QUALITY: Kaiser cheaper and better than the NHS, says NHS

A study in the BMJ said, apparently with the approval of the UK health minister John Reid, that Kaiser Permanete provided better care than the UK’s NHS at better overall value and similar cost! This follows an academic report that suggested that UK care standards should become more like American ones. No, they’re not thinking of importing our insurance industry, but this is suggesting that length of stay in the UK is too long and should be brought in line with best American practices.  That’s not too far wrong in my view.  LOS over here is too short, forced that way by per admission DRGs, but not grossly so. Whereas LOS in most other countries is 2-3 times as long and lowering it would mean that care could be better delivered in the community at lower cost–rather than in a SNF at higher cost as is often the case in too-early discharges here. (In Uwe Reinhardt’s argument this leads to higher than necessary average inpatient costs as the first day in a SNF actually costs more than the last day in a hospital). I  know something about international comparisons (as well as something about Kaiser and the UK), and there is a nugget in here which I’ll bring out more in the future. 

Meanwhile, think about this on the macro level;, the Brits are looking for ways to cut cost in their system and they’re spending less than half what we do! And consider one more thing–costs in Florida are twice what they are in Minnesota, so we could do the same thing if we wanted (and could be bothered to read Wennberg’s stuff).

Hat tip to the wonderful MedPundit for this story, although why is a good free-marketeer like Sydney trolling the news outputs of a nationalized monopoly business like The BBC? Maybe there’s something to that socialism thing after all??

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