Healthcare Roundup—Study finds academic medical centers trail other facilities on some quality, cost metrics

A compass pointing to the word "quality."
A new report from Navigant looks at quality and cost differences between academic and non-academic medical centers. (Getty/Olivier Le Moal)

Academic medical centers lag on some quality metrics, study finds 

Academic medical centers lag behind other non-academic institutions on a number of quality and cost metrics, according to a new study from Chicago-based consulting firm Navigant.

Cost per case is 5.8% higher at academic medical centers in 2017, according to the study. That accounts for an additional $3.1 million in average operating expense per facility.

In addition, academic facilities are more likely than their non-academic counterparts to receive Medicare penalties in value-based care programs—40% of academic medical centers were hit with seven or more possible penalties, compared to 23% of non-academic facilities.

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Navigant’s study is based on data from 387 hospitals, including 175 academic facilities and 212 non-academic facilities. 

“While AMCs have earned strong reputations for cutting-edge and specialty care, our previous experience found most AMC admissions and procedures could be completed at non-AMCs,” said Christopher Stanley, M.D., Navigant director and the study’s lead author. (Announcement

1 in 7 children of mothers with Zika born with health issues 

The first long-term look at the impact of the Zika virus on children found that one in seven babies born from an infected mother in the U.S. has a health concern. 

About 6% are born with birth defects such as brain damage or an abnormally small head, a rate about 30 times that of babies overall, according to the study. The research included data on 1,450 children ages one year or older whose mother was infected with Zika while pregnant. 

Fourteen percent of children whose mothers were infected had another health problem, such as seizures, developmental delays or difficulty swallowing or moving. 

The researchers also found that children were not be screened enough for such concerns. Just one third received an eye exam conducted by a specialist and two-thirds were given brain scans, for example. (The Associated Press

Report outlines each state’s most Googled health problem 

Medicare Health Plans dived into Google Trends data to find the most-searched health concerns in each state this year. 

The most common result? Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), which was the top condition in New Hampshire, Massachusetts, Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, Texas, Wisconsin, Indiana and Missouri. 

Other common searches were for syphilis—the top search in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Illinois, Georgia, California and Colorado—and HIV/AIDS, the most-searched for Florida, Louisiana and Oregon. 

Surprisingly, just one state’s most-searched condition was opioid use disorder—Vermont. (Report