Unbiased Analysis of Today's Healthcare Issues

Variation in End-of-Life Cancer Treatments

According to a recent Dartmouth Atlas study: “The nation’s most elite cancer care centers performed only modestly better than community hospitals at meeting recognized quality standards for treating dying cancer patients, displaying similar patterns of relatively aggressive, high-intensity treatments in the final weeks of these patients’ lives… The Dartmouth researchers also found that even among […]

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Regional Variation in Medicare Spending

What causes regional variation in spending and outcomes?  Previous research claimed that physician treatment norms in different areas account for much of these differences.  Recent research, however, claims that most of these regional differences are caused by geographic differences in health status.  Reschovsky et al (2011) find the following when examining a sample of Medicare […]

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Regional Variation in Elective Surgery

A recent report by the Dartmouth Atlas team finds significant geographic  variation elective surgery. “…if you have heart disease and live in St. Cloud, Minnesota, you are half as likely to undergo cardiac bypass surgery than if you live in Detroit Lakes, and more than twice as likely to undergo back surgery than if you […]

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Regional Differences in Medicare Spending and Health Status

Previous research by the team at Dartmouth Atlas found that there is significant regional variation in spending and disease diagnosis frequency, but this variation is not correlated with higher quality.  However, regional variation may be overstated.  According to Zuckerman et al. (2010): “Unadjusted Medicare spending per beneficiary was 52% higher in geographic regions in the […]

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Regional Variation in Diagnosis Frequency

For many years, the Dartmouth Atlas has chronicled how variation in medical resource use across the country.  Despite glaring differences in the cost and volume of care across the nation, regions with higher health care costs do not necessarily have better health outcomes. However, medical treatment is a two step process.  First, the physician must […]

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Medicare Regional Variation in Service Use may be Exaggerated

Regional differences in the cost of health care are due to differences in both the price and volume of medical care.  Since, Medicare sets prices, there should be little variation in prices…right? Actually, Medicare payments have geographic adjustments based on a number of factors.  For instances, the hospital wage index gives pay hospitals more in […]

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