Reading list

The Evolving Roles of the Medical Journal, by Scott H. Podolsky, Jeremy A. Greene, and David S. Jones (The New England Journal of Medicine)

Making the Best of Hospital Pay for Performance, by Andrew Ryan and Jan Blustein (The New England Journal of Medicine)

Registered Nurse Labor Supply and the Recession — Are We in a Bubble?, by Douglas O. Staiger, David I. Auerbach and Peter I. Buerhaus (The New England Journal of Medicine)

Why We Still Need Randomized Trials to Compare Effectiveness, by Laura Mauri (The New England Journal of Medicine)

Benefits and costs of substance abuse treatment programs for state prison inmates: results from a lifetime simulation model,by Gary A. Zarkin, Alexander J. Cowell, Katherine A. Hicks, Michael J. Mills, Steven Belenko, Laura J. Dunlap, Kimberly A. Houser and Vince Keyes (Health Economics)

Reflecting drug use patterns and criminal justice policies throughout the 1990s and 2000s, prisons hold a disproportionate number of society’s drug abusers. Approximately 50% of state prisoners meet the criteria for a diagnosis of drug abuse or dependence, but only 10% receive medically based drug treatment. Because of the link between substance abuse and crime, treating substance abusing and dependent state prisoners while incarcerated has the potential to yield substantial economic benefits. In this paper, we simulate the lifetime costs and benefits of improving prison-based substance abuse treatment and post-release aftercare for a cohort of state prisoners. Our model captures the dynamics of substance abuse as a chronic disease; estimates the benefits of substance abuse treatment over individuals’ lifetimes; and tracks the costs of crime and criminal justice costs related to policing, adjudication, and incarceration. We estimate net societal benefits and cost savings to the criminal justice system of the current treatment system and five policy scenarios. We find that four of the five policy scenarios provide positive net societal benefits and cost savings to the criminal justice system relative to the current treatment system. Our study demonstrates the societal gains to improving the drug treatment system for state prisoners.

Efficiency and Equity: A Stated Preference Approach, by Richard Norman, Jane Hall, Deborah Street and Rosalie Viney (Health Economics)

Outcome measurement in the economic evaluation of health care considers outcomes independent of to whom they accrue. This article reports on a discrete choice experiment designed to elicit population preferences regarding the allocation of health gain between hypothetical groups of potential patients. A random-effects probit model is estimated, and a technique for converting these results into equity weights for use in economic evaluation is adopted. On average, the modelling predicts a relatively high social value on health gains accruing to nonsmokers, carers, those with a low income and those with an expected age of death less than 45 years. Respondents tend to favour individuals with similar characteristics to themselves. These results challenge the conventional practice of assuming constant equity weighting. For decision makers, whether a formal equity weighting system represents an improvement on more informal approaches to weighing up equity and efficiency concerns remains uncertain.

Implications for ACOs of Variations in Spending Growth, by J. Michael McWilliams and Zirui Song (The New England Journal of Medicine)

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