When Should You Trust Your Doctor?

That is the title of a recent study I published with Michael Halasy in Mayo Clinic Proceedings. The subtitle is Establishing a Theoretical Model to Evaluate the Value of Second Opinion Visits. The abstract is below: In order to produce a mathematical model for better understanding of the benefits and utilization of second opinions and…

Measuring Hospital Quality

Quality of care is difficult to measure. Even if you had a perfect measure of quality in terms of health outcomes, risk adjustment is imperfect. For instance, academic medical centers are often assumed to have high quality, but actual outcomes observed in the data may not be that good if they also receive the sickest,…

Medicare eats the world

In 2020, Medicare premiums and cost sharing were estimated to consume 24 percent of the average Social Security benefit, up from 14 percent in 2000. The Medicare Trustees estimate that in another 20 years, these costs will consume 31 percent of the average Social Security benefit. Medicare Payment Advisory Committee (MedPAC), March 2021 report

Excess deaths due to COVID-19

Using data from the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) and US Census Bureau, Woolf et al. (2021) find: Between March 1, 2020, and January 2, 2021, the US experienced 2 801 439 deaths, 22.9% more than expected, representing 522 368 excess deaths…The excess death rate was higher among non-Hispanic Black (208.4 deaths per 100 000) than non-Hispanic White…


Public health spending lags medical spending. On the importance of pre-analysis protocols. Medicare spends over $10 billion on COVID-19 in 2020.  Home health = infrastructure? Will enrollment in cancer clinical trials continue to be difficult post-COVID? Yes vs No.