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UMass-Clinton Hospital among top 10 in index

The UMass Memorial HealthAlliance-Clinton Hospital campus in Leominster leads the state in the new Lown Institute Hospitals Index, a ranking of 3,300 hospitals and 300 hospital systems launched this summer. “It’s not necessarily the usual suspects that you’re going to find at the top of these rankings,” said Shannon Brownlee, the institute’s senior vice president. Lown Institute President Dr. Vikas Saini said the index is meant to help shape a discussion around health-care quality and unearth new ideas, rather than serve as a shopping guide for consumers.

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Podcast: Transitioning From Volume To Value

The American health care system is dominated by misaligned financial incentives, rewarding providers for more – but not necessarily BETTER – treatment. In this episode, Ceci and guests discuss ways to shift our health care approach away from volume – and the waste and unnecessary care it involves – and to a model focused on value. Research repeatedly shows that a value-based, outcome-focused system reduces costs and produces better health outcomes. Hear what the experts have to say in Ep. 4 of Healthy Dialogue. More

Hospital Pays $50M to Settle Charges It Overpaid Docs for Referrals

"There are many well-paid lawyers whose job it is to figure out what this hospital did, but in a way that passes legal muster," he said. "If you're complying with the letter of the law but violating the spirit of the law, what good is that? There is a soft creeping corruption in these arrangements all over the country." Dealmaking of this type is symptomatic of profit-driven healthcare, Saini said: "We have a system in which hospitals really have to compete for revenue and high-margin business because we treat them like a normal business. But healthcare is not a normal economic activity. There is a fundamental disconnect here." More

Why hospitals don’t treat everyone equally

Local hospitals that treat large numbers of poor and uninsured patients scored the best in a new national ranking that evaluates hospitals based on their commitment to equity, inclusion and community health. Meanwhile, hospitals owned by some of the area's largest chains, including Northwestern Medicine and Advocate Aurora Health, got lower marks from the Lown Institute, a think tank based in Brookline, Mass.   "As a business person, it makes perfect sense to go where the revenue opportunity is," says Lown President Dr. Vikas Saini. "If you say, go where the rich people are or go where the white people are, it doesn't sound so good." More

Trump’s covid vaccine dilemma: how public skepticism threatens to undermine a possible cure

Public health experts say that while companies may be legally covered, they still have a high degree of interest in showing a vaccine is effective. “For many drugs, trials are oriented to showing efficacy and a minimal level of safety, then our system allows them to be released into the wild, into the marketplace,” said Dr. Vikas Saini, president of the Lown Institute, a nonpartisan think tank in Massachusetts that advocates for health care reform.

If any of the current vaccine trials show high efficacy there could be political pressure to rush it to market to save lives and help return the country to normal. “We desperately need a vaccine. It would be a game-changer,” said Saini.
“So, what we face is a genuine trade off that is now being distorted horrendously by the politics. We may get a signal of efficacy before we get a signal of safety,” said Saini.
That presents a dilemma for whoever is president. "Trying to time good news results around Election Day for political advantage is not a Trump thing or a Biden thing. That’s what politicians do. And it’s been dirty business long before Trump,” Saini said.
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The Hospital Industry Is In A Financial Mess: We Have A Unique Opportunity To Fix It

A new hospital ranking by the Lown Institute finds that some of the biggest, most prestigious medical institutions in the country perform poorly on indicators such as inclusivity (defined in the study as the extent to which they treat patients with low incomes and educational attainment, as well as people of color), delivery of low-value care, and community benefit. More

Too Many Meds? A Tale of Medication Overload

Taking lots of medications is, for many of us, an inevitable part of getting older. While some of these drugs help keep us healthy, there are serious risks to taking too many. For my husband, the drugs he was prescribed to alleviate his symptoms became a cascade of medications that eventually destroyed his health. More

8 August — Lown Institute on Community Matters

For this week in Community Matters we are sharing two great interviews with you. The first is with Dr. Saini of the Lown Institute, and he’ll be sharing some results from the Hospitals Index his organization has just completed. This index essentially compares Virginia hospitals with each other based on an equal set of criteria, and he also addresses how the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the quality of care in our region. More