Primary Care Physician Characteristics Associated with Low Value Care Spending

Tyler W Barreto, Yoonkyung Chung, Peter Wingrove, Richard A. Young, Stephen Petterson, Andrew Bazemore, Winston Liaw

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

2 Scopus citations

Abstract

BACKGROUND: Previous work has shown that $210 billion may be spent annually on unnecessary medical services and has identified patient and hospital characteristics associated with low value care (LVC). However, little is known about the association between primary care physician (PCP) characteristics and LVC spending. The objective of this study was to assess this association. METHODS: We performed a retrospective analysis by using Medicare claims data to identify LVC and American Medical Association Masterfile data for PCP characteristics. We included PCPs of adults aged 65 years and older who were enrolled in Medicare in 2011. We measured Medicare spending per attributed patient on 8 low value services. RESULTS: Our final sample contained 6,873 PCPs with 1,078,840 attributed patients. Lower per-patient LVC Medicare spending was associated with the following PCP characteristics: allopathic training, smaller Medicare patient panel, practiced family medicine, practiced in the Midwest region, were a recent graduate, or practiced in rural areas. The largest associations were seen in Medicare patient panel size and geographic region. The average per-patient LVC spending was $14.67. LVC spending among PCPs with small patient panels was $3.98 less per patient relative to those with larger panels. PCPs in the Midwest had $2.80 less per patient LVC spending than those in the Northeast. CONCLUSION: Our analysis suggests that LVC services are associated with specific PCP characteristics. Further research should assess the strength of these associations, and future policy efforts should focus on systemic interventions to reduce LVC spending.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)218-225
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of the American Board of Family Medicine : JABFM
Volume32
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Mar 1 2019

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Keywords

  • Health Care Costs
  • Medicare
  • Patient Care
  • Primary Care Physicians

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health
  • Family Practice

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