Experiences with information blocking in the United States: a national survey of hospitals

“Data and Methods Data We used data from the American Hospital Association (AHA) IT [information technology] Supplement Survey fielded between April and September 2021, an annual survey of hospitals on their IT capabilities and experiences. The AHA IT supplement is sent to Chief Information Officers and completed by those individuals or their delegates. [..] We combined this data with information on hospital characteristics from the 2020 AHA Annual Survey, the most recent year available. [..] Perceived information blocking [..] For health IT developers, hospitals were asked if they had experienced information blocking via price; contractual language; artificial technical, process or resource … Read More

Providing Birth Control Over the Counter Should Be Just the Beginning

“At a 1992 conference on birth control, an official on the F.D.A.’s fertility and maternal health drugs advisory committee, Philip Corfman, noted that the birth control pill is safer than aspirin, which is available over the counter. The F.D.A. subsequently announced plans to convene a hearing to consider moving oral contraceptives over-the-counter. It was believed that this would greatly expand access to birth control by bypassing doctors, to whom millions of Americans then — as still now — had little access. But, as the historian Heather Munro Prescott has recounted, the hearing was canceled at least partly because of criticism from … Read More

Using Publicly Available Health Plan Pricing Data For Research And App Development

“We used Elevance Health’s in-network pricing data and medical claims data. We focused on in-network prices because these are the prices negotiated by the payer, and out-of-network providers represent a small percentage of use for planned procedures. The formatting of the released data files follows the specifications provided by CMS. We limited our analysis to one state, Colorado, and one month, August 2022, to illustrate the concepts. [..] We split the prices into two components, the professional price and the facility price. Notably, these two components may not be the only costs associated with a procedure as there are often other … Read More

Proposed rules to protect health data in an era of abortion bans fall short

“A new rulemaking by the Biden administration seeks to lessen the harmful effects of abortion bans by protecting certain health data from being used to prosecute both clinicians and patients. But in the current draft, the rulemaking is designed to reinforce the privacy of reproductive health in states where abortion is legal and does little for those seeking abortion in states where it is illegal. Further, some states, like Idaho, are implementing a law that makes it illegal to travel out of state for an abortion, effectively blocking its citizens from the potential benefits of this rulemaking. The draft Notice of Proposed Rulemaking, titled … Read More

The System That Failed Jordan Neely

What a subway killing reveals about New York City’s revolving-door approach to mental illness and homelessness. “There are more than two hundred thousand residents of New York City living with severe mental illness; roughly five per cent of them are homeless. That’s thirteen thousand people with schizophrenia, major depressive and bipolar disorders, or other significant mental- or behavioral-health diagnoses, all of whom regularly spend the night at a shelter, in the subway, on the street. They’re the ones you recognize—the people whom, for the past fifty years, every mayor has either tried to help, harass, or hide from view. Rudy … Read More

PBMs, the Brokers Who Control Drug Prices, Finally Get Washington’s Attention

Excerpt – The three biggest PBMs [pharmacy benefit managers] — OptumRx, CVS Caremark, and Express Scripts — control about 80% of prescription drug sales in America and are the most profitable parts of the health conglomerates in which they’re nestled. CVS Health, the fourth-largest U.S. corporation by revenue on Fortune’s list, owns CVS Caremark and the insurer Aetna; UnitedHealth Group, a close fifth, owns Optum; and Cigna, ranking 12th, owns Express Scripts. While serving as middlemen among drugmakers, insurers, and pharmacies, the three corporations also own the highest-grossing specialty drug and mail-order pharmacies. [..] Drug manufacturers claim that exorbitant PBM demands … Read More

Cost-effectiveness of Sodium-Glucose Cotransporter-2 Inhibitors for Patients With Heart Failure and Preserved Ejection Fraction—Living on the Edge

Excerpt – In this issue of JAMA Cardiology, Cohen and colleagues have performed a formal cost-effectiveness analysis of SGLT2 [sodium-glucose cotransporter-2] inhibitors for patients with heart failure and an ejection fraction more than 40%. They developed a computer-simulation model to project the long-term clinical benefits and costs for patients with HFpEF [heart failure with preserved ejection fraction] with and without SGLT2 inhibition. Their model was based on pooled estimates of baseline risk and effectiveness of SGLT2 inhibitors derived from the EMPEROR-PRESERVED and DELIVER trials. Because these trials followed up patients for a median of only 2.3 years, the authors extrapolated … Read More

Addressing Serious Illness Care in Medicare Advantage

“we believe the quality bonus program (QBP), which offers incentives for providing high-quality care in Medicare Advantage, needs critical review and strengthening to improve accountability — steps that will be particularly important to support enrollees with serious illness. The foundation of the QBP is a five-star rating system in which plans are scored on the basis of claims-based performance measures and patient surveys. [..] A decade after the QBP’s implementation in 2012, however, concerns about its accuracy in measuring quality and its ability to drive quality improvement have been persistently documented in academic research and MedPAC reports. The inaccurate reflection … Read More

Structural Racism and Long-term Disparities in Youth Exposure to Firearm Violence

“Exposure to firearm violence is associated with lasting consequences for youth and their loved ones. Indirect exposure (eg, witnessing violence) and direct exposure (eg, surviving an assault) can influence mental and physical health outcomes over the life course. In a subset of individuals, exposure is associated with the future enactment of firearm violence, feeding cycles of firearm violence at the community level. [..] At the same time, efforts must directly target the systemic inequities that concentrate firearm violence exposure among Black and Hispanic youth. Racial and ethnic disparities in these outcomes are profound and longstanding. In the study by Lanfear … Read More

The Problem with Planned Parenthood

“For fifty years, Roe protected providers from legal risks like the ones taken on by the Jane Collective, an underground network of women in Chicago. Collective members arranged more than eleven thousand illegal abortions in the late nineteen-sixties and early seventies, until a team of detectives raided their makeshift clinic and charged them with multiple counts of “conspiracy to commit abortion.” (Just before their cases went to trial, the Supreme Court legalized abortion.) Arguably, providers face greater legal dangers now than they did before Roe. Carole Joffe, a sociologist who has written about the history of abortion, told me that … Read More