(1/1026) Use of out-of-plan services by Medicare members of HIP.

Use of out-of-plan services in 1972 by Medicare members of the Health Insurance Plan of Greater New York (HIP) is examined in terms of the demographic and enrollment characteristics of out-of-plan users, types of services received outside the plan, and the relationship of out-of-plan to in-plan use. Users of services outside the plan tended to be more seriously ill and more frequently hospitalized than those receiving all of their services within the plan. The costs to the SSA of providing medical care to HIP enrollees are compared with analogous costs for non-HIP beneficiaries, and the implications for the organization and financing of health services for the aged are discussed.  (+info)

(2/1026) Hypertension, antihypertensive medication use, and risk of renal cell carcinoma.

To investigate whether diuretic medication use increases risk of renal cell carcinoma (RCC), the authors conducted a case-control study of health maintenance organization members in western Washington State. Cases (n = 238) diagnosed between January 1980 and June 1995 were compared with controls (n = 616) selected from health maintenance organization membership files. The computerized health maintenance organization pharmacy database provided information on medications prescribed after March 1977. Additional exposure information was collected from medical records. For women, use of diuretics was associated with increased risk of RCC (odds ratio (OR) = 1.8, 95% confidence interval (CI) 1.0-3.1), but the association was not independent of a diagnosis of hypertension (adjusted for hypertension, OR = 1.1, 95% CI 0.5-2.1). Similarly, nondiuretic antihypertensive use was associated with increased risk, but only when unadjusted for hypertension. For men, neither diuretic nor nondiuretic antihypertensive use was associated with risk of RCC. A diagnosis of hypertension was clearly associated with RCC risk for women (OR = 2.5, 95% CI 1.2-5.1), but not men (OR = 1.3, 95% CI 0.7-2.5). High systolic and diastolic blood pressures were associated with increased risk in both sexes. These results do not support the hypothesis that use of diuretic medication increases RCC risk; they are more consistent with an association between RCC and high blood pressure.  (+info)

(3/1026) The changing elderly population and future health care needs.

The impending growth of the elderly population requires both fiscal and substantive changes in Medicare and Medicaid that are responsive to cost issues and to changing patterns of need. More emphasis is required on chronic disease management, on meaningful integration between acute and long-term care services, and on improved coordination between Medicare and Medicaid initiatives. This paper reviews various trends, including the growth in managed-care approaches, experience with social health maintenance organizations and Program of All-Inclusive Care for the Elderly demonstrations, and the need for a coherent long-term care policy. Such policies, however, transcend health care and require a broad range of community initiatives.  (+info)

(4/1026) Raising the bar: the use of performance guarantees by the Pacific Business Group on Health.

In 1996 the Pacific Business Group on Health (PBGH) negotiated more than two dozen performance guarantees with thirteen of California's largest health maintenance organizations (HMOs) on behalf the seventeen large employers in its Negotiating Alliance. The negotiations put more than $8 million at risk for meeting performance targets with the goal of improving the performance of all health plans. Nearly $2 million, or 23 percent of the premium at risk, was refunded to the PBGH by the HMOs for missed targets. The majority of plans met their targets for satisfaction with the health plan and physicians, as well as cesarean section, mammography, Pap smear, and prenatal care rates. However, eight of the thirteen plans missed their targets for childhood immunizations, refunding 86 percent of the premium at risk.  (+info)

(5/1026) Financial incentives and drug spending in managed care.

This study estimates the impact of patient financial incentives on the use and cost of prescription drugs in the context of differing physician payment mechanisms. A large data set was developed that covers persons in managed care who pay varying levels of cost sharing and whose physicians are compensated under two different models: independent practice association (IPA)-model and network-model health maintenance organizations (HMOs). Our results indicate that higher patient copayments for prescription drugs are associated with lower drug spending in IPA models (in which physicians are not at risk for drug costs) but have little effect in network models (in which physicians bear financial risk for all prescribing behavior).  (+info)

(6/1026) Waking the health plan giant: Group Health Cooperative stops counting sheep and starts counting key tobacco indicators.

Implementing a comprehensive approach to decreasing tobacco use in a large health plan requires hard work and commitment on the part of many individuals. We found that major organisational change can be accomplished and sustained. Keys to our success included our decision to remove access barriers to our cessation programmes (including cost); obtaining top leadership buy-in; identifying accountable individuals who owned responsibility for change; measuring key processes and outcomes; and finally keeping at it tenaciously through multiple cycles of improvement.  (+info)

(7/1026) Health maintenance organizations in developing countries: what can we expect?

Health maintenance organizations (HMOs) are a relatively new and alternative means of providing health care, combining a risk-sharing (insurance) function with health service provision. Their potential for lowering costs has attracted great interest in the USA and elsewhere, and has raised questions regarding their applicability to other settings. Little attention, however, has been given to critically reviewing the experience with HMOs in other countries, particularly concerning their introduction to settings other than the USA. This paper first reviews the current experience of HMOs in low- and middle-income countries, including Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Uruguay, Chile and Indonesia. Secondly, the paper reviews the USA experience with HMOs: prerequisites for the establishment of HMOs in the USA are identified and discussed, followed by a review of the performance of HMOs in terms of cost containment, integration of care and quality of care for the elderly and poor. The analysis concludes that difficulties may arise when implementing HMOs in developing countries, and that potential adverse effects on the overall health care delivery system may occur. These should be avoided by careful analyses of a nation's health care system.  (+info)

(8/1026) The corporate practice of health care ... a panel discussion.

The pros and cons of treating health care as a profit-making business got a lively airing in Boston May 16, when the Harvard School of Public Health's "Second Conference on Strategic Alliances in the Evolving Health Care Market" presented what was billed as a "Socratic panel." The moderator was Charles R. Nesson, J.D., a Harvard Law School professor of 30 years' standing whose knack for guiding lively discussions is well known to viewers of such Public Broadcasting Service series as "The Constitution: That Delicate Balance. "As one panelist mentioned, Boston was an interesting place for this conversation. With a large and eminent medical establishment consisting mostly of traditionally not-for-profit institutions, the metropolis of the only state carried in 1972 by liberal Presidential candidate George McGovern is in one sense a skeptical holdout against the wave of aggressive investment capitalism that has been sweeping the health care industry since the 1994 failure of the Clinton health plan. In another sense, though, managed care-heavy Boston is an innovative crucible of change, just like its dominant HMO, the not-for-profit but merger-minded Harvard Pilgrim Health Care. Both of these facets of Beantown's health care psychology could be discerned in the comments heard during the panel discussion. With the permission of the Harvard School of Public Health--and asking due indulgence for the limitations of tape-recording technology in a room often buzzing with amateur comment--MANAGED CARE is pleased to present selections from the discussion in the hope that they will shed light on the business of health care.  (+info)