T.V. Parasuraman, Ph.D.
Wyeth-Ayerst; formerly of Hastings Healthcare Group, a division of Healthanswers Inc., Pennington, N.J.
Patricia A. Deverka, M.D., M.S.
Merck-Medco Managed Care, Montvale, N.J.
Michael R. Toscani, Pharm.D.
Hastings Healthcare Group, a division of Healthanswers Inc., Pennington, N.J.

T.V. Parasuraman, Ph.D.

Wyeth-Ayerst; formerly of Hastings Healthcare Group, a division of Healthanswers Inc., Pennington, N.J.

Patricia A. Deverka, M.D., M.S.

Merck-Medco Managed Care, Montvale, N.J.

Michael R. Toscani, Pharm.D.

Hastings Healthcare Group, a division of Healthanswers Inc., Pennington, N.J.

Using database analysis, this study documents various resources consumed as part of routine management of suspected meningitis, culminating with a discharge with a diagnosis of viral meningitis.

Abstract

Purpose: This study involved identifying resource use and assigning monetary value to the diagnostic work-up and management of viral meningitis.

Methodology: Using a previously established decision analytic framework, various resources were identified as part of routine management of viral meningitis. Secondary database analyses were used to quantify resources and assign a monetary value as a part of routine management of viral meningitis requiring use of the resource units identified in the decision analytic framework. Discharge data sources from the states of California, Florida, and Illinois, and Medicaid data sources from the state of Pennsylvania, were used for the purpose of analysis.

Principal Findings: Physician visits, emergency room visits, hospital admissions, procedures, and medications were identified as the major resources used. Lumbar punctures, CT scans, and antibiotics were identified as the major procedures and medications utilized. No significant difference was found in the major resources used between the states' discharge data and the Medicaid data sources. The mean total charges for patient admissions with CT scans were significantly higher than for patient admissions without CT scans ($11,531.80 vs. $7,841.30, P<0.05). The mean lengths of stay for patients with CT scan were significantly higher than for patient admissions without CT scans (4.71 days vs. 3.88 days, P<0.05). The patient readmission rate was 10.7 percent, while the readmission rate for episodes with more than one hospitalization was 11.1 percent. The mean charge associated with readmission was $12,200.

Key words: Viral meningitis, resource utilization, decision analysis, Medicaid, state discharge data.

Managed Care’s Top Ten Articles of 2016

There’s a lot more going on in health care than mergers (Aetna-Humana, Anthem-Cigna) creating huge players. Hundreds of insurers operate in 50 different states. Self-insured employers, ACA public exchanges, Medicare Advantage, and Medicaid managed care plans crowd an increasingly complex market.

Major health care players are determined to make health information exchanges (HIEs) work. The push toward value-based payment alone almost guarantees that HIEs will be tweaked, poked, prodded, and overhauled until they deliver on their promise. The goal: straight talk from and among tech systems.

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The surge of new MS treatments have been for the relapsing-remitting form of the disease. There’s hope for sufferers of a different form of MS. By homing in on CD20-positive B cells, ocrelizumab is able to knock them out and other aberrant B cells circulating in the bloodstream.

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Having the data is one thing. Knowing how to use it is another. Applying its computational power to the data, a company called RowdMap puts providers into high-, medium-, and low-value buckets compared with peers in their markets, using specific benchmarks to show why outliers differ from the norm.
Competition among manufacturers, industry consolidation, and capitalization on me-too drugs are cranking up generic and branded drug prices. This increase has compelled PBMs, health plan sponsors, and retail pharmacies to find novel ways to turn a profit, often at the expense of the consumer.
The development of recombinant DNA and other technologies has added a new dimension to care. These medications have revolutionized the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis and many of the other 80 or so autoimmune diseases. But they can be budget busters and have a tricky side effect profile.

Shelley Slade
Vogel, Slade & Goldstein

Hub programs have emerged as a profitable new line of business in the sales and distribution side of the pharmaceutical industry that has got more than its fair share of wheeling and dealing. But they spell trouble if they spark collusion, threaten patients, or waste federal dollars.

More companies are self-insuring—and it’s not just large employers that are striking out on their own. The percentage of employers who fully self-insure increased by 44% in 1999 to 63% in 2015. Self-insurance may give employers more control over benefit packages, and stop-loss protects them against uncapped liability.