It’s almost impossible to keep up with what’s being written about health care today. Below are a few articles and books that provide a broad overview.
Elisabeth Rosenthal’s landmark series of articles on the high price of medical care in America. The series inspired the ongoing Facebook community, also named Paying Till It Hurts, in which members post personal stories of their difficulties navigating through a costly and complex health care system. (The New York Times, various dates)
Surgeon and public-health researcher Atul Gawande examines the dramatic variation in the cost of medical care depending on your location, the lack of correlation between cost and quality of care, and the power of hospital monopoly. (The New Yorker, December 18, 2015)
Nonprofit hospitals have higher profit margins than most for-profit hospitals after accounting for their tax obligations. Do such hospitals deserve their tax=exempt status? (The Health Care Blog, April 25, 2017)
Raising fresh questions about healthcare consolidation, a new study shows hospital ownership of physician groups in California led to 10% to 20% higher costs overall for patient care. Health insurers typically pass along these increased costs in the form of higher premiums for employers and workers. Consumers also face higher prices with insurance deductibles rising. (Los Angeles Times, 10/21/2014)
Large urban hospitals can have tremendous pricing power in their markets, with the ability to drive up healthcare prices. These hospitals are typically the area’s largest employer, and can include teaching facilities, sprawling “healthcare campuses” and Level I Trauma Centers. But do the high prices they demand from their patients and communities equate to higher quality care? As discussed in this article, the answer is NO. (HCPLive.com, 2/20/2014)
As part of her ground breaking series on the costs of healthcare in the New York Times, Elizabeth Rosenthal examines the pay structures of healthcare professionals. Interesting, it’s not the actual providers of such care, including those most responsible – physicians and surgeons – who are on the top of the salary scale. It is insurance company and hospital executives. (New York Times, 5/18/2014)
According to a study published in the Sept. 2013 issue of Journal of Patient Safety the number of premature deaths associated with preventable harm to hospital patients was estimated at more than 400,000 per year. And it found “serious harm” seems to be 10- to 20-fold more common than lethal harm. (Journal of Patient Safety, 09/2013)
See how you local hospital stacks up in the safety department:
Medicare costs for certain common procedures have risen sharply as hospitals employ more physicians, according to new research observers say highlights the benefits of doctors working independently in outpatient centers unaffiliated with large healthcare systems. The study, commissioned by the nonprofit Physicians Advocacy Institute (PAI) and conducted by Washington, D.C.-based consultancy Avalere Health, showed that a 49% increase in hospital employment of physicians between 2012 and 2015 coincided with an increase of $2.7 billion spent on services for four specific cardiology, orthopedic and gastroenterology services.
Doctor and reporter Elisabeth Rosenthal’s investigation into our dysfunctional health care system. (Penguin Press, 2017)