National health care spending in March 2013 grew 3.8 percent relative to March 2012, one-tenth below the February rate, putting it below the record low levels seen annually in 2009 – 2011, and below our estimate of 4.3 percent for 2012. Meanwhile, health care employment may finally be slowing with an average gain of 19,000 jobs per month for 2013, compared with 27,000 per month during 2012.
Altarum Institute has received the 2013 Workplace Excellence Award and Health & Wellness Trailblazer Award from the Alliance for Workplace Excellence (AWE) and is recognized in the Greater Washington, D.C. area as one of the best places to work.
Health spending has remained at about 18 percent of gross domestic product since mid-2009, but health employment continues to slowly increase as a share of total employment. Expanded coverage under the Affordable Care Act should push these figures upward, but an improving economy will push in the other direction as non-health spending and jobs accelerate.
Health care prices in January 2013 were 1.5 percent higher than in January 2012, two-tenths lower than the December rise, and the lowest reading since a 1.3 percent rate in December 1997. The 12-month moving average at 2.0 percent is the lowest since a 1.9 percent figure recorded in November 1998.
Altarum Institute, a nonprofit health systems research and consulting organization, has announced Mary K. Ousley as the new chair of the board of trustees. Dr. Maxine Hayes has been elected vice-chair.
National health expenditures grew at an estimated annual rate of 4.3 percent in 2012, a bit higher than the 3.9 percent experienced for each of the years 2009-2011. While this estimate is subject to revisions, it portends a fourth consecutive year of record-low growth compared to all previous years in the 50-plus years of official health spending data.
A new report suggests that communities where hospitals, other health care providers, and community services work together to coordinate evidence-based hospital discharges and provide better support in the community, can see a 6 percent drop in hospitalizations and rehospitalizations, per 1,000 beneficiaries, in just the first two years. This project relied upon Medicare’s Quality Improvement Organizations (QIOs) to anchor and guide the work, and the average community netted about $3 million dollars in annual savings for Medicare.
Over the first 11 months of 2012, national health expenditures (NHE) grew at an annual rate of 4.3 percent, compared to the 3.9 percent increase for 2011 reflected in data released last week by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). CMS also shows a 3.9 percent growth rate for 2009 and 2010 – the first time in the 50-plus years of official health spending data that growth was below 4 percent. 2012 is thus shaping up as the fourth straight year of historically low growth. NHE in November 2012 grew by 4.1 percent relative to November 2011.
National health expenditures in October 2012 grew by 3.5 percent relative to October 2011, down two-tenths from the September rate, and representing the sixth consecutive month of below 4 percent growth. At 3.7 percent, the six-month average growth rate is now below the all-time low (full-year) rate of 3.8 percent recorded in 2009. Some of the very low growth in October, however, may be attributable to Hurricane Sandy.
Coinciding with the release today of the fall 2012 results on HospitalSafetyScore.com, Altarum Institute has released a new white paper describing strategies employers can use to increase the safety and quality of hospital care their employees receive and describes successful approaches used by leading employers across the United States. The report, Steering Employees Toward Safer Care, is available on the Altarum.org website.