Are All Readmissions Bad Readmissions?

Currently, Medicare and private insurers are attempting to put in place incentives to reduce the number of readmissions. Visits to the hospital are costly and reducing the frequency of hospital visits is the best means to reduce medical costs. In particular, if readmissions are the fault of the care the patients receive during the initial…

Hospital Quality

The HCAHPS (Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems) is a standardized survey instrument and data collection methodology for measuring patients’ perceptions of their hospital experience.  HCAPHS is the first national standard for collecting and reporting hospitals quality data. The survey asks discharged patients 27 questions about their recent hospital stay.  The survey is…

Effect of Massachusetts Health Reform on Hospital and Preventive Care

Kolstad and Kowalski (2010) examine how the Massachusetts individual mandate affected uninsurance rates, hospital and outpatient utilization, and preventive care: “Among the population discharged from the hospital in Massachusetts, the reform decreased uninsurance by 28% relative to its initial level. Increased coverage affected utilization patterns by decreasing length of stay and the number of inpatient…

Do Hospitals “Cost Shift” to the Privately Insured when Medicare Reduces Prices?

Many health policy experts believe that when Medicare or Medicaid decrease prices, hospitals will increase the prices they charge to the privately insured. Does this make sense?  Ginsburg (2003) summarizes the debate: Most executives in hospitals, physician organizations, health plans, and businesses have long been convinced that reductions in rates paid to Medicare and Medicaid…