Discover the most talked about and latest scientific content & concepts.

Concept: Medicare


In 2011 US health care spending grew 3.9 percent to reach $2.7 trillion, marking the third consecutive year of relatively slow growth. Growth in national health spending closely tracked growth in nominal gross domestic product (GDP) in 2010 and 2011, and health spending as a share of GDP remained stable from 2009 through 2011, at 17.9 percent. Even as growth in spending at the national level has remained stable, personal health care spending growth accelerated in 2011 (from 3.7 percent to 4.1 percent), in part because of faster growth in spending for prescription drugs and physician and clinical services. There were also divergent trends in spending growth in 2011 depending on the payment source: Medicaid spending growth slowed, while growth in Medicare, private health insurance, and out-of-pocket spending accelerated. Overall, there was relatively slow growth in incomes, jobs, and GDP in 2011, which raises questions about whether US health care spending will rebound over the next few years as it typically has after past economic downturns.

Concepts: Health care, Medicare, Health economics, Medicine, Health insurance, Gross domestic product, Health care in the United States, Government spending


After the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved computer-aided detection (CAD) for mammography in 1998, and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) provided increased payment in 2002, CAD technology disseminated rapidly. Despite sparse evidence that CAD improves accuracy of mammographic interpretations and costs over $400 million a year, CAD is currently used for most screening mammograms in the United States.

Concepts: Medicare, United States, Type I and type II errors, Poverty in the United States, Mammography, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, Medicaid, Computer-aided diagnosis


Under the Physician Payments Sunshine Act, drug and device manufacturers and group purchasing organizations will report to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services payments made to physicians and teaching hospitals, and the data will be posted on a public website.

Concepts: Medicare, Health insurance, Hospital, Physician, Surgeon, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, Medicaid, Residency


The Affordable Care Act (ACA) and the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation emphasize accountable care organizations (ACOs) as mechanisms for achieving cost savings while ensuring high-quality care. ACOs are expected to contain costs through improvements in health care delivery and realignment of financial incentives, but their effectiveness remains unproved, and there are reasons for concern that they may fail.(1) Oregon has embarked on an ambitious program centered on the ACO model, which aims to change Medicaid financing and health care delivery. The Oregon experiment highlights both the bold vision of ACO-based health care reform and the potential challenges to . . .

Concepts: Health care, Medicare, Healthcare reform, Health insurance, Clinical trial, Economics, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, Eugene, Oregon


The International Classification of Diseases-10 (ICD-10) is a new system that is a federally mandated change affecting all payers and providers, and is expected to exceed both the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) and Y2K in terms of costs and risks. In 2003, HIPAA named ICD-9 as the code set for supporting diagnoses and procedures in electronic administrative transactions. However, on 16 January 2009, the Department of Health and Human Services published a regulation requiring the replacement of ICD-9 with ICD-10 as of 1 October 2013. While ICD-9 and ICD-10 have a similar type of hierarchy in their structures, ICD-10 is more complex and incorporates numerous changes. Overall, ICD-10 contains more than 141 000 codes, a whopping 712% increase over the <20 000 codes in ICD-9, creating enormous complexities, confusion and expense. Published statistics illustrate that there are instances where a single ICD-9 code can map to more than 50 distinct ICD-10 codes. Also, there are multiple instances where a single ICD-10 code can map to more than one ICD-9 code. Proponents of the new ICD-10 system argue that the granularity should lead to improvements in the quality of healthcare whereas detractors of the system see the same granularity as burdensome. The estimated cost per physician is projected to range from $25 000 to $50 000.

Concepts: Health care, Medicare, Health insurance, Code, Source code, Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, ICD-10, National Provider Identifier


BACKGROUND:: Oral antineoplastic drugs, not generally covered by Medicare Part B, have assumed an increasingly important role in cancer treatment. OBJECTIVE:: We examined use and spending on infused/injected (Part B covered) and non-Part B antineoplastic agents in a Medicare beneficiary population with cancer, and the effect of supplemental insurance. RESEARCH DESIGN:: This retrospective, observational study used pooled 1997-2007 data from the Medicare Current Beneficiary Survey, linked to Medicare claims. Logistic regression models identified factors associated with antineoplastic use. Generalized linear models were used to estimate spending among antineoplastic users. Population studied: A total of 1836 Medicare beneficiaries with newly diagnosed cancer were selected based on the presence of claims-based diagnoses after a 12-month washout period. RESULTS:: Five hundred fifty-nine (31.0%) Medicare beneficiaries received antineoplastic therapy; 395 (21.3%) used Part B, 253 (14.6%) used non-Part B antineoplastics. Spending per user was $7841 (any), $10,364 (Part B), and $1535 for non-Part B antineoplastics. Supplemental insurance was associated with antineoplastic use. Primary cancer site and age were key predictors of spending among users. Spending on non-Part B antineoplastics increased during 2006-2007 relative to 2004-2005 but time trends were not significant in multivariate analysis. CONCLUSIONS:: Antineoplastic therapy use by Medicare beneficiaries is sensitive to the presence but not type of supplemental insurance. Non-Part B therapy was used by a relatively large proportion of beneficiaries with cancer receiving therapy, although spending was less than for Part B therapy. Monitoring the role of supplemental insurance, and particularly the role of Medicare Part D is a critical area for ongoing research.

Concepts: Regression analysis, Medicare, Medicare Part D, Medicare Prescription Drug, Improvement, and Modernization Act, Antineoplastic


BACKGROUND: Generic alendronate was approved in the United States on February 6, 2008. Medicare beneficiaries might pay for generic alendronate out-of-pocket without having claims submitted, resulting in misclassification of generic alendronate use in Medicare data. OBJECTIVES: To estimate the completeness of generic alendronate use in 2008 Medicare Part D data; to identify factors associated with staying on branded alendronate versus switching to a generic product. METHODS: We identified Medicare beneficiaries highly adherent (medication possession ratio ≥80%) with branded alendronate during 1/1/06-2/6/07 (“2007 cohort”) and during 1/1/07-2/6/08 (“2008 cohort”). The outcome was medication status at the end of follow-up (12/31/2007 or 12/31/2008), classified as continued branded alendronate, switched to generic alendronate, switched to another bisphosphonate or presumed discontinued bisphosphonate therapy. Cox regression estimated the hazard ratio (HR) for discontinuation in 2008 compared to 2007. Multinomial logistic regression identified factors associated with medication status for the 2008 cohort. RESULTS: Among 15 310 subjects using branded alendronate in the 2008 cohort, 81% switched to generic alendronate. The proportion presumably discontinuing bisphosphonate therapy was 8.9% in 2008 compared to 7.7% in the 2007 cohort (adjusted HR, 1.15; 95% confidence interval, 1.05, 1.26). Factors associated with staying on branded alendronate in 2008 were higher income, eligibility for a low income subsidy and use of Fosamax® plus vitamin D. CONCLUSION: Evaluation of Medicare prescription drug data suggests that the amount of missing claims for generic alendronate in 2008 was not substantial, and misclassification of exposure in studies examining alendronate use post-generic product availability should be minimal. Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Concepts: Pharmacology, Regression analysis, Prescription drug, Medicare, Statistics, Multinomial logit, Medicare Part D, Medicare Prescription Drug, Improvement, and Modernization Act


Mobile health (mHealth) technology has facilitated the transition of care beyond the traditional hospital setting to the homes of patients. Yet few studies have evaluated the legal implications of the expansion of mHealth applications, or “apps.” Such apps are affected by a patchwork of policies related to medical licensure, privacy and security protection, and malpractice liability. For example, the privacy protections of the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) of 1996 may apply to only some uses of the apps. Similarly, it is not clear what a doctor’s malpractice liability would be if he or she injured a patient as the result of inaccurate information supplied by the patient’s self-monitoring health app. This article examines the legal issues related to the oversight of health apps, discusses current federal regulations, and suggests strategies to improve the oversight of these apps.

Concepts: Health care, Medicare, Health insurance, Patient, Hospital, Physician, Illness, Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act


In July, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) issued a proposed rule for a new Comprehensive Care for Joint Replacement (CCJR) program. The program would establish bundled payments for total hip and knee replacements, covering hospitalizations, professional fees, and all clinically related Medicare Part A and Part B services for 90 days after discharge, including skilled nursing facility care, home care, and hospital readmissions. CCJR is similar to another model CMS is testing called Bundled Payments for Care Improvement (BPCI), but whereas BPCI is voluntary, hospitals would be required to participate in CCJR. CMS proposes implementing the 5-year . . .

Concepts: Medicare, Hospital, Geriatrics, Nursing home, Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, Medicare and Medicaid


Accurately documenting the current and future costs of hypertension is required to fully understand the potential economic impact of currently available and future interventions to prevent and treat hypertension. The objective of this work was to calculate the healthcare costs attributable to hypertension in Canada and to project these costs to 2020. Using population-based administrative data for the province of Alberta, Canada (>3 million residents) from 2002 to 2010, we identified individuals with and without diagnosed hypertension. We calculated their total healthcare costs and estimated costs attributable to hypertension using a regression model adjusting for comorbidities and sociodemographic factors. We then extrapolated hypertension-attributable costs to the rest of Canada and projected costs to the year 2020. Twenty-one percent of adults in Alberta had diagnosed hypertension in 2010, with a projected increase to 27% by 2020. The average individual with hypertension had annual healthcare costs of $5768, of which $2341 (41%) were attributed to hypertension. In Alberta, the healthcare costs attributable to hypertension were $1.4 billion in 2010. In Canada, the hypertension-attributable costs were estimated to be $13.9 billion in 2010, rising to $20.5 billion by 2020. The increase was ascribed to demographic changes (52%), increasing prevalence (16%), and increasing per-patient costs (32%). Hypertension accounts for a significant proportion of healthcare spending (10.2% of the Canadian healthcare budget) and is projected to rise even further. Interventions to prevent and treat hypertension may play a role in limiting this cost growth.

Concepts: Cohort study, Medicare, Alberta, Provinces and territories of Canada, Canada, Health care in the United States, British Columbia, History of Canada