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Gu Q.,Econometrica Incorporated | Koenig L.,KNG Health Consulting LLC | Faerberg J.,Clinical Transformation Unit | Steinberg C.R.,Trends Analysis | And 2 more authors.
Health Services Research | Year: 2014

Objective To explore the impact of the Hospital Readmissions Reduction Program (HRRP) on hospitals serving vulnerable populations. Data Sources/Study Setting Medicare inpatient claims to calculate condition-specific readmission rates. Medicare cost reports and other sources to determine a hospital's share of duals, profit margin, and characteristics. Study Design Regression analyses and projections were used to estimate risk-adjusted readmission rates and financial penalties under the HRRP. Findings were compared across groups of hospitals, determined based on their share of duals, to assess differential impacts of the HRRP. Principal Findings Both patient dual-eligible status and a hospital's dual-eligible share of Medicare discharges have a positive impact on risk-adjusted hospital readmission rates. Under current Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Service methodology, which does not adjust for socioeconomic status, high-dual hospitals are more likely to have excess readmissions than low-dual hospitals. As a result, HRRP penalties will disproportionately fall on high-dual hospitals, which are more likely to have negative all-payer margins, raising concerns of unintended consequences of the program for vulnerable populations. Conclusions Policies to reduce hospital readmissions must balance the need to ensure continued access to quality care for vulnerable populations. © Health Research and Educational Trust.

Bryce J.,Institute for International Programs | Friberg I.K.,Institute for International Programs | Kraushaar D.,Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation | Nsona H.,Ministry of Health | And 4 more authors.
International Journal of Epidemiology | Year: 2010

Background: African countries are working to achieve rapid reductions in maternal and child mortality and meet their targets for the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). Partners in the Catalytic Initiative to Save One Million Lives (CI) are assisting them by providing funding and technical assistance to increase and accelerate coverage for proven interventions. Here we describe how the Lives Saved Tool (LiST) was used as part of an early assessment of the expected impact of CI plans in Malawi, Burkina Faso and Ghana. Methods: LiST builds on country-specific demographic and cause-of-death profiles, and models the effect of changes in coverage for proven interventions on future levels of mortality among children less than 5 years of age. We worked with representatives of Ministries of Health and their development partners to apply LiST to assess the potential impact of CI plans and coverage targets, generating a short list of the highest-priority interventions for additional scale-up to achieve rapid reductions in under-5 mortality. Results: The results show that in each country, achieving national coverage targets for just four or five high-impact interventions could reduce under-5 mortality by at least 20% by 2011, relative to 2006 levels. Even greater gains could be obtained in Burkina Faso and Ghana by scaling up these high-impact interventions to 80%. Discussion: LiST can contribute to the development of stronger programmes by identifying the highest-impact interventions in a given epidemiological setting. The quality of LiST estimates is dependent on the available data on coverage levels and causes of death, and assumes that the target levels of coverage are feasible in a given context while maintaining service quality. Further experience is needed in the feasibility and usefulness of LiST as part of the program planning process at district and subdistrict levels. © The Author 2010; all rights reserved.

Ghimire M.,World Health Organization | Pradhan Y.V.,Policy | Maskey M.K.,National Health Research Council
Bulletin of the World Health Organization | Year: 2010

Problem: Acute diarrhoeal diseases and acute respiratory infections (ARIs) are the most common causes of child mortality worldwide. Safe, effective and inexpensive solutions are available for prevention and control, but they do not reach needy communities. Approach:Interventions based on research were designed to train and engage community health volunteers (CHVs) to implement a community-based control programme in Nepal. With the advent of the Integrated Management of Childhood Illnesses (IMCI) strategy, this programme subsequently emerged as a community-based IMCI but retained its mainstream activities. We reviewed and analysed policy decisions and programme development, implementation and expansion. Local setting: Severe resource constraints and difficult terrain limit access to health-care facilities in many parts of Nepal. Relevant changes: In districts with interventions, more cases of acute diarrhoea and of ARIs (including pneumonia) were reported. The proportion of diarrhoea cases with dehydration and the proportion of ARI cases with pneumonia were significantly lower in districts with interventions. Case fatality rates due to acute diarrhoea and the proportion of severe pneumonia among ARI cases across the country showed a significant trend towards a decrease from 2004 to 2007. Nepal has succeeded in training many CHVs and is on course to meet the Millennium Development Goal for child mortality. Lessons learnt: The burden of acute diarrhoea and ARIs can be reduced by training and engaging CHVs to implement community-based case management and prevention strategies. Monitoring, supervision and logistical support are essential. Policy decisions based on evidence from national research contributed to the success of the programme.

Kruk M.E.,University of Michigan | Johnson J.C.,University of Michigan | Gyakobo M.,University of Ghana | Agyei-Baffour P.,University of Ghana | And 6 more authors.
Bulletin of the World Health Organization | Year: 2010

Objective To determine how specific job attributes influenced fourth year medical students' stated preference for hypothetical rural job postings in Ghana. Methods Based on discussions with medical student focus groups and physicians in practice and in the Ministry of Health, we created a discrete choice experiment (DCE) that assessed how students' stated preference for certain rural postings was influenced by various job attributes: a higher salary, free superior housing, an educational allowance for children, improved equipment, supportive management, shorter contracts before study leave and a car. We conducted the DCE among all fourth year medical students in Ghana using a brief structured questionnaire and used mixed logit models to estimate the utility of each job attribute. Findings Complete data for DCE analysis were available for 302 of 310 (97%) students. All attribute parameter estimates differed significantly from zero and had the expected signs. In the main effects mixed logit model, improved equipment and supportive management were most strongly associated with job preference (β = 1.42; 95% confidence interval, CI: 1.17 to 1.66, and β = 1.17; 95% CI: 0.96 to 1.39, respectively), although shorter contracts and salary bonuses were also associated. Discontinuing the provision of basic housing had a large negative influence (β = -1.59; 95% CI: -1.88 to -1.31). In models including gender interaction terms, women's preferences were more influenced by supportive management and men's preferences by superior housing. Conclusion Better working conditions were strongly associated with the stated choice of hypothetical rural postings among fourth year Ghanaian medical students. Studies are needed to find out whether job attributes determine the actual uptake of rural jobs by graduating physicians.

Anthony D.,Policy | Binkin N.,UNICEF | Binkin N.,San Diego State University
The Lancet | Year: 2012

Implementation of innovative strategies to improve coverage of evidence-based interventions, especially in the most marginalised populations, is a key focus of policy makers and planners aiming to improve child survival, health, and nutrition. We present a three-step approach to improvement of the effective coverage of essential interventions. First, we identify four different intervention delivery channels - ie, clinical or curative, outreach, community-based preventive or promotional, and legislative or mass media. Second, we classify which interventions' deliveries can be improved or changed within their channel or by switching to another channel. Finally, we do a meta-review of both published and unpublished reviews to examine the evidence for a range of strategies designed to overcome supply and demand bottlenecks to effective coverage of interventions that improve child survival, health, and nutrition. Although knowledge gaps exist, several strategies show promise for improving coverage of effective interventions - and, in some cases, health outcomes in children - including expanded roles for lay health workers, task shifting, reduction of financial barriers, increases in human-resource availability and geographical access, and use of the private sector. Policy makers and planners should be informed of this evidence as they choose strategies in which to invest their scarce resources.

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