The Pre-Election Edition of Health Wonk Review: Fact vs. Fiction

The Wing of Zock is featured in the latest edition of Health Wonk Review, hosted by Maggie Mahar at Health Beat.

In this weighty issue, she offers her in depth-analysis and opinions of the issues raised in the submissions, tackling the subjects voters will be thinking about as Election Day draws closer.

From theWing of Zock, a post titled “Impact of New Payment Methodologies on Support for Graduate Medical Education” authored by Doctors Joanne Conroy and Coleen Kivlahan.

They begin by noting that “Many of our nation’s academic medical centers (AMCs) are experimenting with care redesign by participating in risk-based payment strategies: Accountable Care Organizations (ACO’s), bundled payments, and capitated payments” which ask hospitals to participate in the risk associated with medical care. If they manage to achieve better outcomes at a lower price, they share in the savings. If they fail, they lose money.

Conroy and Kivlahan are concerned that current methods for calculating these payments do not take into account the fact that teaching hospitals need larger reimbursements in order to cover the costs of educating medical students while also caring for patients.  In particular they worry about the fact that reformers are focusing on “decreasing unnecessary readmissions.”

The note that if  hospitals do a better job of preparing patients for discharge so that they don’t “bounce back,” Academic Medical Centers will “ lose the patient care and medical education payments associated with those (additional) hospital stays, although educational and mission-related costs remain.”

The full post can be found here and the analysis at Health Beat. Excellent reading for a day spent planning how to best whether the weather. We hope everyone in Hurricane Sandy’s reach is staying safe and dry. Happy reading!