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Outpatient Spending Rises as Physician-Hospital Integration Grows

Aimee Sharp
Author | Shield HealthCare
10/22/15  1:42 PM PST
Outpatient Spending

Originally Posted by California Healthline

Communities that experienced increases in physician-hospital integration also saw increases in annual outpatient spending, according to a study published Monday in JAMA Internal Medicine, the Wall Street Journal reports (Wilde Mathews, Wall Street Journal, 10/19).

Study Details

For the study, Harvard Medical School researchers used data from Medicare and other sources to analyze spending and prices from 2008 to 2012 for about 7.4 million adults with commercial health plans in 240 metropolitan areas (Evans, “Vital Signs,” Modern Healthcare, 10/19).

According to the researchers, the study is the first to look at the relationship between hospital-physician integration and outpatient care prices (Harvard release, 10/19).

Study Findings

The study found that by 2012 an average of 21.3% of doctors in the metro areas were employed by a hospital or worked for a hospital-owned practice, up from 18% in 2008.

The study did not find a significant change in spending for inpatient stays (Wall Street Journal, 10/19). However, researchers found that a market experiencing a 5.2 percentage point increase in physician-hospital integration was associated with an increase in average annual outpatient costs per privately insured person of $75 (“Vital Signs,” Modern Healthcare, 10/19). According to study co-author J. Michael McWilliams, the average increase in outpatient spending for a patient whose physician practice was acquired by a hospital was about $1,400.

Read the Full Article at California Healthline.