Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Vast geographic differences found in drug spending under Medicare

Date:
June 9, 2010
Source:
University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences
Summary:
Widespread geographic variations exist in drug spending among Medicare beneficiaries, with some regions spending twice as much as others, according to a new study. The New England Journal of Medicine study, the first to explore regional drug spending under Medicare, found that higher spending on drugs was not balanced by lower spending on other medical care services such as hospitalizations and visits to the doctor's office.

Widespread geographic variations exist in drug spending among Medicare beneficiaries, with some regions spending twice as much as others, according to a University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health study.

Published in the Online First June 9 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine, and the first to explore regional drug spending under Medicare, the study also found that higher spending on drugs was not balanced by lower spending on other medical care services such as hospitalizations and visits to the doctor's office.

"As current health care reform legislation seeks to address inefficiencies in Medicare spending to get costs under control, it is vitally important to look at how spending differs regionally," said the study's lead author, Yuting Zhang, Ph.D., assistant professor of health economics at the University of Pittsburgh Graduate School of Public Health. "One of the key questions is whether Medicare patients who spend more on drugs to control chronic conditions have fewer physician visits and hospitalizations. Without examining drug expenditures, it is impossible to know whether spending in one area may substitute for spending in another."

In the study, Dr. Zhang and her colleagues, Joseph P. Newhouse, Ph.D., and Katherine Baicker, Ph.D., Harvard School of Public Health, calculated average drug and non-drug medical spending in 2007 among 306 hospital-referral regions across the U.S. as defined by previous studies. They controlled for geographic differences in health care prices, population demographics, insurance status and overall health, and they developed maps to illustrate annual drug and total medical spending by Medicare beneficiaries across each hospital-referral region.

The authors found that drug spending accounted for more than 20 percent of total medical spending, but varied substantially. For example, the highest region for drug spending under Medicare was Manhattan, N.Y. ($2,973 annually per beneficiary) and the lowest as Hudson, Fla. ($1,854 annually per beneficiary). Non-drug medical spending also varied widely and was twice as high in the highest-spending regions compared to the lowest.

The authors also found that variations in drug spending were only weakly associated with variations in non-drug medical spending.

"Spending more on drugs didn't clearly result in less spending on other medical services," said Dr. Zhang. "Although there was a weak correlation between the two types of spending, high spending in one area was not offset by low spending in the other. This data gives us valuable insight into the use of health care resources and may help guide public policy related to health care reform."

The study was funded by the University of Pittsburgh and grants from the National Institute of Mental Health and the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Yuting Zhang, Katherine Baicker, Joseph P. Newhouse. Geographic Variation in Medicare Drug Spending. New England Journal of Medicine, 2010; [link]

Cite This Page:

University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences. "Vast geographic differences found in drug spending under Medicare." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 9 June 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/06/100609171756.htm>.
University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences. (2010, June 9). Vast geographic differences found in drug spending under Medicare. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/06/100609171756.htm
University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences. "Vast geographic differences found in drug spending under Medicare." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/06/100609171756.htm (accessed October 22, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Orthodontist Mom Jennifer Salzer on the Best Time for Braces

Orthodontist Mom Jennifer Salzer on the Best Time for Braces

Working Mother (Oct. 22, 2014) Is your child ready? Video provided by Working Mother
Powered by NewsLook.com
U.S. Issues Ebola Travel Restrictions, Are Visa Bans Next?

U.S. Issues Ebola Travel Restrictions, Are Visa Bans Next?

Newsy (Oct. 22, 2014) Now that the U.S. is restricting travel from West Africa, some are dropping questions about a travel ban and instead asking about visa bans. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
CDC Revamps Ebola Guidelines After Criticism

CDC Revamps Ebola Guidelines After Criticism

Newsy (Oct. 21, 2014) The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have issued new protocols for healthcare workers interacting with Ebola patients. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
WHO: Ebola Vaccine Trials to Start a in January

WHO: Ebola Vaccine Trials to Start a in January

AP (Oct. 21, 2014) Tens of thousands of doses of experimental Ebola vaccines could be available for "real-world" testing in West Africa as soon as January as long as they are deemed safe in soon to start trials, the World Health Organization said Tuesday. (Oct. 21) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories


Health & Medicine

Mind & Brain

Living & Well

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins