Medicare: 30% of spending wasted?

Medicare: 30% of spending wasted?

Healthcare Fraud Control Articles | Healthcare Policy and Technology

Does more medical spending result in better health? Researchers knew that differences in medical spending between regions (which vary by as much as 200%) are not explained by differences in prices, nor differences in health or socioeconomic status. Instead, they are related to differences in the quantity of medical services provided and in the number internists and specialists.

Using end-of-life care spending as an indicator of Medicare spending, researchers at the Veterans Affairs Outcomes Group and Dartmouth Medical School compared costs and outcomes for three conditions (hip fracture, colorectal cancer, and acute myocardial infarction). They discovered that people who lived in higher spending regions received 60% more care (and thus Medicare expenses were 60% higher).

The differences in spending were found to be “largely due to more frequent use of the hospital as a site of care, more frequent physician visits, greater use of specialists, and more frequent diagnostic tests and minor procedures. The quality of care was no better in higher-spending regions, and access to care was slightly worse on most measures.”

Read the study at Annals of Internal Medicine