September 16, 2019

Around the nation: Why Massachusetts residents are spending more on health, despite lower volumes

Daily Briefing

    Commercial inpatient health care spending in Massachusetts increased by 10.7% between 2013 and 2018 even though volume declined by 12.8%, according to a report from the Massachusetts Health Policy Commission, in today's bite-sized hospital and health industry news from Illinois, Massachusetts, and Pennsylvania.

    • Illinois: Jeremiah Stamler, a professor at the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine, is turning 100 next month. For his birthday, researchers from across the country will meet to discuss Stamler's "trailblazing" work on heart health, the Washington Post reports. Stamler started working at Northwestern University in the 1960s (Natanson, Washington Post, 9/12).

    • Massachusetts: Commercial inpatient health care spending in Massachusetts increased by 10.7% between 2013 and 2018 even though volume declined by 12.8%, according to a report from the Massachusetts Health Policy Commission (HPC). HPC said the spending increase is due to higher prices and higher coding of patient acuity—although HPC said patients may not have been any sicker. For instance, as code severity of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease increased by 20%, ICU and critical care volumes fell by 7%. According to the report, the trend indicates that hospitals are trying to maximize profit, but are not treating a sicker set of patients (Kacik, "Transformation Hub," Modern Healthcare, 9/12).

    • Pennsylvania: Tower Health on Thursday announced that its new transplant institute will house Hahnemann University Hospital's kidney and liver transplant program. Hahnemann clinicians will provide services to patients in Philadelphia and Berks County, and kidney and liver transplants will be performed at Reading hospital's HealthPlex (George, Philadelphia Business Journal, 9/12).

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