Sunday, January 15, 2006
Starting the new year off with a bang, Health Affairs' Jan./Feb. issue is full of material that will keep the rest of us busy reading and digesting. The theme of the issue is "U.S. Hospitals: Mission vs. Market." Here is editor John Iglehart's introduction to the contents:
. . . Although hospitals have been remarkably successful in navigating the shoals of the ever-changing U.S. health care system, new pressures lie ahead. Two of the most formidable are multiple forces that seek to eliminate the cross-subsidies sustaining hospitals’ less profitable services and an increasing number of physicians who are shifting their patients to freestanding ambulatory care centers and specialty hospitals in which they often have an investment. The first seven papers in this thematic issue on hospitals are a primer on the issues surrounding cross-subsidization and the way hospitals price their services. . . . No issue has the U.S. hospital community more exercised than the increase in the number of specialty hospitals. These are the latest in a wave of accelerating efforts by physicians to break out of the traditional hospital setting in search of more income and greater autonomy. Four papers here address the issues surrounding for-profit specialty hospitals, which are proliferating particularly in states without certificate-of-need laws.
Four of the articles are free-access:
- The Precarious Hospital Pricing System
Christopher P. Tompkins, Stuart H. Altman &
- Hospital Pricing: Chaos Beyond A Veil Of Secrecy
Uwe E. Reinhardt
- Hospital Quality Reporting & Medicare
Charles N. Kahn III & Colleagues
- Specialty Hospitals: Problem Or Symptom?