Health Management

What Passes and Fails as Health Policy and Management

What Passes and Fails as Health Policy and Management
Journal of Health Politics, Policy and Law, Vol. 39, No. 5, October 2014 DOI 10.1215/03616878-2813719

Rodwin, Victor G. and David Chinitz
07/18/2014

The field of health policy and management (HPAM) faces a gap between theory, policy and practice. Despite decades of efforts at reforming health policy and health care systems, prominent analysts state that the health system is ‘‘stuck’’ and that models for change remain ‘‘aspirational.’’ We discuss four reasons for the failure of current ideas and models for redesigning health care: (1) the dominance of microeconomic thinking; (2) the lack of comparative studies of health care organizations and the limits of health management theory in recognizing the importance of local contexts; (3) the separation of HPAM from the rank and file of health care, particularly physicians; and (4) the failure to expose medical students to issues of HPAM. We conclude with suggestions for rethinking how the field of HPAM might generate more promising policies for health care providers and managers by abandoning the illusion of context-free theories and, instead, seeking to facilitate the processes by which organizations can learn to improve their own performance.

Determinants of the Availability of Hepatitis C Testing Services in Opioid Treatment Programs: Results From a National Study

Determinants of the Availability of Hepatitis C Testing Services in Opioid Treatment Programs: Results From a National Study
American Journal of Public Health, 2014 (June), 104(6): 75-82. doi: 10.2105/AJPH.2013.301827

Frimpong, J.A., D’Aunno, T. & Jiang, L.
06/17/2014

OBJECTIVES: We examined trends and organizational-level correlates of the availability of HCV testing in opioid treatment programs.

METHODS: We used generalized ordered logit models to examine associations between organizational characteristics of 383 opioid treatment programs from the 2005 and 2011 National Drug Abuse Treatment System Survey and HCV testing availability.

RESULTS: Between 2005 and 2011, the proportion of opioid treatment programs offering HCV testing increased but largely because of increases in off-site referrals rather than on-site testing. HCV testing availability was higher in opioid treatment programs affiliated with a hospital and those receiving federal funds. Opioid treatment programs providing both methadone and buprenorphine were more likely to offer any HCV testing, whereas opioid treatment programs providing only buprenorphine treatment were less likely to offer on-site testing. HCV testing availability was associated with more favorable staff-to-client ratios.

CONCLUSIONS: The increasing use of off-site referrals for HCV testing in opioid treatment programs likely limits opportunities for case finding, prevention, and treatment. Declines in federal funding for opioid treatment programs may be a key determinant of the availability of HCV testing in opioid treatment programs.

Evidence-based treatment for opioid disorders: A 23-year national study of methadone dose levels

Evidence-based treatment for opioid disorders: A 23-year national study of methadone dose levels
Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment, in press. DOI: 10.1016/j.jsat.2014.06.001

D’Aunno, T., Pollack, H.A., Frimpong, J.A. & Wuchiett, D.
06/10/2014

Effective treatment for patients with opioid use problems is as critical as ever given the upsurge in heroin and prescription opioid abuse. Yet, results from prior studies show that the majority of methadone maintenance treatment (MMT) programs in the US have not provided dose levels that meet evidence-based standards. Thus, this paper examines the extent to which US MMT programs have made changes in the past 23 years to provide adequate methadone doses; we also identify factors associated with variation in program performance. Program directors and clinical supervisors of nationally-representative methadone treatment programs were surveyed in 1988 (n = 172), 1990 (n = 140), 1995 (n = 116), 2000 (n = 150), 2005 (n = 146), and 2011 (n = 140). Results show that the proportion of patients who received doses below 60 mg/day—the minimum recommended—declined from 79.5 to 22.8% in a 23-year span. Results from random effects models show that programs that serve a higher proportion of African-American or Hispanic patients were more likely to report low-dose care. Programs with Joint Commission accreditation were more likely to provide higher doses, as were a program that serves a higher proportion of unemployed and older patients. Efforts to improve methadone treatment practices have made substantial progress, but 23% of patients across the nation are still receiving doses that are too low to be effective.

Adoption of evidence-based clinical innovations: The case of buprenorphine use by opioid treatment programs.

Adoption of evidence-based clinical innovations: The case of buprenorphine use by opioid treatment programs.
Medical Care Research & Review, 2014 (February), 71(1):43-60. doi: 10.1177/1077558713503188. Epub 2013 Sep 18.

Andrews, C., D’Aunno, T, Friedmann, P.D. & Pollack, H.A.
02/18/2014

This article examines changes from 2005 to 2011 in the use of an evidence-based clinical innovation, buprenorphine use, among a nationally representative sample of opioid treatment programs and identifies characteristics associated with its adoption. We apply a model of the adoption of clinical innovations that focuses on the work needs and characteristics of staff; organizations' technical and social support for the innovation; local market dynamics and competition; and state policies governing the innovation. Results indicate that buprenorphine use increased 24% for detoxification and 47% for maintenance therapy between 2005 and 2011. Buprenorphine use was positively related to reliance on private insurance and availability of state subsidies to cover its cost and inversely related to the percentage of clients who injected opiates, county size, and local availability of methadone. The results indicate that financial incentives and market factors play important roles in opioid treatment programs' decisions to adopt evidence-based clinical innovations such as buprenorphine use.

HIV testing in the nation’s opioid treatment programs, 2005-2011: The role of state regulations

HIV testing in the nation’s opioid treatment programs, 2005-2011: The role of state regulations
Health Services Research, 2014 (February), 49(1):230-48. DOI: 10.1111/1475-6773.12094

D’Aunno, T., Pollack, H.A., Jiang, L., Metsch, L.R. & Friedmann, P. D.
02/03/2014

Objective: To identify the extent to which clients in a national sample of opioid treatment programs (OTPs) received HIV testing in 2005 and 2011; to examine relationships between state laws for informed consent and pretest counseling and rates of HIV testing among OTP clients.

Data Source: Data were collected from a nationally representative sample of OTPs in 2005 (n = 171) and 2011 (n = 200).

Study Design: Random-effects logit and interval regression analyses were used to examine changes in HIV testing rates and the relationship of state laws to HIV testing among OTPs.

Data Collection: Data on OTP provision of HIV testing were collected in phone surveys from OTP managers; data also were collected on state laws for HIV testing.

Principal Findings: The percentage of OTPs offering HIV testing decreased significantly from 93 percent in 2005 to 64 percent in 2011. Similarly, the percentage of clients tested decreased from an average of 41 percent in 2005 to 17 percent in 2011. OTPs located in states whose laws do not require pretest counseling and that use opt-out consent were more likely to provide HIV testing and to test higher percentages of clients.

Conclusions: The results show the need to increase HIV testing among OTP clients; the results also underscore the beneficial possibilities of dropping pretest counseling as a requirement for HIV testing and of using the opt-out approach to informed consent for testing.

Hospitalization for Ambulatory-care sensitive conditions (ACSC) in Ile de France: A view from across the Atlantic

Hospitalization for Ambulatory-care sensitive conditions (ACSC) in Ile de France: A view from across the Atlantic
Revue française des affaires sociales 2013/3 (n° 3)

Rodwin, V., Gusmano, M. and Weisz, D.
12/03/2013

This article presents an indicator used in the United States and other OECD nations (hospitalizations for ambulatory-care sensitive conditions – ACSC) to assess access to primary care services and their capacity to handle a set of medical conditions before they require acute hospital treatment. Based on a study of Ile de France, which relies on residence-based hospital discharge data on patient diagnoses and treatments, the indicator identifies areas where hospitalizations for ACSC appear particularly high. Such hospital stays are considered potentially avoidable. Based on data from the Programme de m.dicalisation des syst.mes d’information (PMSI), disparities are measured. We rely on logistic regression analysis to identify a range of individual factors and neighborhood-level factors that explain these disparities. Access to primary care appears to be worse among residents in areas with average household income in the lowest quartile and among those hospitalized in public hospitals. This raises an important question for the future of health policy. Should areas with higher hospital discharge rates of ACSC be understood as having populations with poor health-seeking behaviors or health care systems not well enough organized to target higher-risk populations?

Dispelling An Urban Legend: Frequent Emergency Department Users Have Substantial Burden Of Disease

Dispelling An Urban Legend: Frequent Emergency Department Users Have Substantial Burden Of Disease
Health Affairs, 32, no.12 (2013):2099-2108

Billings, John and Maria C. Raven
12/01/2013

Urban legend has often characterized frequent emergency department (ED) patients as mentally ill substance users who are a costly drain on the health care system and who contribute to ED overcrowding because of unnecessary visits for conditions that could be treated more efficiently elsewhere. This study of Medicaid ED users in New York City shows that behavioral health conditions are responsible for a small share of ED visits by frequent users, and that ED use accounts for a small portion of these patients’ total Medicaid costs. Frequent ED users have a substantial burden of disease, and they have high rates of primary and specialty care use. They also have linkages to outpatient care that are comparable to those of other ED patients. It is possible to use predictive modeling to identify who will become a repeat ED user and thus to help target interventions. However, policy makers should view reducing frequent ED use as only one element of more-comprehensive intervention strategies for frequent health system users.

Potentially avoidable hospitalizations: how to estimate the costs?

Potentially avoidable hospitalizations: how to estimate the costs?
Gestion Hospitalière (529) October, 2013

Rodwin, V., A. Sommer, and D. Weisz
10/01/2013

Based on the number of hospitalizations for ambulatory-care sensitive conditions in the Paris region (Ile-de-France), and the DRG-based rates for these hospital stays, we estimate the hospital expenditures that could be avoided if patients had access to primary care services that successfully manage their chronic conditions and avoid exacerbations that lead to necessary hospitalizations when they occur. In addition, we caution policymakers about what inferences can legitimately be drawn from such estimates for the expenditures averted on hospital care do not represent a net gain as there would likely be additional expenditures needed to upgrade ambulatory care to manage a host of complex chronic diseases.

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