Daily Rounds: Modest ACO Savings; (Not) Free Vaccines; Hospital 'Sticker Prices'; Tufts Show-And-Tell

This article is more than 8 years old.

New medical care networks show savings (The New York Times) - "A new model for delivering medical care, one promoted by the federal health care law, holds promise for slowing the cost of treating the sickest, most expensive patients, according to a new study. The study, which is being published Wednesday in The Journal of the American Medical Association, found that a predecessor to accountable care organizations achieved particular savings in caring for patients eligible for both Medicare and Medicaid. The study, conducted by researchers from the Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice, found that the growth in spending per “dual eligible” patient slowed by $532 a year, or 5 percent, after doctors groups joined the demonstration program.

More vaccines come without co-pays, unless you're on Medicare (NPR) - "The health care overhaul law makes it easier for most people with private insurance to get the vaccines they need without going into their pockets for a copay. Medicare beneficiaries don't get the same sweet deal, though. Medicare recipients are still on the hook for vaccine copayments. That's the case under Medicare Part B, which covers the flu, pneumonia and hepatitis B vaccines, and under Part D drug plans, which cover all other recommended vaccines."

Tufts touts hospital staff's top research to investors (The Boston Herald) - "Tufts Medical Center will host its inaugural Innovation Day today to give investors the chance to meet some of the hospital’s staff members who are conducting groundbreaking research. The event will feature 10 sessions led by life science, medical device and information-technology innovators who are translating their research into products, services and technology to improve health care for patients, said chief scientific officer Dick Karas. “They’re some of the diamonds uncovered here,” Karas told the Herald. “But as an institution, we weren’t providing mechanisms to help them to attract outside investment. So we selected particular innovations that we think are ripe for development for patient care.”

Hospitals should show restraint in billing uninsured patients (The Boston Globe, masthead editorial) "Hospitals often charge these uninsured patients top-dollar rates, the “sticker price” that hospitals use to begin negotiations with insurers. Almost no one else — certainly no one with insurance, or the insurance companies themselves – pays so much for individual procedures. Since even a modest reduction would come as a major relief for some families — perhaps forestalling a mortgage foreclosure, or a credit-rating reduction — hospitals should give these uninsured patients the courtesy of charging the lowest negotiated rate. That would be, essentially, the amount the hospitals charge the largest insurance companies. In the emergency room as much as the auto lot, no one should pay the full sticker price. And most of the beneficiaries are not freeloaders, but people who sought insurance, or even signed up, only to get caught in a waiting period."

This program aired on September 12, 2012. The audio for this program is not available.