HPM Faculty News

Wes Rohrer receives Award for Service in the University Senate

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For the past nineteen years, public recognition has been given to a faculty member who has made outstanding contributions to the University through service in the University Senate. Members of the Senate Executive Committee were unanimous in their selection of HPM's WES ROHRER for the 2018 award for his service as Budget Policies chair. Congratulations, Dr. Rohrer!   

Containing health care costs by getting homeless people into housing and out of the ER

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WESA-FM - Cultivating Health for Success is a program geared towards people that are homeless, suffering from chronic conditions, and have a history of unplanned care. “People who face housing instability often come to our health care system with high costs and high needs for care,” said ERIC ROBERTS, HPM professor. Patients in the program get housing vouchers and one-on-one help from case managers and nurses.  

Tribal Legal Preparedness Project Launches at Pitt Public Health

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UPMC - “Public health emergencies are issues that every community faces,” said HPM's TINA BATRA HERSHEY. “To address these threats... We created the Tribal Legal Preparedness Project to assist tribal nations interested in expanding their legal preparedness capacity.” The project will provide free training modules and a resource library.   

First US drug priced at more than $1 million may be on the horizon

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CNBC - New gene therapies that aim to cure hemophilia are on the horizon. Leerink analysts said the treatments could cost $1.5 million or more. Treating hemophilia can incur between $580,000 and $800,000 per year. For that reason, a potential one-time $1.5 million cost is perceived by many to be a bargain compared with a lifetime of chronic therapy. Others, like HPM's WALID GELLAD, see it as excessive.  

Hospice carve-in for medicare advantage is inevitable according to Driessen

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HOME HEALTH CARE NEWS - Because of the nature of hospice being separate, Medicare Advantage plans are not as familiar with the benefit and its overall costs. “There is a fair amount of uniformity in the concerns around a carve-in…the fact this has been regulated to be off their radar, they don’t have data on [hospice],” says HPM's JULIA DRIESSEN. “[There’s] no incentive for them to understand the hospice landscape.”  

Out-of-pocket drug costs still murky, Gellad underscores

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BIOPHARMA DIVE -  Since 2007, invoice spending has grown 60%, yet net spending rose 36%. Less clear, however, is how those dynamics weigh on patients' wallets. "This does not help us figure out what's affecting out-of-pocket costs," WALID GELLAD, HPM professor.  

Gellad talks about the biggest causes of opioid deaths (video)

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NIGHTLY BUSINESS REPORT from CNBC - Americans are filling fewer prescriptions for opioids, however, heroin and stronger synthetic opioids like fentanyl have overtaken prescription drugs as the biggest causes of overdose deaths. “One of the main [questions] that people are concerned about is whether there’s been a transition to heroin and other forms of opioids because of the reduction in prescription opioids, says HPM’s WALID GELLAD (16:45-19:30... 

Celebrate 70: Roberts presents risk adjustment in pay-for-performance programs (VIDEO)

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Providers are financially incentivized to improve the quality and value of care they provide. Risk adjustment can allow researchers to account for the variation in patient characteristics that would predict differences in spending and outcomes, independent of the performance of the provider. ERIC ROBERTS (HPM) concludes that risk reduction could prevent the risk of quality providers serving sicker and poor patients from being penalized  

Would Americans accept putting health care on a budget?

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NEW YORK TIMES - The intuitive appeal of such a system is growing, and it’s getting a test in Maryland. However, capping hospital spending raises concerns about harming quality and access. Hospital executives and patient advocates might strongly resist spending constraints. A study by HPM's ERIC ROBERTS found inconsistent evidence that changes in hospital use in Maryland could be attributed to global budgeting.  

Gellad talks about the disconnect between what patients pay out of pocket and the true cost of drugs

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BIOPHARMA DRIVE - Nearly one in four patients picking up their prescription drugs from the pharmacy counter paid a copay which exceeded the price the insurer paid the pharmacy, according to an analysis of sampled reimbursement and insurance claim data published in JAMA. The disconnect between what patients pay out of pocket and the true cost of the drug (including rebates) is the real problem, says HPM’s WALID GELLAD.  

Value based payment inequity and reimbursement models with which you should be familiar

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MEDPAGETODAY - Financial incentives and patient care in today’s health care industry are near inseparable. This article delineates some important issues and tips about Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). Included are benefits from voluntary bundles, care calculation issues, and a study on inconsistencies in value based payment methods from HPM’s ERIC ROBERTS.   

Pioneers in computerized legal research: The story of the Pittsburgh system

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PITTSBURGH JOURNAL OF TECHNOLOGY LAW & POLICY -  HPM's Tina Batra Hershey and Dean Burke discuss the early pioneering work of researchers in the legal field who developed the "Pittsburgh System" a precursor to the computerized legal research tools ubiquitous today.  

Roberts says value-based payments must address patient mix

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MEDPAGE TODAY - A recent study by HPM's ERIC ROBERTS showed that Medicare's Value-based Payment Modifier program inadvertently shifted money away from physicians who treated sicker, poorer patients to pay for bonuses that rewarded practices treating richer, healthier populations. "Risk adjustment is usually inadequate in these programs, in part, because it is difficult to measure the differences in complexity of patients across providers."  

Roberts' article named in Health Affairs "Top Ten"

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HEALTH AFFAIRS - Alan Weil, Health Affairs Editor-in-Chief, shares his “Top Ten” favorite articles for 2017. HPM's ERIC ROBERTS' study addressed proposed mergers among large US health insurers and growing consolidation among providers, which have renewed concerns about the effects of market concentration on commercial health care prices.   

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