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Practice Prices Linked to Some Measures of Care Coordination

THURSDAY, May 11, 2017 -- High-price practices have higher scores on certain measures of care coordination and management, but the overall relationship between higher prices and quality and efficiency of care is weak, according to a report published in the May issue of Health Affairs.

Eric T. Roberts, Ph.D., from Harvard Medical School in Boston, and colleagues examined the correlation between physician practice prices for outpatient services and practices' quality and efficiency of care. Practices were classified as high- or low-price using commercial claims data. Care quality, utilization, and spending were compared for high- and low-price practices in the same geographic area using national data from the Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems survey and linked claims for Medicare beneficiaries.

The researchers found that high-price practices were much larger than low-price practices, and received 36 percent higher prices. On some measures of care coordination and management, patients of high-price practices reported significantly higher scores; however, there was no meaningful difference in overall care ratings, other domains of patient experiences (including physician ratings and access to care), receipt of preventive services, acute care use, or total Medicare spending.

"This suggests an overall weak relationship between practice prices and the quality and efficiency of care and calls into question claims that high-price providers deliver substantially higher-value care," the authors write.

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Posted: May 2017