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Medicare Prescription Drug Benefit, Nonprofit Hospitals, Ambulatory Surgery Centers, Statistical Methods, and Pay-For-Performance Highlighted In the Latest INQUIRY Journal
Date:9/13/2007

ROCHESTER, N.Y., Sept. 13 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Summaries of the articles in the journal INQUIRY's recently-released Vol. 44, No. 2 issue:

"Will Part D Produce Savings in Part A and Part B? The Impact of Prescription Drug Coverage on Medicare Program Expenditures," by Bruce C. Stuart, Becky A. Briesacher, Jalpa A. Doshi, Marian V. Wrobel, and Fatima Baysac -- While prescription drug coverage significantly increases spending on medications, this study finds no consistent evidence of more or less Medicare spending for hospital or physician services. Thus it is unlikely that the Part D drug benefit will produce cost offsets in other areas of the Medicare program.

"Perverse Incentives in the Medicare Prescription Drug Benefit," by David McAdams and Michael Schwarz -- Because of unique risk adjustment problems, Medicare's drug benefit will require ongoing regulatory oversight, this analysis concludes. Alternatively, if all drug plans were required to charge the same premium, there would be less diversity in plan quality, but also less need to regulate formulary composition, less budgetary uncertainty, and less upward pressure on drug prices.

"Nurse Staffing, Mortality, and Length of Stay in For-Profit and Not-for- Profit Hospitals," by Barbara A. Mark and David W. Harless -- This study found that over the 1990-1995 period, case mix-adjusted staffing of registered nurses (RNs) was significantly lower in for-profit hospitals compared to nonprofit hospitals, and that for-profits had a better distribution of outcomes with fewer nurses. However, differences in patient mortality and length of stay disappeared after controlling for population and market characteristics.

"Paying Their Way? Do Nonprofit Hospitals Justify Their Favorable Tax Treatment?" by Helen Schneider -- Examining data on California hospitals, this study found that in similar markets, nonprofit hospitals supply an approximately equivalent amount of community benefits as inve
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