Friday, May 1, 2015

Wasted Tax Dollars? Again?

Ever since the signing of the ACA, a massive number of new initiatives and overheads have been placed upon physicians with the stated intent of improving quality. Recent ones include the PQRS initiatives which demand at the penalty of loss of reimbursements the reporting of what is termed quality metrics. Frankly at first blush they are far from quality metrics and more just added costs to Health Care delivery.

But the worst offender still seems to be PCORI. In a great piece in Modern Healthcare the writer states:

The Affordable Care Act created an independent organization to support research that assesses which healthcare interventions are most effective. But three years after it started funding studies, there's no central repository of results or a clear strategy for making sure the knowledge reaches the clinicians it's intended to influence. The Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute distributed grants worth $30 million to its inaugural round of 50 projects. About 30 are complete and more results are anticipated this summer, PCORI leaders told Modern Healthcare. It's not clear, however, when or where those results can be found. PCORI says grantees are expected to have a plan for sharing their findings but also that it does not set timelines for completing studies. 

Frankly this is miled. PCORI gets $500 million every year from a tax on our medical fees. Yes we are paying for them.  They have handed out hundreds of millions of contracts to do studies none of which have been made public. Since PCORI is not a Government entity, thanks to the Democrats, then it has no transparency, just a cost. It is easier to find out details about the CIA and NSA than it is about PCORI.

The author continues:

PCORI has now approved $845 million in funding for nearly 400 projects, and the latest round came April 21. The organization announced $120 million in funding for 34 comparative clinical-effectiveness research projects, including five pragmatic clinical studies. 

But that is just the beginning. This will be an ongoing burden on the taxpayers but it will also be a burden on the practitioners who must comply with PCORI mandates.

The author continues:

The first study in that project, expected to begin this summer, will compare the effect of different doses of aspirin for the prevention of heart attack and stroke among people with heart disease. The early PCORnet projects will help “illustrate PCORnet's wide-ranging capabilities and pave the way for future research,” the institute said.

What the author fails to note is that this study is from the patient perspective. The standards for standard clinical trials do not apply, it all too often is a study of "how do you feel about...?".

The costs and waste from such an agency are substantial. Yet Congress has no oversight capability since it was mandated as extra Governmental and fnded through 2018.