Recent News

University of Chicago School of Social Service Administration: New Studies Assess Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs) after the Passage of the Affordable Care Act

Posted on 06 Aug 2015
The University of Chicago School of Social Service Administration issued an announcement on the release of the “Assessing Accountable Care Organizations: Cost, Quality, and Market Power” special issue of the Journal of Health Politics, Policy and Law (volume 40, issue 4). The special issue is “an in-depth look at accountable care organizations (ACOs): networks of hospitals, physicians, or other health care providers that share financial and medical responsibility for the coordinated care of a patient.” The special issue was co-edited by Colleen M. Grogan, editor of JHPPL, Professor; Co-Chair, Center for Health Administration Studies; Faculty Chair, Graduate Program in Health Administration and Policy; Editor, Journal of Health Politics, Policy and Law at the University of Chicago and by Richard M. Scheffler, Director of the Petris Center, with much of the content supported through the Nicholas C. Petris Center, with funding from the California Attorney General’s offic

Europa Press: A US Expert Believes that Spain needs to Reform the Health System to Cope with Aging

Posted on 06 Aug 2015
  “Professor of Health Economics and Public Policy at the University of California-Berkeley (USA), Richard Scheffler, said that Spain needs to reform its health system towards an integral and coordinated system to cope with the aging of the population and in that way reduce health spending… ‘Between 1996 and 2010, despite the crisis, the health spending per capita increased at an annual rate of 3.5 percent. From 2014, the forecasting managed by the World Bank is that this growth will stabilize at 0.5 percent annually. Nevertheless, according to this institution, Spain will not be able to allocate more resources to the health budget. This is an important problem when thinking about health policy. Spain has to be more effective and efficient in their health system,’ he stressed.” Translated from the original article. The full text of the original article (in spanish) can be accessed here.

Health Affairs: States With Stronger Health Insurance Rate Review Authority Experienced Lower Premiums In The Individual Market In 2010–13

Posted on 03 Aug 2015
Press Release: “A new study published today [August 3, 2015] found state-level prior approval authority over individual market health insurance rates were in effect from 2010 to 2013 was associated a 10 percentage point lower rate of increase in premiums.The research was published in the August issue of Health Affairs, and was conducted at the University of Minnesota School of Public Health in collaboration with the University of California, Berkeley School of Public Health.” “Study authors collected rate review authority and anticipated loss ratio requirements from each state and the District of Columbia by examining statutes, regulations, and bulletins and distributed a questionnaire to each state and the District of Columbia. ‘Our findings suggest that rate review by states with prior approval authority may be a viable option for moderating the growth in health insurance premiums,’ said Richard Scheffler, Ph.D., principal investigator and distinguished

Review of Industrial Organizations: Market Power, Transactions Costs, and the Entry of Accountable Care Organizations in Health Care

Posted on 03 Aug 2015
  An article by Petris Center Director Richard M. Scheffler and Christopher Whaley, H. E. Frech III, Benjamin R. Handel, Liora Bowers, and Carol J. Simon was published in the Review of Industrial Organizations journal on July 15, 2015. Abstract “ACOs were promoted in the 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (ACA) to incentivize integrated care and cost control. Because they involve vertical and horizontal collaboration, ACOs also have the potential to harm competition. In this paper, we analyze ACO entry and formation patterns with the use of a unique, proprietary database that includes public (Medicare) and private ACOs. We estimate an empirical model that explains county-level ACO entry as a function of: physician, hospital, and insurance market structure; demographics; and other economic and regulatory factors. We find that physician concentration by organization has little effect. In contrast, physician concentration by geographic site—which is a new measure o

New Studies Assess Accountable Care Organizations (ACOs) after the Passage of the Affordable Care Act

Posted on 03 Aug 2015
“‘Accessing Accountable Care Organizations: Cost, Quality, and Market Power,’ a special issue of the Journal of Health Politics, Policy and Law (volume 40, issue 4), is an in-depth look at accountable care organizations (ACOs): networks of hospitals, physicians or other health care providers that share financial and medical responsibility for the coordinated care of a patient. Now numbering over 700 throughout the United States, ACOs were rare prior to the passage of the Affordable Care Act. Their increased presence has sparked a debate about issues important to patients, providers, and taxpayers throughout the nation. ‘Integrated health delivery systems and accountable care organizations are becoming ubiquitous in our health care system,’ Richard Scheffler, special issue editor, states. ‘They potentially could bend the cost curve and improve the quality of care, but they also present a threat to the competitiveness of health care markets.'” Re

Dr. Scheffler awarded the Gold Medal of Charles University

Posted on 28 Jul 2015
Petris Center Director Dr. Richard Scheffler was awarded the Gold Medal of Charles University in Prague, Czech Republic for his “extraordinary contribution to the international science and post-doctoral education in the field of health policy and health economics from 1990 till present”. This award was presented by the Dean of Faculty of Social Sciences at Charles University during our Fogarty International training conference May 30th, 2015. The full press release issued by Charles University can be found here.

Drivers of Health Expenditure Growth in California

Posted on 02 Apr 2015
California’s state government, employers and families are concerned about the affordability of healthcare in California. The Affordable Care Act is likely to have opposing effects on healthcare expenditures. On the one hand, the number uninsured in California is expected to decrease from 6.0 million to 2.6 million between 2011 and 2016, leading to increased expenditures (CalSIM, 2014; Hadley et al., 2008). On the other hand, payment and delivery innovations within the Affordable Care Act and private market have the potential to reduce expenditures (McClellan, 2014), but there is a concern that provider consolidation may lead to higher prices (Health Care Cost Institute, 2014; Baker et al, 2014; Robinson, 2011; Berenson et al., 2010). In this report, we forecast health expenditures in California from 2013–2022 using the Berkeley Forum Healthcare Expenditure Forecasting Model discussed in A New Vision for California’s Healthcare System: Integrated Care with Aligned Financial Incentives (

Accountable Care Organizations in California: Promise & Performance

Posted on 17 Feb 2015
There is new evidence that California’s accountable care organizations (ACOs) are growing in size and number, serving more patients, and improving the quality of care—according to a report released today by the Berkeley Forum for Improving California’s Healthcare Delivery System. California has more ACOs (67) than any other state in the country, with particularly rapid growth over the past two years. The report estimates that, by February 2016, more than 1.3 million Californians will be receiving their care from ACOs. The growth is projected to occur in nearly all regions of the state. “The next few years are likely to bring continued growth and diversity in accountable care models that move increasingly toward being paid for meeting cost and quality targets,” said Stephen Shortell, lead author of the report and chair of the Berkeley Forum. ACOs are defined as medical groups that contract with Medicare and/or commercial insurers to care for a defined population of patients and that are

Healthcare Leaders and Berkeley Policy Experts Issue Report on Honoring Patients’ Wishes by Expanding Palliative Care in California.

Posted on 19 Nov 2014
A report released November 19 by the Berkeley Forum finds that California hospital spending could be reduced by billions of dollars over the next eight years if patients’ wishes about palliative care were honored. The Forum—a collaborative effort involving executive leadership of major health insurers, health care delivery systems and the State of California with health policy experts from the School of Public Health at UC-Berkeley—previously issued a Vision of increased choice and better value for patients nearing end of life. The new report builds on that Vision, highlighting three major programs that give patients in California greater choice of care outside the hospital. The programs’ interdisciplinary teams incorporate patient goals and wishes when planning treatment, resulting in patient-centered care that tends to move people out of intensive hospital settings and into care in the community. “Our review shows that offering more choices to patients can not only increase sat