Where a person lives seems to have an effect on Medicare spending. But why?
May 29, 2013 Waste and aggressive treatment might not explain Medicare cost variations after all. Differing levels of health by region could account for most of the cost variation, an analysis finds.
Sometimes it's the hospital that gets the exam.
May 10, 2013 A company that got its start assessing the risks of ocean-going vessels now checks U.S. hospitals for quality. Known as DNV, the firm is bringing competition to an area of health care that obsesses insiders yet is little known by patients.
April 26, 2013 How hard can it be to measure the health of a population? Oregon is finding out it's difficult to decide even what to track. But the state received almost $2 billion in federal funds to improve the health of its residents and to cut costs. The state faces substantial fines if it can't prove it has done the job.
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To reduce errors by doctors in training, medical educators have capped how long they can work. But enforcing the limits can be a challenge.
December 5, 2012 The traditions of medical education die hard. Many doctors in training still work extreme hours, despite rules that limit the lengths of shifts for medical residents. One residency director calls for doctors educated under the old system to stop bashing the younger generation for being soft.
Researchers find that more than 40 percent of surgical complications happen after patients leave the hospital.
November 20, 2012 More than 40 percent of surgical complications occur after patients are at home. The solution for the problem isn't keeping patients in the hospital longer, researchers say. Better instructions to patients and improved monitoring could help.
Students at Georgetown University School of Medicine prepare to meet with an actor playing a patient in an exam room in March.
October 30, 2012 More intense care can translate into worse, and more expensive, care at the end of life. So, the thinking goes, doctors who train at hospitals with better and more efficient care will be in better shape to become future leaders.
In Washington's Columbia Heights neighborhood, Claire Robertson, a grad student, talks with Scott Hensley about retail health clinics.
October 29, 2012 Are you prepared for some unorthodox audio from an ink-stained wretch still working on the transition to online journalism from print? If so, click through to listen to Shots, the podcast. This episode covers multivitamins and cancer, health report cards and how Americans feel about retail health clinics.
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October 3, 2012 Just before new penalties kicked in for hospitals that readmit too many Medicare patients, the government discovered that the data it used to were out of date. The changes from the error are tiny, amounting on average to a fraction of a percent for most of the affected hospitals.
September 7, 2012 Nearly a third of spending on health care in the U.S. is wasted. There's lots of inefficiency, excess overhead and some outright fraud, too. But the biggest slice of the waste pie is unnecessary care.
September 5, 2012 Some of the cost variations from a UnitedHealthcare database are startling. For treating a basic asthma episode, cases in the 10th percentile of distribution cost $98 each while those in the 90th percentile the cost was $1,535 per case.
June 6, 2012 Move over restaurants. Now hospitals are getting letter grades based on their patient safety performance from the Leapfrog Group, a nonprofit that's looking to improve the quality and safety of health care.
May 10, 2012 The government has identified hundreds of hospitals where Medicare patients are incurring especially high or low bills. Hospitals around McAllen, it turns out, aren't as terrible as they were made out to be, according to Medicare's calculations of how much it spent for the average patient from three days before admission to a month after discharge.
Build a cardiac catheterization lab and doctors will tend to use it, even if treatment with drugs alone would suffice.
May 2, 2012 In Michigan, areas with more cardiac catheterization labs — places where patients are diagnosed for heart problems — tended to have more interventions than those with fewer labs.
January 31, 2012 Hospitals see a huge drop in drug mistakes when doctors use a computer to write prescriptions, instead of pen and paper. Software can correct miscalculations, warn of allergic reactions and eliminate doctors' notoriously poor handwriting. But few hospitals have adopted the technology so far.
October 5, 2011 As Medicare moves to link hospital payments to the costs and quality of care, hospitals that serve large minority populations could get hurt. That's one implication of an analysis that looks at the cost and quality of care given at individual hospitals across the nation.
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