Development of a heart failure center: a medical center and cardiology practice join forces to improve care and reduce costs .
Congestive heart failure (CHF) is a rapidly growing and expensive cardiovascular disorder. Conventional care for CHF is ineffective and results in a cycle of "crisis management" that includes repeated emergency department visits, hospitalizations, and physician visits. Recently, a number of outpatient coronary care centers that provide consistent, aggressive outpatient therapies and extensive patient education have emerged and are successfully breaking this cycle of dependence on hospital services. One such effort is the Heart Institute's Heart Failure Center, the result of a partnership between a private-practice cardiology group and our tertiary-care medical center. Our program includes not only patient education and outpatient infusions of inotropic agents, but an electronic linkage to the emergency department and home healthcare services. Preliminary data show that 16 months after the program was initiated, hospital admissions decreased by 30%, hospital days by 42% and average length of stay by 17%. An effective outpatient heart failure program can alleviate the economic burden of CHF and improve the quality of patient care. (+info)
Organizing and managing care in a changing health system.
OBJECTIVE: To examine ways in which the management and organization of medical care is changing in response to the shifting incentives created by managed care. DATA SOURCES: Site visits conducted in 12 randomly selected communities in 1996/ 1997. STUDY DESIGN: Approximately 35-60 interviews were conducted per site with key informants in healthcare and community organizations; about half were with providers. DATA COLLECTION: A standardized interview protocol was implemented across all sites, enabling cross-site comparisons. Multiple respondents were interviewed on each issue. PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: A great deal of experimentation and apparent duplication exist in efforts to develop programs to influence physician practice patterns. Responsibility for managing care is being contested by health plans, medical groups and hospitals, as each seeks to accrue the savings that can result from the more efficient delivery of care. To manage the financial and clinical risk, providers are aggressively consolidating and reorganizing. Most significant was the rapid formation of intermediary organizations, such as independent practice arrangements (IPAs), physician-hospital organizations (PHOs), or management services organizations (MSOs), for contracting with managed care organizations. CONCLUSIONS: Managed care appears to have only a modest effect on how healthcare organizations deliver medical care, despite the profound effect that managed care has on how providers are organized. Rather than improving the efficiency of healthcare organizations, provider efforts to build large systems and become indispensable to health plans are exacerbating problems of excess capacity. It is not clear if new organizational arrangements will help providers manage the changing incentives they face, or if their intent is to blunt the effects of the incentives by forming larger organizations to improve their bargaining power and resist change. (+info)
Impact of HMO market structure on physician-hospital strategic alliances.
OBJECTIVE: To assess the impact of HMO market structure on the formation of physician-hospital strategic alliances from 1993 through 1995. The two trends, managed care and physician-hospital integration have been prominent in reshaping insurance and provider markets over the past decade. STUDY DESIGN: Pooled cross-sectional data from the InterStudy HMO Census and the Annual Survey conducted by the American Hospital Association (AHA) between 1993 and the end of 1995 to examine the effects of HMO penetration and HMO numbers in a market on the formation of hospital-sponsored alliances with physicians. Because prior research has found nonlinear effects of HMOs on a variety of dependent variables, we operationalized HMO market structure two ways: using a Taylor series expansion and cross-classifying quartile distributions of HMO penetration and numbers into 16 dummy indicators. Alliance formation was operationalized using the presence of any alliance model (IPA, PHO, MSO, and foundation) and the sum of the four models present in the hospital. Because managed care and physician-hospital integration are endogenous (e.g., some hospitals also sponsor HMOs), we used an instrumental variables approach to model the determinants of HMO penetration and HMO numbers. These instruments were then used with other predictors of alliance formation: physician supply characteristics, the extent of hospital competition, hospital-level descriptors, population size and demographic characteristics, and indicators for each year. All equations were estimated at the MSA level using mixed linear models and first-difference models. PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: Contrary to conventional wisdom, alliance formation is shaped by the number of HMOs in the market rather than by HMO penetration. This confirms a growing perception that hospital-sponsored alliances with physicians are contracting vehicles for managed care: the greater the number of HMOs to contract with, the greater the development of alliances. The models also show that alliance formation is low in markets where a small number of HMOs have deeply penetrated the market. First-difference models further show that alliance formation is linked to HMO consolidation (drop in the number of HMOs in a market) and hospital downsizing. Alliance formation is not linked to changes in hospital costs, profitability, or market competition with other hospitals. CONCLUSIONS: Hospitals appear to form alliances with physicians for several reasons. Alliances serve to contract with the growing number of HMOs, to pose a countervailing bargaining force of providers in the face of HMO consolidation, and to accompany hospital downsizing and restructuring efforts. IMPLICATIONS FOR POLICY, DELIVERY, OR PRACTICE: Physician-hospital integration is often mentioned as a provider response to increasing cost-containment pressures due to rising managed care penetration. Our findings do not support this view. Alliances appear to serve the hospital's interest in bargaining with managed care plans on a more even basis. (+info)
Judging surgical research: how should we evaluate performance and measure value?
OBJECTIVE: To establish criteria to evaluate performance in surgical research, and to suggest strategies to optimize research in the future. SUMMARY BACKGROUND DATA: Research is an integral component of the academic mission, focusing on important clinical problems, accounting for surgical advances, and providing training and mentoring for young surgeons. With constraints on healthcare resources, there is increasing pressure to generate clinical revenues at the expense of the time and effort devoted to surgical research. An approach that would assess the value of research would allow prioritization of projects. Further, alignment of high-priority research projects with clinical goals would optimize research gains and maximize the clinical enterprise. METHODS: The authors reviewed performance criteria applied to industrial research and modified these criteria to apply to surgical research. They reviewed several programs that align research objectives with clinical goals. RESULTS: Performance criteria were categorized along several dimensions: internal measures (quality, productivity, innovation, learning, and development), customer satisfaction, market share, and financial indices (cost and profitability). A "report card" was proposed to allow the assessment of research in an individual department or division. CONCLUSIONS: The department's business strategy can no longer be divorced from its research strategy. Alignment between research and clinical goals will maximize the department's objectives but will create the need to modify existing hierarchical structures and reward systems. Such alignment appears to be the best way to ensure the success of surgical research in the future. (+info)
Pharmaceutical cost growth under capitation: a case study.
Rising drug spending has generated concern among purchasers and policymakers. This paper compares drug cost growth in a capitated system with that in managed care systems that generally did not place physicians directly at risk for drug spending. We focus on cost growth because a substantial body of literature indicates that managed care interventions that reduce the level of costs may not influence the rate of cost growth. Drug cost growth under capitation initially was below that of other systems but still above targeted rates. Over time the capitation rates rose, the amount of risk transferred to physicians declined, and spending growth accelerated. (+info)
Whither antitrust? The uncertain future of competition law in health care.
Although instrumental in ushering in competition to the health care industry and later in safeguarding the competitive structure of markets, antitrust law has come under attack. A series of questionable judicial decisions has clouded the standards applicable to analyzing health care markets. Legislative efforts to immunize conduct from antitrust challenge also have gathered support in recent years. This study finds scant economic or policy basis for these developments and concludes that anti-managed care sentiments have diluted enthusiasm for applying competitive principles in health care. This phenomenon has resulted in outcome-driven judicial decisions and legislative activity geared to serving political expediency rather than sound policy tenets. The paper recommends heightened antitrust scrutiny of provider and insurer markets by federal and state enforcers and increased empirical research into the workings of imperfect health care markets and the effects of past antitrust decisions. (+info)
Reevaluation of capitation contracting in New York and California.
We obtained detailed quantitative and interview data from Aetna U.S. Healthcare and six physician organizations to examine changes between 1998 and 2000 in the scope of capitation contracting and delegation of responsibility for claims payment and medical management in New York and California. The physician organizations in New York included Benchmark (Continuum), Montefiore IPA, and Lenox Hill Healthcare Network. In California they included Brown and Toland Medical Group, Monarch Healthcare, and Santa Clara County IPA. In both California, where global and shared risk capitation have been common, and New York, where they have not, we find movement to reduce the scope of prepayment and a rethinking of the delegated contractual relationship by physician organizations and health plans. This represents a departure from the 1990s, when many industry participants and analysts expected capitated and delegated relationships to spread across the nation. (+info)
Is managed care leading to consolidation in health-care markets?
OBJECTIVE: To determine the extent to which managed care has led to consolidation among hospitals and physicians. DATA SOURCES: We use data from the American Hospital Association, American Medical Association, and government censuses. STUDY DESIGN: Two stage least squares regression analysis examines how cross-section variation in managed care penetration affects provider consolidation, while controlling for the endogeneity of managed-care penetration. Specifically, we examine inpatient hospital markets and physician practice size in large metropolitan areas. DATA COLLECTION METHODS: All data are from secondary sources, merged at the level of the Primary Metropolitan Statistical Area. PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: We find that higher levels of local managed-care penetration are associated with substantial increases in consolidation in hospital and physician markets. In the average market (managed-care penetration equaled 34 percent in 1994), managed care was associated with an increase in the Herfindahl of .054 between 1981 and 1994, moving from .096 in 1981 to .154. This is equivalent to moving from 10.4 equal-size hospitals to 6.5 equal-sized hospitals. In the physician market place, we estimate that at the mean, managed care resulted in a 14 percentage point decrease of physicians in solo practice between 1986 and 1995. This implies a decrease in the percentage of doctors in solo practice from 38 percent in 1986 to 24 percent by 1995. (+info)