Ezekiel Emanuel and Jeffrey Liebman recommend “smart cuts” to Medicare and defend the ACA’s approach. “Smart cuts eliminate spending on medical tests, treatments and procedures that don’t work — or that cost significantly more than other treatments while delivering no better health outcomes. And they can be made without shortchanging patients. There are plenty of examples.” Austin’s comment: Emanuel and Liebman then provide examples and contrast them with the penny-wise, pound-foolish approaches being considered in Washington. For more see Rita Redberg and my memo to the supercommittee.
Clinical trials on the gene TOMM40 and the drug Takeda to predict/slow Alzheimer’s onset beginning, reports the Raleigh (N.C.) News and Observer. Don’s comment: genetic markers could also be useful as risk rating variables for private long term care insurance, a use of genetic information not banned by the Genetic Non-Discrimination Act of 2008.
Hospital volume, provider volume, and complications after childbirth in U.S. hospitals. A study published in Obstetrics and Gynecology found that providers who performed fewer than seven deliveries per year (which was the lowest quartile) had a 50% higher odds of complications compared to obstetricians in the highest quartile of number of deliveries. Aaron’s Comment: It seems like common sense, but practice makes perfect. There’s a real tension between providing doctors without enough experience to get good at what they do, and people’s legitimate fears of not wanting doctors who have too little experience.
Hat tip: Igor Volsky’s Morning CheckUp.