Insight, analysis & opinion from Joe Paduda

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Pre-Vacation catch up

Leaving tomorrow for eight days away, so today’s a quick catch-up.

First up, the news that there’s been a dramatic increase in investor interest in addiction rehab. The market for services will increase to $35 billion this year, up more than 50% over the last decade.

In a deal emblematic of the industry transition, Acadia will buy Bain Capital’s CRC Health for $1.2 billion; Bain purchased Acadia for $723 million eight years ago.

For those of us tracking the issue of addiction, the explosion in heroin use driven in large part by prescription drugs, and the damage caused to individuals, family, employers, and society, the hope is these entrepreneurs figure out a better/faster/more effective way to attack opioid addiction.  But, to paraphrase friend and colleague David Deitz, MD, those who expect to make huge profits from taking on this very difficult problem may be sorely disappointed.

Kudos to IAIABC for their effort to educate workers’ comp regulators; they will be launching a series of ten programs taught by subject matter experts to help regulators get up to speed on key issues related to work comp.

Data, research, and information

The latest research from California indicates the variation in surgery rates around the Golden State is rather dramatic.  For example, Orange County had twice as many lumbar fusions as San Mateo…and in hospital service regions, Coalinga’s rate among the <65 population was 3.5 times higher than Delano’s…

WCRI’s recently-released report examining Ambulatory Surgery Center costs and comparing same to hospitals should be required reading for managed care execs and regulators alike. Spoiler alert – ASC costs in many states are lower, due in large part to lower fee schedules

My vacation reading will include the just-released Dartmouth Atlas report on variations in treatment of prostate cancer.  (link opens pdf)  Why, you ask? Simple – there’s huge variation in treatment for prostate conditions, much of which is driven not by science or an active, involved patient – but rather by local practice patterns.  I began tracking this issue twenty years ago and hope the Atlas indicates things are getting better…

Now, back to finishing up work so I can relax unencumbered by the quest for filthy lucre!

Joe Paduda is the principal of Health Strategy Associates




A national consulting firm specializing in managed care for workers’ compensation, group health and auto, and health care cost containment. We serve insurers, employers and health care providers.



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