When is physician failure a good thing?

How do physicians learn?  A paper by Van Gestel, Muller, and Bosmans (2018) claims that the answer is through cumulative experience, economies of scale, or human capital depreciation. Learning from cumulative experience refers to the idea that treating an additional patient generally improves physician (or team) performance. When referring to economies of scale, we capture…

Do hospital purchases of physician practices increase or decrease prices?

The effect of health care industry consolidation on prices is a question argued about by many including researchers, economists, anti-trust, lawyers, regulators and more.  There is evidence that health plan consolidation increases premiums, and hospital consolidation increases price. For instance, Dafny et al. 2015 writes: The harsh reality is that it’s difficult to find well-documented…

The downside of medical homes

Integrated delivery networks (IDNs) and medical homes are all the rage among health wonks.  The ability for patients to receive holistic are from multispecialty practice teams seems like it would be beneficial.  While quality of care may (or may not) improve with more integrated care, provider consolidation may have one downside: higher prices.  An NBER…

Why do physician practices join value-based payment initiatives?

Are physicians ready for value-based payment? That is the question a recent paper by Markovitz et al. (2017) attempts to answer. This question is not hypothetical as the Medicare Access and Children’s Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act (MACRA) requires physicians to choose between the current fee-for-service structure under the Merit-Based Incentive Payment System (MIPS) or…