18-14 Segment 1: The Price Consequences of Doctor Consolidation

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In some areas, it has become almost impossible to find independent physician practices. Many of these smaller practices have opted into being bought by hospitals and other large medical groups. So, what has prompted the increase of consolidation in the medical field? And what does this mean for patients?

The incentives of consolidation have been researched, but the results do not point to one reason. Dr. Laurence Baker, Professor of Health Research and Policy at Stanford University School of Medicine, explains that physicians running smaller practices might benefit from no longer having their own business. Another possibility, Dr. Christopher Ody, Research Assistant Professor at Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University, explains, is that some hospitals may view consolidation as a way to improve the quality of healthcare and decrease the costs to help physicians and their patients. However, data has indicated that the factor with the largest role in consolidation has to do with increasing the amount that hospitals are getting paid, and decreasing the amount paid to pharmaceutical companies. Even though research has not provided an overarching incentive that drives consolidation, the data seems to point to increasing income for hospitals rather than providing patients with better care. Furthermore, hospital consolidation has not been shown to benefit the patient. Dr. Baker explains that data indicates that the cost of healthcare has not gone down for patients with consolidation. Since the cost of healthcare has increased for patients, many have started to wonder how consolidation has been able to continue and what is being done to control it.

In the medical field, it is important to maintain consistency in market concentration and ensure that the markets are still competitive. One way in which authorities in the medical field work to maintain market concentration is by regulating transactions that reach a price threshold. However, Dr. Ody explains that hospitals have been able to avoid these regulations by partaking in multiple smaller transactions that invest in a small number of physicians at a time in order to ensure that the cost is below the threshold for evaluation. By avoiding regulations, hospitals have been able to grow into much larger entities that generate a lot of power and income from smaller practices. Since consolidation has prompted increased healthcare costs, it currently appears to be detrimental to the medical field rather than helpful. Yet, it could be worth it if hospitals were able to determine a method of consolidation that decreases healthcare costs and improves the quality of care that is provided to patients.

Guests:

  • Dr. Laurence Baker, Professor of Health Research and Policy at Stanford University School of Medicine
  • Dr. Christopher Ody, Research Assistant Professor at Kellogg School of Management, Northwestern University

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16-29 Segment 1: Conversations with Babies

Reading interesting story with my mom

Scientists have discovered that the way parents talk to their infants has a huge effect on their intellectual development and later success. Experts discuss why and how parents should hold “conversations” with their babies.

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15-19 Story 1: Lung cancer, no smoking

 

Synopsis: Lung cancer is the world’s #1 cancer killer, but its association with smoking has created a stigma that often stuns patients who never smoked and results in much less research money for lung cancer than for other less lethal diseases. Still, new treatments provide hope. Experts discuss these issues.

Host: Reed Pence. Guests: Dr. Andrea McKee, Chairman, radiation oncology, Leahy Hospital & Medical Center, Burlington, MA; Dr. Heather Wakelee, Associate Professor of Medicine, Stanford University and Stanford Cancer Institute; Dr. Joan Schiller, Deputy Director, Simmons Cancer Center, UT Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, and President, Free to Breathe advocacy organization

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15-15 Story 1: Correcting Color Blindness

 
Synopsis: Color blindness (or color vision deficiency) affects up to eight percent of men. Until recently, doctors could do nothing to treat it. Now high-tech glasses can make colors come alive for many people with the most common form of color blindness.

Experts explain color blindness and the glasses that can treat it. Host: Reed Pence. Guests: Sean Reynolds, color blind patient; Dr. Michael Marmor Professor of Ophthalmology, Stanford University School of Medicine and Byers Eye Institute; Dr. Don McPherson, Vice President of Products, Enchroma, Inc.

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15-12 Story 1: Women and Work

 

Synopsis: The US once led the world in proportion of women in the workplace, but that number has declined the last 15 years. Experts explain the social, economic, and governmental factors that are leading women to quit their jobs–often unwillingly–and stay home.

Host: Reed Pence. Guests: Dr. Pamela Stone, Visiting Scholar, Stanford University Clayman Institute for Gender Research, Professor of Sociology, Hunter College and the Graduate Center, City University of New York, and author, Opting Out: Why Women Really Quit Careers and Head Home; Dr. Claudia Goldin, Professor of Economics, Harvard University

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