Unbiased Analysis of Today's Healthcare Issues

Medicare Pricing Distortions and Patient Satisfaction

The cost of operating a physician practices differs across states.  For instance, rent is much higher in New York City than Nebraska.  Labor costs are much higher in Los Angeles than in La Crosse, Wisconsin.  To account for differences in the cost of operating a practice, Medicare adjusts reimbursement rates in their standard physician fee […]

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If you have Medicare, will your physician refuse to treat you?

In the not to distant future, the answer may be yes. A report by Frazier and Foster (2009) examine how difficult it is for Medicare beneficiaries in Alaska to find a primary care doctor. “About 85% [of primary-car doctors in Alaska] choose the standard Medicare process (“participating”). Another 4% still work with the Medicare system […]

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How much is rent in your area?

The Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is responsible for answering just that question.  To determine what level Section 8 vouchers should be set, HUD measures the rents for every county across the nation.  Specifically, they measure the 40th percentile and 50th percentile (i.e., median) rents in each area.  They choose to use the […]

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Revisions to the Sixth Update of the Geographic Practice Cost Index

How does Medicare adjust payments to physician practices to account for regional differences in input costs such as employee wages, office rent, malpractice insurance and other expenses?  I recently co-authored a report in support of the CMS final rule which explains how CMS will make these adjustments for 2012.  Among the key revisions are an […]

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Regional Variation in Medicare Physician Reimbursement: Geographic Practice Cost Index (GPCI)

Medicare pays physicians in New York City more for the same procedure than they do if that same physician was located in rural Wyoming.  Why do they do this? The obvious reason is that the cost of operating a practice in New York City is much higher than in rural Wyoming.  Medicare determines the amount […]

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