Published on February 10, 2014 at 12:46 AM
NPR's Shots blog: Are We Paying $8 Billion Too Much For Mammograms?
The question of how often women should get mammograms remains contested, with advisory panels and medical societies disagreeing on how early and how often they should be used to find breast cancer. But those discussions rarely mention cost. And the financial implications are huge. If women got screening mammograms every year starting at age 40, as the American Cancer Society , it would cost $10 billion a year, according to an published Monday in Annals of Internal Medicine. That's compared with $2 billion a year to screen women ages 50 to 69 every other year, or $3.5 billion to follow the recommendation of the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (Shute, 2/4).
Modern Healthcare: Drug Adherence May Improve With Incentives, But Spending Reduction Might Not Offset Cost
Eliminating or lowering drug co-pays may improve patients' adherence to their medication regimens, but the reduction in overall health spending may not be enough to offset the cost. That was the experience of one insurer in a study published Monday in the policy journal Health Affairs. ... Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina paid an additional $6.4 million during a two-year period to cover the cost of higher drug use for patients with hypertension, diabetes, hyperlipidemia and congestive heart failure after the insurer lowered drug co-pays. That amounts to $139 to $173 annually for each member. But the $5.7 million drop in the cost of all other care did not offset the expense (Evans and Robeznieks, 2/3).
Politico Pro: Report Cites Medicare Policy Research Priorities
Health care policymakers are eager for more data to help them understand shifts in Medicare and how to move ahead in an environment shaped by ACA-inspired delivery system changes, changes in spending patterns and an aging population, according to a report released Monday by AcademyHealth. The report, "The AcademyHealth Listening Project: Improving the Evidence Base for Medicare Policymaking," surveyed people from the policymaker and research realms (Kenen, 2/3).
Medscape: Antibiotic Prescribing For Children May Be Leveling Off
A downward trend in outpatient antibiotic prescribing for children may have reached a plateau, according to an article published online February 2 in Pediatrics. In fact, in some areas, prescribing rates may have started inching back up. Louise Elaine Vaz, MD, from the Division of Infectious Diseases and Department of Laboratory Medicine, Boston Children's Hospital, Massachusetts, and colleagues analyzed pharmacy and outpatient claims from September 2000 to August 2010 for 3 regional US health plans (Hand, 2/4).
This article was reprinted from kaiserhealthnews.org with permission from the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. Kaiser Health News, an editorially independent news service, is a program of the Kaiser Family Foundation, a nonpartisan health care policy research organization unaffiliated with Kaiser Permanente.