July 25, 2019 | Research: Paying for quality pays off

July 25, 2019

Industry News

House votes to abolish Cadillac tax

In a bipartisan effort supported by labor and business leaders, the House of Representatives voted to repeal the “Cadillac tax” on high-cost employer health insurance. The vote was 419-6. The Senate bill has 40 co-sponsors, but, so far, there appears to be little movement. Unless repealed, the tax will take effect in 2022. (Wall Street Journal)

Health care still lags on data safety

Essentially, every health care organization collects, stores and/or shares sensitive data via technologies like cloud platforms, yet fewer than 40% encrypt that data. That’s one finding from a report by the security company Thales and the analysis firm IDC. Perhaps not coincidentally, the report finds that health care leads in data breaches. Seventy percent of health care organizations reported experiencing a data breach at some point, and a third said they had one in the last year. Healthcare Dive notes that the findings are in line with other reports revealing that the sector lags in resources to combat breaches. (Healthcare Dive; report)

Innovation & Transformation

Research: Paying for quality pays off

A population-based payment experiment in Massachusetts appears to be working, according to research published in the New England Journal of Medicine. Specifically, a Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts model that rewards doctors who control costs is linked to smaller increases in spending and better care. From the study: “… the BCBS population-based payment model was associated with slower growth in medical spending on claims, resulting in savings that over time began to exceed incentive payments. Unadjusted measures of quality under this model were higher than or similar to average regional and national quality measures.” (Boston Globe; NEJM)

Report: Invest in primary care, see better outcomes

States that spend more on primary care have better patient outcomes, including fewer hospitalizations and emergency department visits, according to an analysis by the Patient-Centered Primary Care Collaborative. Commenting on the report, Frederick Isasi, executive director of Families USA Health, says it’s time for the health care industry to move away from building new facilities and invest in primary care. The report, according to FierceHealthcare, includes the first-ever state-level analysis of primary care spending. (FierceHealthcare; PCPCC report)

Consumers & Providers

Recommended sanitation doesn’t remove C. diff

Clostridium difficile—a hospital-acquired organism that causes diarrhea—remained on a variety of surfaces, even after appropriate decontamination procedures, according to research published in Applied and Environmental Microbiology. After recommended treatment with disinfectant, C. diff spores were found on surfaces including surgical gowns, stainless steel tools and vinyl flooring. (Applied and Environmental Microbiology)

Misdiagnosis a leading cause of serious medical errors

One-third of malpractice cases that result in death or permanent disability come from a wrong or delayed diagnosis, according to research published in Diagnosis. The findings confirm that an inaccurate diagnosis is the top cause of serious medical errors. Each year, roughly 12 million Americans are victims of diagnostic error in a primary care setting. Misdiagnosis-related harms are generally related to vascular events, infections and cancers. (Fierce Healthcare; Diagnosis)

New & Noted

CVS to enter home dialysis business: On the heels of the Trump administration’s plan to expand access to in-home dialysis, CVS Health announced plans to start a clinical trial of its new home dialysis system. This will put the company in competition with Fresenius and DaVita. (Reuters)

Lifestyle and dementia: A healthy lifestyle can cut the risk of dementia, including Alzheimer’s—even in those genetically predisposed. Research published in JAMA and presented at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference 2019 found that those with high genetic risk and poor health habits were about three times more likely to develop dementia versus those with low genetic risk and good habits. (The New York Times; JAMA)

Stars on hold: CMS has decided to delay updating the controversial hospital star ratings pending a review from an expert panel. (Healthcare Dive)


Did a NY reg cut sepsis deaths?

“Rory's Regulations,” a directive to New York doctors and hospitals on how to treat sepsis, appears to have led to a decline in sepsis deaths, according to research published in JAMA. The secret sauce: rapid diagnosis, a prompt jolt of antibiotics and careful management of fluids. (NPR; JAMA)

MarketVoices...quotes worth reading

“They thought that only the top—the head, the big execs—got these lucrative plans. [But] we’re talking about everyday people who are on the line, busting their rear end. And I thought, to me, what a punch in the gut to these guys.”—Rep. Mike Kelly (R., Pa.) speaking of the Democrats who created the Cadillac tax, in the Wall Street Journal.

Jorden Gunessever