CHCPR News

Do In-gap discounts in Medicare Part D increase use of specialty drugs?

prescription pill bottle

(Posted February 2018)

In-gap discounts in Medicare Part D and specialty drug use
Authors: Jeah Jung, Wendy Xu, Chelim Cheong

Many patients benefit from specialty drugs, but they incur relatively high cost-sharing costs through Medicare Part D plans. An Affordable Care Act provision attempted to lighten the financial burden by reducing cost sharing in the Part D gap. This study examined the effect of this provision on specialty cancer drug use and patients’ out-of-pocket (OOP) spending. The authors found that while in-gap discounts in Part D decreased patients’ financial burdens to some degree, they led to no change in specialty drug use. The recent Congressional budget of 2018 extended the current in-gap discounts to 70 percent (from 50 percent) for brand-name drugs, which include most specialty drugs. Whether it would increase demand for specialty drugs has yet to be examined, and continuing efforts are needed to ensure patients’ access to needed drugs

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Perceptions of Protection Under Nondiscrimination Laws

(Posted February 2018)

Kristen Underhill, Associate Professor of Law at Columbia Law School speaks in our Health Services Research Colloquium. Jointly sponsored by Penn State Law, this lecture was part of a workshop series on “Empirical Approaches to Health Law.”

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The Impact of Health Care Reform on Practicing Physicianst

(Posted February 2018)

Dennis Scanlon and Anthony Agostini, DO, Interventional Cardiology Center of Amarillo, L.L.P. discuss the impact of health reform and new payment models on practicing providers, the differences between allopathic and osteopathic medicine, and offer advice for students entering the medical field.

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Penn State Hosts Summit to Combat the Opioid Epidemic

(Posted January 2018)

Opioid overdose deaths in Pennsylvania increased 37 percent in 2016, ranking the state fourth in the nation. Coming on the heels of Gov. Tom Wolf’s declaration of the opioid crisis as a disaster emergency, Penn State recently held its first University-wide summit on the opioid epidemic. The summit drew together almost 200 researchers, practitioners and educators from across the Penn State system with the goal of developing an interdisciplinary and translational agenda aimed at combating the opioid epidemic.

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Center for Health Care and Policy Research helps form recommendations to enhance consumers' ability to "shop" for health care in Pennsylvania

(Posted January 2018)

As part of the implementation of the Health Innovation in Pennsylvania plan, the Commonwealth's Insurance Commissioner convened a multi-disciplinary work-group to determine a recommended path to enhance the ability of Pennsylvanians to effectively shop for health care. Dennis Scanlon, Distinguished Professor of Health Policy and Administration and Director of the Center for Health Care and Policy Research, served as a member of the work-group.

The work-group studied shopping tools offered by health insurers and other third parties in order to assess the landscape of tools available to consumers. Through this process, the work-group learned that although private industry is working hard and investing heavily to provide cost and quality information to consumers, the tools vary in usability, services covered, the information on quality of care provided, and uptake among consumers. There is an opportunity for the Commonwealth to establish guidelines and/or engage in policies that encourage and support the improvement and use of these tools.

Recently the workgroup released its recommendations addressing specific actions the Commonwealth can take in this area.


Penn State Invests $2 Million to Support Strategic Priorities

Hands planting a seedling.

(Posted December 2017)

Through an innovative new funding process, Penn State is investing $2 million in its top strategic priorities, while simultaneously advancing the vital and transformative work of its faculty, staff and students across the University. Ten seed grants have been awarded to pilot programs that support Penn State's 2016-2020 Strategic Plan and its thematic priorities, which include transforming education, enhancing health, stewarding our planet's resources, advancing the arts and humanities, and driving digital innovation. The funded projects range from the collection, security and management of big health data; to the global development of energy-efficient buildings; to nurturing employment pathways and expanding sustainable and socially responsible food production in Pennsylvania.

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Headshot of Prajwol Nepal

Headshot of Dr. Duncan Maru

The Future of Healthcare in Nepal: From Grassroots Delivery to National Policy

(Posted December 2017)

Dr. Duncan Maru and Prajwol Nepal from Possible Health speak in our Health Services Research Colloquium.

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How Academic Institutions Can Support Community-Engaged Research

Arms extended and holding hands.

(Posted November 2017)

A Model for Academic Institution Support for Community-Engaged Research
Authors: Dennis P. Scanlon, Laura J. Wolf, Cynthia H. Chuang, Jennifer L. Kraschnewski, Eugene J. Lengerich, Susan M. McHale, Ian M. Paul, Janice Penrod

The promise of community-engaged research - partnering with individuals or organizations in the public in planning, designing, conducting, interpreting and writing-up research - to improve of health and well-being of populations is being increasing recognized by academic institutions and those that fund their research. The Penn State Clinical and Translational Science Institute sponsors a Community-Engaged Research Core (CERC) that brings together faculty from across health and social science disciplines to promote and support the use of community-engaged research throughout the university. To guide its work, the CERC developed a model for academic institution support of community-engaged research based. This model, which is based on learnings from the literature, explorations of what other academic institutions are doing in this area, and in-depth interviews with Penn State leaders in community-engaged research, may help further the national conversation about community-engaged research and help focus future research in the field. Additionally, this new model may help individual academic institutions as they assess their current community-engaged research activities and plan for the future.

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Can personal health care narratives persuade people to use comparative quality information when choosing a physician?

Doctors walking and talking.

(Posted October 2017)

Testing a Personal Narrative for Persuading People to Value and Use Comparative Physician Quality of Care Information: An Experimental Study
Authors: Jessica Greene, Judith H. Hibbard, Rebecca M. Sacks

The authors conducted an online experiment to test whether a first-person cartoon narrative that educated consumers about physician variation in quality performance could persuade consumers to value and use comparative information on physician quality performance. The cartoon narrative was developed by the Wisconsin Collaborative for Healthcare Quality as part of the Aligning Forces for Quality initiative. The participants were randomized to either view the cartoon character’s narrative, a brief text on physician quality variation, or a control group with no additional information. All participants were shown a display of four physicians, one of whom had the highest quality performance but was more expensive and less convenient. While there was no overall relationship between viewing the narrative or reading text and choosing the top-quality physician, higher numerate participants who viewed the narrative had 2.7 times the odds of selecting the top-quality physician. The results indicate that personal narratives can persuade people with high numeracy skills to consider quality when choosing a physician, and suggest that future research is needed to identify strategies to support those with lower numeracy skills in selecting high-quality health providers.

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Head shot of Dr. Joseph Grzyminski

The Determinants of Health in Northern Nevada: Preliminary Results from a Large and Expanding Population Health Study

(Posted September 2017)

Dr. Joseph J Grzymski, Co-Director, Renown Institute for Health Innovation, Reno, NV speaks in our Health Services Research Colloquium

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