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A Health Podyssey

A Health Podyssey

A Health Podyssey goes beyond the pages of Health Affairs to tell stories behind the research and share policy implications.

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Sabrina Poon on the Controversial Two-Midnight Rule & Its Effects on Hospital Admissions

Medical advances have enabled many people to be cared for appropriately in an outpatient setting rather than being admitted to a hospital.Yet, since Medicare payment rates are generally lower for outpatient visits than inpatient hospital stays, hospitals have a financial incentive to admit patients. Observing what were believed to be inappropriate admissions, in 2013 Medicare adopted the "two-midnight rule" stating that hospitals would only be paid inpatient rates if the patient was expected to stay in the hospital over two nights. The rule was controversial, but data show that it changed hospital visit behavior.The two-midnight rule is part of a larger effort to ensure appropriate payments within Medicare.Sabrina Poon from the Vanderbilt University Medical Center joins A Health Podyssey to discuss the effects of the rule and whether or not it obtained its objective.Poon and colleagues published a paper in the November 2021 issue of Health Affairs investigating how the two-midnight rule affected inpatient admissions and outpatient observation stays. They conclude that the shift from inpatient to observation stays is directly associated with adoption of the rule, the change occurred quickly after the rule was implemented, and it had different affects for patients with more chronic conditions.Subscribe: RSS | Apple Podcasts | Spotify | Stitcher | Google Podcasts
November 16, 2021

Ashish Jha on Healthcare Payment Reform, COVID-19 & Health Policy Twitter

When we launched A Health Podyssey in 2020, our goal was to take listeners beyond the research published in Health Affairs.For A Health Podyssey's one-year anniversary, we wanted to take listeners on an Excursion and speak with someone who epitomizes so much of what brings professionals into the fields of health policy and health services.   Ashish Jha from the Brown University School of Public Health is a widely published researcher whose public voice arises from a combination of deep expertise and a unique ability to explain complex concepts in an accessible language. Over the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, Jha's insights on the virus have helped many navigate thorny, complicated public health issues.Jha's most recent publication in Health Affairs was a commentary article where he and coauthors discussed adding a climate lens to health policy discussion in the U.S. Before joining Brown University, he was at the Harvard T. H. Chan School of Public Health. Today, Ashish Jha joins Health Affairs' Editor-in-Chief Alan Weil to discuss what he's learned from the COVID-19 pandemic, the bright spots he sees for health care payment reform, and how he uses social media.This episode is sponsored by the University of Pennsylvania's Master of Health Care Innovation.Subscribe: RSS | Apple Podcasts | Spotify | Stitcher | Google Podcasts
November 9, 2021

Susanna Trost on Addressing Perinatal Mental Health to Curb Maternal Mortality

With about 700 pregnancy-related deaths every year, the United States has the worst maternal mortality rates among developed countries.One response to this crisis has been the creation of state and local maternal mortality review committees (MMRCs), which are multidisciplinary committees that examine the context in which maternal deaths occur.The October 2021 issue of Health Affairs is focused on the topic of perinatal mental health. MMRC reports provide a treasure trove of information that can help us understand the role perinatal mental health plays in maternal mortality and what it might take to achieve better results.Susanna Trost, an Oak Ridge Institute for Science and Education Fellow at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, joins Health Affairs Editor-in-Chief Alan Weil on A Health Podyssey to discuss addressing perinatal mental health as a factor in maternal mortality.Trost and co-authors published a paper in the October 2021 issue of Health Affairs analyzing data from 14 state and local MMRCs regarding pregnancy-related maternal death. Studying these determinations from 2008 to 2017, they identified the characteristics of, and factors contributing to, pregnancy-related deaths caused by mental health conditions, including substance use disorder.They found that mental health conditions are the underlying cause of nearly one-in-nine pregnancy-related deaths, all of which were considered preventable by MMRCs. This episode is sponsored by the University of Pennsylvania's Master of Health Care Innovation.If you like this interview, order the October Perinatal Mental Health Theme Issue.Subscribe: RSS | Apple Podcasts | Spotify | Stitcher | Google Podcasts
November 2, 2021

Sara Kornfield on Postpartum Depression, Mental Health and Mother-Infant Bonding During COVID-19

Order the October Perinatal Mental Health Theme Issue.Postpartum depression is a common condition among people who give birth. Within four weeks of childbirth, 13% of women experience postpartum depression with as many as 19% of women affected three months postpartum.Mothers who experienced postpartum depression are more likely to experience impaired mother-infant bonding, which has been linked to increased risk for infant maltreatment and socio-emotional behavior and cognitive problems.Now, acute stress during pregnancy can increase the risk of postpartum depression. The current global COVID-19 pandemic represents a stressor that may have significant repercussions for postpartum depression risk and mother-child relationship development. Sara Kornfield, assistant professor of psychiatry at the University of Pennsylvania, joins Health Affairs Editor-in-Chief Alan Weil on A Health Podyssey to discuss the relationship between COVID-19, postpartum depression, and mother-infant bonding.Kornfield and coauthors recently published a paper in the October 2021 issue of Health Affairs - which is dedicated to the topic of perinatal mental health - about mental health and resilience among women who were pregnant during the early lockdown phase of the COVID-19 pandemic. Their analysis suggests prenatal depression is an important risk factor that predicts postpartum depression and uniquely contributes to impaired mother-infant bonding.  If you like this interview, order the October Perinatal Mental Health Theme Issue.Subscribe: RSS | Apple Podcasts | Spotify | Stitcher | Google Podcasts
October 26, 2021

Pathways to Equitable and Anti-Racist Maternal Mental Health Care

Systems of oppression like racism, sexism, and classism lead to poor health outcomes. These factors are a source of poor mental health and have particular implications for pregnant and birthing people.Black women who face multiple axes of oppression experience higher rates of maternal mental health conditions than the population as a whole. Yet maternal mental health issues among black women are under reported and often under addressed.Isabel Morgan, director of the the Birth Equity Research Scholars Program at the National Birth Equity Collaborative, joins A Health Podyssey to discuss the affects of structural racism on black birthing people's mental health and how we can do better.Morgan and coauthors published a paper in the October 2021 issue of Health Affairs - which is dedicated to the topic of perinatal mental health - describing what they call pathways to equitable and anti-racist maternal mental health care. Through interviews with black maternal and infant mental health individuals, they identify five key pathways.Listen to Health Affairs Editor-in-Chief Alan Weil discuss those pathways with Isabel Morgan and other opportunities to improve maternal mental health issues among black women.If you like this interview, order the October Perinatal Mental Health Theme Issue.Subscribe: RSS | Apple Podcasts | Spotify | Stitcher | Google Podcasts
October 19, 2021

Perinatal Mental Illness is Very Common. How Can It Be Improved?

Mental health conditions, such as mood and anxiety disorders are diagnosed in one of every five pregnant or postpartum people. Despite this high burden of morbidity and mortality and economic costs, perinatal mental illness is poorly addressed by the current US healthcare system.Jennifer Moore, founding executive director of the Institute for Medicaid Innovation, joins A Health Podyssey to discuss perinatal mental health and what we know about it. Moore was the advisor for the October issue of Health Affairs, which collects a number of articles all on perinatal mental health. Those papers discuss several dimensions of the issue, including the health and economic costs of poor perinatal mental health; the relationship between mental health and physical health; and the role of race and racism and how the US approaches mental illness among birthing people.In the issue, Moore co-authored two papers. In the overview, she and colleagues explore policy opportunities to improve the treatment of perinatal mental health conditions. In another paper, Moore and coauthors found that mental health conditions increase severe maternal morbidity by 50% and cost $102 million annually in the US.Listen to Health Affairs Editor-in-Chief, Alan Weil, interview Jennifer Moore on perinatal mental health and what policy option exist to improve it.If you like this interview, order the October Perinatal Mental Health Theme Issue.Subscribe: RSS | Apple Podcasts | Spotify | Stitcher | Google Podcasts
October 12, 2021

A Health Podyssey

Each week, Health Affairs Editor-in-Chief Alan Weil brings you in-depth conversations with leading researchers and influencers shaping the big ideas in health policy and the health care industry.

A Health Podyssey goes beyond the pages of Health Affairs to tell stories behind the research and share policy implications. Learn how academics and economists frame their research questions and journey to the intersection of health, health care, and policy. Health policy nerds rejoice! This podcast is for you.
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Alan Weil

Alan Weil

Alan Weil is the Editor-in-Chief of Health Affairs, the leading health policy journal.

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