How do hospitals cope with sustained slow growth in Medicare prices?
ABSTRACT: OBJECTIVE: To estimate the effects of changes in Medicare inpatient hospital prices on hospitals' overall revenues, operating expenses, profits, assets, and staffing. PRIMARY DATA SOURCE: Medicare hospital cost reports (1996-2009). STUDY DESIGN: For each hospital, we quantify the year-to-year price impacts from changes in the Medicare payment formula. We use cumulative simulated price impacts as instruments for Medicare inpatient revenues. We use a series of two-stage least squares panel data regressions to estimate the effects of changes in Medicare revenues among all hospitals, and separately among not-for-profit versus for-profit hospitals, and among hospitals experiencing real price increases ("gainers") versus decreases ("losers"). PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: Medicare price cuts are associated with reductions in overall revenues even larger than the direct Medicare price effect, consistent with price spillovers. Among not-for-profit hospitals, revenue reductions are fully offset by reductions in operating expenses, and profits are unchanged. Among for-profit hospitals, revenue reductions decrease profits one-for-one. Responses of gainers and losers are roughly symmetrical. CONCLUSIONS: On average, hospitals do not appear to make up for Medicare cuts by "cost shifting," but by adjusting their operating expenses over the long run. The Medicare price cuts in the Affordable Care Act will "bend the curve," that is, significantly slow the growth in hospitals' total revenues and operating expenses.
Project description:<h4>Objective</h4>To evaluate the effect of partisan political control on financial performance, structure, and outcomes of for-profit and not-for-profit US nursing homes.<h4>Data sources/study setting</h4>Nineteen-year panel (1996-2014) of state election outcomes, financial performance data from nursing home cost reports, operational and aggregate resident characteristics from OSCAR of 13 737 nursing homes.<h4>Study design</h4>A linear panel model was estimated to identify the effect of Democratic and Republican political control on next year's outcomes. Nursing home outcomes were defined as yearly facility revenues, expenses, and profits; the number of Medicaid, Medicare, and private-pay residents; staffing levels; and selected resident outcomes.<h4>Principal findings</h4>Democratic political control leads to an increase in financial flows to for-profit nursing homes, boosting profits without producing observable improvements in resident outcomes. Republican political control leads to lower revenues and profits of for-profit nursing homes. A shift from Medicaid to more profitable private-pay residents following Republican political control is observed for all nursing homes. Financial performance of not-for-profit nursing homes is not significantly affected by changes in political control.<h4>Conclusion</h4>Political control of the two legislative chambers-but not of the governorship-shapes the structure of the nursing home industry as seen in provider behavior.
Project description:Importance:The federal 340B program lowers the acquisition cost of prescription drugs and places no limits on what hospitals charge payers. Congress established the program to allow 340B profits (the difference between payments and acquisition costs) to subsidize other safety-net services. Little is known about the magnitude of revenues and profits from the 340B program among participating hospitals. Objective:To report revenues and estimated profits from the 340B program that hospitals collect from Medicare and Medicare beneficiaries for outpatient clinic administration of prescription drugs covered under Medicare Part B. Design, Setting, and Participants:This cross-sectional descriptive study used 100% Medicare outpatient Part B claims from January 1, 2013, to December 31, 2016, from fee-for-service Medicare beneficiaries administered separately payable drugs at general acute care nonprofit or public hospitals without special payment designations. Claims data (N?=?11?298?860) were aggregated to the hospital-year level (N?=?6000) and linked to hospital finances and 340B participation from Medicare cost reports and the 340B covered entity list. Main Outcomes and Measures:Outcomes studied were revenue and estimated profits, assuming a 50% discount from 340B-discounted drug administrations to Medicare patients, as well as Medicare 340B profits relative to hospital net operating revenue, uncompensated care, and disproportionate share hospital payments. Results:During the study period, hospitals received approximately $2.1 billion in 340B revenue from Medicare in 2013, increasing to $3.7 billion in 2016. Estimated 340B profits from Medicare in 2016 totaled $1.9 billion, and per-hospital estimated 340B profits were $2.5 million but exhibited variability (median, $0.8 million; interquartile range, $0.1 million-$2.8 million). In 2016, median estimated 340B profits from Medicare were 0.3% (interquartile range, 0.1%-0.7%; mean, 0.4%) of hospital operating budgets and 9.4% (interquartile range, 1.8%-26.5%; mean, 16.6%) of hospital uncompensated care costs. Conclusions and Relevance:Estimated profits that hospitals derived from administering 340B-discounted drugs to Medicare patients are small compared with operating budgets yet substantial compared with uncompensated care costs for many hospitals. Revenue and profit estimates from 340B-discounted drugs represent a lower bound because data on revenue from the sale of outpatient retail dispensed drugs by hospital contract pharmacies and commercial insurer claims are not available.
Project description:BACKGROUND:Hospitals face financial pressure from decreased margins from Medicare and Medicaid and lower reimbursement from consolidating insurers. OBJECTIVES:The objectives of this study are to determine whether hospitals that became more profitable increased revenues or decreased costs more and to examine characteristics associated with improved financial performance over time. DESIGN:The design of this study is retrospective analyses of U.S. non-federal acute care hospitals between 2003 and 2013. SUBJECTS:There are 2824 hospitals as subjects of this study. MAIN MEASURES:The main measures of this study are the change in clinical operating margin, change in revenues per bed, and change in expenses per bed between 2003 and 2013. KEY RESULTS:Hospitals that became more profitable had a larger magnitude of increases in revenue per bed (about $113,000 per year [95% confidence interval: $93,132 to $133,401]) than of decreases in costs per bed (about -?$10,000 per year [95% confidence interval: -?$28,956 to $9617]), largely driven by higher non-Medicare reimbursement. Hospitals that improved their margins were larger or joined a hospital system. Not-for-profit status was associated with increases in operating margin, while rural status and having a larger share of Medicare patients were associated with decreases in operating margin. There was no association between improved hospital profitability and changes in diagnosis related group weight, in number of profitable services, or in payer mix. Hospitals that became more profitable were more likely to increase their admissions per bed per year. CONCLUSIONS:Differential price increases have led to improved margins for some hospitals over time. Where significant price increases are not possible, hospitals will have to become more efficient to maintain profitability.
Project description:To describe the amount of hospital outpatient care provided to the uninsured and its association with Medicare payment rate cuts following the implementation of Medicare's Outpatient Prospective Payment System.We use hospital outpatient discharge records from Florida from 1997 through 2008.We estimate multivariate regression models of hospital outpatient care provided to the uninsured in separate samples of nonprofit and for-profit hospitals.Hospital outpatient departments provide significant amounts of care to the uninsured. As Medicare payment rates fall, total charges and the share of charges for outpatient visits by the uninsured decrease at nonprofit hospitals. At for-profit hospitals, the share of outpatient care provided to uninsured patients increases, but there is no significant change in the number of uninsured discharges.Nonprofit and for-profit hospitals respond differently to reductions in Medicare payments; thus, studies of the impact of legislated Medicare payment cuts on care of the uninsured should account for differences in hospital ownership in communities. Given that outpatient care to the uninsured includes preventive and diagnostic care procedures, reductions in this care following payment cuts may adversely affect long-run health and health care costs in communities dominated by nonprofit hospitals.
Project description:To examine whether high performance or improvement on quality measures leads to economic rewards for nursing homes in the presence of public reporting.Data from 6,286 freestanding Medicare-certified nursing homes between 1999 and 2005 were identified in Medicare Cost Reports, Minimum Data Set, and Online Survey and Certification Reporting System.Using a facility-level fixed-effects model, the effect of public reporting on financial performance was measured by comparing each of four financial outcomes (revenues, expenses, operating, and total profit margins) before (1999-2002) to after (2003-2005) public reporting was initiated. The effects were estimated separately by level of performance and improvement over time.Facilities that improved on publicly reported performance had increased revenues and higher profit margins after public reporting, mainly through increased Medicare admissions. High-scoring facilities showed similar patterns, though differences were not statistically significant.Providers that improve their performance under public reporting may receive a return on their investment in quality improvement. This supports the business case for public reporting.
Project description:Importance:Under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA), US hospitals were exposed to a number of reforms intended to reduce spending, many of which, beginning in 2012, targeted acute care hospitals and often focused on specific diagnoses (eg, acute myocardial infarction, heart failure, and pneumonia) for Medicare patients. Other provisions enacted in the ACA and under budget sequestration (beginning in 2013) mandated Medicare fee cuts. Objective:To evaluate the association between the enactment of ACA reforms and 30-day price-standardized hospital episode spending. Design, Setting, and Participants:This policy evaluation included index discharges between January 1, 2008, and August 31, 2015, from a national random 20% sample of Medicare beneficiaries. Data analysis was performed from February 1, 2019 to July 8, 2020. Exposure:Payment reforms after passage of the ACA. Main Outcomes and Measures:30-day price-standardized episode payments. Three alternative estimation approaches were used to evaluate the association between reforms following the ACA and episode spending: (1) a difference-in-difference (DID) analysis among acute care hospitals, comparing spending for diagnoses commonly targeted by ACA programs with nontargeted diagnoses; (2) a DID analysis comparing acute care hospitals and critical access hospitals (not exposed to reforms); and (3) a generalized synthetic control analysis, comparing acute care and critical access hospitals. Supplemental analysis examined the degree to which Medicare fee cuts contributed to spending reductions. Results:A total of 7?634?242 index discharges (4?525?630 [59.2%] female patients; mean [SD] age, 79.31 [8.02] years) were included. All 3 approaches found that reforms following the ACA were associated with a significant reduction in episode spending. The DID estimate comparing targeted and untargeted diagnoses suggested that reforms following the ACA were associated with a -$431 (95% CI, -$492 to -$369; -2.87%) change in total spending, while the generalized synthetic control analysis suggested that reforms were associated with a -$1232 (95% CI, -$1488 to -$965; -10.12%) change in total episode spending, amounting in a total annual savings of $5.68 billion. Cuts to Medicare fees accounted for most of these savings. Conclusions and Relevance:In this policy evaluation, the ACA was associated with large reductions in US hospital episode spending.
Project description:OBJECTIVE: To examine the long-term impact of Medicare payment reductions on patient outcomes for Medicare acute myocardial infarction (AMI) patients. DATA SOURCES: Analysis of secondary data compiled from 100 percent Medicare Provider Analysis and Review between 1995 and 2005, Medicare hospital cost reports, Inpatient Prospective Payment System Payment Impact Files, American Hospital Association annual surveys, InterStudy, Area Resource Files, and County Business Patterns. STUDY DESIGN: We used a natural experiment-the Balanced Budget Act (BBA) of 1997-as an instrument to predict cumulative Medicare revenue loss due solely to the BBA, and basing on the predicted loss categorized hospitals into small, moderate, or large payment-cut groups and followed Medicare AMI patient outcomes in these hospitals over an 11-year panel between 1995 and 2005. PRINCIPAL FINDINGS: We found that while Medicare AMI mortality trends remained similar across hospitals between pre-BBA and initial-BBA periods, hospitals facing large payment cuts saw smaller improvement in mortality rates relative to that of hospitals facing small cuts in the post-BBA period. Part of the relatively higher AMI mortalities among large-cut hospitals might be related to reductions in staffing levels and operating costs, and a small part might be due to patient selection. CONCLUSIONS: We found evidence that hospitals facing large Medicare payment cuts as a result of BBA of 1997 were associated with deteriorating patient outcomes in the long run. Medicare payment reductions may have an unintended consequence of widening the gap in quality across hospitals.
Project description:Increasing value requires improving quality or decreasing costs. In surgery, estimates for the cost of 1 minute of operating room (OR) time vary widely. No benchmark exists for the cost of OR time, nor has there been a comprehensive assessment of what contributes to OR cost.To calculate the cost of 1 minute of OR time, assess cost by setting and facility characteristics, and ascertain the proportion of costs that are direct and indirect.This cross-sectional and longitudinal analysis examined annual financial disclosure documents from all comparable short-term general and specialty care hospitals in California from fiscal year (FY) 2005 to FY2014 (N = 3044; FY2014, n = 302). The analysis focused on 2 revenue centers: (1) surgery and recovery and (2) ambulatory surgery.Mean cost of 1 minute of OR time, stratified by setting (inpatient vs ambulatory), teaching status, and hospital ownership. The proportion of cost attributable to indirect and direct expenses was identified; direct expenses were further divided into salary, benefits, supplies, and other direct expenses.In FY2014, a total of 175 of 302 facilities (57.9%) were not for profit, 78 (25.8%) were for profit, and 49 (16.2%) were government owned. Thirty facilities (9.9%) were teaching hospitals. The mean (SD) cost for 1 minute of OR time across California hospitals was $37.45 ($16.04) in the inpatient setting and $36.14 ($19.53) in the ambulatory setting (P = .65). There were no differences in mean expenditures when stratifying by ownership or teaching status except that teaching hospitals had lower mean (SD) expenditures than nonteaching hospitals in the inpatient setting ($29.88 [$9.06] vs $38.29 [$16.43]; P = .006). Direct expenses accounted for 54.6% of total expenses ($20.40 of $37.37) in the inpatient setting and 59.1% of total expenses ($20.90 of $35.39) in the ambulatory setting. Wages and benefits accounted for approximately two-thirds of direct expenses (inpatient, $14.00 of $20.40; ambulatory, $14.35 of $20.90), with nonbillable supplies accounting for less than 10% of total expenses (inpatient, $2.55 of $37.37; ambulatory, $3.33 of $35.39). From FY2005 to FY2014, expenses in the OR have increased faster than the consumer price index and medical consumer price index. Teaching hospitals had slower growth in costs than nonteaching hospitals. Over time, the proportion of expenses dedicated to indirect costs has increased, while the proportion attributable to salary and supplies has decreased.The mean cost of OR time is $36 to $37 per minute, using financial data from California's short-term general and specialty hospitals in FY2014. These statewide data provide a generalizable benchmark for the value of OR time. Furthermore, understanding the composition of costs will allow those interested in value improvement to identify high-yield targets.
Project description:<h4>Background</h4>Numerous not-for-profit pharmacies have been created to improve access to medicines for the poor, but many have failed due to insufficient financial planning and management. These pharmacies are not well described in health services literature despite strong demand from policy makers, implementers, and researchers. Surveys reporting unaffordable medicine prices and high mark-ups have spurred efforts to reduce medicine prices, but price reduction goals are arbitrary in the absence of information on pharmacy costs, revenues, and profit structures. Health services research is needed to develop sustainable and "reasonable" medicine price goals and strategic initiatives to reach them.<h4>Methods</h4>We utilized cost accounting methods on inventory and financial information obtained from a not-for-profit rural pharmacy network in mountainous Kyrgyzstan to quantify costs, revenues, profits and medicine mark-ups during establishment and maintenance periods (October 2004-December 2007).<h4>Results</h4>Twelve pharmacies and one warehouse were established in remote Kyrgyzstan with < US $25,000 due to governmental resource-sharing. The network operated at break-even profit, leaving little room to lower medicine prices and mark-ups. Medicine mark-ups needed for sustainability were greater than originally envisioned by network administration. In 2005, 55%, 35%, and 10% of the network's top 50 products revealed mark-ups of < 50%, 50-99% and > 100%, respectively. Annual mark-ups increased dramatically each year to cover increasing recurrent costs, and by 2007, only 19% and 46% of products revealed mark-ups of < 50% and 50-99%, respectively; while 35% of products revealed mark-ups > 100%. 2007 medicine mark-ups varied substantially across these products, ranging from 32% to 244%. Mark-ups needed to sustain private pharmacies would be even higher in the absence of government subsidies.<h4>Conclusion</h4>Pharmacy networks can be established in hard-to-reach regions with little funding using public-private partnership, resource-sharing models. Medicine prices and mark-ups must be interpreted with consideration for regional costs of business. Mark-ups vary dramatically across medicines. Some mark-ups appear "excessive" but are likely necessary for pharmacy viability. Pharmacy financial data is available in remote settings and can be used towards determination of "reasonable" medicine price goals. Health systems researchers must document the positive and negative financial experiences of pharmacy initiatives to inform future projects and advance access to medicines goals.
Project description:OBJECTIVE:To evaluate the 2017 implementation of China's 2009 healthcare price reforms on Beijing's secondary and tertiary traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) hospitals. DESIGN:We employed a panel-interrupted time-series model with hospital fixed effects to estimate the impact of the price reforms. SETTING:Beijing, April 2014 to April 2018. PARTICIPANTS:All TCM hospitals in Beijing. OUTCOME MEASURES:Our dependent variables comprised the monthly outpatient and inpatient revenues, the number of monthly outpatient visits and inpatient admissions, the average total expenditures per outpatient visit and per inpatient admission, the average drug expenditures (except herbal medicines) per outpatient visit and per inpatient admission and the average medical service expenditures per outpatient visit and per inpatient admission. RESULTS:In tertiary hospitals, the price reforms led to significant reductions in the number of outpatient visits (23.1%), inpatients admission (4.6%) and drug expenditures (except herbal medicines) per inpatient admission (14.0%), and an instant raise in average total expenditure per outpatient (22.0%), medical service expenditures per outpatient visit (58.2%) and inpatient admission (19.0%). There was no significant association between the price reforms and the monthly outpatient and inpatient revenues. After the price reforms, the previous upward trend in medical service expenditures per outpatient visit rose more sharply (from 0.5% to 1.6%). In secondary hospitals, the price reforms decreased the level of drug expenditures (except herbal medicines) per outpatient visit (13.0%) and per inpatient admission (20.8%), but increased medical service expenditures per inpatient admission by 19.0%. CONCLUSION:The Beijing price reforms adjusted the cost structures in secondary and tertiary TCM hospitals without negatively impacting the operation of the hospitals, and through the increased hierarchical medical service fee, shifted patient choices away from tertiary to other health facilities, especially for patients with minor illnesses.