Population health appears to be the major driver of geographic variation in Medicare costs per beneficiary, although treatment patterns likely influence episode costs for specific conditions, according to a study by the Center for Studying Health System Change published July 5 in the journal Health Services Research. “Our results suggest that beneficiaries in geographic areas with higher total cost per beneficiary are sicker and therefore have more episodes of care,” the authors said. The study, funded by National Institute on Aging, examined episode and total annual costs for 10 common conditions in 60 nationally representative communities. Episode treatment costs varied widely across communities, but patterns of geographic cost variation were not consistent across conditions.
For more on the study, click on: http://tinyurl.com/lmmpzx4.