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Usual Source Of Care: An Important Source Of Variation In Health Care Spending

Usual Source Of Care: An Important Source Of Variation In Health Care Spending Health care spending varies in unexplained ways, and physicians’ behavior is thought to explain much of the variation. We studied the spending effects of having different usual sources of care, focusing on variations associated with the type of facility or physician specialty. Based on analyses of data from the 2001–2004 Medical Expenditure Panel Surveys, we found significant differences in annual spending, especially for adults. Use of and spending for subspecialists were similar to those for general internists, and both were significantly higher than those for family physicians. Variation in spending might be the result of training differences among primary care specialties. Having a usual source of care matters, but so does its type. Footnotes Robert Phillips ( bphillips@aafp.org ) is director of the Robert Graham Center in Washington, D.C. Martey Dodoo is senior economist/demographer at the center. Larry Green is a professor of family medicine at the University of Colorado, in Aurora. George Fryer is a professor of pediatrics at the University of Arkansas for the Medical Sciences, in Little Rock, and senior associate at the Arkansas Center for Health Improvement. Andrew Bazemore is assistant director of the Graham Center. Kristin McCoy is a physician at El Centro Family Health in Espanola, New Mexico. Stephen Petterson is senior health policy researcher at the Graham Center. An earlier version of this paper was presented at the meetings of the North American Primary Care Research Group, in Tucson, Arizona, October 2006; the American Public Health Association, in Boston, Massachusetts, November 2007; and AcademyHealth, in Washington, D.C., June 2008. The authors thank Jessica McCann and Lisa Klein for their considerable assistance with the conceptual development and preparation of this manuscript. The information and opinions contained in research from the Graham Center do not necessarily reflect the views or policy of the American Academy of Family Physicians. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Health Affairs Health Affairs

Usual Source Of Care: An Important Source Of Variation In Health Care Spending

Usual Source Of Care: An Important Source Of Variation In Health Care Spending

Health Affairs , Volume 28 (2): 567 – Mar 1, 2009

Abstract

Health care spending varies in unexplained ways, and physicians’ behavior is thought to explain much of the variation. We studied the spending effects of having different usual sources of care, focusing on variations associated with the type of facility or physician specialty. Based on analyses of data from the 2001–2004 Medical Expenditure Panel Surveys, we found significant differences in annual spending, especially for adults. Use of and spending for subspecialists were similar to those for general internists, and both were significantly higher than those for family physicians. Variation in spending might be the result of training differences among primary care specialties. Having a usual source of care matters, but so does its type. Footnotes Robert Phillips ( bphillips@aafp.org ) is director of the Robert Graham Center in Washington, D.C. Martey Dodoo is senior economist/demographer at the center. Larry Green is a professor of family medicine at the University of Colorado, in Aurora. George Fryer is a professor of pediatrics at the University of Arkansas for the Medical Sciences, in Little Rock, and senior associate at the Arkansas Center for Health Improvement. Andrew Bazemore is assistant director of the Graham Center. Kristin McCoy is a physician at El Centro Family Health in Espanola, New Mexico. Stephen Petterson is senior health policy researcher at the Graham Center. An earlier version of this paper was presented at the meetings of the North American Primary Care Research Group, in Tucson, Arizona, October 2006; the American Public Health Association, in Boston, Massachusetts, November 2007; and AcademyHealth, in Washington, D.C., June 2008. The authors thank Jessica McCann and Lisa Klein for their considerable assistance with the conceptual development and preparation of this manuscript. The information and opinions contained in research from the Graham Center do not necessarily reflect the views or policy of the American Academy of Family Physicians.

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References (20)

Publisher
Health Affairs
Copyright
Copyright 2009 by Project HOPE: The People-to-People Health Foundation, Inc.
ISSN
0278-2715
eISSN
1544-5208
DOI
10.1377/hlthaff.28.2.567
pmid
19276017
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

Health care spending varies in unexplained ways, and physicians’ behavior is thought to explain much of the variation. We studied the spending effects of having different usual sources of care, focusing on variations associated with the type of facility or physician specialty. Based on analyses of data from the 2001–2004 Medical Expenditure Panel Surveys, we found significant differences in annual spending, especially for adults. Use of and spending for subspecialists were similar to those for general internists, and both were significantly higher than those for family physicians. Variation in spending might be the result of training differences among primary care specialties. Having a usual source of care matters, but so does its type. Footnotes Robert Phillips ( bphillips@aafp.org ) is director of the Robert Graham Center in Washington, D.C. Martey Dodoo is senior economist/demographer at the center. Larry Green is a professor of family medicine at the University of Colorado, in Aurora. George Fryer is a professor of pediatrics at the University of Arkansas for the Medical Sciences, in Little Rock, and senior associate at the Arkansas Center for Health Improvement. Andrew Bazemore is assistant director of the Graham Center. Kristin McCoy is a physician at El Centro Family Health in Espanola, New Mexico. Stephen Petterson is senior health policy researcher at the Graham Center. An earlier version of this paper was presented at the meetings of the North American Primary Care Research Group, in Tucson, Arizona, October 2006; the American Public Health Association, in Boston, Massachusetts, November 2007; and AcademyHealth, in Washington, D.C., June 2008. The authors thank Jessica McCann and Lisa Klein for their considerable assistance with the conceptual development and preparation of this manuscript. The information and opinions contained in research from the Graham Center do not necessarily reflect the views or policy of the American Academy of Family Physicians.

Journal

Health AffairsHealth Affairs

Published: Mar 1, 2009

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