Professor, Medicine - General Medical Disciplines
To develop a composite patient safety score that provides patients, health-care providers, and health-care purchasers with a standardized method to evaluate patient safety in general acute care hospitals in the United States.The Leapfrog Group sought guidance from a panel of national patient safety experts to develop the composite score. Candidate patient safety performance measures for inclusion in the score were identified from publicly reported national sources. Hospital performance on each measure was converted into a "z-score" and then aggregated using measure-specific weights. A reference mean score was set at 3, with scores interpreted in terms of standard deviations above or below the mean, with above reflecting better than average performance.Twenty-six measures were included in the score. The mean composite score for 2652 general acute care hospitals in the United States was 2.97 (range by hospital, 0.46-3.94). Safety scores were slightly lower for hospitals that were publicly owned, rural in location, or had a larger percentage of patients with Medicaid as their primary insurance.The Leapfrog patient safety composite provides a standardized method to evaluate patient safety in general acute care hospitals in the United States. While constrained by available data and publicly reported scores on patient safety measures, the composite score reflects the best available evidence regarding a hospital's efforts and outcomes in patient safety. Additional analyses are needed, but the score did not seem to have a strong bias against hospitals with specific characteristics. The composite score will continue to be refined over time as measures of patient safety evolve.
View details for DOI 10.1097/PTS.0b013e3182952644
View details for PubMedID 24080719
In 2008, hospitals were selected to participate in the California Healthcare-Associated Infection Prevention Initiative (CHAIPI). This research evaluates the impact of CHAIPI on hospital adoption and implementation of evidence-based patient safety practices and reduction of health care-associated infection (HAI) rates.Statewide computer-assisted telephone surveys of California's general acute care hospitals were conducted in 2008 and 2010 (response rates, 80% and 76%, respectively). Difference-in-difference analyses were used to compare changes in process and HAI rate outcomes in CHAIPI hospitals (n = 34) and non-CHAIPI hospitals (n = 149) that responded to both waves of the survey.Compared with non-CHAIPI hospitals, CHAIPI hospitals demonstrated greater improvements between 2008 and 2010 in adoption (P = .021) and implementation (P = .012) of written evidence-based practices for overall patient safety and prevention of HAIs and in assessing their compliance (P = .033) with these practices. However, there were no significant differences in the changes in HAI rates between CHAIPI and non-CHAIPI hospitals over this time period.Participation in the CHAIPI collaborative was associated with significant improvements in evidence-based patient safety practices in hospitals. However, determining how evidence-based practices translate into changes in HAI rates may take more time. Our results suggest that all hospitals be offered the opportunity to participate in an active learning collaborative to improve patient safety.
View details for DOI 10.1016/j.ajic.2012.04.322
View details for Web of Science ID 000317416000005
View details for PubMedID 22921825
There is tremendous interest in different approaches to slowing the rise in US per capita health spending. One approach is to publicly report on a provider's costs--also called efficiency, resource use, or value measures--with the hope that consumers will select lower-cost providers and providers will be encouraged to decrease spending. In this paper we explain why we believe that many current cost-profiling efforts are unlikely to have this intended effect. One of the reasons is that many consumers believe that more care is better and that higher-cost providers are higher-quality providers, so giving them information that some providers are lower cost may have the perverse effect of deterring them from accessing these providers. We suggest changes that can be made to content and design of public cost reports to increase the intended consumer and provider response.
View details for DOI 10.1377/hlthaff.2011.1181
View details for Web of Science ID 000302777400023
View details for PubMedID 22459922
This research analyzes the relationship between hospital use of automated surveillance technology (AST) for identification and control of hospital-acquired infections (HAI) and implementation of evidence-based infection control practices. Our hypothesis is that hospitals that use AST have made more progress implementing infection control practices than hospitals that rely on manual surveillance.A survey of all acute general care hospitals in California was conducted from October 2008 through January 2009. A structured computer-assisted telephone interview was conducted with the quality director of each hospital. The final sample includes 241 general acute care hospitals (response rate, 83%).Approximately one third (32.4%) of California's hospitals use AST for monitoring HAI. Adoption of AST is statistically significant and positively associated with the depth of implementation of evidence-based practices for methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus and ventilator-associated pneumonia and adoption of contact precautions and surgical care infection practices. Use of AST is also statistically significantly associated with the breadth of hospital implementation of evidence-based practices across all 5 targeted HAI.Our findings suggest that hospitals using AST can achieve greater depth and breadth in implementing evidenced-based infection control practices.
View details for DOI 10.1016/j.ajic.2010.10.037
View details for Web of Science ID 000290019000004
View details for PubMedID 21531272
One way to motivate hospitals to improve patient safety is to publicly report their rates of hospital-acquired infections, as California is starting to do this year. We conducted a baseline study of California's acute care hospitals just before mandatory reporting of hospital-acquired infection rates to the state began, in 2008. We found variability in many areas: For example, 70.1 percent of hospitals said that they were fully implementing evidence-based guidelines to fight infection by methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus, but 22.8 percent of hospitals had not adopted any. Our analysis showed that rural hospitals, many of which lack resources to implement needed procedures, faced the greatest challenges in reporting and improving infection rates. Our findings should be of interest to Medicare policy makers who will implement the hospital-acquired infection performance measures in the Affordable Care Act, and to leaders in the thirty-eight states that have enacted legislation requiring reports of hospital-acquired infection rates. California's baseline data also present a unique opportunity to assess the impact of mandatory and public reporting laws.
View details for DOI 10.1377/hlthaff.2009.0990
View details for Web of Science ID 000289233400025
View details for PubMedID 21471494
High copayments for medical services can cause patients to underuse essential therapies. Value-based health insurance design attempts to address this problem by explicitly linking cost sharing and value. Copayments are set at low levels for high-value services. The Mercer National Survey of Employer-Sponsored Health Plans demonstrates that value-based insurance design use is increasing and that 81 percent of large employers plan to offer it in the near future. Despite this increase, few studies have adequately evaluated its ability to improve quality and reduce health spending. Maximizing the benefits of value-based insurance design will require mechanisms to target appropriate copayment reductions, offset short-run cost outlays, and expand its use to other health services.
View details for DOI 10.1377/hlthaff.2009.0324
View details for Web of Science ID 000283668700003
View details for PubMedID 21041737
While all of medicine is under pressure to increase transparency and accountability, joint replacement subspecialists will face special scrutiny. Disclosures of questionable consulting fees, a demographic shift to younger patients, and uncertainty about the marginal benefits of product innovation in a time of great cost pressure invite a serious and progressive response from the profession. Current efforts to standardize measures by the National Quality Forum and PQRI will not address the concerns of purchasers, payors, or policy makers. Instead, they will ask the profession to document its commitment to appropriateness, stewardship of resources, coordination of care, and patient-centeredness. One mechanism for addressing these expectations is voluntary development of a uniform national registry for joint replacements that includes capture of preoperative appropriateness indicators, device monitoring information, revision rates, and structured postoperative patient followup. A national registry should support performance feedback and quality improvement activity, but it must also be designed to satisfy payor, purchaser, policymaker, and patient needs for information. Professional societies in orthopaedics should lead a collaborative process to develop metrics, infrastructure, and reporting formats that support continuous improvement and public accountability.
View details for DOI 10.1007/s11999-009-0999-z
View details for Web of Science ID 000269926400011
View details for PubMedID 19641973
To assess the extent to which excluding physicians from a preferred provider organization (PPO) network causes patients to discontinue using their services and whether the associated changes will result in greater demand for emergency department or inpatient care.Analysis of a natural experiment involving the narrowing of a PPO network operated by the Taft-Hartley Fund. The panel data analysis compared rates of patient discontinuation for excluded physicians before and after the change. The pre-post analysis used matched comparison groups for office visits, emergency department visits, inpatient admissions, and spending for affected patients.Claims data analysis used generalized estimating equations and controlled for patient age, sex, health status, and hourly wage. Models examining utilization and spending for 6187 patients who remained with excluded physicians also used a propensity score-matched comparison group identified from among patients who had never seen an excluded physician. Differential response to physician exclusion according to age, health status, and hourly wage was also examined through interaction terms.The network narrowing reduced the odds of continuing to see an excluded physician (odds ratio, 0.18; P <.001). Patients who continued to see excluded physicians reduced their office visits by a mean of 0.9 visits per year, 0.8 visits more than comparison patients (P <.001). There were no significant changes in emergency department visits or admissions for patients of excluded physicians compared with a matched cohort.Substantial copayment differentials may be an effective means of encouraging patients to change physicians. Where they are based on reliable information about provider quality and cost, tiered networks may improve value.
View details for Web of Science ID 000270975300005
View details for PubMedID 19845423
To evaluate the impact of offering US$100 each to patients and their obstetricians or midwives for timely and comprehensive prenatal care on low birth weight, neonatal intensive care admissions, and total pediatric health care spending in the first year of life.Claims and enrollment profiles of the predominantly low-income and Hispanic participants of a union-sponsored, health insurance plan from 1998 to 2001.Panel data analysis of outcomes and spending for participants and nonparticipants using instrumental variables to account for selection bias. DATA COLLECTION/ABSTRACTION METHODS: Data provided were analyzed using t-tests and chi-squared tests to compare maternal characteristics and birth outcomes for incentive program participants and nonparticipants, with and without instrumental variables to address selection bias. Adjusted variables were analyzed using logistic regression models.Participation in the incentive program was significantly associated with lower odds of neonatal intensive care unit admission (0.45; 95 percent CI, 0.23-0.88) and spending in the first year of life (estimated elasticity of -0.07; 95 percent CI, -0.12 to -0.01), but not low birth weight (0.53; 95 percent CI, 0.23-1.18).The use of patient and physician incentives may be an effective mechanism for improving use of recommended prenatal care and associated outcomes, particularly among low-income women.
View details for DOI 10.1111/j.1475-6773.2009.00996.x
View details for Web of Science ID 000269494600003
View details for PubMedID 19619248
Four primary care sites in the United States constitute "medical home runs" because their patients incur 15-20 percent less (risk-adjusted) total health care spending per year than patients treated by regional peers, without evidence of reduced quality. The sites achieved this result in a U.S. payment environment that usually penalizes physicians who invest to prevent costly near-term health crises. If the ingredients and accomplishments of these four sites spread, under- and uninsured lower-income Americans could be fully covered in the foreseeable future without increased health spending or lower quality of care. In exchange, sponsors of health benefits would gladly support additional primary care physician payment.
View details for DOI 10.1377/hlthaff.28.5.1317
View details for Web of Science ID 000269646100011
View details for PubMedID 19738247
The lack of good information on providers' performance is an impediment to improving the affordability and quality of health care. Knowing that certain hospitals or physicians produce more effective and efficient care would help consumers make appropriate purchases and create incentive for improvement. Yet many physicians resist such measurement efforts, unconvinced of their accuracy. Meanwhile, large employers want much more than their insurers provide to them, including attribution of quality and cost of care to individual physicians. Although recent developments in performance measurement illustrate its unsettled state, they also foreshadow how the field may advance.
View details for DOI 10.1377/hlthaff.28.5.1429
View details for Web of Science ID 000269646100025
View details for PubMedID 19738260
The purpose of this study was to determine whether multidisciplinary team-based care guided by the chronic care model can reduce medical payments and improve quality for Medicaid enrollees with diabetes.This study was a difference-in-differences analysis comparing Medicaid patients with diabetes who received team-based care versus those who did not. Team-based care was provided to patients treated at CareSouth, a multisite rural federally qualified community health center located in South Carolina. Control patients were matched to team care patients using propensity score techniques. Financial outcomes compared Medicaid (and Medicare for dually eligible patients) payments 1 year before and after intervention. Trends over time in levels of A1C, BMI, and systolic blood pressure (SBP) were analyzed for intervention patients during the postintervention period.Although average claims payments increased for both the CareSouth patients and control patients, there were no statistically significant differences in total payments between the two groups. In the intervention group, patients with A1C >9 at baseline experienced an average reduction of 0.75 mg/dl per year (95% CI 0.50-0.99), patients with BMI >30 at baseline had an average reduction of 2.3 points per year (95% CI 0.99-3.58), and patients with SBP >140 mmHg at baseline had an average reduction of 2.2 mmHg per year (95% CI 0.44-3.88).Team-based care following the chronic care model has the potential to improve quality without increasing payments. Short-term savings were not evident and should not be assumed when designing programs.
View details for DOI 10.2337/dc08-0587
View details for Web of Science ID 000260565000018
View details for PubMedID 18678609
It is unclear whether public reporting of hospital and physician performance has improved outcomes for the conditions being reported. We studied the effect of intensive public reporting on hospital mortality for 6 high-frequency, high-mortality medical conditions. Patients in Pennsylvania were matched to patients in other states with varying public reporting environments using propensity score methods. The effect of public reporting was estimated using a difference in differences approach. Patients treated at hospitals subjected to intensive public reporting had significantly lower odds of in-hospital mortality when compared with similar patients treated at hospitals in environments with no public reporting or only limited reporting. Overall, the 2000-2003 in-hospital mortality odds ratio for Pennsylvania patients versus non-Pennsylvania patients ranged from 0.59 to 0.79 across 6 clinical conditions (all P < .0001). For the same comparison using the 1997-1999 period, odds ratios ranged from 0.72 to 0.90, suggesting improvement when intensive public reporting occurred.
View details for DOI 10.1177/1062860608318451
View details for Web of Science ID 000257806600006
View details for PubMedID 18658101
Efforts to improve the efficiency and quality of health care are unlikely to be successful if physicians and hospitals incur steep financial losses from success in accomplishing these goals, according to a new study by the Center for Studying Health System Change (HSC). Currently, most efforts to improve efficiency for a specific medical condition usually reduce the number of services per patient that can be billed, posing financial challenges for providers. These challenges are often magnified by the current fee-for-service payment structure, where some services are highly profitable and others are unprofitable, further undermining the case for redesigning care delivery to improve quality and efficiency. These dynamics are seen in the collaboration between Virginia Mason Medical Center (VMMC) and Aetna in Seattle to improve care for four common conditions. Although Aetna and participating self-insured employers have agreed to pay higher rates for certain unprofitable services if reductions in use of profitable services are achieved, VMMC still faces a financial challenge from applying more efficient care practices to patients covered by other insurers.
View details for PubMedID 17649612
We examine how an integrated delivery system responded to threatened exclusion from an insurer's high-performance network by attempting to reduce costs through fundamental redesign of care processes. Some factors facilitating this transformation, such as its structure as a large salaried medical group exclusively affiliated with a hospital, might be specific to the organization and its market. Other essential elements could be replicated. But in a fee-for-service payment system, cost reduction from reducing the number of services or changing their mix can reduce profitability. Making the business case for sustaining desirable provider behavior may require that purchasers and plans make equally fundamental changes in payment policy.
View details for DOI 10.1377/hlthaff.26.4.w532
View details for Web of Science ID 000248119500053
View details for PubMedID 17623687
Health plans increasingly use physician performance ratings, but some physicians are concerned that measurement inaccuracies may jeopardize their reputations and livelihoods. Absent from the debate thus far are consumer views about how accurate physician ratings need to be for various uses. Consumer tolerance for inaccuracy in physician performance ratings varies widely, according to a new national study by the Center for Studying Health System Change (HSC). At least one-third of adults have a low tolerance for inaccuracy (5 percent or less), but more than one of every five adults would tolerate ratings that were 20 percent-50 percent inaccurate. Consumers' relatively higher tolerance for inaccuracy when used for public reporting and tiered networks may speed these uses of physician performance ratings by health plans. However, consumers' lower tolerance for inaccurate ratings when choosing their own physicians and paying physicians for performance may hinder such uses.
View details for PubMedID 17407857
We obtained price and quality information for nonurgent coronary artery bypass graft (CABG) surgery from a sample of internationally patronized hospitals in low-wage countries. We found rising quality standards, availability of U.S.-trained physicians, and prices far below insurer-negotiated U.S. prices. The price differentials easily accommodated the incentive specified as a condition for surgery abroad by about 30 percent of surveyed households with a sick member. These findings foreshadow growth in offshoring of expensive nonemergency surgeries among increasingly cost-sensitive U.S. consumers and purchasers.
View details for DOI 10.1377/hlthaff.26.1
View details for Web of Science ID 000244223200015
View details for PubMedID 17211022
View details for PubMedID 16579113
We used a series of case studies of first-generation consumer-directed health plans to investigate their early experience and the suitability of their design for reducing the growth in health benefit spending and improving the value of that spending. We found three fundamental but correctible weaknesses: Most plans do not make available comparative measures of quality and longitudinal cost-efficiency in enough detail to help consumers discern higher-value health care options; financial incentives for consumers are weak and insensitive to differences in value among the selections that consumers make; and none of the plans made cost-sharing adjustments to preserve freedom of choice for low-income consumers.
View details for DOI 10.1377/hlthaff.24.5.1592
View details for Web of Science ID 000235033500025
View details for PubMedID 16284033
Other stakeholders and events will influence whether health insurers' current postmerger prosperity will lead to U.S. health benefit programs that are predominantly sponsored by the private or public sectors. Large employers are encouraging three complementary health benefit innovations to improve the affordability and quality, or "efficiency," of clinical services: portable spending accounts, provider pay-for-performance, and tiered plans. If health insurers prefer private-sector health benefit sponsorship, they will need to implement these innovations robustly, despite the risks they pose to insurers' current but predictably temporary prosperity. Clinical efficiency gains can also sustain access to biomedical innovations for low- and moderate-income Americans.
View details for DOI 10.1377/hlthaff.23.6.32
View details for Web of Science ID 000227835800005
View details for PubMedID 15537583
Despite widespread publicity of consumer-directed health plans, little is known about their prevalence and the extent to which their designs adequately reflect and support consumerism.We examined three types of consumer-directed health plans: health reimbursement accounts (HRAs), premium-tiered, and point-of-care tiered benefit plans. We sought to measure the extent to which these plans had diffused, as well as to provide a critical look at the ways in which these plans support consumerism. Consumerism in this context refers to efforts to enable informed consumer choice and consumers' involvement in managing their health. We also wished to determine whether mainstream health plans-health maintenance organization (HMO), point of service (POS), and preferred provider organization (PPO) models-were being influenced by consumerism.Our study uses national survey data collected by Mercer Human Resource Consulting from 680 national and regional commercial health benefit plans on HMO, PPO, POS, and consumer-directed products.We defined consumer-directed products as health benefit plans that provided (1) consumer incentives to select more economical health care options, including self-care and no care, and (2) information and support to inform such selections. We asked health plans that offered consumer-directed products about 2003 enrollment, basic design features, and the availability of decision support. We also asked mainstream health plans about their activities that supported consumerism (e.g., proactive outreach to inform or influence enrollee behavior, such as self-management or preventive care, reminders sent to patients with identified medical conditions.)We analyzed survey responses for all four product lines in order to identify those plans that offer health reimbursement accounts (HRAs), premium-tiered, or point-of-care tiered models as well as efforts of mainstream health plans to engage informed consumer decision making.The majority of enrollees in consumer-directed health plans are in tiered models (primarily point-of-care tiered networks) rather than HRAs. Tiers are predominantly determined based on both cost and quality criteria. Enrollment in HRAs has grown substantially, in part because of the entry of mainstream managed care plans into the consumer-directed market. Health reimbursement accounts, tiered networks, and traditional managed care plans vary in their capacity to support consumers in managing their health risks and selection of provider and treatment options, with HRAs providing the most and mainstream plans the least.While enrollment in consumer-directed health plans continues to grow steadily, it remains a tiny fraction of all employer-sponsored coverage. Decision support in these plans, a critical link to help consumers make more informed choices, is also still limited. This lack may be of concern in light of the fact that only a minority of such plans report that they monitor claims to protect against underuse. Tiered benefit models appear to be more readily accepted by the market than HRAs. If they are to succeed in optimizing consumers' utility from health benefit spending, careful attention needs to be paid to how well these models inform consumers about the consequences of their selections.
View details for Web of Science ID 000229029400002
View details for PubMedID 15230911
This paper examines the tolerance by all stakeholders of increasingly well documented evidence of serious and widespread clinical quality failure in the United States. Using research evidence from psychology, it describes specific cognitive and motivational impediments to the perception of quality failure-those shared by all stakeholders and those particularly relevant to patients and their families and to health care professionals. The authors endorse efforts by the National Quality Forum and others to make quality failure more publicly visible. They also point to the pivotal role of health care industry leaders in sustaining focus on a problem that inherently resists visibility.
View details for Web of Science ID 000181450400021
View details for PubMedID 12674415
View details for PubMedID 12228869
The business case for health insurance coverage of smoking cessation treatments by employers is a strong one. Smoking is one of the nation's costliest health problems, in both human and financial terms. The science behind smoking cessation treatment and promotion of treatment is strong; the cost effectiveness of smoking cessation treatment is among the highest in all of medicine, the time required before a positive return on investment is reasonable for employers, and the short-term costs of treatments are well estimated and manageable for health plans and employers. Armed with this business case, the PBGH Negotiating Alliance has expanded health insurance to include pharmacotherapy, over the counter or by prescription, and behavioral interventions. Because PBGH has been a national leader, we hope that other employers, employer coalitions, and public purchasers will follow their lead. The potential health effect of even small reductions in smoking are striking, and unlike other chronic illnesses, nicotine addiction is curable, at both individual and societal levels. Thus, if employers make the investment in smoking cessation and other tobacco control today, they face the real possibility that the need for such outlays could decrease in the future.
View details for Web of Science ID 000168794500009
View details for PubMedID 11502016
View details for PubMedID 11151534
Evidence exists that high-volume hospitals (HVHs) have lower mortality rates than low-volume hospitals (LVHs) for certain conditions. However, few employers, health plans, or government programs have attempted to increase the number of patients referred to HVHs.To determine the difference in hospital mortality between HVHs and LVHs for conditions for which good quality data exist and to estimate how many deaths potentially would be avoided in California by referral to HVHs.Literature in MEDLINE, Current Contents, and First-Search Social Abstracts databases from January 1, 1983, to December 31, 1998, was searched using the key words hospital, outcome, mortality, volume, risk, and quality. The highest-quality study assessing the mortality-volume relationship for each given condition was identified and used to calculate odds ratios (ORs) for in-hospital mortality for LVHs vs HVHs. These ORs were then applied to the 1997 California database of hospital discharges maintained by the California Office of Statewide Health Planning and Development to estimate potentially avoidable deaths.Deaths that potentially could be avoided if patients with conditions for which a mortality-volume relationship had been treated at an HVH vs LVH.The articles identified in the literature search were grouped by condition, and predetermined criteria were applied to choose the best article for each condition. Mortality was significantly lower at HVHs for elective abdominal aortic aneurysm repair, carotid endarterectomy, lower extremity arterial bypass surgery, coronary artery bypass surgery, coronary angioplasty, heart transplantation, pediatric cardiac surgery, pancreatic cancer surgery, esophageal cancer surgery, cerebral aneurysm surgery, and treatment of human immunodeficiency virus (HIV)/acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS). A total of 58,306 of 121,609 patients with these conditions were admitted to LVHs in California in 1997. After applying the calculated ORs to these patient populations, we estimated that 602 deaths (95% confidence interval, 304-830) at LVHs could be attributed to their low volume. Additional analyses were performed to take into account emergent admissions and distance traveled, but the impact of loss of continuity of care for some patients and reduction in the availability of specialists for patients remaining at LVHs could not be assessed.Initiatives to facilitate referral of patients to HVHs have the potential to reduce overall hospital mortality in California for the conditions identified. Additional study is needed to determine the extent to which selective referral is feasible and to examine the potential consequences of such initiatives.
View details for Web of Science ID 000085424100025
View details for PubMedID 10703778
In 1996 the Pacific Business Group on Health (PBGH) negotiated more than two dozen performance guarantees with thirteen of California's largest health maintenance organizations (HMOs) on behalf the seventeen large employers in its Negotiating Alliance. The negotiations put more than $8 million at risk for meeting performance targets with the goal of improving the performance of all health plans. Nearly $2 million, or 23 percent of the premium at risk, was refunded to the PBGH by the HMOs for missed targets. The majority of plans met their targets for satisfaction with the health plan and physicians, as well as cesarean section, mammography, Pap smear, and prenatal care rates. However, eight of the thirteen plans missed their targets for childhood immunizations, refunding 86 percent of the premium at risk.
View details for Web of Science ID 000079083300015
View details for PubMedID 10091440
Large employers have become increasingly involved in helping to set the agenda for quality measurement and improvement. Moreover, they are beginning to hold health care organizations accountable for their performance through marketplace incentives, including the public reporting of comparative quality data and the linkage of reimbursement to performance on quality measures. The Pacific Business Group on Health (PBGH) is an employer coalition that has been prominent in establishing models for collaborative quality measurement and improvement in the California marketplace. PBGH's involvement in quality stems from an environment in which purchasers were faced with high health care costs, yet virtually no information with which to assess the value their employees received from that care. Research indicating widespread variation in performance across health care organizations and seemingly limited oversight for quality of care within the industry has further motivated purchasers' efforts to better understand the quality of care being delivered to their em-ployees. Using the purchasing power of employers representing 2.5-million covered lives, PBGH endeavors to encourage the transition of the health care marketplace from one that competes solely on price to one that competes on price and quality. This entails collaborating with the health care industry to develop and publicly report valid performance data for use by both large employers and consumers of health care services. It also includes communicating to the marketplace purchasers' commitment to making purchasing decisions based on quality as well as cost. PBGH efforts to measure, report, and improve quality have been demonstrated by several undertakings in the perinatal care arena, including research to assess cesarean section rates and newborn readmission rates across California hospitals.employer coalition, purchaser, quality measurement, quality improvement, report cards, perinatal quality of care.
View details for PubMedID 9917468
The objective of this research was to determine whether patients who reported that their physician or other health care professional had discussed health education topics with them were more satisfied with their physician than were patients who reported they had not.Data were from the 1994 Health Plan Value Check conducted by the Pacific Business Group on Health (52% response rate). The study sample included 5066 employees ranging in age from 19 to 64 years and representing four large corporations and 21 health plans. This population was randomly sampled by company and health plan. Bivariate and multivariate analyses were used to assess the relationship between level of patient satisfaction with physician and reported discussion of health education topics with a physician or other health professional in the last 3 years.Patients who reported that their physician or other health care professional discussed at least one health education topic with them in the last 3 years were more likely to be satisfied with their physician (unadjusted odds ratio [OR] = 1.96; 95% confidence interval [CI] 1.79 to 2.25) compared with patients who did not. In the multivariate model, the relationship remained positive and statistically significant (adjusted OR = 1.49; 95% CI, 1.32 to 1.68). This relationship was observed for patients enrolled in all types of HMOs and managed care plans, as well as those with indemnity or fee-for-service insurance.Patients who reported that their physician or other health care professional had discussed one or more health education topics with them in the last 3 years were more likely to be very satisfied with their physician than were patients who reported they had not.
View details for Web of Science ID A1996TP48500007
View details for PubMedID 8537807
There is widespread concern that ownership by physicians of testing or treatment facilities to which they refer patients leads to overuse of such facilities. We determined the patterns of use of three services--physical therapy, psychiatric evaluation, and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)--among physicians treating patients whose care was covered under workers' compensation. We then compared the rates of use among physicians who referred patients to facilities of which they were owners (self-referral group) with the rates among physicians who referred patients to independent facilities (independent-referral group).We used a large data base to analyze claims under workers' compensation in California from October 1, 1990, through June 30, 1991, to determine the frequency and cost of these three selected services and determined whether the referring physicians were practicing self-referral or independent referral. We evaluated the cost per case for all three services, measured the frequency with which physical therapy was initiated, and evaluated the medical appropriateness of MRI.We found that physical therapy was initiated 2.3 times more often by the physicians in the self-referral group (68 percent) than by those in the independent-referral group (30 percent; P < 0.01). The mean cost per case for physical therapy was significantly lower in the self-referral group ($404 +/- 102) than in the independent-referral group ($440 +/- 167; P < 0.01). The mean cost of psychiatric evaluation services was significantly higher in the self-referral group than in the independent-referral group (psychometric testing, $1,165 +/- 728 vs. $870 +/- 482; P < 0.01, psychiatric evaluation reports, $2,056 +/- 1,063 vs. $1,680 +/- 578; P < 0.01). The total cost per case of psychiatric evaluation services was 26.3 percent higher in the self-referral group ($3,222 +/- 1,451) than in the independent-referral group ($2,550 +/- 742; P < 0.01). Of all the MRI scans requested by the self-referring physicians, 38 percent were found to be medically inappropriate, as compared with 28 percent of those requested by physicians in the independent-referral group (P < 0.05). There was no significant difference in the cost per case between the two groups.This study demonstrates that self-referral increases the cost of medical care covered by workers' compensation for each of the three types of service studied.
View details for Web of Science ID A1992JY16500007
View details for PubMedID 1406882
Utilization review programs are increasing in number and type, but their true contributions to payers' health care and cost management efforts vary tremendously, according to evaluations of over 100 private UR firms by National Medical Audit. Three senior executives of that firm discuss state-of-the-art criteria and methods for gauging the effectiveness of a UR program.
View details for PubMedID 10286636
View details for PubMedID 10280661
View details for PubMedID 10277277
A five-component measurement method was developed and applied to the 1981 impact statements of 30 Professional Standards Review Organizations (PSROs) by four blind raters familiar with the PSRO program. High inter-rater reliability (.95) was achieved. Rater's scores for each PSRO were then averaged and regressed against five variables predicted to affect PSRO impact: geographical density of PSROs; PSRO affiliation with a medical society; surgical necessity review; use of data profiles; and pre-existing Medicare hospitalization rates. As a set, the variables accounted for 44 per cent of the variance in PSRO performance (p less than .05). When entered in stepwise regression, geographical density and use of surgical necessity review accounted for the largest share of the variance. The findings are believed to reflect the recency of PSRO motivation to demonstrate significant impact, and the value of surgical necessity review as an indicator of PSRO courage to risk unpleasant backlash from their medical communities.
View details for Web of Science ID A1983RH76300009
View details for PubMedID 6684402
Implementation of the new federal law setting up Health Systems Agencies (HSAs) on a regional basis offers many opportunities for participation by psychiatry. On the basis of interviews with mental health service providers, planners, and citizen representatives, the author formulated an inventory of the law's potential impacts, grouped around six general themes. He discusses the positive aspects of each, along with possible problems and hazards.
View details for Web of Science ID A1976BS82500021
View details for PubMedID 1275105
The probable perspective of large employers toward the phenomenon of hospitalists can be derived by examining the four essential elements of health care value to employers. Current hospital care in the United States is thought to offer substantial opportunities for improvement, and the impact of hospitalist programs on an employer's sense of health care value is predicted to be favorable. This prediction, however, should be validated through outcomes research before it is widely propagated. If innovations as promising as hospitalist programs are to occur in ambulatory care, employers and other health care purchasers must be proactive in identifying and rewarding them.
View details for Web of Science ID 000078587500006
View details for PubMedID 10068406