Expanding coverage via tax credits: trade-offs and outcomes.
In this paper we discuss various options for using refundable tax credits to reduce the number of uninsured persons. The effect of tax credits on the number of uninsured depends on the form of the credit scheme adopted. Moreover, since large subsidies for private insurance directed to low-income persons have never been implemented, there is considerable uncertainty about the effect of various tax credit proposals. We find that small credits will do little to reduce the number of uninsured but that credits covering about half of the premium for a benchmark policy might have a significant effect, especially if they take a fixed-dollar form and can be used for policies with few restrictions. Finally, we discuss the normative issues surrounding the "costs" of these credits schemes, and the policy issues raised by the uncertainty of the effects. (+info)
Activity-based costing via an information system: an application created for a breast imaging center.
Activity-based costing (ABC) is a process that enables the estimation of the cost of producing a product or service. More accurate than traditional charge-based approaches, it emphasizes analysis of processes, and more specific identification of both direct and indirect costs. This accuracy is essential in today's healthcare environment, in which managed care organizations necessitate responsible and accountable costing. However, to be successfully utilized, it requires time, effort, expertise, and support. Data collection can be tedious and expensive. By integrating ABC with information management (IM) and systems (IS), organizations can take advantage of the process orientation of both, extend and improve ABC, and decrease resource utilization for ABC projects. In our case study, we have examined the process of a multidisciplinary breast center. We have mapped the constituent activities and established cost drivers. This information has been structured and included in our information system database for subsequent analysis. (+info)
Perspectives on the pharmaceutical industry.
This paper seeks to provide an economic perspective on the pharmaceutical industry, which has come under increasing criticism on a number of issues. In the main, that criticism amounts to a rather ineffective flailing at the supply side of the market for pharmaceutical products-much of it based on inaccurate perceptions-when a more productive policy would be to strengthen the hitherto weak and poorly informed demand side of the market. (+info)
Cost recovery beds in public hospitals in Indonesia.
A policy of allowing public hospitals to provide some better quality, higher priced hospital beds for those able to pay was introduced as government policy in Indonesia after 1993. A study was conducted in 1998 in three public hospitals in East Java to investigate if the policy objective of cost-recovery was being achieved. Hospital revenue from these commercial beds was less than both the recurrent and total costs of providing them in all three hospitals, but exceeded recurrent costs minus staff salaries in two hospitals. One reason for the low cost-recovery ratios was that between 55% and 66% of the revenue was used as staff incentives, mostly to doctors. This was more than the maximum of 40% stipulated in the policy. The high proportions of total revenue going to staff were a result of hospital management having set bed fees too low. The policy may be contributing to the retention of doctors within public sector employment; however, it is not achieving its stated objective, especially over the longer term where full recovery of salaries and investment costs needs to be considered. Public hospitals that wish to invest in commercial beds need effective management and accounting systems so as to be able to monitor and control costs and set fees at levels that recoup the costs incurred. Further research is required to determine if this form of public-private mix has negative effects on equity and access for poorer patients. (+info)
Allowing for differential timing in cost analyses: discounting and annualization.
There are differences in timing related to when costs of certain inputs are incurred and when they are used over the lifetime of a programme. This paper looks at the issues related to the comparison of cost data over time focusing on discounting and annualization adjustments, which are used by economists to calculate financial and economic costs. The process of discounting is used to deal with the notion of time preference. Time preference implies that future costs are worth less, and hence discounted more, to reflect individual and societal preferences to have resources and money now rather than in the future. While discounting is appropriate in many situations, it is also useful to compute an annual equivalent cost when recurrent costs of an intervention are incurred, or are expected to be incurred, in subsequent years. This approach has the added benefit of illustrating how capital items are actually used during the lifetime of an intervention. This paper presents methods to both discount and annualize costs, and discusses rules-of-thumb to decide when to make these adjustments. (+info)
Use of linear programming to estimate impact of changes in a hospital's operating room time allocation on perioperative variable costs.
BACKGROUND: Administrators at hospitals with a fixed annual budget may want to focus surgical services on priority areas to ensure its community receives the best health services possible. However, many hospitals lack the detailed managerial accounting data needed to ensure that such a change does not increase operating costs. The authors used a detailed hospital cost database to investigate by how much a change in allocations of operating room (OR) time among surgeons can increase perioperative variable costs. METHODS: The authors obtained financial data for all patients who underwent outpatient or same-day admit surgery during a year. Linear programming was used to determine by how much changing the mix of surgeons can increase total variable costs while maintaining the same total hours of OR time for elective cases. RESULTS: Changing OR allocations among surgeons without changing total OR hours allocated will likely increase perioperative variable costs by less than 34%. If, in addition, intensive care unit hours for elective surgical cases are not increased, hospital ward occupancy is capped, and implant use is tracked and capped, perioperative costs will likely increase by less than 10%. These four variables predict 97% of the variance in total variable costs. CONCLUSIONS: The authors showed that changing OR allocations among surgeons without changing total OR hours allocated can increase hospital perioperative variable costs by up to approximately one third. Thus, at hospitals with fixed or nearly fixed annual budgets, allocating OR time based on an OR-based statistic such as utilization can adversely affect the hospital financially. The OR manager can reduce the potential increase in costs by considering not just OR time, but also the resulting use of hospital beds and implants. (+info)
The financial performance of community health centers, 1996-1999.
This paper presents recent financial health trends of community health centers (CHCs) between 1996 and 1999, a time characterized by fiscal and operating challenges. Results show that many individual CHCs have been subject to large changes in payer-mix among uninsured and Medicaid users. Troubling is the finding that more than half of all CHCs reported operating deficits in 1997, 1998 and 1999. CHCs experiencing large increases in the share of uninsured users and those participating in Medicaid managed care appear to have been disproportionately affected. The analyses presented support recommendations for enhanced data collection and for further monitoring of CHCs' financial health. (+info)
Input-output analysis and the hospital budgeting process.
Two hospitals budget systems, a conventional budget and an input-output budget, are compared to determine how they affect management decisions in pricing, output, planning, and cost control. Analysis of data from a 210-bed not-for-profit hospital indicates that adoption of the input-output budget could cause substantial changes in posted hospital rates in individual departments but probably would have no impact on hospital output determination. The input-output approach promises to be a more accurate system for cost control and planning because, unlike the conventional approach, it generates objective signals for investigating variances of expenses from budgeted levels. (+info)