization. The findings so far can perhaps be summed up as “meh.” Continue reading
It’s no secret that even insured patients sometimes are unable to cover the full cost of their care. When that happens, some people turn to medical funding companies for help. Physicians and other providers sometimes will even refer patients to these entities, which are set up to pay the provider and then collect from the patient.
There can be problems with this option, as journalists Alison Frankel and Jessica Dye learned last year in an investigation of unscrupulous medical funding companies. Continue reading
Photo: Carla K. JohnsonCraig Garthwaite, assistant professor, Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management (left); Roy Guharoy, Pharm.D. vice president and chief pharmacy officer for the Resource Group at Ascension (middle); and independent journalist and AHCJ member Duncan Moore (right) spoke at the Chicago chapter event “Drug Pricing: Covering the Controversy” at Columbia College in Chicago on Feb. 23.
A blockbuster hepatitis C drug costs $84,000, straining state budgets. Martin Shkreli acquires the rights to a generic and raises its price 5,000 percent. Presidential candidates react to the public outcry, claiming they know what to do about the drug prices.
What does it all mean? Until recently, “there’s been an equilibrium in the public mind between a free market regimen of the market setting prices and what the public and payers are willing to pay,” said independent journalist Duncan Moore, “but there are indications this informal tradeoff has begun to swing out of control.” Continue reading
If you saw our November webcast on how consumers and payers can evaluate physician quality, you know that we began with a quote from Atul Gawande, M.D., about patient outcomes.
A professor of health policy and management at Harvard University and a prolific and gifted writer, Gawande is the best-selling author of “Being Mortal” and “The Checklist Manifesto.” He’s also a contributor for The New Yorker and other publications, writing about cardiologists in McAllen, Texas, super utilizers in New Jersey, and unnecessary care nationwide.
In short, he’s darn good at what we do. Continue reading