Like everyone else, I was in a hurry to get stuff wrapped up last week and neglected more than a couple important news items. Here’s a quick update…
Two California counties are suing opioid manufacturers Purdue, Cephalon, Endo, Teva, Johnson&Johnson, and Activis for for actual damages (plus punitive damages) relating to alleged false and misleading advertising and business practices, unfair competition, and a variety of other civil charges. Go get ‘em!
(Steven Feinberg MD was kind enough to send the tip)
From WorkCompCentral came the news that a spinal surgery patient is suing Michael Drobot, Pacific Hospital of Long Beach, and her surgeon, David H Payne (now there’s a rather unfortunate name) for damages resulting from the alleged use of defective hardware, an unnecessary surgery, and related allegations.
Somehow I doubt this is the last of the suits; here’s hoping the applicant attorneys take on other claims – and soon.
As health care provider consolidation continues, a recent piece in Health Affairs finds:
an increase in the market share of hospitals with the tightest vertically integrated relationship with physicians—ownership of physician practices—was associated with higher hospital prices and spending. We found that an increase in contractual integration reduced the frequency of hospital admissions, but this effect was relatively small. Taken together, our results provide a mixed, although somewhat negative, picture of vertical integration from the perspective of the privately insured. [emphasis added]
Another piece from Bruce Vladeck has a somewhat different view on the issue; Vladeck’s take is that consolidation is generally positive as it leads to innovation, reduced costs, and more efficiency (my words not his)
many of the factors fueling increased provider concentration are widely believed to be desirable, or practically unavoidable. Meanwhile, health care prices are increasing at historically low levels. Thus, there appears to be a contradiction between efforts to contain health care prices and the fact that aggressive policies aimed at reducing provider concentration might be ineffective and could even have the unintended effect of stunting positive developments.
Finally, I’m in an on-and-off conversation with a good friend and colleague on matters related to bill review in workers’ comp, specifically how to benchmark savings, clear away confusion when comparing different vendors/savings rates, and get to an objective assessment of performance.
Will be posting on this soon – thanks G.