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Medicare spending was the lowest in Hawaii, but the state scored the highest for health care quality in the nation, according to new data by the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

The state spent $5,586 total per capita on Medicare, the government health insurance program for seniors, 37 percent lower than the U.S. median, while overall quality was 46 percent higher, a database produced by The Commonwealth Fund shows.

“The hospitals and providers can be proud of what they’ve done. Their efforts to be conservative in the use of high-cost testing and treatments are demonstrated in this study,” said Dr. Chris Flanders, executive director of the Hawaii Medical Association, representing 1,100 physicians statewide. “It’s not all doom and gloom in the health care world.”

Medicare spending was 13 percent lower at $757 per patient for doctor’s office visits in the islands, but CMS scored physician quality 78 percent higher than in other states. Spending was 34 percent lower for inpatient hospital stays at $1,572 per capita, while CMS found quality was 3 percent higher.

Skilled-nursing facilities spent 47 percent less in Medicare dollars at $442 per patient, while quality was graded 103 percent higher than the U.S. median. Home health spending was $110 per Medicare beneficiary, or 74 percent lower than the U.S. median, though there was no difference found in quality.


Source: StarAdvertiser

imaging 2

Hawaii Neurological Society members are convinced that HMSA's pre-authorization requirement for all advanced x-ray procedures compromises timely patient care and should be abandoned, the president of the group said Wednesday.

The comments come amid growing frustration about the policy, which Hawaii's largest health insurer put in place in December.

hiv vaccine

Preliminary research suggests that an AIDS vaccine in development can ramp up the body's immune system, boosting the response to medications HIV-positive patients take.


En route recently to Nepal for a medical mission, I stopped in Bangkok and had an opportunity to view Bumrungrad International Hospital, long known as a first mover and market leader in medical tourism. Strengths and weaknesses surrounding Bumrungrad's proven model highlight changing sands and fresh opportunities for health and wellness tourism in Hawaii.

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