Mid-week update

Following up on Sunday’s post, the House did pass HR 4414, the expatriate plan clarification bill yesterday. Although it was a bipartisan measure, the Hill reports that White House is not thrilled with the bill. This may be another measure that’s taken up in the lame duck session following the November mid-term elections.

Business Insurance is reporting this afternoon that

Health spending during the first quarter [of 2014] was on pace to increase by $43.3 billion in 2014, according to the first best guess from the Bureau of Economic Analysis. That would mean a 9.9% rise in consumer spending for hospitals, nursing homes, physician visits and other healthcare services — much higher than the spike economists and federal actuaries projected would come as millions gained insurance through the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. 

The first-quarter health spending is an increase of 2.4% at a quarterly rate from the prior quarter and is up 5.4% from the same quarter a year ago. The gross domestic product figures do not include spending for healthcare goods, such as pharmaceuticals or medical equipment. Overall economic growth during the first quarter was down sharply at 0.1% for the quarter, which the BEA said was a result of exports and weak private investment in inventory. Healthcare contributed 1.1% to the growth in overall gross domestic product, the largest contribution of any service industry.

Wow. These preliminary results are subject to change as more data.

OPM is concerned about reducing hospital readmissions.  AHRQ just released a statistical brief on 2011 hospital readmissions. The report discloses that for privately insured patients aged 16 to 64,

Maintenance chemotherapy accounted for the largest share of readmissions (4.2 percent) among privately insured patients; however, it should be noted that these were most likely planned readmissions for cancer treatment. Mood disorders resulted in 19,600 readmissions (3.2 percent of privately insured readmissions).

Health care complications among the privately insured resulted in 49,700 readmissions and $844 million in costs. These conditions included complications of surgical procedures or medical care, complications of a device or graft, and septicemia.

The average readmission rate for these 10 high-volume conditions among the privately insured was 15.9 per 100 admissions. Readmission rates among these conditions ranged from 8.7 for coronary atherosclerosis to 64.4 for maintenance chemotherapy. 

In comparison the average readmission rate for 10 high volume conditions was 19.6 per 100 for the Medicare population and 20.0 for the Medicaid population.

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