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The link between inpatient spending and health outcomes
Plus: West Virginia University streamlines and specializes; police unions want “accountability pay;” and a last chance for Freedom & Progress discounts
High-quality health care is possible with low inpatient spending: For more than a decade, the U.S. has made a concerted effort to reduce expensive inpatient stays in favor of cheaper outpatient care. But does lower investment in inpatient care lead to poor outcomes? Using data from FREOPP’s path-breaking World Index of Healthcare Innovation, FREOPP Resident Fellow Gregg Girvan investigated spending and outcomes in 32 high-income countries and found that the proportion of overall heath care spending that is devoted to inpatient spending is more important than the amount spent, and reducing the share of spending in inpatient settings actually improved hospital outcomes. Although the U.S. scores well overall on lowering inpatient spending, Gregg notes that it could do even better by adopting policies that encourage the development of innovative insurance models and increase competition among hospitals and insurers.
To serve students better, some colleges must shrink: Last week, the Board of Governors at West Virginia University (WVU) voted to discontinue 28 academic programs and eliminate 147 faculty positions. FREOPP Senior Fellow Preston Cooper argues that, despite the objections from some students and faculty, the cuts will put WVU in a stronger position in the long run. Eliminating programs with minimal student demand—like foreign languages that graduated only 15 students in 2021—and boosting those like engineering, business, and health, where interest is spiking and graduates enjoy a strong return on investment, will put the university on a firm financial footing without requiring it to hike tuition. Students are clear about what they want from college: affordable education that leads to well-paying jobs. WVU is wise to listen.
→ For more from Preston, check out his latest at Forbes, where he makes the case that ranking majors makes more sense than ranking colleges.
Should police be paid more to wear body cameras? As the public’s expectation that their interactions with police officers will be recorded grows, police unions are increasingly arguing that officers should be compensated for accountability measures like wearing body cameras. FREOPP Senior Fellow Jonathan Blanks considers the debate and concludes that the best results for police and the public will come from the policies that govern body camera use, which should put teeth to the accountability mechanisms that come with the cameras. For instance, one popular, common-sense change cities could require when they negotiate stipends for officers is instituting harsher penalties for those who intentionally turn off their cameras during searches or antagonistic citizen encounters. Sound, transparent policies like this will go a long way toward restoring crucial trust between police and the communities they serve.
Join FREOPP in Washington, D.C., for Freedom & Progress 2023: The agenda for Freedom & Progress 2023 is live, and registration is open! We hope you will join us at the Park Hyatt in Washington, D.C., on November 5-7 as we convene leaders in politics, policy, journalism, and philanthropy for discussions about the best ways to expand equal opportunity, freedom, and progress across issues from higher education to health care to the social safety net. Early bird registration pricing and FREOPP’s hotel discount both end on Friday, October 13, so book now to secure your spot and the best price.
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